Category Archives: Parenting

There is a more effective alternative to skinning a child alive & other musings


 

This is Miguel, the son of Aime mon amour, the one she used to skin alive until even I who doesn’t hear well will hear and cry some. She has given me permission to share her story if only someone could be inspired and motivated.

Don’t ask me what Miguel used to do to warrant those skinnings. One day she honestly admitted to me it was his dad she was lashing out at, through the poor child’s skin?

Anyway, I started working with Aime, helping her heal. I also took Miguel under my wings, and nurtured him to stop being so scared of his mother and stop behaving as difficult as she would often complain he did.

On the 28th of March recently, she came once again as agreed, to tell me “that your son again doesn’t want to go to school”! I was working from home gladly, and told her to send him to me once he woke up finally. The first time she woke him up, he had made such a tantrum and his dad who was still home had ordered her to leave him alone. Easter break was just around the corner and he is in nursery two for crying out loud.

She did as I asked, and when he came, I decided to first of do any activity with him before talking with him. From my suggestions, he chose writing and drawing. You can see for yourself how well he writes and draws.

Then we sat down to have a chat. I have walked him to school before and had actually noticed a reticence to go into school although he was happy I walked him there on one of those days you know.

It was then he opened up and told me why he didn’t want to go. His teacher beat him, because he wrote for others, who will beat him if he didn’t. Imagine what this small child is dealing with and all along we didn’t know and he was getting skinned sometimes before he even went to the school where he was sure of getting some more. He had just figured out it was better to get only one skinning and not two or three.

Aime was so relieved when I spoke with her, and she promised to find time and go see his teacher. No more energy to waste, no more traumatizing a child further and etc.

This doesn’t mean each tantrum will have a happy ending, but there are many alternatives to skinny I tell you.

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And so last March 23rd when David who sometimes still has a tantrum or the other ( he inherited his dad’s anger and used to throw himself as a child only I could help him out – once at my dad’s he had an episode my dad had to stand behind me lol), came to my room with a litany of issues and a very red face.

I did my best, calmed him down and later asked him if drawing could help both of us further. He accepted and there in less than 15 mins drew that image which was on my PJ.David's inspiration I was so proud of him, he was much calmer, and made it to school on time. No negative energy dispensed, sadly unlike another neighbour this time a man, who skins his 5 year old son until I had to go knock at his gate on that same March 28th.

I hear this man skins that boy until telling him he’ll kill him. Oh my goodness. That little boy committed the crime of going out that day and coming into my own home. I was sitting outside studying and playing with all my many little angel friends, and sadly for him his dad showed up just then. His dad is the one with the motor bike parked in my own home given he has no yard so to speak. We barely greet each other, and I remember his wife coming to ask me when they just moved in to tell Gaby to stop going there to play and scatter stuffs. I saw a frightened woman (I was once one so I can tell), but I couldn’t ask – better mind my business right? Anyway, I told this dad I was going to have to call the police on him if he beat his son again like that – and although he ordered me out and banged his gate, he stopped the skinning at least for that day.

How I wish this rubbish of skinning children alive could stop, as we parents explore more and more alternatives to understanding them kids, relating with them, and getting them understand us too…why have them children only to skin them alive?

Be inspired and motivated someone

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Their Budding Bicycle Business and Co


When Alain was 9 years old and asked for a bicycle, I quickly got him one because I remembered how he loved his tricycle as a kid and will carry David behind as the zoomed the house. I had left Cameroon when he was 8 years, and was still dealing with so much guilt. Anything he asked for (given that I had easier access to him and barely any to his brothers), I quickly bought.

That was how he quickly learnt to ride his bicycle at his granny’s, and became the ‘chef du quartier’ par excellence (translate this as neighbourhood hero by popular acclamation lol). He always had what I call 12 disciples following him around, negotiating for even only 2 mins on the bike. We don’t have a bike culture here, and most middle or struggling families can’t afford the luxury of buying bikes for their kids, not to talk of each kid having their own lol

So, I got one for Alain, and when his brothers started visiting, they’ll learn how to ride on his bicycle. Their dad the ever his type, refused to get theirs for different reasons. He said they’ll run into the road when I offered to send the money to buy them…his first reason had been he had no money…

Anyway, fast forward to 2018 of course, we now have 3 bicycles for three guys in another neighbourhood like at granny’s. David of all, the one his dad feared for most, is the chief errand guy in the area. He flies on the bicycle, he rides almost standing, and does business with his bicycle more than the others.

They (except Gaby oh lol) ride their bikes to school too, and that spares me some change for taxi etc. It gives them so much autonomy and empowers them, they even give me some coins every now and then. They are fast learning to save and manage their finances and I couldn’t be more proud and grateful.

Alain is now with his 3rd bicycle since then, and he takes immaculate care of his bicycles. David does too, Gaby is just Gaby.

The chain is still on this time around lol

He puts the chair and chain on each time hahaha, but he still has some clients too; just for smaller amounts like 25 frs a ride or even a mango in exchange for some time on his own bicycle lol.

Alain bargains the most and he is big guy now right, so his own generation use the bike for more serious reasons like going on a date etc. One paid 500frs just last Tuesday for 3 hours. You can bet he needed that bike, maybe to go impress a chap lol.

I also seize the opportunity to continue teaching them to save and manage their finances, save also for when the bike breaks down and a wheel needs air for example. Alain and David have been doing that so well, Gaby is still trying to get that right hahaha. They even try fixing it themselves sometimes too and from them I have learnt some parts of a bicycle like the chain, brakes, nodes etc

Talking about business further, David is what we call a real Bamileke man (These are like the super business minded in matters of business in our country – a tribe renowned for being business inclined and with all the pride we can give them). He also has a sticker business. Stickers are called ‘autocolants’ in French, and he gets a packet of say 20 at wholesale price, then retails them for a profit.

The small downside of this business atmosphere here is that they tend to neglect other stuffs like washing their clothes. Nope I don’t do it for them, and nope I don’t have a washing machine, and nope I don’t have a housemaid.

So one day when I got back home and they had all gone out wherever, I didn’t want to raise my voice on their return – see am also fasting from anger and attack thoughts etc. I therefore left them a note on the kitchen door, and went to the nearby lake to read in peace. On my return, my obedient sons had done their laundry and we were all so happy. All is well that ends well, parenting can be fun if we are creative and let the children be themselves too.

Be inspired and motivated all you parents especially single mothers in here

So much bliss in a day babysitting…I just had to share


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My little angel neighbours

 

Oh hello world, I didn’t plan this post but so much bliss today, I just had to share. Glad am still on the 2nd day of my 3 days break from stage one of my purification journey.

I had planned to work from home today and go on a long walk in the morning because I have a slight discomfort with my right ankle, but I had not planned to spend the day babysitting. But hmm, I love babysitting and got so much bliss doing that today.

 

As soon as I came back from the long walk which took me through the back of a secondary school where I helped separate a bloody fight between boys of Alain’s age, helped a man who had just had an epileptic seizure and also a girl carry her gallons of water, I received 4 of my small angels in the neighbourhood. They often come around when they hear my voice or Alain’s, because they love being around us. Aimé also brought Samira for some hours while she went to the market and ran other errands. I ate with her and put some bugs bunny on the other laptop so we could each keep busy.

And then, when a daughter of yours brings her baby girl to you for the day and night, you are simply honoured. I spent the afternoon in further bliss, cradled and fed my granddaughter, and gave her a warm bath at night before she slept. There was no melancholy at all thinking of my girl Ange Claire, and I knew it is well.

Sometimes, we find so much bliss and serenity and inner peace where least expected. Sometimes, when our plans and programs change, let’s keep open minds and hands to receive what else comes – we just may be as pleasantly surprised and merry as I was today. Did I even ever mention having a nursery school was one of my top retirement plans? Lord help me – I am just full of gratitude for all the talents/gifts and passions I have been bestowed!!!

Be inspired and motivated everyone

Thanks to Gaby’s Shi Shi I enjoy an hour of walking; and muggle down memory lane


 

I will write an entire blog post at the end of this special spiritual journey/fasting, to share my personal experience, the pros and cons of such a profound journey. But let me just state the fact that whenever you decide to do something in life, the ego and the self centered self seek to take center stage and direct you. This will definitely conflict if what you are embarking on is spiritual in nature – for example a fast.

On Wednesday 07/03, the 7th day of stage 1 of this thrilling spiritual journey am on, a conflict arose in the form of how to deal with Gaby’s Shi Shi*. He didn’t want to bathe – inshort he didn’t want to go to school even though they were starting 4th sequence exams that morning. Hod up now, he even wanted to switch education systems again back to French ha. I don’t even know where to start with the merry go round…

I first told him to give me a minute and I went into my loo to pray. I asked for serenity and discernment (Those are the first lines of my personal prayer). There wasn’t much time left. I invited Gaby to come bathe with me (inviting or allowing any of them into the loo my love is a privilege no one wants to ruin), he was calm and started singing as he often does when bathing. I joined in (I hadn’t planned on going out that early nor going for a walk, I wanted to do some small sports once they all left) and sang and danced with him until I realized he was in no haste to leave of course lol.

He said if I should please accompany him to school which was the idea I had anyway. We walked kind of fast (20 mins and not 40 when you don’t hold his hand and he gets to kick pebbles and watch birds hahaha), and by midway he was more mellow and we started to gist. At the school entrance, he met some friends and all was good – bye mummy…

It was then I continued walking taking a longer route, and I stopped by my former landlady (who owns the home where my marital sagas unfolded leading to my fleeing – she knows it all and stepped in a few times God bless Ma Made). Her grand daughter now a young miss, asked after the boys and especially about ‘le petit Alain la’. She still thinks of them like small boys although she is only a year older than Alain now. When I jokingly told her Alain was big and macho and could date her now, Maeva blushed and sad lol like they do. I always check in on Ma Made every now and then because she was simply put awesome to me and us all when we were her tenants.

When I got home, I met David outside (the college guy didn’t have school today because their class finished exams yesterday, and they were asked to stay home for a 3 day break,  while Alain finishes today) He was fiddling with the neighbour’s motor bike, and I was taken down memory lane…

Thanks to Gaby therefore, I had a good 56 minutes walk, I saw Ma made and Maeva (whom I last saw on New Year’s morning), and I sat on the neighbour’s motor bike and went down memory’s lane to a moment in time when I had a length Period of Grace before my relocation back home.

All in all, I didn’t raise my voice nor use a whip, Gaby bathe and went to school not whinning anymore about moving back to french system of education, I did exercise and got even some extra.

When life shows up with some twists, twist yourself around calmly and you may just have fun in the process like I did…

*Shi Shi: local slang in french to mean childish whining or something of the sort

p.s: My friend comes back from school 2 good hours after they closed, he stopped at a friend’s house he slurs. I look at him like that… sigh and say a silent prayer, then I take away 2 of the 3 mangoes I kept for him. He loves mangoes very much, maybe he could learn a lesson from there? I mean he could tell or ask me this morning he wanted to hang out at a friend’s after school; and that’s not even cool to just leave school and go to peoples’ homes like you don’t have one right?

Sharing to inspire and motivate especially parents in the blogosphere – wishing us all loads of patience in dealing with and bringing them kids up

Learning to give David some time to cool down too…


 

That is David doing his things. He loves more of solitary play and drawing, than getting mixed up in brawls due to games with others, or mix ups at home. But precisely, the later can’t be avoided, na not among boys right?

So, yesterday morning there was an issue over chocolate paste and how Gaby took too much. David brought that to my attention while Gaby had stepped out do something. Now, Gaby overheard David tell and quickly told him to mind his own business. His words in french were: ‘Jaloux’ (jealous). Of course David wasn’t pleased and before I realized it they were manning up to each other and flinging more words around.

Gaby knows David’s soft spots and plays with those, going as far as calling him ‘bébé au lait’ (literally meaning milk baby – like weakling or so). I had to step in their middle to avert a fight.

I managed to get David to sit down and take off his school bag, then I rubbed him on his back several times. His heart was beating real fast. After a few minutes, I tried to get him to talk but he wouldn’t. We were all running late and so I desperately asked him if he needed more time to process his emotions. He said yes. He at least identified the emotion of Anger from the chart of emotions we have on the wall, and he told me he felt like punching Gaby even if he loved him very much.

I had to let him be because I realized he wasn’t ready to say any more. He was neither ready to talk with Gaby, not to mention make the customary peace of hugging each other while saying it’s going to be ok, and I still love you. Did I mention the last incident between those two which however gladly ended in a tripartite peace making was on Sunday?

Anyway, I learnt from the incident that, just like I sometimes want time off to process my emotions before moving on, so too do kids. I could in a position of authority threaten him into talking or force the peace making, but was that going to be real? Given that I don’t like fake relationships and actions or reactions, I will not expect that of any other including – even especially my children. I hope by the time he comes back from school he has forgotten about the whole incident. I asked Alain who is in the same secondary school with him, to check on him at break time out of sibling love.

My own sibling story is even tougher mindless the sex and age hahaha

Dear gentle readers, in life in whichever relationship, we have to respect the other and not seek to force them to keep to our pace, relate only in a certain way, or be the one we think is best for them. I share this events in my life, to inspire and motivate with my own reality. It all about seeking a holistic wellbeing and giving your children a balanced and good foundation

p.s: 8 pm 20.02.18 I get back home and the two fight out of the door to be the first to greet me are… yes you guess right: David et Gaby (I actually often confuse their names or pronounce in such a one the one comes when I meant the other). David tells me the anger was gone by short break and he felt fine. He choose peace over conflict and forgave Gaby

Have a great midweek all

How proud of your sons can you a parent or single parent be when…


Your last son at age 8 can finally also sew a button on his uniform like his siblings;

Your first son gives your last son home lessons, and this clearly helped him transition from the french system of education to the english system in Grade 4;

When your second son is the DIY chef in the house, and helps even at the neighbours;

When all three know how to cook and willingly help you in the kitchen;

When your second son’s grades in form one are much better than when he had after school lessons from a tutor;

How proud of my sons should I be? How grateful and graceful? Do I focus on some normal incidents of their age such as: naked dancing during laundry, some missing books and, non attendance at doctrine; and miss out on all the miracles and bliss they bring?

Parenting I am learning, got lot to do with balancing various choices and actions, but above all having a real relationship with your children. Even if physically apart (like I once was intermittently for four painful years), a spiritual connection is possible.

Since returning in August 2015, and moving to our own home in February 2016, it has been more of thrilling than not. No enticing or lucrative prospect can lure me to leave my sons again like that.

Be inspired and motivated all ye parents and single parents in the house

What do you as a Parent or guardian do in the following circumstances? My real life and tough choices…


Gaby will finish me

  1. You ask them kids to do their laundry on the veranda while you are in the kitchen. You get a call and when you turn round you see one of them like that. Your first impulse is to take a picture to immortalize the moment, then I flash-backed to my own youth and saw myself not even at home but in front of the school taps while everyone studied. I at least kept my panties on and I stopped doing that at age 7. He is 8 years. Some say I should skin him alive, others say to pray hard, others say to talk to or with him, and one laughs loud saying therapist heal your own son, there is likely some ADHD there. What you advice my gentle readers and followers?
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  3. You come back home and find some neighbourhood kids invited by your son to play baby football in your living room. You see proof of what he does with his exercise book sheets and how he treats his school bag all the time. Well, I let them play because at least I get to see him, he gets to forget about TV (not that I have any), and he develops camaderie and learns to lose without fighting. On the down side, they finish and leave all that paper and chalk drown on the floor for you and you get to shout out your lungs before order returns. What will you do gentle reader and follower?Gaby peeling peanuts for soup
  4. You grill groundnuts for soup and you give him to go out and peel them so you can make the paste. He does just that but he eats up near half of that. Times are hard and you were hoping the 2 cups you had could make a pot of soup to last 2 days fora family of four for lunch and supper. I have explained to him previously why he shouldn’t eat dem groundnuts. Well, I shrugged, and decided I was better off doing that myself next time unless I could give that to a bigger child. I explain to him again why he shouldn’t eat them up especially in tough times like these. Can’t recall if I was any better or worse at his age, or if anyone even gave me such a chore in the first place. And you?
  5. You are once again convoked to David’s doctrine school (just friday I was in his school) where he has accumulated three absences although he leaves home each Sunday morning for doctrine he himself chose to attend. He knew it was a three years program although he is by this second year already failing with his grades and attendance.What do you do? Beat him up, withdraw him or let him continue to do whatever he wants? I give him 200frs each Sunday and tbt am getting tired with the whole thing too. Yet, I don’t want to stop him from having or making that experience. Gaby didn’t opt for that, while Alain is already done with his from a school where he had only a year of doctrine. I give him some work as punishment when he returns, and ask him to write a 700 word essay about the whole saga not leaving out the resolutions. I can’t go and sit there with him and still get to do all I have to do with and for them…my me moments are near getting threatened completely lol;
  6. You have sworn not to buy flip flops again nor a pair of shoe before school breaks out. Yet you feel so sorry for Gaby who has no flops again Lord knows where each goes to, and his lone pair of Shoes already looks so haggard. I confess I recognize that child and the genes he inherited And so, .I decided today after laughing at myself, not to bother swearing any never again around. I consoled myself by getting a dark chocolate bar from the market. Chocolate indeed is an anti-depressant unless any proof to the contrary…

Dear Readers and Followers, some of my quirps and muse as a parent and single one for that matter… ever grateful for my support team and journey to holistic wellbeing via different mental wellbeing plans…Yes We Can…we always try to find the Fun in the dysFUNction… (thanks Linda for the inspiration)

Have a great week

In our Gender neutral Kitchen, everyone tries their best


At least in our kitchen, wherever we make or find one, everyone tries their best. Gone are the days when boys were not to be seen or allowed in the kitchen. I know some African men will still rather go hungry than go into a kitchen, but am not raising those kind neither do I let any man who comes into my home sit and be served.

Alain is the next in command here and cooks so well for his age; Dave loves more of pancakes, salads, fruit juices or smoothies; while Gaby wants to become a chef and takes much pride in doing risotto and helping me out preparing different ingredients for the meal.

Gaby peeling peanuts for soup
Gaby peeling groundnuts for groundnut soup, but not advisable o. I got back only half of that poor me

Indeed, I learnt the hard way to want to do it all by myself lol

Happy Sunday us all, and may we parents in here consider empowering our males to cook hahaha

One of those frustrating days as a single parent striving with PTSD and RA


 

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Taken on my birthday last January, I was really sick and made some soulful wishes

Hi world,when I publish two posts on the same day that’s a sign. Am definitely not doing too good today, indeed I have been struggling this week. One of the signs is isolating myself and not wanting to go out if I can help it – working from home and just struggling to be the best I can for the boys. Today was just so tough and it’s just 9.30 am here.

The dream I had last night was a sure indication. I can’t recall dreaming such a dream to an end like this before. My brother Gabriel had just died and was in the mortuary.  I was inconsolable and insisted on sleeping in the room where he was laid out. A few days later or so, people came for his removal and he instead got up. The face was Alain’s and I heard my brother tell me it was ok. I wrote it down in my gratitude journal this morning and moved on to get the boys ready and out.

It is always a feat with Gaby (named Gabriel after my brother), and today I noticed that his school bag was very light. When I asked to see all his books, another story babbled again. I decided to do a morning power walk to his school dragging him along with a belt for some lashing if need be. I was getting frustrated already, I bought new exercise books in January. When we got there in 15 and not 45 minutes because it was no nonsense today. I was told the obvious, he tears them all to make airplanes and kites and shares the pages with some like himself whose parents have already been there too (poor us). He got seven lashes because he agreed to those, and the teacher says to send 5 new books on Monday and he’ll monitor more closely. If he had to do that for 40 pupils where will he have time to give lessons and copy out notes on the blackboard?

Next stop, David and Alain’s school. They had both asked for 3000 frs each for a school event whereas the note on the billboard said the pass was 1000 frs. Now, am told each class could have agreed on a fixed contribution for food, assume another 1000 frs, where did the other 1000 frs go to and why couldn’t they be honest? Gaby had asked for 2000 frs claiming 1000 frs for a pass and 1000frs for food, although I was there with him and at no time were they given any food.

The pancakes David made was with stuffs from home, and my poor bowl in which the pancakes were taken to school didn’t even make it back. Secondly, he David has brought back only one test paper home claiming his other teachers haven’t given theirs yet. I had to check that out which happened to be a big and flat lie. I had a tough time getting him to give me his sequence report card because he claimed to have misplaced it. I know he has some difficulties with his school lessons, but I just expect honesty.

My day is ruffled to say the least, glad the trip to another city I had to make today was cancelled. When ever frustrated or low like this, I feel my articulations begin to hurt and my knees gt heavy and walking shaky…I am yet to have breakfast, I think I should start from there…

Thanks whoever for reading, writing is a coping strategy for me. Parenting ain’t easy, single parenting ain’t easy for that much, parenting with any mental health challenges or illness or other condition like RA, ain’t easy one bit. Those of us doing this deserve medals period…

How early is it to start talking to your kids about girl/boy friends?


 

All about love
Source

I had a family meeting with the boys last Sunday and top in matters arising was Valentine’s day. For starters, we are a very open foursome, and I mean we tell each other pretty much everything (I surely spare them some sizzly details of my romantic getaways lol).

So, I have known their crushes since pre-nursery even, and visited some of those tiny misses with them back then. I recall even inviting one darling called Ange and her mother to a party back home like a decade ago.

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When they also start being so mindful of their swags like this, what can you expect when it comes to Valentine’s day?

So, here is how our conversation about the day went on;

Boys: Mama what are you giving your Valentine whom we all know of?

Mama: I don’t know, just telling him am happy to have him in my life…

Gaby: Mama that wouldn’t work for me

Me: Why?

Gaby: Last year I told my Valentine that only and she left me for another boy

Fella 2: Well, I already got something for her and I showed you remember?

Me: Yes I do, it’s even under my bed as we speak

Fella 3: Am not going to school on that day

Me: Why?

Fella 3: I want her to be worried and come to visit me and not be concerned about what I got for her. I don’t yet have anything and can’t get something she may like from the look of things…

And hohoho I went. The guys are definitely aware of much more than we think, they do learn about sex and all in school. So why not spare myself headache and even heartache by squaring out those discussions with them from a young age? Just how young some may wonder? I started from infancy like when they started going to pre-nursery and I noticed any interest in a chap. Some in my circle thought that was ridiculous, but I did how I felt and took it in strides according to the boys disposition to understand and share their feelings. I never had such an opportunity in my childhood and looking back it still hurts sometimes…

And so all you gentle readers and followers,  How early is it to start talking to your kids about girl/boy friends?

Happy Valentine’s day and hope we all have a blast in whichever way we plan… I hope to watch some movies and go for ice cream later in the evening lol…