A Holiday Shift in Focus

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Some months ago, I was having a conversation with a friend on the topic of scaling back the usual to-do when it comes to preparing for holiday celebrations. She is Hindu and does the most when it comes to Divali, the Hindu festival of lights, perhaps the most festive on the Hindu calendar usually celebrated in October. In a moment of reflection perhaps fuelled by past experience, the timeframe and on becoming a mother times two (toddler and baby), she realized that she may dial back the effort as she is usually A+ when it comes to creating the festive feeling when the second half of the year rolls around.  In the midst of the light-hearted banter about a serious topic, I thought about us adults, children and holidays.

I am entirely convinced that holidays are for children and this is simply based on two things: one, the joy that a child feels and expresses during holiday festivities could never be purely experienced as an adult and two, the fact that most, if not all, adults can place a finger on a seasonal memory that occurred when they were children and which they use as a point of reference. For me, when I was a child my father used to invite a parang* band over to celebrate his birthday which was Christmas Eve with the festivities leading into Christmas Day. I remember my sister and I used to force ourselves to stay up for that excitement (ranked higher than waiting up for Santa Claus) because the merriment, music, eating and drinking was something that didn’t happen on that scale during the year. Associated with that, was the particular smell of the carpet when it was vacuumed, scrubbed and dried. To this day if I hear certain parang songs or smell a carpet being cleaned there is an unbeatable joy that creeps into my heart which I know is stored there since childhood. Weird, but true. Nostalgia is a hell of a thing and when that hits, it hits hard, sometimes to the point where tears flow (I don’t cry when a carpet is being cleaned but you get my point).

Now adults and particularly parents, are taken up with ensuring that the holidays mean something (no matter how grand or miniscule) so that memories are created, and memory-making can indeed be hard work. Why do you think you take so much pictures with your phone of your children, your lunch, your face, your nails, your commute to work, your drinks, the moon, the sunsets and the rainbows? You are recording your life because on some level you don’t want to forget what you’ve experienced which of course naturally happens as we age.

This is why at holiday times we may feel inclined to ensure that they are well enjoyed. For some it may be putting out the best décor, food, drink and gatherings of family and friends and in putting out the best so that the memories are created (because it is once a year after all), sometimes we lose sight of the purpose and the overwhelming feelings of preparation anxiety kick in. For women who are the captains of this particular ship, this may work in direct conflict with the effort we have been employing alllll year to ensure our #selfcare, #balance, #metime and related hashtags which have become the order of the day. So we start to think about scaling down without losing the flavour.

I usually go crazy with Christmas decorations but when I was doing my ‘summer cleaning’, I discovered an intruder rampaging in my storage. I shall call him Mickey and he had a jolly old time. Mickey forced me to discard everything: garlands, balls, tinsel, flowers, ribbon, lights and nativity scenes. As mad as I was (still am), I was really on the fence as to whether I should repurchase all my stuff. This year got a tree, lights, another nativity scene (this is a must) some balls and that’s it. I’ve warmed to the idea of not having to hurt my head to find my ‘colours to match’ for my décor. My teen, tween and toddler gremlinz will hardly blink an eye at a missing snowglobe, my husband worse yet.

Perhaps as adults we have been oversaturated with the commercialization of the holidays over the years, the hustle, the bustle and the perfection, that we are returning to keeping the pure, meaningful moments dear for the sake of keeping our minds clear. It’s like children who unwrap the gift, take out the toy and then joyfully play with the box. Keep it simple. That is something I could definitely get behind as my sanity is precious to me. It’s the final weekend before Christmas day, what about you?

 *https://www.nalis.gov.tt/Resources/Subject-Guide/Parang

About Grandparents

Grandparents are strange creatures.

I say this purely from a perspective of observing them in my role as the bridge between them and the grandchildren and when I say strange I mean howww is this sharp 180 possible from you being one type of human as my parent to being another type of human as my child’s grandparent? I continue to ponder…

Image result for if i knew grandchildren were this much fun

Years ago when I heard the above quote on a tv show I laughed at the humour in it. Little did I realize later on in life when I created the grandchildren, that the joke was actually on me because grandparents mean every single word of it. Hurtful.

The following is a list of related scenarios, some happened to me, some happened to other parents like myself who are also in this midway twilight zone wondering ‘but what it is really going on here?’

  1. The grandchild comes home with B’s on the report book to which the grandparent replies “don’t come do so hard on him/her. B’s are good and you are frustrating the child”. Meanwhile you cast your memory back to your own childhood filled with fond memories of crying because you can’t remember 7×8 (to this day), anxiously memorizing spelling words and threats of A’s or else……
  2. As is custom with Caribbean parenting, you give the child a dose of punishment, to which the grandparent responds that you are being wickeddd to the grandchild or my personal favourite “I don’t like to hear him cry”. Meanwhile you have lived to tell stories of belts, pot spoons, ‘cocoyea broom flex’, guava whips, rolling pins, slippers, broomsticks etc.
  3. The grandparent remarks that the grandchild is soooo skinny and proceeds to feed the grandchild according to their set standard. This leaves you to wonder how a boiled egg could be swallowed ravenously in front of a grandparent but mashed and scattered in your own living room by the same human being.
  4. Relatedly, this set standard includes even after you have fed the grandchildren and any of the times in between that they feel they should eat reminding you that breakfast, lunch and dinner and ‘nothing in the interim’ was meant specifically for you.
  5. Again relatedly, you the parent give said grandchild a snack and are met with admonition about not feeding the grandchild properly, “in my days we used to eat yam and eddoes!!!” and that he/she is soooo skinny. Yet when you go in the grandparents’ kitchen, there is a cupboard or drawer filled to the max with every treat imaginable wrapped in cellophane paper which most certainly did not exist when you grew up in that house. Even if it did, the fear of taking (or even asking) for said snack was enough to have your ears ringing.

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  6. Grandparents lifting up full 5-year olds up a flight of stairs, while hold a bookbag and lunchkit while you the parent watch and remember the command “Walk up please!” while trudging behind them as a child.
  7. The grandchildren have attained the school age of three and the grandparents casting doubt if they are ready already for school because school is ‘stressful’ and they will be ‘tired’. “I thought about grandbaby in school and if you only know how my heart grieve me”….GRIEVE yuh say yunno!!!! For sending him/her to school??? Your own childhood memories come flooding back again…..
  8. Seeing grandparents magically and eagerly appear at the front gate, driveway or gallery as though to rescue the grandchildren from your hostage care.
  9. Grandchildren being allowed to run around and make noise because who must be seen and not heard? Leave dem…
  10. Clothes that grandchildren wear must be perfectly fit. Anything like a half size up or down in shoes etc must be returned for a proper pair or kept so they’ll grow into it and even as you wait for the growing, two or more proper pairs will be bought. Meanwhile some of you parents wore shoes stuffed or pants tightly belted until you could fill it out.

Did you read any of these and say to yourself ‘Yessss” or “Preachhhh”? The contrast is glaring and some things are indeed very funny while others are cold blooded man! Like where was this side of you when I was growing up?!?!

I suppose it’s a case of who feels it knows it and I know that there may be other deeper matters related to insecurities and self-confidence, change in society and wisdom that comes with age and all that but I’m keeping it light for now.

In the meantime, I continue to be flabbergasted by the strangeness of the grandparents. Are you?
Blessings

TMIDM

Swimming in the S.E.A. (Part 1)

A couple of weeks ago I received a document from Mam’zelle’s teacher to pick secondary schools as choices for her to be placed after writing the S.E.A. exam (not sure what the S.E.A. exam is? See my previous post here). I took the document home, folded it and put it on my dresser. It has remained there to this day.

I am anxious about this exam and nervous for Mam’zelle to write it. My first Son-son did it already and I was nowhere near as nervous then as I am now and that’s mainly because they are two different children. She is not as excited about schoolwork and does it grudgingly at times. Other times she shoots fireworks from her fingers. I think also because she is a girl and the world works differently for females, that this also influences how I feel. Make no mistake though, other than the (light/heavy) encouragement from me or the hubby, I make it a concerted effort not to display said anxiety. There is no perfection there as sometimes I let it slip but often when I feel it coming on because she can’t remember a particular spelling or mathematical formula, I step away to vent to my husband or I log on to Facebook to commiserate with other parents who feel the same as a result of this dreaded exam.

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Illustration by Shrikrishna-Patkar (www.hindustantimes.com)

I know I’ve reached that part of the S.E.A. ride where it’s pedal to the metal but I’m really praying for this ride to slow down and stop. I can’t imagine having to wait until May so for that alone, I thank God it was moved to March (although it remains high stakes for a shorter period of time). A couple of weeks ago there was a meeting held for the parents of the standard five girls and I was really glad that my feelings were shared even though I didn’t speak to anybody. The taut body language in the room spoke volumes. In all the years I have attended meetings in that school, I have NEVER seen so many parents (especially the dads….kudos!!) turn out for one year group. There was a lot of nervous energy in the room that no amount of ice breakers, talks and presentations could allay. As a matter of fact, after one of the members of staff did her presentation on how placement occurs, the tension rose and I left because I felt like I needed to breathe.

Since then, I have done my part in remaining in close contact with her teacher, making sure she is physically, mentally and spiritually fed and staying abreast of the conversation about S.E.A. on the networks with other parents which can also drive you crazy if you don’t scroll quickly and limit the amount of comments you read. Examples of Math sums, Language exercises and Creative Writing prompts are posted at various times throughout the day from parents who need help and teachers who want to help. It’s as though everyone is trying to make sure that all 14 million possibilities for this exam are considered in all the three subject areas and coupled with questions, concerns and venting about the exam process, it can become very overwhelming.

Mam’zelle is in lessons Monday to Friday and now Saturdays as well. The way I see it, if the help is offered to keep her brain busy then I’m completely ok with that. She enjoys working with her friends and she listens to her teacher sometimes more than me and I am completely ok with that as well. Any sign of burnout is met with shutdown and sleep and thankfully it hasn’t affected her other than the usual tweenage complaints about school. Of course balance is key so while we don’t have the time for her to be as physically active as she used to be, she is still partaking in one extra-curricular activity because you know….life…….

I am taking it day by day and will continue managing my emotions until the end of this S.E.A. nightmare. Hopefully when I finally get around to filling out that placement document, time will have sped up considerably. In the meantime let me organize breakfast on this goodly Saturday morning and ready myself to drop the child to school.

Blessings

TMIDM

The SEA cycle

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image courtesy giphy.com

The Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) exam roller-coaster ride is in full throttle and this year it seems like many more are aboard than ever before. For the benefit of the uninitiated, the SEA is an exam held in Trinidad and Tobago for the sole purpose of placing 10 to 13 year-olds in secondary schools. We don’t have the luxury of an education system where children move seamlessly from one grade to the next. Rather it is preferred to stress children out at this stage with a high stakes exam that society has deemed ‘the-most-important-ever-you-will-write-in-your-life-because-it-determines-your-singular-future’ and we as Trinbagonians hold dear all the emotional and cultural elements involved.

I refer to it as the SEA cycle because EVERY YEAR WITHOUT FAIL, these are the motions that parents, teachers and stakeholders go through (aloud and privately) and by stakeholders I mean the man on the street, people by the bar, cleaners on lunchbreak, people in the salon/barber shop, fass (nosy) neighbours and anybody with a keyboard and a social media account who has had a child or knew a child who wrote the exam.

Now since it is a cycle, naturally I could pick at any point to start but I think I will begin at the September term of standard 5, what was once nine but is now seven months before the exam since starting this year 2019, it was moved from May back to March.

The SEA cycle from September has you:

  1. Praying that the standard five year passes quickly.
  2. Hoping that the child doesn’t need extra textbooks in standard five because right now all they are supposed to be doing are practice tests so parents get to save money (yay!).
  3. Realizing that the extra money is to actually pay for the practice tests and a possible increase in lessons fees (dammit!)
  4. Examining and discussing secondary school choices with the fervour of a gambler studying the Play Whe* booklet.
  5. Going back and forth to pick four schools between teacher, spouse, granny, neighbour, work colleagues, priest, pundit and pastor.
  6. Perusing ALL Facebook comments to understand what the hell people talking about with ‘percentile’ and ‘composite score’.
  7. Finally choosing the four schools and in some unfortunate cases hoping that the child’s work will improve to match.
  8. Stockpiling Express, Newsday and Guardian newspapers and endlessly quarrelling about the mistakes on the answer key.
  9. Posting sums on Facebook for help because you and all don’t even understand what kinda high-falutin’ maths is this?
  10. Silently panicking because the child is ‘still’ scoring in the 80s for end-of-term tests.
  11. Ensuring that Christmas is still merry despite the drama with this exam.
  12. Welcoming the new year with a sole focus on the SEA countdown as a main priority and hardly anything else.
  13. Making sure the curriculum is fully covered by asking the child random process questions in Math, Language Arts and Creative Writing to keep them sharp at the same time,
  14. Running out of steam and letting the teachers do what they get paid to do and at the same time,
  15. Messaging the teacher (at random and sometimes ungodly hours) if they covered this topic, that topic and the third topic because teachers are supposed to be accessible and have patience……….
  16. Running out of practice test booklets as even though some are better than others, all were necessary.
  17. Wondering how involved the child should be for school sports…..because…..SEA…..yet,
  18. Wondering for your own self if to conduct a hermit vibes or a YOLO vibes for Carnival.
  19. Realizing that you have done all you could do and praying for the day of the exam to come and go because this stress is too much.
  20. Being fed-up of practice tests yourself.
  21. Feeling the stress but not showing the stress to the child because if the child senses you are stressed then that will make you more stressed and then you lose your ability to hide the stress properly (mini-cycle).
  22. Seeing the stress in the child anyhow and trying your best to strike a proper balance between ‘try one more question’ and ‘go and sleep, you need rest’.
  23. Googling ‘how to cope with exam anxiety’.
  24. Venting on supportive Facebook groups.
  25. Arguing with Facebook group members who won’t let you vent in peace about SEA because the Judging Amys are always there to serve.
  26. Waiting impatiently for the day of the exam.
  27. Not sleeping the night before the exam but making damn sure that the child sleeps free of nerves.
  28. Not eating the morning of the exam but pretending to and at the same time making sure the child is locked and loaded.
  29. Sending the child off to do the exam with a warm smile and a racing heart.
  30. Scouring Facebook for commentary while the exam is going on because you need more stress.
  31. Seeing people posting about the difficulty of the Math and the Creative Writing and praying again that your child conquered it.
  32. Breathing a sigh of relief when the exam is over and seeing your child look like a child once more but,
  33. Still asking which sum was difficult or if the report was easy or who was crying.
  34. Occasionally looking on social media for ANY mention of the day for results to release.
  35. Feeling the anxiety rise again but loving the graduation preparations that balance it out!
  36. Channeling Doctor Strange and creating all the possible outcomes of the results and your plans A to D of reactions to match.
  37. Realizing that some people are getting close and suddenly checking in because they want to have the front seat to know ‘what school your child pass for?’
  38. Realizing that waiting for results is exponentially worse than waiting for the exam.
  39. Being excited that the child passed for first, second, third or fourth choice.
  40. Not being excited that the child was zoned out and preparing to enact plan E if there is one while keeping it cool and keeping the child encouraged.
  41. Knowing that there are ‘good’ schools and there are ‘bad’ schools.
  42. Knowing that these two are relative to experience but accepting certain realities,
  43. Understanding that this is the way the system is set up which is the first step to knowing how to manoeuvre in it.
  44. Defending the good in ‘bad’ schools and the bad in ‘good’ schools.
  45. Listing a world of experiences in each circumstance to make the relevant justifications.
  46. Arguing about the Concordat^ and why we should have ‘prestige’ schools and how unfair it is’
  47. But knowing that given the chance……..
  48. Gearing up for the money game (registration fees, books, uniforms, private schools, tutors, re-sits)
  49. Gearing up for the next child to go through this all over again and realizing that the SEA is the most effective form of birth control there is, much like trying to get a child into primary school.
  50. Going back to the beginning of the cycle there when your next child is at the end of standard four for another ride on the roller coaster.

These are the main stages on the ups and the downs of SEA and I am quite certain that this list is not exhaustive just as I am certain that some of you may not have passed through all the stages. So in the heat of it while we get all riled up year after year, remember we have to come back down to go around again unless you want to try a different ride because this one so played out…..year…..after…..year. If that is the case remember, EVERYBODY has to get on board to demand a better ride, something new and different that caters to our children and that is less of a harrowing experience for all who are buckled in. 😉

Blessings!

TMIDM

 

*Play Whe is a popular betting game in Trinidad and Tobago. Each number is assigned a character and many people tend to look for signs in dreams and in daily activity to give them an idea what number to play. It is Chinese in origin. More info here: http://www.nlcbplaywhelotto.com/

^The Concordat in its simplest terms is that the Principals of denominational (‘prestige’)  schools are given the right to allocate 20% of its new intake based on religion and other factors. So once you can get your child on that list, you are good to go. Read more about that here: http://moe.gov.tt/portals/0/documents/notices/concordat_60.pdf

 

About Father’s Day…

I have always felt awkward at the concept of celebrating Mother’s and Father’s Day. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the significance of it: taking the time out to recognise the special work done by persons in these roles. However, I suppose in my case, growing up it wasn’t that big of a deal which maybe coloured the way I presently feel about it. I get that it is something special particularly for children, but as fast as you shower me with lovely kisses and carefully curated meals is as fast as I have to complain the next day about the dishes you left for me in the sink to wash!

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So Mother’s Day was not too hyped up but Father’s Day was completely uncomfortable. The latter used to affect me in the sense that I didn’t have that special ‘daddy-daughter’ relationship that I saw friends go on and on about. I mean he fulfilled the basic tasks which I suppose in his way brought himself pride and satisfaction as a father (i.e. things that could come up in a discussion with his friends): “ah hadda drop meh daughters to school”, “ah carry meh daughter to drive”, “ah carry meh daughter to see which part she going and work”. So there was a sense of pride he felt in his doing the things that he felt he did which gave him satisfaction as a father. Once his ego was satisfied, that was it.

As far as I can remember, my father has never wished me happy birthday, he has never given me a hug, he has never genuinely asked me how I was going, or how I was getting along with life, he doesn’t know what I like to eat, he doesn’t know my favourite drink, he has never discussed with me the type of boyfriend I should look for or man I should marry, he has never said I Love You or words to that effect. In other words, he has never met me on my level as a father would towards his daughter. He has done all the things that would outwardly show that he was a father but for the deeper things that would matter as a child, he was most absent.

As I grew older and was able to provide materially for myself, it left him with nothing to do, say or ‘brag’ about. I tried to ensure that he continued his sense of ‘fatherhood’ by letting him to fulfill these tasks which he considers important with his grandchildren. But eventually, I suppose it interrupted his new lifestyle which currently has nothing to do with his family. When he is at home, he is present in body but absent in spirit, so it is as though he does not exist and may continue as such until the day the Lord steps in.

All of this is really to point out that there are fathers are to themselves think they are fulfilling the role: those who are spending money by the hundreds and who buy the latest, who do all the material things that the ego allows but who are failing in actually knowing and loving their children. Thankfully I was able to grow through it, see past it and heal from it and my healing does not need an Iyanla Vanzant ‘Fix my Life’ type sit-down with everybody heaving and bawling about who done right and who done wrong. People are who they are and once we’ve accepted that in some cases, time does not bring change, that’s good for the soul and everybody can move on. It worked for me.

I am able to discern the good fathers. I picked a good one who I married who is first class with the children he fathered and the child he did not. I have friends who are superb in the role and these are men in steady relationships and men who have ‘child mothers’ and are excellent with their own children even in a Trinidadian court system that doesn’t cater for them. I have friends who are in no relationship but will make great fathers when the day comes and those who are passionate uncles and godfathers, appointed or not.

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I salute these men, and all like them. They create balance in a world that sometimes isn’t fair to them. They cancel out the ones like my own father and will continue giving hope to the restoration of a positive worldview of men and fathers in general. Happy Father’s Day to all that deserve it! May you truly get all you richly deserve and more!

Blessings!

TMIDM

I see you

To:

the woman who feels she is never enough,

the woman who feels she does too much,

the woman who plods along to keep it running,

the woman who pauses to breathe before the choke comes,

the woman who decides to say “Fuck It”,

the woman who decides to try for the millionth time,

the woman who practises that smile before unleashing it,

the woman who blots the tears before they roll down,

the woman whose children see the brave face more than the real face,

the woman who decided that #selfcare is a beautiful thing,

the woman who values her solitude,

the woman who values her friendships,

the woman who values herself,

the woman who is the early bird,

the woman who is the night owl,

the woman who anticipates the worst,

the woman who hopes for the best,

the woman whose routine stifles her,

the woman who found her outlet,

the woman who is chastised for going against the norm,

the woman who is fine just being okay,

the woman who makes her decisions and sticks to them,

the woman who is afraid to jump,

the woman whose mind has several tabs open,

the woman who can drain her mind,

the woman who knows what love is and feels it,

the woman who doesn’t feel love and she knows it,

I see you.

TMIDM

 

 

The Strength To Go On

It’s been a while!

I’m not going to detail reasons why or why not as most ‘return-after-a-long-hiatus’ posts tend to do, but it is safe to say that I am alive and extremely grateful for the dawn of a new year. The tail end of 2018 proved very difficult for me in the sense that I lost the balance I always maintain is essential for working mothers to survive. I was closing the year operating on fumes, in a stasis of ‘whatever’ but clawing towards the Christmas vacation period, desperate to power down.

Now that the vacation is over and a new academic term awaits me from tomorrow, in the spirit of this reflective time of year, I have adequately prepared myself to start 2019 in a way that would restore the balance that is critical for me. I don’t think that I am alone in this regard as all over my social media the hashtag #selfcare features prominently (Ladies, how did it get so bad that we needed to hashtag it? You know one of the main rules of social media is that it bears no importance if one does not create a hashtag). I don’t know how it got to this but when I sat and did some mindful meditation of my physical, psychological, professional, emotional, spiritual, personal and professional state, my mental health was rapidly deteriorating and, in some cases, completely deteriorated.

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New Year’s Resolutions are not usually a thing for me. Disappointment tends to lurk in the shadows. However, this year I don’t think I have made resolutions per se, but I have given myself specific activities/’checklist points’ to ensure that my wheel remains evenly divided so I don’t end up frazzled, frustrated and feeling like a shadow of myself, intensely dark and always behind everyone and everything. It’s a work in progress but progress Is key.

I hope this new year brings joy, favour and peace to all of you!

Blessings!

TMIDM

Devoid of Hope?

I have always had this aversion to hospitals, particularly the Mt Hope Medical Science Complex. The stories relayed to me by family and friends were enough to confirm my resolve to never end up there for any kind of medical care that I may need for myself and my family, free as it may be. Granted there are horror stories in all the public hospitals in Trinidad and Tobago but I was so certain in my assessment of Mt. Hope that I had my two elder gremlinz in the Port-of-Spain General Hospital although I lived out of the catchment area. When it was time for #gremlin3, I couldn’t run the same racket again and decided to fork up the umpteen thousand dollars at the St. Augustine Private Hospital. The fear for Mt Hopeless was indeed very real.

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Fastforward to 2017.

In my twelve years of being a mother I ended up at the Mt. Hope Children’s Hospital only once, that was in desperation when the firstborn was verrrrrry young. I did’t stay very long, it was late, the place was packed and I had visions of not being able to be comfortable for hours on end with a sick child on my hands while waiting to be attended to. Beyond that, although there were cuts and scrapes and two buss heads, there was nothing major. Now, I don’t know if i have ever mentioned this before but Boyo (#gremlin3) is a little different from the other two. Mt Hope has seen me twice in the space of one month.

The first occasion was an accident where he took that Five Little Monkeys song pretty literally.

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In an effort to save him from himself, there was a collision, a bit tongue, a bloodbath and a desperate race to Mt Hope. Thankfully the place was empty, the visit was short, the doctor was super nice and his tongue healed in less than a week.

The second episode was this past weekend. Long story short, he awoke with a belly pain that came in waves causing him great discomfort (aka screaming and hyperventilating) and his belly was really hard to the touch. Based on the last visit I was comfortable enough for yet another desperate race to Mt Hope which led to:

  1. Me now knowing exactly where to go, armed with my very own pediatrician who gracefully gave up her Saturday dental appointment. (I love you sis, your teeth are already awesome!) Although I had a good visit the last time, I couldn’t shake the wariness of possible bad luck.
  2. Me learning what the term intussusception is and then bandying it about like said knowledge dropped straight from an episode of Grey’s Anatomy.
  3. Me watching my son get an IV line run for the first time. He needed SIX needles to find a vein!!! I wept like Mary watching her son on the cross.
  4. Me watching my son get an x-ray done for the first time, then watching him fall asleep during an ultrasound. A room with dimmed lights and a specialist with a soothing voice massaging gel on your tummy? I didn’t blame him.
  5. Me getting good news that the intus (yes, I slanged it) couldn’t be seen, watching him feeling better, laughing and yapping and then seeing him collapse in pain and screaming again.
  6. Me hearing the dreaded words: “We’ll have to keep him overnight for observation”

Lemme stick the pin in here.

Never in my life had I ever stayed the night in a hospital other than to birth humans. I started to feel sick because 1) This was Mt Hope and 2) This was Mt Hope. Now, the pediatric doctors and nurses were AMAZING eh, but in my mind, I still felt like I was overstaying my welcome the 6plus hours that I had been there and that my luck would run out. It’s one thing to know you are leaving, it’s another to know that you have to stay. So le husband was dispatched to retrieve the necessities and I was sent with Boyo to another ‘less temporary’ room. To continue with the lessons that I learnt:

  1. There are various sleep positions that can be made in a tattered recliner.
  2. Blankets are CRITICAL! Pashmina scarves do not cut it.
  3. You automatically feel like family with the person to the left and right of you in a ‘we in this struggle together’ kinda way.
  4. Everybody (not including the ACUTAL professionals) feels the need to give unsolicited advice.
  5. You feel like screaming when you hear a child cry because then your child will wake up which means you can’t take that quick nap that you need but then you IMMEDIATELY feel guilty because all the children are in pain and your sleep doesn’t matter.
  6. When you get the all clear to leave, you feel the dual emotion of guilt because you have to leave your ‘bedside mates’ but joy because you can have an actual bath and sleep on an actual bed.

I thank God that the result was no intus and resulting ‘air enema’ or surgery. I still have no idea what was the cause even though the doctor discharging me indicated the virus or early gastroenteritis.  All in all I was happy with the level of care given at the Pediatric Department. The doctors were young, enthusiastic and knowledgeable, nurses were mature and gentle, even with frustrated parents. I would definitely return, Peds isn’t hopeless but I am holding tightly to my reservations for the adult section. I don’t need time to tell to find out the truth on my own.

Blessings

TMIDM.

4 things 2017 taught me

In the usual vein of reflection, anticipation, inspiration and of course celebration, I decided to do a short write up on what lessons the past year served to me.

1. I most certainly CANNOT blog for a living.😄

I never wanted my blog to be a money making venture hence the reason I never looked into securing ad space and by extension never felt the pressure to create content simply to fulfill that purpose. I never write just for writing’s sake, I write when I’m inspired. Interesting moments happen in my life, sometimes mom related, sometimes not.  Of course the flip of that would be that there are no demands on me to write hence the weeks and sometimes months apart from post to post. It’s not that I don’t have anything to write, my draft box is full both on WordPress and in my brain and if needs be sometimes I post snippets on Facebook. I just need to prioritize my time better and add a specific blog time to my weekly schedule if needs be. This is definitely a 2018 improvement step.🤓

2. Half the fun of parenting is figuring out how to navigate children who are vastly different.

Now that Boyo is fully coming into his own at the ripe old age of 18 months, it is interesting to watch him learn and develop, perhaps even more so than my first two gremlinz. He likes to touch stuff, fixes, probes and prods,  focused with the fingertips and laser sharp with his observation as though he must know why things work.  This is opposed to my Mam’zelle who loves singing, dancing, creating things, drawing, has a vivid imagination and telling me what works in clothes and makeup. Son-son is the one into books and facts, information, likes to be the first to know and the first to spread knowledge. Now what happens when these three worlds  collide? That’s the fun (and sometimes admittedly frustrating)  part. 🙃

3. Keep the eyes on the prize

When I look back on 2017 I don’t think I accomplished anything that I had ‘planned’ at the beginning of the year. As a matter of fact it was one wompity womp after the next. Now my go-to motto is to hope for the best and expect the worst but with one deflating disappointment after the next,  it was a struggle to remain positive in spite of it all. However here I am, alive on the 31st probably because I have to  try again, maybe use a different formula and see things in a different light so what is due to me finds no difficulty in finding me.🙏

4. Let selfishness reign….your money….your time….

Reward thyself! You bloody well deserve it dammit! 2017 was the year of getting my makeup stash in an acceptable order and I spent my coins to make sure that I got stuff that EYE wanted (thus dubbing 2018 the year of ah-not-buying-no-more-makeup-unless-absolutely-necessary-but-ah-sure-it-go-be-something-else-taking-my-dollars).🙈 As it relates to my time, I’ve done a pretty decent job of ensuring that my ‘me’ hour or so is carved out of my schedule. I most DEFINITELY could have put in more gym time especially this Christmas was savage on the belly 😩 and as mentioned before, more blogging time. But this remains a staple for me and I encourage all other mothers to do the same. Don’t wonder when you will get time to exercise or write or take a drink or breathe. Find it in your day. I am going to try to maintain my very early morning workouts, my stolen moments eating desserts in my car and my colouring books in my office. 😆

So here’s to 2018! I’m not one to make resolutions, I am only striving to be a better version of myself day after day. I hope you are too! See you on the flip!

giphy

 

Blessings

TMIDM

My Girl

When I was pregnant in 2008 and told my close friends that I was having a girl, most, if not all, erupted in the “Hm! You will meet your match!” sentiment. I have no idea why. Indeed when Mam’zelle was born there was a different feeling that I got as opposed to when I had my son almost three years prior. My mind churned with all the things I needed her to know about life and living in the world as a girl/woman. I wish I could have just opened up her head and poured all the wisdom and knowledge inside so she could be prepared for what’s out there.

As she grew into her own person, she became very unlike myself in many ways. As a child I was mild-mannered, afraid to rock the boat or break the rules, played quietly with my dolls and could spend hours to a day in a book. She always had a retort, did not like to read, she moved about indignantly when she was upset, was impatient with schoolwork and deliberate when she did stuff to get in trouble. This was unnerving to me and especially infuriating to my mother as my younger sister and I were not like this (and of course naturally, my parenting skills came into question).

I have largely guided my daughter within her own convictions to ensure that even with her personality, she must get the value systems correct even if I have to drill it into her even more so than I had to do with my son. So with things like honesty, compassion and patience, there is greater need for the sitting and the talking. I have long accepted that although it is indeed more work, it is necessary work. I try my utmost not to compare but there are weak moments where as a parent I think the familiar ‘why can’t you behave like your brother/sister?!’ If you are a parent of children with different personalities and you tell me this thought has never crossed your  mind, your pants are on fire.

More and more these days, I look at Mam’zelle and honestly, if  I was worried that seeing our differences would lead to difficulties, recognizing some of our similarities is downright terrifying. She’s nine now and sometimes I see a lot of my childhood/adolescent insecurities in her. Physically my daughter is like me, a thick girl with thick legs and a large posterior which she’s very conscious of, especially as she does swimming and ballet. (In my youth, countless were the times I was told to ‘tuck in the butt!’ while I was at the barre).  She doesn’t like not knowing something even if it’s something she should not know as yet. When she’s doing something she’s unsure of, there’s an anxiety that shadows her face, her palms sweat and her hands shake. She wants to know that everybody around her is happy with her and sometimes loses herself to make sure that this happens. All of these are familiar to me and there are times when I want to tell her DON’T DO THAT!/DON’T FEEL LIKE THAT! but I know deep down that each of us has to grow as we learn, including her.

A couple of years ago she got really sick and at a particular point I was helpless. It was the absolute lowest point of my existence and I desperately cried out to God that if He pulled her through, I would raise her to be a dynamic one and I would fiercely protect her with all my being until He was ready to call her home. I am more protective of her since then and I’m completely OK with that.  I drag her everywhere and let her know about the sacredness of female relationships even in the face of male-female relationships. She knows when she can be vocal and is learning about when she has to dial it back a bit to silence according to the situation. I impress upon her that her existence is vital and her place in the world is secure and even if I am not there to guide her, she must be sensible enough to know how to position herself. Conventional wisdom dictates that you don’t help the butterfly out of the cocoon, the struggle is what makes it strong enough to fly right?

I couldn’t have asked for a better daughter and my mission is to make sure that I take her from a happy, carefree, strong girl to a spirited, compassionate young woman and thankfully, my girl is well on her way.

Bless up

TMIDM