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Category Archives: Mommy Worries
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The first time I saw Chinese lanterns was in a movie. The second time I saw them was in another movie. I had never seen one in person until New Year’s day, 12:27 am precisely
. We attended the watch night service at church and part of the festivities to ring in the New Year included lighting Chinese lanterns and releasing them up into the sky. I was as excited about it as the boys were. Their exuberance was expected considering the fact that the reason there is an unsightly burn mark on the top left corner of my bathroom window is due to their worrying obsession healthy curiosity with fire. Did I ever share about the day they made a rocket? It wasn’t from a rocket kit from the toy shop. No. These boys chose to make one from scratch since their mother isn’t ‘in the habit of buying toys willy-nilly’
So they gathered all their components together. A single A4 paper and Vaseline. They made a paper airplane, smeared the tail with Vaseline, yes petroleum jelly. In case there is a non-greasy type I’ll point out that they used the greasy one. Placed a large blob of the jelly on the nose of the plane, set fire to it and yes, attempted to fly it out of the window upstairs. I’m guessing they went upstairs to give themselves a head start into space.
Back to the lanterns. The wet weather prevented us from lighting our lanterns at church, so we took them home. Of course the weather has never been known to hinder my boys’ determination for adventure so straight to the garden we went. After a few false starts we had success. The challenge then became how to get it to lift up in a straight vertical manner just like the movies. Wasn’t it supposed to just float upwards until it became as tiny as a star?? Eventually #3’s lantern lifted up, we stared in excitement, barely able to contain ourselves that this was really happening. As if on cue the lantern decided to change course and chart a horizontal path towards our neighbour’s garden. It carried on past their’s to hover over the second garden and then began it’s desent, all the while staring at us in a mocking fashion. It was still alight. For all we knew they had gas cylinders on their patio- they were the heavy barbecuing type- but the lantern didn’t care and the patio was precisely where the lantern made a bee line for. The swift change from excitement to mad panic deserves a place in the Guinness book of world records. I’ll point out too that the mad panic was neither experienced nor displayed by the boys.
I flew in my high heels to their home and knocked on the door. No one peeked out of the window to see who was knocking at that ungodly hour. There was no shuffling of feet or tinkling of keys. All I got was pitch blackness and silence. By this time I could hear the sirens of the fire brigade coming to douse the flames of an entire house, while the residents whispered in small circles about the woman with the four sons who was bent on burning down their quiet street. And how certain people really should be certified sane before being allowed to move into the borough of Bromley.
I ran back into my house where I told the boys to get ready to climb over two lots of fences. From our garden I could see the orange glow of the flames in the darkness which told me trouble wasn’t looming, it had successfully loomed and doomed.
I dashed back outside, this time to my next door neighbour rambling on about fire, cylinders and the Chinese. I think it was out of fear for the safety of his future that he let me in. I brushed past him, tore through the house to their garden to climb over their fence. Thankfully the fire was out and the lantern was smouldering. I then had to do the walk of shame in front of his family who had gathered on either side of the hallway to see how someone who didn’t even know their name was now tearing around the house like she lived there.
As I walked I tried to talk away the shame, focusing on safety and lanterns and all the right things I thought they’d want to hear.
Needless to say our experience with Chinese lanterns shall remain confined to movies. We have a large screen, what more do we want?
BTW it turned out that the ‘orange glow’ was only their garden light. Phew!
”I can’t wait to meet #4” He is so cute!!
I write a lot about #4 because, well I figure that by the time he’s old enough to read my blog the world would have moved on from blogging to another oddly-named fetish, yooking- or some other term- unintelligibly sounding, yet life changing on a global scale. It’s not like we knew twittering would ever become a verb used by humans.
I feel sorry for those who have expressed innocent interest in wanting to meet #4. Like Kemi- formerly justjoxy’s friend but now mine. She kindly invited us to her daughter’s birthday party and ended her invitation with; ”I can’t wait to meet #4”.
Let this be a quiet, but sound warning to all who wish to meet him.
1) He would not ‘greet’ properly. It’s not like I haven’t tried with him. Now he says ”Good afternoon, evening” but he doesn’t look up when he does. Unlike Tolu’s boys. Those boys can greeeet!!!
2) He hates being woken up every morning. He rants and raves about how his day has been ‘ruined’ by the one who woke him up. ” You have ruined my day”. ”Now my day is spoiled”. One day I picked him up after school and he asked; ”anything fun after school today mum?” He looked so hopeful, his deer-like eyes staring expectantly at my hardened ones. I replied with a steeliness that matched my eyes; ”no, we’re going home”. His response? Flaps arms about in frustration and says; ”you ruined my day in the morning, in the middle it was fine, and now you ruined it again at the end”. I had to call a friend to share this episode, it was too much for me to handle on my own
3) He believes blood comes from the devil. Because it hurts when he bleeds. Our most recent conversation on blood went something like this;
”What happens to Batman’s blood when he gets cut with the silver thing and he doesn’t bleed? Mum, why did God make blood then? How do you make silver? Like batman’s silver? How do you make gold? I know, you make lellow (yellow) dark and it becomes gold”. As you can see it wasn’t a conversation as such, I could barely get a word in. Okay truth be told, I had no answers for the child.
4) He is incredibly good with words. A little wordsmyth he is. He makes up words too like putted. ”I putted it in the kitchen”. And inexpection. All my friends play football, inexpection of George. He likes Tennis”.
5) He wants another brother. Three is apparently not enough and his mother is clearly a child making machine. A Factory.
6) He is irresistibly cute and knows it. Be prepared to be extra affectionate with him. Bear in mind that giving affection to him will not result in you getting any back- in fact you wont even get an acknowledgement. To be completely honest your affectionate moves will be met with deep frowning and resistance. Ignore it all. That’s just how the child chooses to show love.
7) He loves his teacher. This one is quite annoying- and I can feel myself getting rather annoyed as I type this. He honours his teacher’s words above mine. If I tell him to do his homework on lined paper for instance, my request will be met with first an incredulous glance, then a condescending look as he shakes his big head stating the words; ”that’s not how you do it mama, my teacher said…”
I was going to carry on but don’t want to ruin any chances of actual adoption of this child. Unlike #3 who has so won the hearts of the Family *Smith, they literally beg to take him home constantly. Like here. We have been known to forget him with them and I am now certain the reason they bought a larger car was for #3. And that one knows how to charm the socks off them. When we pick him up he walks out with words of praise bathing him; ”He is incredibly polite, he is so sweet”. ”He loves the baby”. ”The dogs just love him”.
Today is going to be a good day, I can just feel it. I might even come back and add another post that’s been brewing!
Have a lovely Sunday and thank you for reading.
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So child #3, the sweet, chatty one was invited to audition for a role in The Bodyguard, the musical. Today marked the third time I’ve been in a high-pressure environment with boys and their mums.
Typically the boys sit unperturbed, playing with their phones or consoles- except mine of course, this is not a playing matter. I’m a novice but the other mums are not. They are busy shooting poisoned thoughts at each other, each one is sheathed with a thin smile. Behind the smile a debate with self rages;
He’s too tall for the role, didn’t his mother read the brief?
Nope, not cute enough, my son is cuter.
I bet he can’t act, see his buck teeth.
Hmm, this one looks confident, I wonder if he has been to stage school.
As if on cue, the internal debate s politely interrupted by the voice of the confident one’s mother. She says a bit too loudly;
‘Yes he’s been in 3 plays and a movie, and a couple of adverts’.
She speaks loudly because with each decibel her ego is heightened- so much so that she is now being quietly revered by the other mums. A hierarchy which previously did not exist is formed and she is at the top. In this game no one wishes anyone luck, why pretend?
The second time was in a less combative environment. This was when the selected few were called back for a second audition.
I engage in a tête a-tête with a parent I meet in the waiting area and within 20 seconds I discover something about him I don’t like; he is a name dropper. But he must be dropping T-list celebrity names since I don’t recognise any of them. No, I don’t know the actor that plays golf with your father-in-law, or the newsreader that shares the carpool on the school run with you. I don’t know them and I don’t care to either. His next sentence infuriates me. I ask him to repeat the name of a stage school he just mentioned, he does- then quickly adds- ”you need to be able to sing and dance and act- all three excellently to even get in”. I nearly punch his already crooked nose but take a deep breath and count to 100 instead.
Today is the third time. They want an African or Afro-Caribbean boy. A dark-skinned boy. Like my son. They are very specific. We walk in and see one mixed-race boy. I feel my confidence rising. More children arrive, all mixed-race. The hierarchy is being formed and guess who’s at the top? More children arrive, all very light-skinned. No shaking. Then a couple of dark-skinned ones turn up. The battle lines are being drawn- but I shan’t be moved.
The assistant announces that she’ll start collecting our completed forms- which I forget to bring. She’ll also collect the passport photos. I of course forgot those too. I have 4 sons, a husband and a demanding business, in fact I’ll be silly not to forget them.
The woman next to me produces her completed form, photo and CV- for her dark-skinned 10 year old. Yes a resume. She apologizes for not stapling the form to the resume. I take the unanimous decision to dislike her. The hierarchy has been rearranged. I start to rehearse my non-commiseration speech to child #3 which will go like this;
Next time when your parents tell you to practise, I hope you will”
Shey you’ve learned your lesson now abi?
Whose fault is it that you were not picked? Mine? Did I tell you to watch looney tunes while you should have been practising your lines?
You’d better not cry or else…
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Stop by my other blog, Inspireme, a blog for the faint-hearted
After my last post on Balloon Boy, I felt a pang of guilt as I had judged the family without any evidence. It didn’t help that a Christian channel had portrayed them as innocent- at least they didn’t suggest that The Heenes were guilty of fraud. Afterall the only thing we had to go on was the body language experts analysing of the size of the sweat beads and how fast they fell from Mr Heene’s forehead.
Well all my fears were laid to rest today (or was it yesterday?) when Mrs Heene admitted to the incident being a hoax. I still feel sorry for them for as Michael commented they were driven to desperation. I agree. Desperation can drive one to do all sorts of things which is why as I raise my kids I enforce boundaries around them. Even on days where they are perfectly well-behaved, I don’t say yes to everything they request- harmless requests included. Like today child #3 asked for cookies. There was nothing wrong with the timing, it was midday. He was neither full-up nor hungry but he had eaten so it was actually prime time for cookies. Plus he was well-behaved (relatively). But I said no. He asked why and I explained to him that in life you don’t get everything you want.
He did get the cookie later, but only after I had made sure there was no sulking and he was happy not to have received it. It is very hard to pull that one on toddler J. He would scream the house down and I hate noise- all kinds. Perhaps what I should do is say “no” and run outside so I don’t hear his cries.
My prayer is that I raise my children to have a realistic view of life and an unwavering faith in God. That way the chance of ever being analysed by body language experts remains nill to nada.
I get that from time to time but tonight it is because the 9 year old is asking me questions such as “What happens if I drink food colouring?” , “Have you heard of a banana slug mum? What would you do if you saw one?” Did you know that snails are not slimy, they are slippery and slugs are slimy? He is telling me such interesting facts like the breathing hole of slugs, what DNA stands for, etc.
While this is going on, the 6 year old is going on about the plane he’ll be building. He has changed his mind, it will now hold just 4 people. Himself, his best friends Daniel and Kiki and spidy- the 16 month old teddy who never wears his spiderman outfit.
Lets not forget the baby saying “wap-wap, wap-wap”. If you have not figured, that is baby-speak for Wrapper- I want to get on your back. The 8 year old is quiet. That’s never good. Especially as he’s just got a new experiment kit, he’ll take things beyond the kit.
So with all of this going on simultaneously, how would I not have verbal dyslexia? I am somehow supposed to respond to each child articulately at the end of their questions or comments instantly, and without being partial. As usual I have about 4, no 6 thoughts unrelated yet by default going on in my head that need to be sorted out and acted upon. We haven’t even talked about the mutating laundry basket, I swear I saw it’s new arms move.
The Lord is indeed my strength, I’m still smiling and i’m genuinely happy.
Yesterday I finally attended the appointment for baby J’s hearing. When he was born, the initial test did not pick up a reading in his right ear. I remember saying “Lord, not now. we have too much to deal with at the moment” I didn’t attend subsequent appointments because “I forgot”, couldn’t make it or was convinced his hearing was fine. I monitored his every response to sound, convincing myself over and over that he was fine.
So yesterday I was 18months late for the appointment, 18 months of being convinced that J’s hearing was fine. But then I got in there and became quite scared. What if he had reduced hearing in one ear afterall?
The doctor didn’t help when he said even though he might be “deaf” in one ear he would behave normally and I won’t be able to tell. Who sent him?
The assistant went on to ask if he says words like “go away”, come here”, etc- “NO!!!” Should he??
At the end of the test, we were given the all clear, praise God. His hearing was fine and we were told to return if we noticed anything untoward. No thanks Dr Saffat. The next time I’ll be seeing you will be at my lifetime achievement award, thank you very much!