It’s BTS Time!!!

In Trinidad and Tobago the back-to-school countdown has begun! Many parents and guardians are filling out bookstores, shoe stores and fabric stores to make sure that children are prepped and ready to go for the first day of dispatch on  the 3rd of September. The back-to-school rush is the least favourite of ‘rushes’ for me. I hate that particular last-minute feeling so much so that I remember one year I did all my stationery shopping in the supermarket just to avoid the bacchanal. So every year I do my shopping strategically so that I won’t be caught in the middle of people shouting for books at the clerks with booklists flailing about in loooong lines and police ushering in crowds bit-by-bit. Yes…..this happens….

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See? It’s international! Photo taken from South Africa: https://bereamail.co.za/101667/back-to-school-rush-5/

I remember when I was going to school I used to be excited to return. I loved fresh books, bag and lunchkit. I used to loooooove covering my books with brown paper and plastic and I couldn’t wait to use my new stationery…..(one can never have enough stationery. I’m an adult and I still feel that way.) My gremlinz however are not so inclined and for the life of me I cannot understand why. Let me walk that back……I can understand in the sense that I am in no hurry to return to work to return to my own classrooms but come on!!! New pens and notebooks!!! When I do my stationery run for myself next week that’s what will signal to my brain that the new term cometh so they should get inna gear  to inspire me right? Work is a whole different kettle of fish…..

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In spite of the initial gentle probing, I have now insisted that they begin to look sharp. So over the course of the coming days the routine will start back. I have already begun by one simple step.

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Hahahaha! Yes! The dreaded 9 o’clock curfew has returned. The other night I walked past their bedrooms and in the dark their eyes were open like owls in a cave with no way of escaping. Poor things. They eventually fell asleep though. In the day they’ve started back doing school work. Son-son has a mandate to read all of his literature books before school opens and Mam’zelle just started her online revision via pennacool.com which is really tremendous for children in Trinidad and Tobago gearing up for high-stakes exams. I really endorse it! (unsponsored)

Now little Boyo will not see kindergarten until next year but has already mastered oral counting, alphabet, colours and animal sounds through the kind folks who provide daily earworms on YouTube. Until then I am taking the time to ensure that he develops his soft skills as well as activities that involve holding a crayon or using playdoh. There are many internet resources and apps I found but I want to highlight education.com (also unsponsored) because I found that they have a wide range of activities for children from 2 years old right up. Check out the puzzles on the site like these super cute mazes which I figure will help with patience and critical thinking!Screen Shot 2017-11-21 at 12.13.42 PM

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Before you know it, we will be smack at the start of the term so I hope everyone’s rearing to go or at least behind the wheel ready to bounce the starter! If not, think of it this way, the faster you start, the nearer you are to Christmas!

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.

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