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Stalking is a Strong Word…

On my way home from the school run I saw what looked like a cat being walked. On a leash.

I whipped out my phone to take a picture, but couldn’t quite get a good shot of it.

The dog that thinks its a cat

The dog that thinks its a cat

The owners are an older couple. They’re walking their dog which appears to be dressed up as a cat. I drive slowly behind them to try to get a clearer shot. The blasted trees are getting in the way, thankfully no cars are behind me. They keep walking, I drive up some more, now we are near the junction and I don’t know if they’ll be turning left or right. So I slow down to a crawl. I reluctantly admit to myself that I may have stalking tendencies. Then again don’t we all? I say a silent prayer that they turn left since that’s the direction of my house. They turn right. I turn right too. Now this road is one if those thoughtlessly constructed ones where the trees separate the sidewalk from drivers trying to get a good view. It’s even harder to take a pic unless I come out of the car and walk behind them. But I can’t find a parking spot. Eventually I find one far ahead which means I have to wait for them to go past. I pull up, starting to get rather annoyed with this couple. You’d think they knew I was stalking following them because now they are deliberately being difficult.

So I come out of the car, it occurs to me it wouldn’t be a bad idea to get a shot from the front as well as the back. But we’re the only ones in the area and it’ll be hard to conceal taking a photo of them. I also have on red loafers, I ditched the boots to get spring to hurry up and come. Do you know anyone who hasn’t had enough of winter? Even those in tropical countries are just about done with it. At this very moment I ask myself how exactly I got to this juncture in my life. That I am chasing an old couple and their dog? I start to contemplate simply asking for a photo of their cat dog. But what if they say ‘no’? I know there’s no way I could live with myself after taking a long detour and risking arrest for stalking while dealing with a migraine- if I don’t come away with my picture.

They’re getting closer.

Deep breath! I put on my “trust me I’m harmless voice” it comes out a bit higher pitched than I intended.

“Your dog is so cute! What’s his name?” Dumb question Toks, that’s the question you reserve for strangers’ babies.

”Cindy”

”Wow!!! What sort of dog is she?” Again too enthusiastic, tone it down sister. I suspect she’s a corgi, but just in case I feign ignorance. Telepathically I inform them she is so pretty she looks better than whatever her actual breed is which is why I don’t recognise it.

”An American corgi.”

”So adorable!” Wrong answer again Toks, get with it.

”What sort of dog do you have?”

”I don’t have one yet, but my children want one, however I grew up with dogs” I announce proudly, to let them know I belonged in their circle. That  I too, was a dog owner. In the past.

I quickly go back in time to Benin City where we had Scooby, Scrappy and Snowy. I don’t know what sort of dogs they were because in Benin they just call them dogs, except they are German shepherds or Alsatians which I know quite well that ours weren’t. I hope they don’t ask, I can’t just say local dogs now, can I?

They advise me that this dog who used to be a show dog is quite difficult to maintain and requires 2 hours of coat brushing daily. So to think twice before I get one for the boys.

“Can I have a picture?” I blurt out. ”Of your dog?” Bated breath. She looks surprised- or is that suspicion? She looks at her husband, he looks puzzled, or is that pride that their precious dog is so beautiful that strangers want a picture?

Meanwhile I’m wondering, why the hesitation? it’s only a dog! I understand the dangers of babies pictures circulated on the internet, could they also share that apprehension?

”Of course you can, sit Cindy”!

Cindy.  Former Show Dog

Cindy.
Former Show Dog

Isn’t she beautiful?

But now we have a problem. Because the whole thing that got me embroiled in this malarkey started with what Cindy looked like from behind. And I still don’t have that picture. I find myself at another crossroad for the second time this morning. I realise I can still save myself. I have a good life. Besides the weirdness that comes with being a parent, some may even say my life is perfect. Why would I destroy what was once beautiful? How would I explain myself to my dear parents who worked hard all their lives to give my brothers and I the best life they could afford? I can hear people discussing my ‘plight’; ‘And she seemed ok o, we heard she became a dog chaser, stalking old people in her neighbourhood”. I could see myself on TV and in the Voice newspaper.

With that I got in my car, turned around and headed home.

Now what dog do you suggest I get for the boys? And please don’t say a local dog.

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Crazy, Ditzy, Cool

Crazy, Ditzy, Cool

Crazy

I owe The Wordsmythe an apology- and that’s putting it mildly. I stole her fiance. In the dream she was getting ready for her traditional wedding. There wasn’t going to be a white one, she was marrying  Chief Muyiwa, a semi- illiterate man. I don’t know how and where my obsession with illiterate old men came from to the point that I have now started to dream of stealing someone else’s own. Nkem, forgive me, I’m baffled myself. Anyway, in the dream I positioned myself for a hostile takeover of her husband-to-be but pulled back just in time. Needless to say her aunties were not pleased. I have no idea how I got from the village to Kent but I’m glad I did.

Today I’ll be explaining Apartheid to #4. That’ll be a challenge as I don’t want him looking strangely at our caucasian friends and questioning if they have any desire to rule over his family. He is likely to do that. The thing is he would start his sentence with ‘my mother said…”

Hubby, I have had to ban from grocery shopping. In a bid to cut down on my workload I shifted the weekly shopping responsibility to him. The man buys premium everything. I walked in to find a pack of Andrex-quilted-scented-premium-luxury-limited-edition tissues in the kitchen. I had one question. ‘Why?

However there are some things I won’t compromise on, like cotton buds. It has to be Johnson’s. Add cotton wool to the list too as the last one I bought appears to be polyester instead of cotton- completely useless at removing nail polish. It glides all over my fingernail as though the polish is the one trying to take the cotton wool off.

Talking about nail varnish, I am currently obsessed with glitter polish. I used one the other day and referred to it as glitter burgundy. My friend asked; ‘Is that burgundy? It was a simple question yet I spent the remaining part of the week staring at my nails  asking chanting; ‘burgundy or purple? burgundy or purple?

Ditzy

I was invited to the launch of BMW’s first electric car. It was a very posh event. Posh because of the canapes and ‘very’ because of their size. Seriously. The whole evening was spent trying to figure out how on earth the canapes were made. Even with tweezers it would have been quite a task to layer one itsy-bitsy shred of slow-roasted beef over a crouton piece of pastry drenched in half a drop of sauce. Every so often a waiter would show up with a teeny wooden platter and 8 pretty ones perfectly arranged for presumably 8 people. He would begin the spill; This is french Pain de mie with slow roasted pheasant and a single dried olive dipped briefly in a 200 year old rice vinegar, drizzled with  olive oil and a hint of mild Japanese black pepper’. By the time he finished I’d have popped two or 3 in my mouth. How some people were able to bite into them is beyond me. I didn’t want to appear any less dignified than I already did by also taking a photo with my blackberry, but they were the size of #4’s thumbnail. Then there was the small matter of the verbal faux pas. When a representative told me the staff each had a company BMW Toks of course forgot herself and asked if they had vacancies. Half jokingly, half serious. He looked at me quizzically, no doubt wondering why one who couldn’t drop £100k for a car was doing in their Park Lane, Mayfair showroom. We were looking at the i8 due out later this year. I noticed Helen take 2 steps away from me, denying that she even knew me. I heard Aji’s thoughts as she wondered why her friend would embarrass her in that manner.

We’ve had some big changes on the business side. Very exciting indeed. Now I go to the website and spend about 5 mins smiling in sheer admiration. And another 5 wishing I had spent that time working instead. I’ll be writing a book on our business experiences. Crazy customers featuring will include the one that told me he wasn’t excited about the pregnancy since his wife had STDs.

Cool

I have been invited to speak at a major event at the NEC in Birmingham. This is huge. So understandably I spent the first 2 weeks waiting for the email to tell me they were sorry- it was sent to me in error. Consequently I haven’t prepared yet. And mild panic is starting to set in.

On that note I’ll stop for now. What have you been up to?  I’ve missed you!

Operating Manual of Number 4

”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.

May I shamelessly beg that you add a comment in the box below? It helps me to breathe easy 🙂

Daddy.

When I grow up I want to be like my daddy. My daddy is the best father in the world. He has always been dependable. I remember as a child one evening while he was going out, I felt the need to say something more than just “Bye dad” so I said; “daddy buy me a book” and he did. I didn’t really want a book, it was a flippant request, more like an afterthought. That book became my favorite book for years. I don’t remember the title but it was a book with two stories, that was my introduction to stories with a twist at the end. I cannot even remember what it was about only that I read it over and over and over without ever getting bored.

Another time daddy had planned a surprise birthday party for mummy. It was at a banquet hall and all day there was a lot of ferrying of food from the house to the hall. On the final trip as daddy as leaving for the party, I hid in the back of the car. I could have made it all the way to the party but I announced my presence just as he pulled out of the gates. Daddy found it hilarious! He said; “if you were dressed properly I would have taken you”. He didn’t yell at me for slowing him down or making him turn around to take me back home. That’s my daddy.

He also has the greatest amount of confidence in me, he is absolutely certain that I can be anything I want to be in life, I believe him.  He allowed me to browse through his gory medical books, while mummy tried to stop me as she felt it was too much for a little girl to see pictures of abscesses and strange diseases. The skin ailments fascinated me the most. To think that a human skin could mutate into a mass of puss-filled rash always left me in wonderment. The stomach ulcers and the tumours on organs didn’t hold my fancy for that long, I guess because I didn’t see the inside of the human body regularly so there was nothing to compare it with, but the skin I did. There was one series of pictures that had the stages of an appendix from initial stage to it being burst. Fascinating!

Sorry, I got carried away there.

Daddy used to tell his friends that his only daughter would win the Miss world contest. He said it so often and with such conviction that I accepted my fate. Mummy on the other hand frowned at such suggestions. She didn’t appreciate the thought of her daughter strolling up and down some stage for men to look at. Lai-lai!

My daddy is very accomplished. He retired in his forties to do his own thing, when asked why, he replied that he had reached the pinnacle of his career and had to move in a different direction in order to keep growing. This is true- see post on alligator here

Can you see why I want to be like my daddy?

Did I mention it’s his birthday today? Please wish him a happy birthday, you should see him. He looks 20 years younger than he actually is. Happy birthday daddy, I love you!

Have a lovely day and thanks for reading 🙂

If My Mummy Was Your Mummy…

You’ll have a very good life. It’s her welcoming face. Her cheerful demeanor. The comfort that resides in her voice. When she smiles her eyes sparkle, maybe it’s the tears in them. She’s very tactile so you’ll have to get used to that. Sometimes it is to stroke your face in love, other times its just because. Mummy is very cuddly so you will get lots of cuddles. She says she’s fat and needs to lose weight. We tell her she’s filled with love and needs to remain that way. Mummy has had her share of struggles, notice how I avoided the use of the word “fair”? Mummy is the definition of one who feels hungry just before you do, or the one that feels chilly when you’re about to become cold. Mummy loves sacrificially. You will never want for anything if you are her child, she’s the one who warned me about being too close for comfort with a particular boy.  When mummy warns you about being bad, her eyes tend to grow big and her voice forceful, but somehow it exudes all the love in the world. With each challenge you’ll ever face, you can be sure she’ll feel the pain more than you. If you happen to go to school 10 hours away from home, mummy will brave the elements and bad roads to come and spend your mid-term with you. She’ll arrive with home cooked meals- I can’t tell you what she’ll cook since I don’t know your favorite meal- but she’ll cook it to perfection. She will fuss over you and worry that your skin looks dry which is why she showed up with jars of cocoa butter along with all that food. Convinced that you don’t eat properly she’ll attempt to fatten you up in the 3 or 4 days she spends with you. Her parting words will be a desperate plea for you to eat, after all you are so thin there’s nothing left to lose. Her fussing will carry on until the end of her days. It will not stop when you get married, or become a parent, or become a grandparent even. She’ll always be on “worry alert” just in case something comes up that needs worrying about and while she’s doing that, she’ll be busy praying for God’s protection over you. Meet my mummy, her name is Joy.

Playing God

The whole timetable thingy has been a huge success. You may remember from a previous post where I finally admitted that I needed to budget my time and money. So I started with a weekly meal planner which features my family’s favourite meals. On each day I have about three options- hard, not so hard and dead easy to fit in nicely with my mood or energy levels for the day. I shop for the week knowing exactly what we’ll be eating throughout the week.  Hubby isn’t picky and most of the time is happy with whatever I cook. Occasionally I get the ‘Nah, I’m not feeling that Toks’ . On those days I give him the impression that he actually has a choice. This is when I pull out my other 2 options and he decides. Or so he thinks. As for the kids they don’t have a preference- that’s African parenting for you. There is no “Sweetheart what will you like to eat?” Instead it is “What is that meal you hate so much? Rice and Broccoli Stew? You better clean your plate, I’ll be watching you because that’s what we’re having!”.

Some African Parents love to play God. They decide what their children will study at school. Who they will get married to and when. They plan the wedding, pick the colours and decide on the guest list.  Actually this happens in many cultures. In some cases they even name the children borne out of the marriage, I have a cousin who loathes his own son’s name because his parents chose the name.

So it is with great pride that I preside over my family’s nutrition and choice of meals, even when they think they are exercising their own judgement, it isn’t really the case. Heck I even control their thoughts!

Like the X-factor drama. For my non-UK readers this is the UK’s version of American Idol. Viewers were made to think that they decided on which act stayed and which one was voted off, until Sunday when the two horrors by the name of John and Edward where “voted” to remain on the show. Word is that the results were rigged and Simon has secretly supported those two from the beginning. Poor Simon.

There are rules about playing God. For one don’t protest too much. You don’t want to risk having to make a decision that goes completely against the crusade you have been running. To go from “these boys are horrific, I will leave the country if they win” to “I-I-I  can’t decide” is a banned u-turn and there are cameras everywhere.

So when I take my throne as she-who-cooks-whatever-she-absolutely-wants-to-and-you-must-eat-it, you will not catch me protesting too much when child number 3 tells me he hates fish and don’t I remember that he is allergic to it? I will gently coax him and convince him that tuna is not fish. It’s just another type of seafood. After all I can’t please everyone, I’m not God.

Scrutinize This

Wednesday was me-time, I look forward to any trip that guarantees my own company. Not that I don’t like people but I ocassionaly crave silence. I cherish the drive so much that quite often I don’t speed just so that every long minute is savoured.

I arrived at the hairdresser’s to discover that there was only one stylist present. And she was very presently doing someone else’s hair.  So I waited, enjoying the latest issue of my Success Magazine. Then I called and jisted with JK. Next I called hubby and caught up on household news. I had to text Tolu because my battery was fast running down. Some more texts and a few rounds of wordmole on my Blackberry and I was still waiting.  And then I waited some more. Who begged me to go and have me-time? You wanted me-time Toks?  Whoop! There it is.  

It is all hubby’s fault. On Sunday as I tied my gele, this touch-and-go ritual actually worked first time. I was very proud of myself, the wrap looked fab. When I asked hubby what he thought of it, he suggested that my hair should be covered in the middle to make it perfect. I know better than to listen to that sort of “advice” but I did and regret it till this day. I just couldn’t get my head gear looking fab again so I had to prevent the forced use of the gele (and spousal unforgiveness) by visiting Mane Attraction.

Common sense told me not to tell hubby about the article on healthy eating I read in Success Mag. The article listed the benefits of healthy eating in a way I’ve never quite seen before.

  • Raw nuts increases mental alertness so you are able to accomplish more while staying focused- good for me, I struggle to stick to tasks until it is  completed. 
  • One of the most effective ways to fight our stress response and to stabilize hormones is through lots of water- I didn’t know there was a stressless response to stress.
  • The benefits of fruits and veg and their role in boosting immunity has long been sung- some of us have heard the song but tuned out the lyrics, choosing instead to believe that since one is not overweight one must be fit and healthy.

Needless to say regret set in once I had shared this new info with hubby. He immediately crowned himself Chief Scrutinizer of Toks’ diet. It was on an empty stomach that I planned my evening meal. So when I made my stir-fried noodles with sweet corn, prawns, chopped carrots, bell peppers and chilli,  it was for me to relish every mouthful and not feel as though one was destroying one’s body. I didn’t enjoy my dinner because Chief himself advised me on every spoonful.  But I ate it all, after all I slaved over the stove right?

An author recently said that she has a good friend who calls her on Thursdays to see how many pages she wrote in the week. Accountability helps you reach your goals and keeps you on the straight and narrow. I thank God for my family and friends who keep me going in the right direction. Pawpaw and Mango blog readers keep me blogging as I know you’ll be stopping by to read. You really don’t need to be seeing the same title every time  you pass by, so to you I say a big ‘Thank You!’

A Chief Scrutinizer (or trusted person) should be one you have confidence in and respect, and of course is relevant to the task. I have someone that advises me on spiritual matters, I know who to go to when I need clarity on a business  issue, a few numbers are on speed dial if I need to vent and I even have those on standby if I’m trying to bring a mouth-watering meal to the table and need a tip or two. I would say my friends play a valid role in my life and for that I am truly thankful. I hope yours do too.