Mother’s Day V.2020

This Mother’s Day sure hits different.

I had NO idea Mother’s Day was today, only coming to this realization on Friday gone. I saw all the marketing on tv and social media but I just thought they were getting it in early to recoup Corona losses. I did wonder why my Boyo’s teacher was pushing us to do Mother’s Day craft with a silent expression of “I done getting right fed up of this Zoom thing every week, this woman doh know Mother’s Day is next week, wham tuh she boy?”🙄. That was a low day.😔

I don’t usually hold high expectations on Mother’s Day and I’m still not 100% sold on it. I suppose I’ve gotten used to it being like every other normal non-celebratory Sunday in my household and worse yet this year because of the ’rona? Out of sight, completely out of mind. I’m already grieving the losses that this ghetto AF 2020 has brought thus far: goals, extra finances, travel, some mental stability, my gremlinz being away from me at a certain point in the day (i.e. school) so I could breathe, exams that are on time and the ability to have the option to buy food. (If I get started on how fed up I am of cooking 1: I may sound ungrateful and insensitive and 2: I may not stop typing). Mother’s Day was nowhere near the radar.🤷🏾‍♀️

But thank God we’ve reached another year albeit ghetto AF.

I would be remiss if I didn’t say that this Covid 19 period has put my motherhood on coals as I try to keep it moving and at the same time keep it cool with my gremlinz. It is truly a delicate balancing act trying to keep some semblance of structure and routine and at the same time carefully manage emotions including my own. Some days have definitely been better than others. There are days when we are locked into the schoolwork, chores, lunch, playtime schedule. There are days when I let them watch tv all day, eat crap and bathe when they feel like it. A happy medium? Who knows but it works for me.😉

I can’t even begin to talk about the reaction to the Coronavirus in Trinidad and Tobago where it pertains to Education. Parents are berating teachers for not teaching their children anything (as though the word ‘parenting’ has ZERO inclusion of ‘teaching’ in any form or fashion) and teachers are complaining and complaining and complaining about not having enough, not being able to do enough and not being appreciated enough (just do what you can and no more and move on please). Some comments make me want to pelt my phone but my phone can be my lifeline, so I’ve perfected the art of the quick glance and scroll plus, mental stability and all that.

So on the point of mental stability, I hope all the mothers and the ‘mothers’ out there get what they want and do what they want on this solitary day for the very least. As usual I offer up those who have lost their mothers and those who have lost children, love and light to you all. For whatever it is worth to you, Happy Mother’s Day! Peace, love and blessings!!❤🌺🙏🏾

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TMIDM

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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    instagram.com/mightyapejunior
  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

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

 

Have merSEA!

Well my Son-son is 11, in standard five in primary school and about to write the big Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) exam this Thursday. According to Trini culture and lore, this is the most important exam of a student’s life, destined to make you or break you depending on which secondary school you are headed when the results come in. Parents cry, teachers lose hair and the children drill mathematical formulae, grammatical exercises and seemingly endless compositions up until the dreaded day that they aim to get their first choice out of four. Cue ominous voice:

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http://themooken.deviantart.com/art/May-the-fourth-be-with-you-606841449

Knowing that he is prone to anxiety, I laid all the pressure on Son-son on standard four and eased off the valve considerably. As the date draws near, I think I am more anxious than he is. However my anxiety stems from the fact that I am completely FED UP! of the preparation for the exam. I’m so thankful that his teacher is so meticulous, another parent told me some time ago that he has a ‘system’ to churn out boys to perform at the SEA exam. But at this point if I see YET ANOTHER quasi difficult poem, I will scream. I think a couple of nights ago was the last straw.  He came and said he read the poem and didn’t understand it. So I took a look. This is a poem called Children’s Song by R.S. Thomas which he had to read and answer about ten questions:

We live in our own world,
A world that is too small
For you to stoop and enter
Even on hands and knees,
The adult subterfuge.
And though you probe and pry
With analytic eye,
And eavesdrop all our talk
With an amused look,
You cannot find the centre
Where we dance, where we play,
Where life is still asleep
Under the closed flower,
Under the smooth shell
Of eggs in the cupped nest
That mock the faded blue
Of your remoter heaven.
 
Ronald Stuart Thomas
Dafuq is subterfuge??? ‘Remoter heaven’??? My poor child!
I mean honestly, I get the gist of the poem, but I think it’s a bit much for an 11 year old to find extra deep metaphorical meaning in a high stakes exam. I understand that the poem is usually the difficult part of the exam but have mercy, this or any poem like it reads like stress! The questions that followed were even worse.
So these last few days I haven’t been harping on him at all partly because I think he’s reached his zenith and partly because again…me…fed up…. He had practice tests for the past two Saturdays and beyond that I gave him a free pass to the TV and the games on his tab. Of course everything was done in moderation so he also had to clean inside my car and do his regular chores as well. I don’t want this SEA pressure to fold him in even before the exam.
Thursday morning I plan to wake him up, act as normally as possible and not make a big deal about it. On our way there, he may get a Bruno Mars karaoke session, lame jokes in the car and I’ll kick him out with a hug and a ‘good luck dude’! If I get the butterflies, they’re going to remain in stasis at the very least until he’s out of my sight. I hope I don’t wig out. This SEA can’t drown us both.
Bless up
TMIDM

Leave de people zaboca!

My neighbour has a huge avocado tree.

 

Zaboca
“Avocado = Zaboca”

From the beginning of the zaboca season I have been peering out my louvres watching with anticipation as like the years before this, many a fruit lean over on my side of the fence. In this age of Facebook Tasty videos and Pinterest recipes, I eagerly began to concoct many uses for said zaboca when they land on my kitchen counter.

And so it came to pass that the fruit on my side became full. My mother came to visit, reminded me that when the skin looks dull you pick it,  then proceeded to make her way off with one. My husband was repeatedly harassed to pick the high ones. My older sister appeared, did her thing and promised to return. Meanwhile I had zaboca wrapped in newspaper and with gremlinz disliking and husband eating when he felt like it, I eventually enjoyed with bake, pelau, toast, tuna and even by itself. I considered it a luxury. A zaboca is at least $20 anywhere you go yuh know!

Anyway enter my 7-year old Mam’zelle…..

One random afternoon: “Mummy, you know that pear thing?…….I think you should stop stealing it…:”. Me: “‘scuse???”.

What followed was a confirmation that it was indeed the zaboca she was talking about, that I shouldn’t steal it because it’s not mine and that the tree isn’t growing on my side so I mustn’t take it. You can well imagine the mix of emotions, from ‘ay ay, just so?’ (*confusion), to ‘papa!’ (*pride), to ‘daiz not true’ (*denial) to ‘oh gorm ariite nah’ (*shame/resignation). To be honest I wasn’t feeling too shame nah! 😀 but obviously I knew what she was saying. I keep talking to her and Son-son about these things and it is refreshing to know that the repetitiveness and the preaching about morals and values stick. I just didn’t expect it to backfire on me! Ha ha! Lesson learnt.

So what did I say? Well I tried to worm my way out of it and told her that the neighbours didn’t mind, we have an understanding over the years. I wouldn’t feel any which way if I saw my neighbours picking mangoes from my ginormous tree, it’s not like I can get them across there anyway. She said I must still go across with my bag and ask. I compared it to the plum tree that drops plums all over. She defended and said the zaboca didn’t ‘drop’ and that I was picking it. “But it on my siiiiiide!!” I protested. She said that it didn’t make it right and when I picked them I was supposed to put it back over the fence…..(fat chance of that happening…..$20 for one eh!!). I did relent and say that I would stop picking them (but I’m taking them when they fall!).

I guess I never stepped back to visualise how it would look to her but I’m super glad that she’s so observant and capable of making independent conclusions. I must be doing something right even though in her eyes I wasn’t perfect at that moment. I’m glad she was able to call me out on it too but she was always fearless and defiant in her own way which can be admittedly frustrating at times.

In the mean time anyone fancy some guacamole for dinner with me tonight?

Bless up

TMIDM

TIME

Jeezanages…….

It sure has been a while hasn’t it? Ah too shame but you know what they say, Sometimes life gets in the way of having fun…..

Now I think Time is the most powerful force on the planet. I doh even know if Time is a force but it’s clearly pretty important and damn near priceless because we are all using it, some wasting it, racing against it, begging for more of it, wishing we could go back in it, wondering where it went and trying to spend the remainder of it the best we could.

I am in a persistent race with time simply because I value it so much so I don’t like to waste it at all. I am hustling every single day and at the end of each day I still beat up about what I should have done or what I could have slipped in. Then I plan for the next day and the cycle continues. Some people (read: my husband) get annoyed by this but it is simply the way I am wired. I hate leaving home late, I am always strategizing the distance and time to and from places, trips to run errands, workouts at the gym. Imagine I haven’t gone to the new Chaguaramas boardwalk yet because I seriously dread the outcoming traffic and I won’t even be the one driving! One of my closest friends suggested “Parang on the Boardwalk!” And as much as I’m a Christmas baby and I love anything Christmas-related and not to mention FREE!, my response was “Do you have a boat?”

Now October is the month of the year where I always think about Time, it’s my reflection month. My two gremlinz go up a year, Mamzelle on Thursday, Son-son exactly one week after and this year he is entering double digits!!! The big 1-0! (Cue ensuing staring into space trying to recall all memorable moments and frantic watching of baby pictures from now until next week…..) These days I casually observe them even more, I look at how he’s almost my height and she’s getting thick in the legs like me. I listen to them as they watch TV and enter into this university-level discussion about why pirates are fake, or why Flow trying to teach people Spanish in smart. I watch her storming his room and sleeping on his bed every…..single…..night and as frustrated as I am about this, (dis chile doh like to sleep a full night on her own bed at allll!!!) clearly neither of them seem to mind. In time to come that will change so maybe I should just cool it.

I try to remember what my freedom was like before I had the gremz and sometimes come up short. I know I went out and partied a lot but I can’t recall what I used to do in my spare alone time. I tend to study what the future would be like once they grow up and buss out God spare life. These days I’m starting to envision them in secondary school and wondering what their career specialties will be, my version of putting it out there in the universe I guess. I remember once I was in a deep reverie about them having their own children and their own lives and then I would be old and then die and they would have to put flowers on my grave in Lapeyrouse and I wouldn’t be around to watch them anymore and to tell them that I only want lilies and not dem cosquelle chrysanthemums that always appear on coffins in these wide-ass bouquets which I hate. I won’t lie, I shed actual tears during this stream of consciousness that happened only in my mind with my obsession about time. It didn’t help that I also had PMS.

Although October makes me stop and think, there’s no sense in me telling myself that I will slow down to smell the roses, this only happens when I’m on vacation. I keeps it real but neither will I ‘sleep when ah dead’ either. Life is about maintaining balance I suppose and I am certain I’m not the only one who feels the same. In the meantime I’m living and the clock is ticking.

WWW.TRUTHFORLIFE.ORG

Bless up

TMIDM

Each one teach one

Teach your girls how to make their beds, brush their hair, colour coordinate, make juice, clean their sneakers, take out the trash, write spectacular cursive, keep a journal, run with the wind, tell funny jokes, get lost in a book, speak their minds and have an opinion but know the facts. Teach them also how to distinguish car noises, minor plumbing fixes, good robots vs bad robots, different routes to get to one place and the value of screaming loudly.

Teach your boys how to make their beds with no wrinkles, use shampoo when necessary, fold t-shirts, tell the time, fix their shirt collars, wash dishes,  use Lego however they want, do minor electrical fixes, speak another language, see the magic in Science, follow their passion and listen. Teach them also how to care for an animal, fry an egg, iron, play with a girl and sing a love song.

These are not concrete but perhaps interchangeable and definitely random. Next stop….resilience…..

Bless up

TMIDM

 

Leave me alone!!!!!

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There is something to be said for children who wait until you reach in the bathroom to suddenly decide that they have problems that need to be sorted out.

New rule in my house for the gremlinz to follow that carries as much weight as no TV on weeknights Monday to Thursday and keeping your room tidy: DO NOT BOTHER ME when I’m in the bathroom! If there is the absence of fire or blood, in my mind there is the absence of the immediate necessity for my refereeing, detective or even basic listening skills and I could get at least five minutes, BY MYSELF TO BATHE MYSELF for crying out loud!!! I swear tonight I could have released the beast inside but thank God for the sanity that sometimes comes with a closed door.

TMIDM

YOLO

Some children these days seem not to be taught how to be responsible for their actions. They exist with a sense of deniability and YOLOness that prompts them to be so capricious and carefree that there is almost no thought to their actions far less their consequences. By children I mean young teenagers, the ones in secondary school who should be focusing on getting their education who to my mind are still children as they  are under eighteen.

 

 

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I say this mainly out of frustration because I’ve endured a day where the new 11-13 year olds seem to be under the impression that they are ‘running tings’ in the school. The behaviour is so appalling and outright boldfaced that I wonder if their primary school teachers were happy to see them go. Parents have been called to the school left, right and centre and it continues tomorrow. Most parents are in agreement that the children need to settle down and get on with their work. They yell at them about ‘makin dem shame’, give warnings and threats and keep massive leather belts in their bags but the youth themselves are in such a headspace where they don’t care….in the mean time, I am tired. I just want to teach and go home, not deal with repeated discipline issues from children who should know better because they are old enough to know right from wrong.

I think that the powers that be have become so ‘child-centred’ that they have lost sight of the fact that as they progress in age, children (teenagers) ought not to be babied and coddled into a sense of dependency,expectancy and entitlement. How is it right for society for young adults not to feel ownership to the development to their country and to feel as if they are entitled to everything? In addition to this, there have been years and years of government handouts to compound this. Now,  don’t get me wrong. I absolutely agree with the rights of the child and their right to be protected and the role of the government and the educators in this. I absolutely agree with providing relevant resources and technologies particularly to children who are in low-income families which is the vast majority at my school. But should I have to TELL you not to put porn on your laptop? Or not to fight over girls? Or not to eat the meat out of the boxed lunch and fling the rest of the food in the bin? Steups…..Sometimes my role of ‘in loco parentis’ is one that I would prefer not to accept because I need to preserve my energies for my own gremz but then again, I am the one who signed the paper right? Sigh…..

TMIDM