parenting

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 smart😞 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 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 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. 😌

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: 😮

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
👊

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 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 🙂

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 Dave Makes Fruit Salad

Three times he called that day reminding me to not forget. The items he listed were bananas, apples and yoghurt. As far as I was concerned there was really no relationship between the three. Okay, apples and bananas were fruits but that’s where it stopped.

It decided to rain after work that day and I had all but given up on the search for the fruits. So by the time the fourth came in I was ready to tell him I couldn’t find any of the fruits. But there was something about the way he asked that made me hold back.

Heading home, sharing a senior colleagues umbrella, I casually mentioned to her that Dave had been hounding me with calls. She told me I should do everything in my power to buy the fruits. “You should be glad that he is asking for fruits”.

So, I found and bought the fruits getting soaked in the process (yeah, happy mother’s day to you too), took the fruits home and handed them to Dear Dave. Boy, was he excited! He disappeared into the kitchen for a while and when he came out. He offered me this [Bottom of the Page]

Well, I must say I have never tasted a combination of fresh apples and bananas with yoghurt topping. This tasted reeeeeaaally good! Whoever said we can’t learn from kids 😀

Aside: I have figured out how to make my voice heard around the house…by not saying anything. I have learnt that each time I shout the kids just give me that mum-haven’t-you-learnt-anything-yet look. So these days all I do is walk quietly by and the kids nudge themselves into action.

NB. If you haven’t been brushing your teeth twice a day, I think you should start and if you have kids like me then teach them to make it a habit…and don’t forget to throw out your toothbrush every 3 months. Trust me you don’t want Michael to reminding you how stingy you are for not changing your tooth brush!

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.