Serious Stuff

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.

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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.😐 

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 😑 

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 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 ☺ 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 😞. 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 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 🙂

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.

In Which We Talk About Marital Rape

It’s Sunday.

Yes, I know you know that already but I’m just reminding myself and you that you don’t get off days from parenting. It’s a 24/7 appointment and you’d better know that before you take on the assignment. Yep, it goes far beyond donating sperms and incubating them in your womb after fertilisation has taken place. Parenting is hard work.

So, we read Matthew 7:7 during worship and Dave decides he needs to exercise his right to questioning and getting me to provide answers. Oh, I’ll let you into his question soon enough but let me state that one of the responsibilities of parenthood is having the answers to all questions or at least having an idea how to get the answers. I don’t want that look of disappointment when my son asks a question and realises I don’t have a clue…especially experiential questions.

So Dave asks: How does a man rape a woman to whom he is married? My first reasoning was whether he wasn’t too young to destroy his innocence about what goes on behind closed doors. Do I really need to tell him that sex can be used to hurt rather than to love? And why was he asking anyway?

I thought maybe I should stall the question. I was quite capable of making him forget the question but for some reason I felt it was best to answer. What if he decided to go ask his friends?

I told him it was quite possible and he asked again how that can happen. “A man marries a woman he loves, so he can’t hurt her. Is it that the woman stops loving the man?”

So first we talk about rape in general. About ‘no’ meaning ‘no’ and not ‘maybe’ and then I tell him about how a woman may come home tired and not wanting sex that night and the husband wants it and she says ‘no’ and he goes ahead anyway.

And then he asks ‘so there are times the wife does not want it?’. I respond in the positive and again I mention she may be tired. And then he goes ‘I get it! The man can come home early cook and take care of the kids so that when she gets back she won’t be too tired for him!” (I think my boy just grew 100 yards of husband material)

We talked about other ways a man can show thoughtfulness and he listened quite attentively. I think he was taking mental notes. I reminded him again that no matter how aroused the man felt he must not force the wife to have sex if she says no. He got the point and suddenly couldn’t wait to move on to other things.

I think discussing sex with the boys is one of the harder things I have had to do. But, I am grateful to God that they come to me with their sex related questions. No matter how awkward it sometimes feels, I wouldn’t want to have it any different.

Aside: so while we were having the sex conversation, I made a discovery. The kids obviously didn’t know you can make love without making babies.
Zaram blurted out flabbergasted: “Have sex for fun???!!! You man you can have sex without getting pregnant???!!!” I had to find a way of explaining that sex could be awesome without actually making them want to experience it. Don’t ask me how I did that please x_x

Cheerios!

In Which Dave Comes Home With A Swollen Lip

I got home at the usual time this evening. The burglary proof doors was open…now that was not unusual. The living room was upside down, that was usual and I saw Michael fleeing into his room naked. Yup, that too was usual.

I walked in complaining straight up of how they left the gate open when Dave popped out. His lips were twice as large as they were when he left home this morning. Now that was very very unusual.

I reacted the same way every mother would have reacted…I think. Shock!

In the next couple of minutes Dave explained how he had got into a disagreement with a boy in his class and the boy had decided to settle it with his fist. He had the broken/swollen lip to show for it. According to him, the school VP had settled it by punishing the boy who later came to apologise. So case closed.

I didn’t think it should be case closed and I told him so. I was going to be at his school tomorrow. Well, Dave didn’t think it was a good idea. In fact, he said the trip was going to be a waste cos its not like the boy would be punished again.

After giving this a thought, I announced I was still going to be at the school.
“Fine, its your decision”, was David’s response.
Now, I didn’t exactly like how that sounded. So, I was forced to explain my visit was just to know exactly what happened. And he responded with one of those looks that said: so you don’t believe me?

Alright, here I am wondering if there is some kinda “cool keeds” code which says “Mama shouldn’t show up in school cos some dude punched you in the face especially if dude has said he is sorry”. Is there?

This is kinda like an emergency, so I really need your comments.

In Which I have a talk with Michael

“Mom am I a bad person?”

When your 10 year old asks you a question like that, impulsively the answer is no. Why would he even begin to think he was a bad person. So I reassured him that he wasn’t a bad person. I told him he was cute and cuddly and sweet…

He gave me a strange look. Suggesting he knew I was going overboard with the niceties. So I stopped and repeated that he was not a bad person.

“So why are my brothers always making fun of me and saying I should go away?”

Now, this wasn’t a terrain I was new to. When I was growing up, I had 5 siblings and I was subject to mocking from one of my brothers especially because whenever they did something they shouldn’t, I was the loud mouth who would always rat them out. I remember being called mortar and pestle – suggestive of the fact that back then nature wasn’t smiling on me on the height part. I would cry so much each time. One day though my mum told me that each time someone said something hurtful to me and I cried about it, I was giving the person power to do it some more. I think that was the day of my liberation.

I wasn’t ready to give Michael the sermon of power…yet. So I just told him that was what brothers did. They teased and fought and then made up. And that he shouldn’t take it to heart. Then I called Dave, the villain in this episode, and warned him about using hurtful words on his brother. And then all was well with the universe again.

…until the next fight.

I hate it when the kids fight. But then they say boys will always be boys. Last night, Dave was again the villain who took the pillow that Zaram wanted. After trying the physical and Dave wasn’t bulging, he went psychological. He would sleep on the cold floor in protest.

And then I, the hitherto spectator, was dragged into becoming judge. It’s hard to step into such matters without being seen as taking one persons side against the other. So I changed the issue from who gets the pillow to who doesn’t get to sleep on the floor. *sigh
I finally got Zaram to call off the protest by emotional appeal and threats. (Well, I had to use the last weapon in my arsenal for maximum effects). I can’t wait for them to grow out of this stage.

Aside:
Michael is still on this issue of how he will find a wife who is not his sister. I’ve tried explaining about us not really being related to everyone in rhe world and it aint working. Any takers?

Another aside:
It’s always crazy when your kids use your own reasoning against you. Here’s a convo I had with Michael yesterday that left me speechless

Me: Go and eat.
Michael: I want to finish my homework.
Me: Go and eat first, the homework is not running
Michael: I know but time flies
Me: *Speechless

On to the next one…

In Which We Talk About The Abducted Girls

I had generally skirted over the discussion when we talked about kidnapping last time, but yesterday it was an impossible discussion to avoid as Dave cornered me in the kitchen.

“Mum, what happened with those girls”
“What girls?”
“The girls everyone has been talking about.”
“The Chibok girls?”
“Yes”
“They were abducted”
“How?”

That was actually the question I was avoiding. The how part. Four weeks and we don’t have a single version of the how part.

“I don’t know exactly how it happened,” I started. “All we can say is that some people went to these girl’s school and took them away”

“How???!!!” That was Michael
“You mean they couldn’t call 911?’ Dave interjected
“112”, I put in
“Yeah, 112”

This was the part of the story that confused me the more, so I decided to give them the story, all I know, as a reporter would.

I told them of how the abductors had posed as soldiers and deceived the girls. How some later escaped and how the rest are still being held. I skipped the part about the authorities having warning in advance and the conflicting stories of what really happened that night.

“So what’s happening now?”

“Will we get them back”

“That’s our prayer” I responded.

“If they catch that Shekau guy, he should be fenced into the deadliest part of Venom island”, David declared.

“What’s on Venom Island?” I asked

“Commodore dragons, and black mambas and spike fishes and puffer fish whose stings can make you delirious…”

The conversation shifted to wildlife and my thoughts remained for a while with the girls and the terror activities in the North as I wondered whether my country would win this war.

In Which Dave Lies to a Caller

I take lying very seriously. I don’t think its something you laugh or gloss over. I am one of those who believe that as far as you can you should be truthful in all circumstances. Lying breeds distrust. Distrust means the relationship is dead.

I encourage my kids not to lie. In fact, I’ve made it like a rule that if any of them are caught in a lie they will surely be punished but if they tell the truth they may just end up with serious scolding.

So you can imagine how surprised I was a few days ago when Dave told a lie to cover up for me without my even asking him to.

Someone called the house quite late at night. I recognised the number, told him who it was (it was someone he knew too) and asked him to take the call. (This wouldn’t be the first time he would be taking a call from this number)

So he took the call. I lay back and shut my eyes for a bit and then he goes quiet. I turn to look at him and then he looks me right in the eye while speaking into the phone and says:
“She is fine, but she is sleeping”.
I couldn’t believe my ears.

I asked him about it later and he says: “You closed your eyes and was looking at me somehow”. I told him it was unnecessary to have lied since I didn’t ask him to. He apologised and said it wouldn’t happen again…I have a feeling that is the bigger lie. Actually, that’s what’s really scary.

My theory is that he told the lie to ‘protect’ me. What do you think?

Aside:

So Dave obviously can’t tell mascara from lipstick. I’m hoping this is a skill he will learn soon. Just the other day he picked up my mascara and asked “black lipstick, are you a teenager that you use black lipstick?’

Another Aside

Michael obviously thinks there is something funny about the book title Lamb Tales From Shakespeare” so he asks:

“Did you get a lamb’s tale from a guy called Shakespeare?”

Make of that what you will.

Final Aside

I reproduced this conversation between Michael and Zaram word for word. Enjoy!

Zaram: He is just a moronga
Michael: What the heck is a moronga, don’t you mean moron?
Zaram: I mean moronga
Michael: *Scoffs
Zaram: Okay you what does moron mean?
Michael: Someone who is senseless
Zaram: Useless???!!!
Michael: No I said senseless
Zaram: I thought you said useless
Michael: That’s because you have a rare case of not-hearingtitis

#TheEnd