I was having a chat with the editor of LagosMums some months ago, and mentioned this seemingly inconsequential fact, or so I thought. She didn’t seem to think so, as she asked if I could write an article about that for her to share with her readers. She thought it would bring a perspective different from the more common “horror nanny” stories.
It took me a few months (*whew*), but “it’s better late than never” as they say :). Here is the link to the article: I Don’t Have a Nanny (LagosMums); please note that the images and links were included at the editor’s discretion.
Mstr EB has become quite the inquisitive commentator, as is the case with most 4-year-olds :-). I had told him about how the marks made by his shoes after stepping into a puddle are called “footprints.” Now, we hear all about the footprints that he has made or were made by others!
A few days ago, he points to footprints Miss AB made, and goes:
Mstr EB: “See! AB’s ‘foot prince””
Me: “No…” (shaking my head to let him know what he said is not quite correct)
Mstr EB: “Erm…“
I can see the wheels turning in his mind as he tries to solve the puzzle that seems to have presented itself… then I see the light bulb go off!
Mstr EB: “Mama, ‘foot princess?!’”
Me: (with a huge smile on my face) “Well… not quite, but I definitely agree with your logic!’“
Happy New Year :-)! I know right, the first month of the year is almost over! Well, it is never too late to add my best wishes to those you received when the calendar reset to 01-01: may this year be better than all those before in all respects. Hope all your new year resolutions are still firmly in place :-).
It is a well-known secret that I love my garri! No apologies there :-). And my offspring seem to have inherited this gene :-). Nothing like a nice cold bowl of garri – with a couple of ice cubes thrown in for good effect – with peanuts on a hot afternoon to calm the human system down (I can see some of you nodding with understanding :-)). This all sounds like bliss, no? Well, not exactly. The problem with this picture is that as soon as I show up with my bowl cradled in my hand, ready to arrange myself cosily in a chair and savour my delicacy, two pairs of legs run up to me, two pairs of hands start pulling on the bowl and spoon, with four pairs of limbs trying to climb unto my head so the owners of these limbs can get prime access to the “gold.”
So, how do I escape this attack you may wonder? That’s where my kitchen floor comes in :-D. The above scenario gets tweaked a bit: instead of heading to the living room and attempting to settle cosily into that oh-so-comfortable chair, I remain in the kitchen with the door shut, and settle cosily unto the kitchen floor. Bingo! All objectives met: (1) the attackers do not know there is any bait, so there’s no whining about missing out; (2) I get to enjoy my delicacy with no struggles; and (3) I get some me-time as a bonus – even if only for a few minutes, before they realise I have disappeared and come knocking.
So, parents and guardians out there, do you have any “escape” stories of your own to share :-)?
I recently met a fine lawyer who has committed herself to empowering women, identifying domestic abuse situations, and working with domestic abuse victims to get them to a safe place in every sense. This is a very little-talked-about phenomenon which is a lot more prevalent than a lot of us are willing to believe, hence my fascination at meeting someone who not only talks about domestic abuse, but actively works with victims.
During one of our many chats, my finomics101.com write-ups came up, and we agreed that a confluence exists between our respective disciplines: financial abuse. As invisible as domestic abuse is, financial abuse (also referred to as economic abuse) is even more so. We decided to collaborate with me as a guest writer on her blog. The links to the two-part series we created are:
Hopefully this gets the conversation started in our various circles about the subtlety of domestic abuse in its various forms, dissuade the myths that it only happens to certain types of people, enhance our capacity to identify its symptoms, and ability to initiate interventions for those who we think may need them.
A first-time expectant father recently asked me this question:
“any advice on preparing for a baby?”
When most people hear this question, the first responses are about baby clothes, the endless piles of diapers, the nursery, and the baby’s crib. When I heard the question however, I could not immediately respond because I truly believe that properly preparing for a baby has a lot of invisible items, most of which should start before the baby is even conceived – assuming there is no violence or other unplanned situation in the setup. I believe that preparing for a baby is really about preparing to be a parent!
Parenting (or child rearing) is the process of promoting and supporting the physical, emotional, social, and intellectual development of a child from infancy to adulthood.
Here’s my understanding of what this means in specific terms.
It is no longer about you
To decide to be the conduit through which another human being makes an entrance into the world is to accept the highest levels of responsibility for moulding a blank canvas into a creation – hopefully a well-balanced, decent, courteous, and humane one – and this is no easy feat. The 9-month process culminating in the birth of the child is actually just a precursor to the journey; the real journey starts once the little one arrives, and continues for as long as you both are alive. To effectively prepare for a baby, one has to mentally adjust from thinking anything is about you, to accepting that almost nothing is about you anymore when it comes to your little one; your primary assignment is to protect, guide, mentor, advocate for, encourage, discipline, teach, groom, nurse, and set boundaries for this human being such that when the person’s brain is fully developed and mature (this happens in the mid-20s) and s/he is out making his / her own path in the world, you the parent would be proud of the creation you have produced.
Chart a vision
In line with the giant nature of the assignment, a game plan is required. Here are some questions whose answers would provide some of the building blocks for charting your family vision, which includes the vision you have for your children.
What values do you want to instill in the child?
What types of education do you want the child to be exposed to?
What essential and non-essential skills do you want the child to have by the time s/he turns 25?
What mode(s) of discipline would you utilise to enable you meet your behavioural objectives?
What resources – financial and otherwise – do you need to achieve the desires above?
Are you and your spouse aligned on all these?
This vision would also include the optimal family size that you believe would enable you achieve same for all your children.
Become a child psychologist
Most of us adults tend to forget how our minds worked when we were ourselves little people :-). Children are designed to observe and notice everything, test all boundaries, investigate all open and not-open spaces, test all boundaries again, observe some more, absorb even more, and topmost of all, be selfish! That is the way they are designed, and that is because they have so much to learn, and very quickly too. It is by testing boundaries that they understand the extent of the boundaries. A good friend of mine says little people are like piranhas: once they smell weakness or inconsistency (blood), they go in for the kill, ha ha. A parent’s assignment is to be the grown-up and provide direction for the little and not-so-little ones. Do not expect to be fully understood or even appreciated – the fundamental thank-yous would only come after this little person has reached his / her mid-20s! Rather late in the game to correct any errors. Developing a thorough understanding of the different stages of child development, the expected behavioural patterns, and “ammunition” to manage expectations and combat each stage would ease the assignment a bit… or a lot :-). Note that those who have been observing little people for eons say that baby’s start forming habits and learning expectations from the day of birth, and the maximum absorption window closes by the time the child turns 12.
It only gets worse
When Mstr EB was an infant and lack of sleep had become a faithful partner, I remember hearing people say not to worry because it gets easier. It doesn’t! The assignment becomes less physical – the child develops fine and gross motor skills that allow them do more and more physical activities without needing your assistance – and more mental, emotional, and spiritual as the child’s mental, emotional, and spiritual exploration progresses to higher levels, in addition to the physical exploration they very quickly master. We all know that the physical stuff is most times easier to manage than the non-physical, so truth is it only gets worse until the child is in his / her mid-20s :o. Even then it does not disappear, but it is definitely easier (and preferred) to groom a child than to try repair an adult. So, be prepared for at least 2.5 decades of active work, after which it may or may not become passive.
A good education and good health care are the two biggest gifts any child can receive. Getting the right types of investment and insurance products would make it easier to achieve the objectives you have set out for your children and your family.
Being a parent is one of the biggest responsibilities, if not the biggest, that any human being can take on, as it is literally holding in your hands the clay that would form the future – so, be prepared!
The #7DaysOfGratitudeChallengeis an internet-based “movement” that encourages us to take a moment each day for 7 days to identify and write 3 things we are grateful for.
Thank you Ms. Butler for your big heart and for “adopting” me when I landed in your beautiful city where I knew no one 10 years ago, and providing me a base from which I could find my feet.
Thank you Mr. Weaver for believing in the young woman who showed up in your office that day 9 years ago seeking an opportunity to be productive, and providing introductions and a path that was the spring-board I needed to make my mark and reach the levels I have since reached.
I am grateful for all the teachers and mentors I have had in the guise of bosses and colleagues; every moment working and relating with these individuals taught me valuable lessons that significantly boosted my life skills toolkit.