Ponderments, Raisin Pickneys

The real “dog eaters”: 2015- the dark ages of Chinese xenophobia in T&T

racism

Dear Frizzlefowlers.

This one hit so close to home that it blasted me out of writing hypernation.

Trinis of Chinese heritage across the nation are in uproar about the effervescent Health Minister’s controversial comments that stirred up the age-old issue of Chinese xenophobia. And worst yet, are the responses of some.

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Dog carcasses left hanging outside local Chinese establishment: CNC3 Television

Now my personal exposure to this racial intolerance has been existent as far back as I can recall. And the funny thing is, I don’t even look that Chinese. .

I’m of mixed heritage and Trini to the bone, but since my tender years have been affiliated most with my Chinese ancestry. As far back as I can remember, I’ve been labelled a “Dark Chinee” or “Chindian, and gathered multiple nicknames such as “Ting-a-Ling”, “Ping Pong”, and “Stir Fry”.

I’ve been taunted throughout childhood with “Chinee, Chinee, never die, flat nose and choonkie eye”, been shunned because of my apparent love of dog meat, and feared because my Chinese-looking “cut eye” was dragon-fierce and backed by some karate training.

I’ve even had rude supermarket attendants refusing to help me (a “dog eater”), out-of-timing comments about half Chinese women and their subservient sexual tendencies, mimicry of my “Chinese accent”; all still occurring up to present day. This post was even more inspired by an incident just a few days ago, when, with my boys (one of whom looks quite Asian); I was  accosted by ignorant perceptions about Chinese people, and their “nasty” Chinese food dog-eating habits. And the realisation that my five year old son would soon be exposed to this xenophobic madness, jolted me.

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Racism is still with us. But it is up to us to prepare our children for what they have to meet, and, hopefully, we shall overcome. ~ Rosa Parks

I have grown increasingly fed-up with the ignorance, so I’m going to address these three common acuities:

1) All Chinese are dog-eaters:

Just no. My goodness people; in certain, NOT ALL, Chinese sub-cultures, dogs are eaten as a local delicacy. And historically, dog meat has also been consumed in many other parts of Eastand Southeast Asia, West Africa, Europe, Oceania and even America. For me, growing up with a Chinese-African grandfather who had a finer taste for wild and exotic meats, I’ve been exposed to the concept. My Grandfather, while serving in World War II in China, ate dog meat as a means of survival during food shortages. And I personally think that that was an awesome survival strategy, and would damn well do the same.

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2) Only Chinese people like to eat nasty things:

Among some delicacies that local sub cultures partake of in China include insects, uncooked /half formed eggs, and unwanted animal parts. But let’s put this thing into perspective: we in Trinidad embrace local delicacies like black pudding, pig foot/ snout and chicken foot souse, cow heel soup and geera gizzard which all comprise of less than desirable “reject” animal parts. Also, agouti one of the favourite local wild meat delicacies (now illegal) is closely related to rats, and shrimp (another local favourite) is a bottom-feeder that feeds quite a lot on literal crap. Nice huh. Who are we then to judge?

pig-feetWild meat

Pictures of local delicacies and confiscated wild meat Trinidad Guardian

3) The Chinese have no right to be here and are sucking us dry of opportunity:

Gah @ the stupidity… These immigrants are allowed legal entry into our country. And they generally make much better use of their time here. Asian and especially Chinese work ethic is ranked among the world’s best. Sacrifice and intense discipline is the way of life. Compare a Chinese grocery or restaurant to a locally established one in your area. Which is opened first and closed last? We Trinis, with our laid-back island mentality, love to point fingers and find flaws with anyone who surpasses us; especially against the industrious Chinese immigrants, who take serious strain with intense personal sacrifices. The immigrant population and their descendants have contributed tremendously to our society and economy. And it would be good for us to adopt some of their mentalities.

ZHENGZHOU, CHINA - JUNE 09: Thousands of students at Tagou Kung fu School play a Kung fu performance on June 9, 2012 in Zhengzhou, China.  PHOTOGRAPH BY China Foto Press / Barcroft Media  UK Office, London. T +44 845 370 2233 W www.barcroftmedia.com  USA Office, New York City. T +1 212 796 2458 W www.barcroftusa.com  Indian Office, Delhi. T +91 11 4053 2429 W www.barcroftindia.com

Picture of thousands of Chinese students demonstrating the art of discipline

We have proven to be a people of little tolerance. We are offended by anything that is different, and have shown immense narrow-mindedness. In this year 2015, I am ashamed to see that my countrymen (amongst whom include the descendants of African slaves, East Indian labourers, poor Europeans, and the enslavers themselves) have regressed and are still stuck in the dark ages.


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JOHN-CHINAMAN
Racism in any form, is not ok.

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I write this in full support of Lily Kwok and the countless others in their online appeal to combat ignorance, xenophobia, intolerance and racism.

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“Fight ignorance. Proclaim your humanity. Spread love. #IAmAPerson” Lily Kwok

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Please, let us end intolerance and embrace the cultural variety that makes us such a unique Caribbean melting pot.  Differences fabricate the colour of life’s tapestry; without it, our world would be meh. It is up to us to stop racism by adjusting our attitudes (and jokes), revisiting personal stereotypes and prejudices, and resolving to teach by example and through love.

 #EndIntolerance #EmbraceDifferences

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About, Ponderments, Raisin Pickneys

Happy Fathers’ Day 2014

Happy Fathers' Day 2014

A heartfelt Happy Fathers’ Day to all those biological and stand-in men and women who rightly fit the role of father. You have remained the altruistic giants in our lives whose protective hands steer us onward. I encourage you all to remain stalwart in your duties as it your stance that strengthens and sets the example for us. (Frizzle Fowl)

Ponderments, Raisin Pickneys

To beat or not to beat? The corporal punishment issue in Trinidad

So I’m expecting some major backlash from the traditionalists for this…but I need to put my two cents in…

Recently, a Facebook video (originating from Trinidad) showing a woman beating her 12 year old daughter with a belt after the girl posted indecent pictures of herself on the site, went viral. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=626995590715013&set=vb.377192209028687&type=2&theater

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It sparked a tremendous amount of controversy and public discussion, and in response, PM Kamla Persad- Bissessar stated that government is now looking at legislation to offer protection to children in their homes. However, the Point Fortin mother Helen Bartlett defends her actions, saying she is “prepared to go to jail” to set her child on the right path. The single-parent mother of four said her daughter was her “problem child” who might be “acting out” because of neglect on her father’s part. http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/READY-FOR-JAIL-256468741.html

Her children (an elder sister and the 12 year old in question) bravely posted a video in reply to the public’s reaction; defending their mothers’ actions. The older sister stated that the mother had tried everything to discipline her younger sister and indicated that she is a good mother, and the 12 year old child issued a public apology stating that she had learnt her lesson and was sorry she had caused her family embarrassment. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10200938915675545&set=vb.1845430046&type=2&theater

The general cry of the public seems to be in support of Bartlette’s actions as local media sources revealed that in polls conducted,more than 70% of the respondents support her deeds. Many individuals believe that it is a time-proven method that they have a right to practice as child custodians.

But after watching the video, cringing with every flick of the belt and listening to the young girls’ loyalist defense of their mother, I can’t help but feel that we are settling and remain content with a system that is ambiguous and detrimental. Is corporal punishment really worth its weight as a form of punishment? 

Let’s examine the facts.

Support for corporal punishment of children remains widespread in the United States and most of the “developing” world. Scott Bloom, 1995. “Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child? A Legal Framework for Recent Corporal Punishment Proposals”. Golden Gate University Law Review, noted that “Corporal punishment is a physical punishment in which pain is deliberately inflicted on a perpetrator of a wrong in order to exact retribution and to deter similar behavior in future. An accepted form of discipline through the ages, it has been upheld by all the Abrahamic religions, and has been practiced in some form in almost every human civilization. Corporal punishment was for a long time considered an appropriate method for disciplining children in schools. The birch rod was once a fixture of the schoolhouse. In the latter half of the 20th century”.

So we know it’s been around for a long-time but is it effective?

Have a look at some graphical representations of found data about “paddling” (aka spanking) compiled by the US Center for Effective Discipline:

Paddling and School Shootings

Paddling proponents say: “If we still had paddling, kids wouldn’t be shooting one another in schools.”

Fact: Studies show significantly more fatal school shootings took place in states that allow corporal punishment in schools.

Figure 1

Information contained in Figure 1 was taken from The National School Safety Center’s Report on School Associated Violent Deaths (1992-2007). … Student shootings were more likely to occur in states where school corporal punishment is permitted.

A study by Doreen Arcus (2002) found that there were significantly more fatal school shootings in states that permit corporal punishment in schools than those that don’t.

Arcus, Doreen (2002). School Shooting Fatalities and School Corporal Punishment: A look at the states. Aggressive Behavior, 28, pp. 173-183….

Paddling and Violence Against Teachers

Paddling Proponents Say: “Since paddling was taken out of schools, kids have gotten more violent and aggressive toward teachers.”

Facts: Paddling is declining (Fig. 2). Violence against teachers is declining in U.S. public schools (Fig. 3). The decline of paddling in U.S. public schools is correlated with a decline in violence against teachers.

Figure 2

Figure 3

Data from Figure 2 on the number for students paddled can be obtained from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights. During the years from 1994-2004, paddling numbers decreased from 470,683 students to 272,028 students…..This graph depicts the United States percentages of teachers who experienced threats or physical injuries by students. It shows a decrease in violence against teachers over this ten year period.

• Threats against teachers in U.S. public schools show a decrease of 41.4 percent between 1994 and 2004.
• Physical attacks against teachers in U.S. public schools show a decrease of 16 percent between 1994 and 2004.
• Paddling decreased in U.S. public schools by more than 42 percent between l994 and 2004.

Dinkes, R., Cataldi, E.F., Kena, G., and Baum, K. (2006). Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2006 (NCES 2007–003/NCJ 214262). U.S. Departments of Education and Justice. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office….

Paddling and ACT Scores and Graduation Rates

Paddling Proponents Say: “Since paddling was taken out of schools, kids have gotten lazy and are falling behind in academics.”

Fact: Non-paddling states have higher ACT scores and higher graduation rates.

Figure 4

Figure 4: Each state’s average ACT composite score was compared to the national average (20.9) and determined whether it was above or below the national mean. At the time of these test results, there were 22 states that allowed corporal punishment (Pennsylvania has since changed its position on allowing corporal punishment in schools)…. 36% of paddling states had a state composite score average above the national mean; 89% of non-paddling states, however, scored above the mean. Likewise, 64% of paddling states scored below the national average, while only 11% of non-paddling states fell into that category.

Figure 5

Figure 5: Among the paddling states, 57%, 12 states, had graduation rates below the national average, with only 43% keeping students in school to the end of 12th grade. Among non-paddling states, two-thirds, 66%, had better than average graduation rates….

Paddling and Adult Incarceration

Paddling Proponents Say: “If kids were paddled more, they wouldn’t end up in jail as adults.”

Fact: School corporal punishment is associated with higher incarceration rates of the adult population. Eight of the top ten paddling states are in the top ten states with the highest incarceration rates.

Figure 6

Top 10 Highest Incarceration
Rates by State (12/31/06)
Rank State Incarceration Rates
(per 100k people)
1 Louisiana 846
2 Texas 683
3 Oklahoma 664
4 Mississippi 658
5 Alabama 595
6 Georgia 558
7 South Carolina 525
8 Missouri 514
9 Michigan 511
10 Florida 509

Figure 7

The 10 worst states, by percentage of students struck
by educators in the 2006-2007 school year:
Rank State Percentage
1 Mississippi 7.5
2 Arkansas 4.7
3 Alabama 4.5
4 Oklahoma 2.3
5 Louisiana 1.7
6 Tennessee 1.5
7 Texas 1.1
8 Georgia 1.1
9 Missouri 0.6
10 Florida 0.3

(states in bold are on both lists)

Figure 6: Incarceration rates for each state were found in the Bureau of Justice Statistics Bulletin – Prisoners in 2006….

Figure 7: The percentage of student struck for each state was found using information from the Office of Civil Rights 2006 National and State Projections….

Eight of the top ten paddling states are in the top ten states with the highest incarceration states.

http://www.stophitting.com/index.php?page=factsvsopinions

I’ve pored through scholarly articles from around the world and realised that the overwhelming majority report the same thing…that corporal punishment does more bad than good. In Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, Vol 13(4), Nov 2007, 231-272. (doi: 10.1037/1076-8971.13.4.231)The case against corporal punishment of children: Converging evidence from social science research and international human rights law and implications for U.S. public policy, authors Elizabeth T.Gershoff and Susan H. Bitensky observe that substantial amounts of research from psychology and related fields point to the facts that corporal punishment is “ineffective as a disciplinary practice and can have unintended negative effects on children”.  Many countries have banned all forms of corporal punishment, and the practice has come to be regarded as a violation of international human rights law.

Corporal punishment methods varies in terms of the severity. Where it is administered, with what it is administered, how it is administered, and in which context are questions that must be evaluated. Sadly, we have ambiguous guidelines about what should be accepted and not. The AAP, on their evaluation of suspected physical abuse, stated:

The recognition and reporting of physical abuse is hindered by the lack of uniform or clear definitions. Many state statutes use words such as “risk of harm,” “substantial harm,” “substantial risk,” or “reasonable discipline” without further clarification of these terms. Many states still permit the use of corporal punishment with an instrument in schools; on the other hand, the American Academy of Pediatrics has proposed that “striking a child with an object” is a type of physical punishment that “should never be used” and has recommended that corporal punishment be abolished in schools. The variability and disparities in definitions may hinder consistent reporting practices.

Some disciplinarians practice it in moderation to avoid excesses or misapplications, but as we are an excessive people, many parents and guardians, often get wrapped up in emotion, and may become too harsh in their dealings. In lieu of the previous, let me remind you about the extent of child abuse experienced in Trinidad.  Our track-record is awful, and child protective services very limited. This remains a major concern of mine. There is a thin line between love, anger, hatred and abuse, and we have had cases of child abuse (often as a result of feigned “discipline”) being reported.

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We live in a society that knows very little boundaries. Here in the Trinidad, we experience high levels of gruesome crimes, horrific violence on our streets and at schools, and extremely concerning levels of domestic and child abuse. Above all, many citizens subscribe to the disconcerting mentality that bad behaviour and violence should in turn, be put down by violence. A move that (based on the above international studies) would statistically result in a vicious cycle.

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I’ve always known of the “Spare not the rod and spoil your child” saying, and witnessed it being reflected by many members of the society. And I myself have had my own little share of “licks” (not excessively though, my parents used it only as last resort, and even then, it usually included just a smack or two with a ruler). But generally, my parents used reasoning with my brother and I, and I think we came out better for it.

On a very personal note; as a mother of two young ones who possess an inglorious knack for being naughty, I had been thrown into the moral dilemna of deciding the best forms of punishment. Though I had deliberated a long time ago to never use corporal punishment, that stance shifted when my elder began a series of seemingly uncontrollable behaviour. I had purchased books upon books about all sorts of creative punishment, but none semed to work. So after lots of frustration and discussions with parents of “well-behaved” kids who all seemed to ascribe to the “licks” thing, I decided to try my “hand” (quite literally) at it for a bit. However, the fear that was eventually instilled in my son was unsettling, and I still recall the hurt in his beautiful eyes whenever the deed was committed. Equally bad was his eventual copycating of the behaviour with his younger brother, as he began to resort to using violence to solve his squabbles. Needless to say, the “hand” was quickly put away and comes out only in the form of an occassional pinch. I have gone back to my creative correction books and have realised that the best form of discipline is the use of reasoning— the discussion and portrayal of consequences of naughty actions— and the removal of priviledges.

This extends to my classrooms where I deal with quite a number of troubled and “difficult” kids. Interestingly enough, these very kids are actually disciplined with very strict corporal punishment at home, many of whom are beaten by their parents or guardians. They in turn, return to school with violent attitudes. I have seen how these kids respond to disciplinary measures at school, and often they meet hostility with hostility and resentment, but react to kindness and logic with submissive gentility.

On a final note I would like to include this status taken from an Aunt who helped raise us in love:

I am looking at all the posts related to the beating of the 12 year old and the mixed comments…can u imagine being beaten like that almost everyday of your life…well it was like that for me not only with a belt but, potspoons pans pots crookstick, umbrella anything u could think of…no it did not kill me but i died a thousand times……..maybe that made me who i am today….and i can learn from that …….you see i was not only hurt physically but the emotional pain was more…. i never understood why…and to date i still do not know why…maybe it helped ease whatever frustrations…. i dont know…….the physical scars have almost vanished..but the emotional scars would never never leave……so today i have a chance to hold my little girl and tell her how much i love her, to be her best friend and cherish her because God blessed me with the responsibility of taking care of her and i will certainly do my best.

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Infobits, Raisin Pickneys

What to BUY when you’re expecting: shopping lists and tips for newbies

Inspired by and written for my dear cousin Susan and that delightful little bundle in her belly <3!

As a first time soon-to-be Mom or Dad it’s a pretty overwhelming task when shopping for baby’s needs. These newbie expenses can get pretty high as initial baby setup for those with in the mid-income bracket jobs usually cashes in at $1,540 USD or $10,000 TTD! Add a rough estimate of $12,000 TTD for those of you who opt to deliver at private hospitals and the exorbitant construction costs of any remodelling that may occur. And remember, these are just preparation costs…imagine what happens after baby is born!

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Now, if you are excellent at budgeting, don’t mind just the basics or iffy’ brands, or have access to decent hand-me-downs from friends and family, these figures would be considerably less. But for the rest of us over-planners, baby expenses are a pain! And the reality remains that we would always want the best for our kids.

How did I survive? Barely. And now, with two pre-schoolers, it’s even worst.

But I’ll give you this No. 1 tip for pre-baby shopping. Simple. Practice restraint. Restrain yourself from purchasing any and everything, I mean it! Ladies you know us, when we head into a baby store, we just go gaga-googoo! Make a list (or use the one below) and stick to it. And especially with first baby, you could depend on baby-showers and the kindness of well-wishers. I know it may sound like a dastardly dependent or a “scrubbish” mentality, but it’s the solid truth. The people around us are generally kind folks, and our gift-giving culture helps give us a help-out during the start of new facets of life, especially for pregnancy and weddings!

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My thrift suggestion? In times like these, never say ‘no’ to a baby shower. Make up a gift registry for baby, or even simply circulate a list amongst your circles about the things you need. Believe me, with the kindness of the human spirit permeating the souls of most, you’d be surprised about how many people will come to your aid (unless of course, your track record has proven you to be scrooge incarnate!).

And what exactly should be on that list of things to purchase for baby? Here are my suggestions for all you first-timers out there based on my experiences and obsessive research. 😛 (Mind you, this is an exhaustive list that may be classified as both needs and wants, but attempts to take into account, every possible relevant item)

 

CLOTHING AND RELATEDImage

  • Cotton Vests
  • Baby Hats
  • Kazaks
  • Onsies
  • Socks
  • Booties
  • Sleepers/pajamas
  • Leggings or pull-on pants
  • Outer layers
  • Mittens
  • Wearable and Swaddling Blankets: soft cotton with no frills or tassels
  • Rags/ burp pads: as soft as possible
  • Bibs: preferably with no strings (get the ones with fabric adhesive)
  • Navel pad (if you deem this necessary)
  • Towels: preferably hooded and as soft as possible
  • Crib sheets
  • Crib bumber pads
  • Small pillow that helps reduce SIDS

*Heavy or light clothing depends on your own climatic needs

PERSONAL CARE

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  • Baby Powder (Johnsons’ and Johnsons ‘ Cornstarch preferably or original/ baby Amens)
  • Baby Oil (Johnsons and Johnsons Corn preferably)
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Bottom butter (if chafing occurs. Petroleum Jelly could also do)
  • Baby Shampoo (gentle: tear free and hypoallergenic)
  • Baby Soap (Mild Soap)/ Baby Wash (gentle: tear free and hypoallergenic)
  • 1 Bottle of Methylated Spirit (To clean the baby’s navel- recommendations may vary according to your paediatrician)
  • Wipes (gentle and hypoallergenic)
  • 1 Pack of Cotton Balls
  • Qutips
  • Soap Dish
  • Hand sanitiser
  • 1 Tube of Desitin Cream (In case of Diaper Rash / Heat Rash)
  • 1 Bottle of Glycerin (To clean the Baby’s Mouth/Tongue)
  • 1 pack of Newborn Diapers (only one initially; larger sizes as times go by. Look for the navel- protection feature)

ACCESSORIES

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  • Large and Small Baby Bags
  • 1 large Umbrella
  • 1 baby carrier
  • Mosquito nets

FURNITURE

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  • Bath Tub and no-slip pad for tub (if your budget affords it, buy the ready-made infant tubs and then switch to larger one later on)
  • Padded and waterproof Changing Pad or Changing Table (if preferred)
  • Diaper pail and liners
  • Pram/ stroller (preferably with sack)
  • Baby bassinet (personally find this a waste of money. Babies grow out of bassinets very quickly)
  • Glider/ rocker
  • Car seat (preferably ones to last until toddler days)
  • Crib (better if it is a convertible crib-playpen or crib-bed)
  • Baby mattress
  • Waterproof mattress pad
  • Night Light/ Lamp
  • Baby cubby/ cupboard/ chest of drawers (for clothing and accessories)
  • High chair (eventually)

FEEDING

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 *I’m a strong supporter of breast-feeding. However I acknowledge that this may not always work out so the following are for those who need it

  • Breast Pump and accessories
  • Baby Bottles (look for good brands that could help reduce colic and that are BPA free: eg. Avents or Dr Brown’s…personally, I had extremely good experiences with Avents as the wide nipple aided easy feedings)
  • Bottle steriliser or clean pot for boiling parts (I strongly do not recommend sterilizing tablets because I believe in the organic steam and hot water instead of harsh chemicals)
  • Thermos (make sure your water is baby-friendly and from a good source)
  • Bottle warmer (some prefer microwave use)
  • Bottle brushes
  • Bottle drying rack
  • Sealed container for parts
  • Safe detergent for washing parts
  • Formula (only if absolutely necessary- consult with paediatrician)
  • Bowls
  • Baby spoons
  • Sippy cups
  • Splat mat
  • Baby food maker

*Safe material and BPA free everything!

HEALTH AND SAFETY

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  • Medicine cabinet & general first-aid supplies
  • Pacifiers (look for orthodontic ones with covers please!)
  • Anti colic/ gripe water
  • Infant Panadol (for fever)
  • Digital thermometer
  • Baby nail scissors or clippers
  • Soft-bristled baby hair brush
  • Bulb syringe
  • Teething toys
  • Teething gel (safe)
  • Childproofing products
  • Baby monitor

DEVELOPMENTAL

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  • Mobile
  • Soft toys (please pay attention to age-group! – 0-3 months)
  • Soothing music
  • Play mat/gym
  • Activity center
  • Books
  • Bouncer seat
  • Baby swing
  • Doorway jumper

SENTIMENTALS

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  • Baby journal/ memento book
  • Photo album
  • Camera
  • Camcorder
  • Room decor

FOR MOMS POST-DELIVERY

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  • Packs of Maternity pads
  • Nursing bra
  • Nursing pads (it’s easier to buy the boxed disposable types)
  • Nursing pillow
  • Nipple butter
  • Warm/ Cold Compress
  • Sitz bath container
  • Salt

*This list is for general and natural birth moms. Those who birthed via Caesarean would have other particular needs based on doctors’ orders.

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So there you have it! Daunting isn’t it? But hey, well-wishers to the rescue right, right?

I wish you all Happy shopping!

(Related list about packing for delivery coming soon!)

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Infobits, Raisin Pickneys

Lost your Mojo? Bring that smexy mama back!

On becoming a parent, many of us experience the common phenomenon of lost-glamour. Gone are the days of glorious self-pampering, replaced now, quite literally by Pampers.

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From this…
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To this..

 

Relaxation becomes a novelty. Fabulous, flirty cocktails are replaced by hot, frumpy cups of comfort tea. Our ‘us’ cash becomes ‘their’ cash, and treks to our favourite fashion boutiques or indulging spas are now shelved in favour of supermarket runs and napzzz.

I have always advocated (and will still continue to do so) that beauty lies within and it is determined by your own self-confidence.

Imagehttps://frizzlefowl.wordpress.com/2013/11/10/beauty-pageants-and-cobeaux-moulding-ugly-perceptions-since-1789/

You can rock anything, once you feel like a rockstar. But in actuality, after years of total exhaustion, and feeling more like actual rock than a rockstar, I’ve come to the conclusion that we moms need our perkiness to be revived. We need to resummon our mojo, and dig deep for that inner sexified, (yes, I’ll say it)… MILF!!!!

My story? Remember Disney’s Beauty and the Beast? I moved from the ravishing but eccentric head-up-in-clouds Belle to become the scatter-brained and quaintly rounded Mrs. Potts…

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As a young mother, I can quite honestly say that I had lost my mojo for some years. But, after hitting these uncharacteristic sluggish and low-confidence tides, I did some self-searching and found my mojo back; my way.

So, here are my tips for all you busy and undercover-sexy Mamas out there:

1)      Pump yourself up mentally.

Maternity does not define you. You define you. Embrace your smexiness…stretch marks, cellulite, extra fat and all. Our post baby bods are curvilious, and the cool thing is that bodies are bodies. They’re all unique bits of art. And, as with all art, you yourself can form it into whatever you wish it to be!

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(For those who want to tune up but feel too busy to, have a read>) https://frizzlefowl.wordpress.com/2014/01/27/5-fitness-bits-for-busy-mamas/

 2)      Do not neglect personal grooming!

Even being the semi-non-conformist that I am, I draw my line here and personally subscribe to certain social conventions. Like getting rid of all prominent manly facial hair.

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If you’re anything like me, pregnancy would have altered your body, and hair would have begun to sprout up in the most public and unwanted places. Wax, pluck, shave, depilatory cream… just destroy it! And yes, follow up with that annoying maintenance. Some believe armpit hair is a choice… well girl, do whatever floats your boat! Again> it’s your own perception of what beauty entails.

3)      Rekindle your make-up love affair.

I’m not a fan of overdone looks, but I’ll confess… I love the idea of using my face as a blank canvas and make-up as my palette!

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Of course, no need to be this dramatic!

If you have not the slightest clue how to begin, and don’t have the extra cash to enroll in professional make-up artistry courses; just google these two words:- “Michelle Phan.” https://www.youtube.com/user/MichellePhan

Or, if you adore the au natural way, go for it!

4)      Invest in yourself.

Yes. I get it. With the addition of our adorable financial burdens :P, we are always broken. Think about it as mummy’s incentives, and put aside a little bit at a time, or simply get that significant other to pay for the entire thing! (Lord knows you deserve it!). Buttery body washes, sumptuous creams, trendy nail art, luxurious lipsticks…whatever turns you on ladies! Oh, and be sure to sexy-lingerie it away!

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 5)      Be fabulous whenever, wherever and however.

Don’t wait for glitzy events because with our ram-packed schedules, you know they’re rare to find. Instead, get your glam on and do whatever will make you feel confident and beautiful. Simple things will go a long way! For instance, for my extremely short anniversary getaway, I ditched my usual flip flops and only packed my favourite wedges (a gorgeous pair with a black, floral, vintage design). I walked all over with them, even on sandy beaches, and I felt amazing!

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Sweaty, greasy, but still-fabulous me on a recent pre-school fieldtrip to the woods 🙂

 6)      Make your frizzle fashionable.

Find your own solutions. For instance, at my home putting on nailpolish without smudging is impossible, so I simply conceal the mess with a coat of glitter or Krackle, or (if it’s still wet) I press thumbprints on it (call me crazy, but it looks cool). I also let my boys muck it up when they’re being antsy, and then remove the excess polish around the nails to rock it as grunge (yeah, I’m cool like that :P).

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Bad hair? The story of my life… Glam it up with fashionable hairclips or grabbers, or simply hide it with a super-chic hat!

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 7)      Do a professional glam photo-shoot.

It is incredibly important to document your good-looks at various stages; you know for vain, historic legacy purposes :P. But seriously, when you’re feeling your frumpiest, taking a look back at your fabulous self can do wonders for your self-confidence!

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So there you have it; generic but applicable tips about getting your groove back.

Now say this to yourself:

“I am (INSERT YOUR NAME HERE) and I am one shagadelic lady!”

Conversations with the boys, Raisin Pickneys

How NOT to tell your kids about a pet’s death…

Very recently, as I was about to put the boys to bed, I spotted something tragic. Their pet fighter fish Sharkeen, (their first pet ever ) had, quite literary, went to its watery grave.

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Staring dumbfoundedly at the poor lifeless fish for some seconds, possible options about how to handle the devastating situation flashed through my mind. And, being the self-proclaimed lover of honesty that I am, I decided that I should give the children (pre-schoolers ages three and four) the opportunity to say “goodbye” to their beloved fish. You know, for closure or something..

So very solemnly, I began to tell them; and I chocked. It went something like this “Boys, say “goodbye” to Sharkeen…he’s err…. not well (Lie #1) and he has to go down to the ocean (Lie #2) so that his family can help him get better (Lie #3)…”

The boys began to bawl. Not sulk, or fret, or sniff…but BAWL. Hysterically. At the top of their lungs. With tears pouring down their cute, devastated faces.

Frantic, dotish me, now decide to console them with the truth… “Don’t cry babies. Don’t cry. It’s alright. The truth is that Sharkeen got really sick and he died.”

Heightened bawling. Now with hysterical hiccuping.

Totally frantic, extremely dotish me, finally gets some sense… “Babies. babies, please listen. It’s ok. Sharkeen is in fish heaven. ( Lie #4) He’s safe and happy with all his other fish friends. (Lie #5). Don’t you want him to feel better? He’s no longer trapped in his sick body.”

The boys calm down a little. No longer hysterical, but still crying.

“But Mama, we don’t want him to go to fish heaven…” Now hysterical again, “Make- him- come- bbbaaaaccckkkk!!!”

Quick witted, non-dotish me… “Ok, hear what. Sharkeen just left his body behind, but his spirit is still around. (Lie #6) When fishes die, just like people, they leave their body behind because it’s broken and painful. Remember God could do anything. So I’m sure if you ask Him to give Sharkeen a new body He would. (Lie #7) But it would just take some time…like by tomorrow evening after school. (Lie #8)”

I continue to lie to save my rear, telling them that God would need some time to find a perfect, new body for the fish (Lie #9), that the new body might look a little different because Sharkeen himself might want something different (Lie #10), and that Sharkeen would definitely be back in his bowl (Lie #11) by the time they returned from school the next day.

Now a little bit better…”Mama could we ask God right now?”

I lead them in a prayer that asks God for Sharkeen back in a new body. A twisted, twisted prayer of fabrications….Father forgive me!…

The boys are now comforted, but still go on to make demands about the changes Sharkeen should have (he should be mainly black with green, yellow, brown, pink, orange and blue) so I reassure them that whatever Sharkeen wants (Lie #12), God will give him. Now fully comforted, the boys drop asleep.

The next day, as soon as the bell rings for my lunchbreak, I speed over to the nearest pet shop. “I need a fighter, a young adult, black with bits of blue, green, and a tinge of marroon-red.”

World-savy Pet Shop lady: “Who fish yuh kill?”

Me: Ded* with a wide, sheepish grin.

I select the fish closest in size, a beautiful and healthy Crown Fighter specimen.

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Unfortunately, the fish is different in both colour and breed.

Keeping my fingers, toes and eyes crossed, I return home to prepare the fish bowl, and head back to collect the boys.

“Mama is Sharkeen back yet?”

“I’m sure he is.” (Lie #13) They storm upstairs to the bedroom and I patiently await the verdict.

“Yay! He’s back! And he’s still black!”

Me (riding the enthusiasm to cover up the changed breed of fish): “Hey! And he’s turned into a ninja fish too! (Lie #14) Look how cool his fins look!”

They lap up every word of it.

I still feel dirty.

So folks…that concludes my post “How NOT to tell your kids about a pet’s death…” I hope you’ve learnt something valuable. If you did, please let me know, because truthfully, not even I get the lesson here…

Is it that (1) the truth about topic like death at this early age should remain taboo and avoided totally, or that (2) fanciful tales should be spun in such situations to avoid them the heartache? Or is it that (3) if a pet dies, run immediatey down to the pet store and replace it without your children’s knowledge…

Methinks I’ll opt for Option (3) anytime…

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RIP: Sharkeen the First.

SUNRISE: Question mark. But bred by Dada at https://www.facebook.com/GreenLivingVereVerdiVictusEnterprises

SUNSET: 12.03.2014:

This fish, given to the boys on Tiriel’s fourth birthday, would be missed unknown to its owners. You remain loved by all of us.

Conversations with the boys, Raisin Pickneys

Conversations with my boys: A collection of cute quips from toddler days

Conversations with my boys

On the drive home…

Jeje: “My tummy is speaking to me.”

Mom-Mom: “Why is your tummy speaking to you?”

Jeje: “My tummy is speaking ’cause I am hungry.”

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Conversations with my boys

During their morning’s bubble bath, the boys and I were having fun with animal sounds…

Me: “Jeje, what sound does a duck make?”

Jediah: “Quack! QUACK!”

Me: “And what sound does a baby duckling make?”

Tiriel: “GA-GA GOO-GOO QUACK! QUACK!!”

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Conversations with my boys

Me (presenting two small, non-pricky cacti to the boys): “Here are your baby plants for agriculture. Now you have to take care of them!”

Tiriel: “I want to give it milkie and rock it in the hammock!”

After my explanations about baby plants needing water and sunlight to grow big and strong (note I carelessly did not explain that plants need to stay still), the determined little one still managed to sneak baby cactus away to rock it in the hammock. And of course, baby cactus fell off the hammock and out the pot, and Dr. Mummy was left to clean up most of the mess and fix baby cactus’ boo-boos…

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Conversations with my boys

Me: “Ok, so because we’re doing things that start with the letter ‘B’, let’s go bathe in your blue bathtubs, with blue waters and bubbles, using water balloons!”

Jediah: “Yah!”

A very random Tiriel wiggles and declares: “Uh hmmm, and I have a BIG head!”

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Conversations with my boys

Hurricane Jediah, now in his terrible twos took his box of raisins and scattered it into his alphabet soup which he then poured unto his table. He was promptly buckled into the naughty chair and was left to contemplate his demeanour…

Me: “Jeje, are you going to be a good boy now?”

Jediah: “No, I am not.”
Me: “Why not?”
Jediah: “Because I am not a boy, I am a baby!”

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 Conversations with my boys

The following act of high treason occurred during a puppet show staged at home behind a couch. The brilliant show featured an eclectic cast of characters including the Frog Prince, Cookie Monster, and two audience members Tiriel and Jediah.

Act 14, Scene 7: Enter Tiriel who gives the poor and perpetually hungry Cookie Monster some cookies from the royal kitchen.
Frog Prince: “Tiriel, for your act of kindness towards Cookie Monster, I will make you a Prince.”

Tiriel: “No. You will make me King and you will buy me a crown.”

Jediah: “Yeah, me too!”

And so began the reign of King Tiriel and his little brother Jediah (also a King).

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Conversations with my boys

Me: (Pointing to Rico, one of the Penguins of Madagascar) “Gigi, what’s that?”

Jediah: (Pausing with a determined little frown) “Panda chicken.”

And thus it came to pass that the then one year old, through his impressive skill of association, aptly coined a new name for the little flightless bird (previously classified the Penguin specie of the Aves Spheniscidae family).


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Conversations with my boys
Me: “Tiri, what do you want to eat—macaroni and cheese?”

Tiriel: “No.”

Me: “Do you want spaghetti?”

Tiriel: “No.”

Me: “Noodles?”

Tiriel: “No.”

Me: “Wantons?”

Tiriel: “No.”

Me: “Popcorn chicken?”

Tiriel: “No.”

Me: “So what do you want to eat?”

Tiriel: “Tiri want to eat dinosaurs…”

And so began the age of the Tirisaur—ultimate carnivore and dinobal (eater of fellow dinosaurs) — or at least potato wedges shaped, amateurishly by mummy, like dinosaurs…

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Conversations with my boys

Narrator on a musical/story CD: “Where do you think the dinosaurs went?”

Tiriel: “They got lost.”
Me: “How did they get lost?”

Tiriel: “They went for a walk and disappeared.”

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