In Which We Learn A Lesson in Different Doesn’t Mean Wrong

As a parent, one is constantly on the look out for teaching moments. Especially since these moments don’t just stroll to your front door waiting for you to call out in your best impression of British butler voice, “You may enter.” Sometimes, these moments come as 140 characters disguised as a math joke.

The tweet that started it all

So I read this joke on Twitter which we laughed over. And then I thought it would make a good opportunity to teach the kids something about mental math (Will I ever stop thinking of them as kids?) So I talked about how the interview candidate could have broken the sum down
17×10

17×5

17×4

While I was still calculating, Michael goes 323. 

I was a little confused about how he got the answer so fast and he goes: 

Just multiply 17 by 20 and take away 17.

I would never have gone that route in solving that problem.

So the lesson was actually on me this time. I may not be as smart as I used to think I am…at least not math smart๐Ÿ˜ž but more important, there can be more than one way to solve a problem. Granted, some may be longer, but ultimately we arrive at the same solution. Isn’t that what really matters?

In Which We Have Some Serious Talk About Consent

There has been a lot of talk about consent in modern times. As a mother of three boys, I am concerned not only about my sons not forcing consent out of anyone but also of them misreading the cues that a female gives. So when I read certain scenarios provided on Twitter, I use it as an opportunity to test their understanding.

Let me say here that I do not envy men of the 21st century. I would like to say good men always end up with good ladies but we all know that doesnt always happen. A nice guy can end up with a mentally imbalanced lady and vice versa. Bad things happen to good people that is why some ladies will withdraw consent they freely gave when they are attacked by conscience after thr fact or when they feel that the man has not continued loving them the way they feel he should. I can’t imagine how I would feel if any of my sons was falsely accused of rape or sexual assault and I had no way of proving otherwise. So to them I preach extreme caution; try not to be in isolated places with any girl and if you are with one you like, have a chaperone. This of course does not cover every single situation but I’m hoping it helps.

So this guy tells his story on Twitter. You can read his story here. And I had to edit the story to PG 13 and share it with them. My question was: what would they have done different? These were their thoughts:

  • It is a bad idea to hang out with an ex. Dave thinks there has to be a reason they were ex to start with.

My next question was what if it becomes absolutely necessary to spend time with an ex?

  • “10pm is too late for her to come back home with me,”Dave says. “After dinner I am dropping her off at her home.” Zaram says he would call her a cab if she does not have a means of transportation. She definitely is not spending the night they both agree.

The kids could not contemplate allowing her to sleep over. That is where they draw the line. So I posed another question: what if she is stranded sleeps over and begins to give these funny signals at night?

  • I’ll leave the room for her says Zaram. Abd if she gets naked and keeps following you around and still says “no sex”? “Can I call the police?” Michael asks. (I think he has watched plenty oyibo feem)

My boys understand what consent means. I have used the tea illustration so they get it. But I am afraid that some girls still do not understand what it means to give consent. You cannot say you don’t want tea and then you carry the cup all the way to your mouth and then deep the tip of your tongue into it. While we train our boys that NO means NO can we tell our girls not to give mixed signals? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

In Which I Need to Make a Tough Decision.


One of the hardest parts of parenting is administering discipline. We all want kids thatbare good examples, honest and law abiding, but we soon find out that such kids are not made in heaven. Using ourselves as examples, we know there have been times we acted in ways that are far from ideal. We have done stuff that we later found shameful or outrightly embarassing, things we cannot proudly talk about.

Yet, we grow and with the benefit of hindsight we can tell when younger ones begin to go the wrong way. And it can be heart breaking when despite our best efforts they make mistakes that could have been avoided. Happily, we can make ourselves constantly available so that even when they go wrong, we are still the ones they will turn to.

Well enough of the preambles but let me drop a caveat: due to the nature of this post, it shall be told anonymously. I will also ask that you share your thoughts at the end of this post, perhaps you can help Mama Awon Boys reach a decision.๐Ÿ˜ 

The time was 3.35pm. I had been on my system all day and occasionally popping into Twitter to see what’s going on…I hadn’t even had my bath. I remember thinking the kids will soon be home. I had to make lunch. So I got into the kitchen and quickly fixed something. I was cleaning out when they came in.

“Mum welcome,”greeted one then he realised, the welcome was mine to give. “Oh sorry, mum good afternoon”. 

The others similarly chorused their greetings. We had the usual small talk and then one of them went down on his knees.

“Mum, I need to tell yoi something. I know you have every right to punish me and I will take anything you give me. But I also know I can’t go anywhere else.”

I tried to keep my breathing steady. I did not like the direction he was going at all.

“What have you done?”

Turns out he had bought something on credit. When, to quote him, “he was not thinking” and now the creditor has come for him.

I won’t lie that I was not relieved. When you are parenting a teenagers you just keep doing your best and hoping they dont end up doing some of the stupid things  you probably did as a teenager yourself.

“So, why didn’t you ask me to help you pay for this thing,”I asked, already knowing what the answer will be.

“Because I knew you would say no.”

“So how did you hope to pay.”

He offered some explanation which I cant share because that will burst his anonymity ๐Ÿ˜‘ 

Thankfully, it is something I can pay for. So I have paid for it. But I do not think he should go scot free. So, I am going to ask you, dear reader, to prescribe appropriate punishment for a teenager between age 13 and 15 who has gone ahead to buy something on credit which I have had to pay for. Please use the comment section.

In which we talk about books.

So it’s no longer news where my interest lies and I’m trying to find which of the kids has the seriousness of wanting to follow my footsteps. Dave is quite clear about what he wants to do. Art is his thing. He spends more time talking about telling stories than actually writing them. Zaram is following Dave’s footsteps, the only time he is quiet is either when he is watching cartoons or drawing. So I’m left with Michael.

Michael is a little tricky. You know the proverbial jack of all trades? He actually wants to be a ‘technaalagist’  but he also loves cooking. Plus he has been saying he will be Nigeria’s youngest author since he turned 12. Oh well, I’m not telling him he won’t be (hehehe)

So, I came across this news item. Little girl, who had read over 1000 books at the age of 4. Michael wanted to know how she could have done it. Well my theory is that she probably started reading about age 2 and reads more than a book everyday. And then I say, ‘you should he reading lots of books too’. 

He turns to me and goes ‘naa watching tv is better.’ Before I can recover with a good enough retort he goes, ‘besides, watching tv is like reading.’

‘No,’ I respond.’It’s not the same.’

‘But it leads to the same thing,’ he insists.

‘No it doesn’t,’ I respond. Michael is such a pain.

‘Look at it this way,’ he says pointedly. ‘Someone writes the story, the actors read the lines and then read it to me when they say it. See they are reading to me and when I listen, Im reading too.”

I think I’m getting too old for these kids. Speaking of old, they have finally stopped calling me old. According  to Michael, ‘that line is old’.

๐Ÿ˜‘

In Which I Uncover a Sinister Plan -_-

Look at me, I have chicken muscles!

Alright, I made a deal with myself that I will just come here and post instead of tweeting any if my experiences with the boys. I have to be better you know, before I actually become a failed writer and do whatever-the-opposite-of-shame the devil is. ๐Ÿ˜Œ

So, I was going through my Twitter Timeline, basically minding my own business with the kids looking over my shoulder, trying to mind my business with me.  Oh wait, update! They are pretty grown up now.

They said all they need to grow is get born

Back to my post…

So I’m scrolling through my TL (I think I said that already) when I scroll past a photo and someone physically stops me from proceeding. One of them holds my hands and says “Wait, I want to see that again”. And me trying to be a cool mum and all, I wait. (Truth is, I was more concerned with what I could have missed) I scroll back and what do I see?

Picture posted without permission.

So I got asked…who is she? And I say oh, that’s @ChefYougee. Remember, she made cake for #GrillandRead1?
Oh yes, goes No 3  She is sooo pretty.

Then No 1 has a brain wave

I know what we’ll do. Michael, you are the techie, why not build some time freeze machine, we’ll kidnap her, put her in there and then she will be frozen until you are old enough to marry her. She’s a chef, you love cooking, perfect match.

Me: ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

I must say its a lot harder bringing up teenagers and I habent even started. I’m glad they are pretty clear headed but sometimes they scare me. I am learnig to always wear a poker face whenever I hear, “mom, I want to talk to you”. I will talk about our journey more regularly and I hope you come back soon.
P.s. Sorry I used your picture without permission @chefyougee.
P.p.s. You look so pretty @chefyougee
๐Ÿ‘Š

In Which I Reassure Zaram That He is Very Special

*Enters blog with a long broom,  begins to clear off cobwebs from the roof and walls.  

Dave stands outside,  arm akimbo watching; Zaram stands with him a questioning expression on his face; Michael ventures in, “Mum,  can I help?” I dodge a gross cobweb and cough slightly, “You can get a broom and start sweeping from that  end”. Michael hurries off.  

“How long is this gonna take?” 

That was Zaram of course, “I wanna watch TV.”

I ignore him and keep cleaning.  No way I’m posting anything without cleaning this pace out first.*

It’s been two years since I posted anything on this blog.  Soooooooo much has happened.  For one thing,  the boys have all grown into adolescence and teens.  I can confidently predict mostly how each would react to a given situation (well,  most of the time). Dave is choosing his own path. And his brothers are trying to find theirs. Dave wants to be a comic artist.  I shared one of his characters on my Twitter and most people thought it was awesome. What do you think?

But this post is not about Dave,  it’s about Zaram โ˜บ who is currently in secondary school and is working so hard at his reading. If you ever had trouble pronouncing basic words when all your mates were reading fluently,  you’d understand his struggles ๐Ÿ˜ž. But this is not a sad post. 

So the other day Zaram was being… well, Zaram.  I got tired of the screaming from the room and Dave threatening to “murder” him as older brothers are wont.  So I asked him to come out of the room and sit in the living room with me (more for his personal safety than for any need for company).  Anyway, he joins me and becomes such a distraction that I ask him to go pick out a book from the library,  read two paragraphs and write down any words he does not know. 

He gets to work  and soon,  I abandon my writing project as we begin working together on a reading session. He eventually makes a nine word list which he ends up pronouncing almost by himself. In working with him,  I have found that he needs extra concentration to get words right.  And concentration is not a commodity he enjoys trading on. He’ll be first to say “I’m bored” or “I can’t do it”  or “It’s too hard”. 

At the end if the session, I saw he was strained and drained and I decided a pep talk was totally in order. 

“Do you know you are special?” I began. 

He shakes his head,  looking at the floor. 

“Look at me,  look into my eyes.”

He looks up and into my eyes. 

“Let me tell you why you are special.”

I proceeded to remind him of how he overcame every milestone in his life: holding his head straight,  crawling,  walking,  running,  talking,  holding a pencil,  writing and now he is reading (yeah it still needs a bit of work but oh gloray, he can string words and stop to think what it means and try to use context to figure out words he can’t say. I know he is on the right path) 

“Do you understand now why I say you are special?”

He looks at me,  smiles that mischievous smile and nods.  I reward him with a hug (Yeah,  still not a hugger but neither am I a nurse,  cook,  cleaner,  counselor…yeah you get my drift) 

I let him go and join his brothers hoping they will be at peace long enough so I can finish writing the treatment I am working on. 

*Sit to rest after cleaning,  Dave Saunders in carrying his drawing materials and heads into his room.  Zaram steps in sneezing,  “Mum can we put on the gen?” I reward with a scowl (This boy does not understand fuel is now 145/litre) He gets the drift.  Michael turns to me,  “Mum can I make pan cakes? Pleaaaaaase???”*

                           ————-

Enjoy,  your week guys! Please leave a comment if you are glad to have us back. And if this is your first time visiting,  tell us what you think! 

In Which we talk about ‘length’.

Two things I will never understand about boys. I think the first is because I do not have the anatomy of a guy. So, the other day the boys were discussing length. No, strike that, they were arguing over who is longer.

If you follow my other blog, you’d find an article titled ‘what’s in a length’ in which I went to great scientific lengths to explain that length does not matter..

And here I was, listening in as my boys (who were definitely not having sex yet) argue about the length of their penises.  Well, I ignored them until they started making fun of the one whose penis is shortest (name withheld for security reasons) Like a good mama, I told them that when the time comes, length wouldn’t really be an issue and then I walked on before they could ask any further questions.

Annnnnnnd then…
I still can’t understand why guys think getting hurt while playing football confers some status on them. The other day, Zaram came inside smiling broadly. I genuinely thought there was a joke until he showed me the bruise and then proudly said: “See my wound…I got it when I was playing football”.
*sigh

In Which I am Questioned About Circumcision

Ahem.

Okay, it’s been a while but something happened this morning and I felt a need to share.

So the kids and I usually have these bible discussions in the mornings before school and today raised an awkward moment.

We read a part of the scriptures where God asked the Israelites to circumcise their hearts. In explaining this scripture, I explained that usually men circumcise their penises by removing the foreskin but now God was saying they should circumcise their hearts in the sense of removing whatever it was stopping them from serving God like they should.

Then the questions

‘So mum, were we circumcised?’
‘Yes, you were. At eight days so I doubt you will remember’.
‘Did it hurt?’
‘Er, yes. I guess it did.’
‘You mean you hurt us as babies, that is so not cool’
(Me getting uncomfortable)
‘So, why did you make us go through that pain?’
(Me stuttering) ‘I think there are some health benefits’.
‘Health benefits? Like what?’
‘Time for school guys, why don’t we talk about this when you get back’.

I don’t have the time to do extensive research on circumcision and its benefits for men. So I’m hoping one of my readers has and will be willing to share. Please use the comments section. Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

In which I was gobsmacked

I think I have blogged in not so passing that the kids have a way of turning my house upside down. This is more of a cause of conflict between us because I am a bit fussy about things always being left at the right place and walking into a room that smells fresh.

Well, I mentioned to my friend Efe how it was making me really sad that the kids just won’t pitch in and I get so tired having to spend so much time cleaning and scrubbing (In fact, last Saturday, I cleaned from morning till 4pm and by the next day I was running a fever). Efe made a suggestion which I almost laughed off but on second thoughts I felt well, anything is worth a try!

In Efe’s mind he believed that I could get the children to work by signing a work contract with them. (Hahahaha). Look, I know my kids, they are sweet and everything but they have no desire for work.

Anyway,  I sat the boys down and we talked about the contract. Michael was more interested in the finer details. How much would he earn for specific duties. Dave’s concern was more on whether I would keep the terms of the contract.  “How are  we sure you will keep your side of the bargain”, he asked. He finally agreed to a gentleman’s agreement until we put pen to paper.

Next day, I went to work and forgot all about our conversation until I got back home in the evening. First shocker was the veranda. It was neat and well arranged. By the time I got into the house, I was faced by three workmen waiting for their wages.

The house was spick and span. All the plates in the kitchen were washed. The stove was clean. Everything was just right. I had no choice but to pay up!

Yesterday, it was trade by barter. My chocolate biscuits for the hard days job. Today, I still met the whole house clean plus I got frozen strawberry and yoghurt with a dash of pear mix as their ‘welcome home mum’ treat. I made the first payment of N300 today. And found out they have a box where they intend to be saving their pay (Apparently, they had discussed and agreed on this. Everything I pay will be saved up till
school resumes. I even overheard them discussing how they will be making N1,500 a week).

Who would have thought that these kids would be motivated by money. I am still gobsmacked!

Speaking of them being kids…

Aside

Michael made a declaration the other day which I am still trying to wrap my head around

“I’m not a kid, I’m a child”.

Is there a difference?

Another aside: Michael the smartarse asks: if no one has seen God, how do we know whether he is male or female?

This one would have defeated me if I didn’t think fast on my feet. Well I did. Gave him an answer that he couldn’t refute.

If God was a woman, why would Jesus refer to him as ‘Our father’?

It’s great to be a parent sometimes, ain’t it?

In which we talk about the Ebola virus.

Well, it’s no longer news that Ebola is in Nigeria. So in the spirit of information dessemination, I reminded the kids of the need to wash their hands with soap and water once they come into the house (standard practice is to wash hands and feet after playing outside)

As expected, they wanted to know why the rule needed repeating so I had to tell them about Ebola and how it is spread. They had a few questions which I felt bothered on panic after I told them that they must not go near a sick person: what if you get sick?

I told them I wouldn’t put any of them at risk if I get sick. I would go straight to the hospital and call them from there.

What if one of us gets sick?

Brethren, I think I said what any mother would have said. My response was: I’d have no choice but to take care of you.
(But really, I can’t imagine not holding any of my sons because they have some incurable disease. Maybe I’m crazy)

“What will happen when we start school”, Michael asked.

“Didn’t  you hear when mum said you have to be ill to spread the virus”, was Dave’s retort. “What would a sick person be doing in school?”

I was just about to agree with Dave when Michael made a valid point:

“Havent you seen when a person was fine when he got to school and then got sick after…because me I have seen”.

And so valid question: will the children return to school in September if this thing has not blown over by then?

I had no answer for Michael. Please share if you have one.

Aside
So Dave asked me a question the other day: “Mum, when a guy says to a lady, ‘give me some sugar’, what does he mean?”

Told him it means the lady should go into the kitchenabd get him sugar.

Dave looks at me in disbelief. “Thats not what it means. Why don’t you want to tell me what it really means”.

Michael responds “Maybe because she does not want to corrupt your little mind”.

And another aside:
We got a call this morning that we should bath with salt and warm water because of Ebola. I relayed the call to the kids and Michael asks: “just salt and water? I thought you said Ebola doesn’t have a cure?”

End of church service.