Tag Archives: Parenting

Aime mon amour: their second mum and my heroine


This is Aime and her two kids, she lives two homes away from us. I have known her for like 18 months and I am so grateful for her. Her two kids are like mine too, and the little girl and I especially get along so cool.

Talking about her daughter Samira, when I got to know them, she wasn’t walking nor able to sit down on her own. Of course talking was out of the question. Her mum was tired of bringing her to the hospital and giving her all those meds and vitamins they were soon running out of money buying.

Her dad was not around pretty much, and when he was, he just dropped money and maybe even some bashing on the poor lovely mama for any flimsy reason.

I coached Aime, to heal her own heart, and then we helped Samira with more love and nurturing. We introduced Soya beans into her food (mostly still soft or outright liquid because she had barely any teeth to chew), and I courted her dad to make him realize the child could be suffering from poor nurturing by both of them.

Gradually, we made progress and Samira’s weight improved so good, today at three she is all set to go. A lot has also changed in their home and Aime who used to skin her son and I’ll hear his screams two homes away, doesn’t waste her energy and ruin their relationship so anymore. I am so proud of Aime for starting sports and loving same.

Now, talking about being the boys’ second mum, Aime has the key to our Home. Aime understands me so well and steps in when am sick, tired or absent say on a trip. I am so grateful I don’t have to worry when away (am currently in Yaounde since yesterday), because I know Aime is just two homes away.

In January 2017, and January 2018, we went out on new year’s night, just the two of us for a respite. It is tradition now, and we look forward to doing same in January 2019 with gusto.

And did I forget to mention that Samira is a chatter box now? that Aime is a seamstress and sews all my African attires? Yes she has done all I have had stitched since moving to this neighbourhood in March 2016, even these yummy ones below lol

I wish us all, especially struggling parents emphasis on single ones of course), to work on building a support system with at least an Aime like in there.

Bon weekend à tous

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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

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

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…

They get there at their pace: David got back to a choronko with gusto


Dear all,

Today is another childrens’ post to inspire and motivate us parents and guardians and all in here.

The phone to the left, a smart one right? Well, that is what David recently gave up to go back to using a Choronko (slang for basic Chinese gadget, easy to use and cheap to replace). I had offered that smart fone to him when I finally got the honour to use my late brother’s phone (a midway between smart and choronko) last year, and that phone is of course a relic to me. I survive just fine with it and prefer for the younger ones to go crazy over the latest whoever/whatever.

Last Friday, David finally decided he had enough wasting his time and small money on youtube watching Sangoku. He told me he needed to get a choronko. When I said I couldn’t afford one just yet, he said to open his bank and he was going to retrive what was needed. That choronko cost 7000frs and he was very happy with it.

Alain is far ahead of us all, with the type which recognizes your finger print. He bought that with his last year’s savings and I contributed 2/5 of the price as promised for his excellent results in school. You can guess he is the one teaching us lots of techy stuffs in this house.

Gaby isn’t even ready at 8 years to keep a wrist watch, a pair of flops or another pair of shoes (he wears one until useless and then you get another). If you buy more than one and he sees them, be ready to find only one side some time soon thereafter. But his brothers at his age were already clean-trendy conscious lol. He says he will love a phone or tablet if I can afford when he is 12 years.

My point with this post therefore is that, we don’t have to compare our children, nor put pressure on any of them to keep up with any ‘jonses’. That way, we spare us all mental agony and instead accept and celebrate our diversity.

Happy day to all,

Nkongteh (Thank you)

Lessons of Effective Discipline shared with me by my son – Alain


positive discipline

A month ago, I realized I was losing it with the boys when I will get home and meet the house in a mess. I started giving timeout, not to them but to myself – I will rush into my room and lock the door and ask them to knock when they finish tidying up. I didn’t want to stay with them and spend the little energy I had screaming. But it was taking longer each time and I started praying for a better way – Alain was equally getting concerned and so the last time I gave myself a timeout, he came to my room when his siblings had gone to sleep for a chat (we sometimes have them in our capacity as GM and Deputy of Our Home Inc) – He brought his reader and shared with me what they had been learning in school on effective discipline. I share same in its entirety – of course it is left for each to appreciate as they deem.

Discipline is a strong virtue that a parent can leave as an indelible legacy to a child. The Biblical King David in one of his epistles in the Old Testament dubbed Proverbs says train up a child in such a way that when he grows, he would not depart from it. Effective discipline is a dire need for smooth going on of things. Many actors come into play for ‘child discipline’ namely the parents ,teachers,elders,older siblings, kith and most importantly God Almighty for who else can discipline a creation better that the Creator? This rhetorical question is considerate to the fact that nowadays children are taught in school and when parents seem to be losing it with the children, it deepens their attention for effective discipline. Often times, due to the openness between parent and child, they both exchange pleasantries in a disguise dialoguing form aimed towards attaining effective discipline as their conversation is content-filled with the divergent views of the different stages of better discipline.

Effective discipline can take four formats namely Instruction, Training, Correction and Closure.

When we talk of instruction, it is an embodiment of teaching and commanding a child which can take two forms that is formal and informal for outlining clear rules and regulations for the child to follow and using every situation to teach by modeling respectively: What this means is teaching by the power of your example and not the example of your power. This sets the bases for an obedient child to grow effectively disciplined.

Training a child for effective discipline is the second level which aims at obedience and maturity. Training needs affection in most cases so as to build proficiency and develop the child’s skills and be able to know the reason for disobedience since learning is complexed at times. Is disobedience as a result of willful defiance or childish immaturity? When the answer to this question is established, it gives way for the third level of effective discipline which is Correction.

Correction which is multi-facetted is the taking of an appropriate action to enable the child follow the instruction and training. The facets of correction will include direct assertive communication, time-out, natural or logical consequences and rewards. Whatever strategy chosen for correction which maybe punitive or to restitute, it is aimed at getting the desired rightful results of effective discipline which is obedience since this is seemingly a painful factor often times than not as the modes will differ if disobedience of instruction and training is as a result of willful defiance or childish immaturity.

Finally, here we are at the last stage of effective discipline which is Closure. Closure which has varied ways like hugging, holding or lovingly talking to the child when correction ends is a form of communicating with the child for him to know you hold no grudges against him/her but out of love you needed to effectively discipline the child by correction.

Since the bottom line is to earn effective discipline of the child and right up to the stage of self-reliance of the child when he grows older, the guiding factor of discipline therefore is love which is mammoth and thereby embedded on the parent more than a duty which he or she is often overjoyed to see the child grow up effectively self-disciplined and living up in stark radiance to the discipline with little or no co-ordination and correction.

I am so grateful for what I learned and the efforts am making and I hope sharing same helps any parents and especially singlemothers in the blogsphere.

A light one from my world: Our new neighbour has a daughter and that’s a boom


kids courting
Ok keep that image in mind as you read lol

Hello world, sunny sunday is here and although I had planned a different post I just thought I’ll blog sort of light today… (Life light if that can be served hahaha) – am tired of morose news…

So breaking news in our apartment building: The new neighbour has a daughter!!!  (And this could maybe catch some president’s eye?)

Now, ours is a three flats building right; and the previous neighbour had 4 boys (the one we met when we moved in), and the one above had no kids. The first two neighbours moved out and two new ones moved in and almost same pattern but: The one above us who replaced the mama of 4 boys, has one pretty daughter!!!

Now, I have 3 boys, and well the 11 and 8 year old are still begining to find girls pretty or attractive? Alain is a big guy and at 14 has his life and stuffs with his age group and fortunately I know pretty much all his friends (both sexes and have always been informed since kindergarden) so he definitely doesn’t care about the neighbour’s girl!!!

She is 8 years and so that should be Gaby right? But, I overheard David and Gaby debate if her age mattered (what?) – like for David maybe?!!!

I have watched Gaby in particular fret around her and gladly zoom in and out on errands for her mom (normal out here in some close knit neighbourhoods where kids are kind of sent by whoever to the store etc). He has already told me he has a crush on her and I was just waiting for an opportunity to meet her and feel for myself you know.

Sunday 15th Ocotber we come in from church and there she is coming downstairs with a big trash bag asking for the direction to the refuse bin (ok you foreign folks, out here we have refuse grounds at the end of the street or somewhere and bins could overflow and the garbage overflows and covers the bin from view altogether lol). Both boys quickly offer to go show her but Gaby the smarter one takes the bag from her hahaha.

Well, I guess they have a good start on their way to and fro so on their return and soon we are done with lunch, he takes permission to go up and play with her. Wow he even gets me to call her mum to ask if he could come up and play with her. I mean with the previous neighbours there wasn’t all this fretting. They clicked the same day and played football right thereafter and still chat via phone now. We moms even got to get along because the boys raced up, down, in and out together alot.

Funny how some of these things play out right? Anyone had any such fun experience?

Have a great weekend everyone

Advocating for my son and students all the way …


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My special friend and deputy CEO of In Our Home Inc

Hello World, that is my first son Alain (for those just hopping on my blog). He turned 14 years last october 8th and we went to a Chinese Buffet for a first time – they  (all 3 boys I have) had a great time.

Now, Alain is in form 3, I guess middle high in the US or so. Recently, when writing about experiences I had in his brother’s school with two teachers, I also mentionned some I had in his own school over some grade scores he had been removed for some reason I couldn’t understand. He is a very hardworking student, has always been on honour’s roll since primary school and takes a lot of pride in his performance – of course I do too although I try to make him not put so much pressure on himself. One of his teachers gave him a 2/8 in a question because he forgot an element, and yet his friend who gave same illustration forgetting same element got a 6/8. When he went up to ask the teacher showing his friend’s paper, his two marks were substracted and added to this friend’s.

Of course I marched to that school the next day and spoke with the proprietor and dean of studies. I was assured the grades will be reviewed. Ha same afternoon, he comes back home with another paper taught by the same teacher where he gets 3 answers marked wrong which I know are correct. I am getting itchy and go back to the school the next day. The teacher whom I don’t see, had told the dean the previous day Alain was rude in his approach to asking about his paper, and he left out some words (critical to a complete answer it sems) and actually …… I left the new paper and requested for a meeting with this teacher and the dean.

The meeting was arranged for last friday at 7.30 am and I was there of course 15 minutes ahead. I explained the situation again, said my concern was in teacher/student relationship which appeared to still be one of ‘teacher knows it all’ (Alain told me he was adviced by the dean to stop ‘challenging’ his teachers). I said at home I didn’t know it all and we ran the home as a team and I told them I was sorry when at fault. The teacher gave his own explanations; and well all is well that ends well.

Some relationship dynamics have changed over the past century and one of these is students/lectuers or teacher etc. Back home, it may still be a big challenge finding a balance and even letting parents in (in his school PTA’s are once a year only – imagine that) and hmm some parents simply don’t even want to know or be involved anyway.

I therefore advocate that students/pupils be let to express themselves and taught from a young age how to do so politely  (I however doubt Alain was rude – teacher may just have been embarassed he even came up to him in class and brought along a friend’s paper and well in our schools you may not see a teacher after class hours because they teach and go unless they have another class after a while and you are also out of class you know). Students also get a bost by their parents’ involvment and their teachers taking them as human beings and not just people to be taught sort of.

Finally, Alain got his marks reinstated and got good grades overall for this first sequence (he feels slighted he was second in class -but that’s ok by me).

Sharing to inspire parents and advocates, it ain’t easy but often it is worth it.

Have a nice week us all

 

Experiences with two different teachers at my son’s school & related musings


Hello world, I want to share these experiences I had with two different teachers at my son’s school just this week. I share them to express myself, but also because who knows who has had any similar experiences or could be inspired and motivated etc?

My son took a story book to school and some drawings and none came back. I needed some answers more than he was giving so I went to his school last week. He was in a class which had recently been divided into two and he moved again, this means he had started making friends who stayed in let’s say the A and now he was starting all over in the B. Now, this makes two teachers involved and kids in the two classes too. Indeed the story book happened to be with a pupil in the A class who had left it back home, and the drawings were with different pupils in the B class. I was told by both teachers the stuffs will be collected the following day and returned to my son and he’ll bring them home before the weekend.

This week came and nothing was returned home, so I went to the school today because well I don’t know and need to know what’s the real situation. This is where the experiences come up:

  1. Teacher A gets frustrated I come often (this is the 3rd time am going there and well it seems too much), he tells me am overeacting over nothing and he doesn’t know what my son tells me back home and he thinks my son is a ‘brat’ and he’s glad my son is no longer in his class;
  2. Teacher B is empathetic and even glad I come to follow up such issues even if they may seem trivial. Few parents he says care to stop by at all even when PTA meetings are called up (this I know – they are called once a school and last time only 3 parents showed up in one’s class meeting for the one hour I was there). He actually tells me he thinks my son who transitioned sections (bilingual to pure anglo saxon), is coping just fine and he thinks it is also because I help him at home both formally and informally (very correct). Teacher B concludes that when a parent comes to school it boosts both the pupil and teacher’s morale for obvious reasons.

Huh, I was a bit perplexed and you know A class is one row of stairs above B class. So I had gotten the showdown in A up and was brooding as I went down the stairs to meet teacher B who turned out cool.

Well I was back there again the following day because my boy had come back home the previous day without 6 good exercise books. I needed to know if he actually forgot them in his desk or etc. Luckily by the time I got there he had already found them and I didn’t need to see any of the teachers.

What you make of these experiences people?

More Musings

Talking about experiences in their school, one came home in near tears because he had worked so hard but got a very discouraging note. I saw the script, looked at his school lessons and the text book and nothing made sense. Now he showed me a classmate’s script and same answer but 4 notes more. When he had even dared complain to the teacher, he had been removed the mere 2 he had and the other student got added 2. What? How could I let this go? I went there and saw the proprietor himself and explained the situation, he called the head teacher and they said to not worry all was going to be sorted out. They better do because am not one to give in or up any easy.

I mean that same teacher marked two answers wrong again in another subject and I know the answers myself – what the boy wrote. Eg HIV: Boy writes Human Immune Virus and teacher marks wrong saying it means Human Immuno Deficiency Virus (wtf). I don’t even know if to take this other paper back to the school…

Parenting ain’t easy, not to mention single motherhood. But I try my best each day and don’t want my boys traumatised or stiffled because some teacher thinks they are too upfront. I also go these schools so the teachers can tell me directly if there is any concern like I equally learnt about one of them playing wild and taking stuffs not his.

To all parents, single mothers and even teachers in the house, more grease to our elbows.

Happy weekend all

P.s: you remember a poem I once wrote about: “when no one wanted her”. Yes one who had literary dropped out of school is graduating today with a diploma in transport and logistics. How proud should I be of my contributions to the amazing young woman and wife she is now?

How early is it to start having family meetings with your kids?


Family meeting sample David came up with the pyramid of respect, and we use both english and french lol

So this came to my mind because am musing about the absence of dialogue and understanding in my country and many other countries in the world. I may be simplifying stuffs but if we start teaching our children to sit together and dialogue instead of just dishing out orders and making decisions because we are the parents, if we let them know their opinions and voices matter, then I think they grow up learning to treat others same and to disagree and agree civily.

Anyway, as a parenting tool, this works for me so perfect. We have such meetings since moving into our home in February 2016, and the last one was on Sunday October 1st, because we have ordinary meetings every first sunday of the month. 

We had an extraordinary one two weeks ago because following their negligence Alain’s pigy bank was stolen by a neigbour whom they let enter their room in my absence. We all agreed to contribute and reimburse same and the pinch has been felt by all. The decsions we take during these meetings we hold ourselves accountable to, and this helps me more than deciding alone and screaming at them would ever do.

It is also a big bonding time and sometimes I buy popcorn so they enjoy the whole process. On lucky days, Ella sits in for the first 5 or so minutes. David often takes the minutes because he has such a smooth handwriting, Alain is the discipline master and I am the CEO of course hahaha. Sometimes it get thick and I have one on one meetings too lol.

Last Sunday, an obvious item on our Agenda was Alain’s forthcoming birthday as you can see below. We all agreed to treat ourselves to Chinese and although am the biggest donor to the fund, all three chipped in 1000 frs.

Ignore my scrawny handwriting, David was tired yesterday and charged an arm and a leg lol

When they were toddlers and I’ll ask their opinion, my ex will chastise saying they have nothing to say. How sad right? Gabi has made some great suggestions like concerning fone credit and school transportation and he actually loves the meetings more than his brothers of course. All issues are raised, and then solved in harmony. How cool is this? I’ll rather spend time with them like this once or twice a month than regret not relating with them years later.

Be inspired someone in here, maybe too late for our current presidents but not for parents especially starting out the parenting journey.

Any other tips anyone?

P.s: I wrote and scheduled this post before reading about the Las Vegas Shootings. Senseless, Speechless, Sad. My prayers especially for grieving families.