The Abscondita Effect

Maggie has a uniform.

It was her only request when she started working with us.  We agreed and had some made, including aprons.

My father in law is a mechanic, so he spends a lot of time on overalls. As Leo has not started school yet, he spends a lot of time with his grandpa tinkering around. We decided to have an overall made for him so we do not have to struggle with grease on his clothes. You should have seen how excited he was when he wore it for the first time, he even wanted to sleep in it.

Now my princess felt left out and asked for a uniform like Maggie’s. Complete with an apron so she can help out in the housework. I was taken aback at first as I thought she would ask for an overall like her brother’s. But no, she was adamant. Uniform with an apron, same design and colour as Maggie’s.

I thought it was a phase and ignored it for some weeks, but the girl was persistent. Turns out she even requested Maggie to take her to the local tailor to have her measurements taken. This Mum still thought it was a joke, until I was asked for some money to pay the fundi yesterday morning.

I came home from work to find my girl brimming with pride over her uniform. I have never been so jazzed up as I was yesterday. The girl is so excited she can now look like Maggie as she helps her.

I am learning a lot out of this; I am a young parent but I am learning to let my kids be. If it does not harm them and will help them, who am I to deter them?

I have learnt to appreciate Maggie more. She is excellent with kids and it is obvious they love and respect her. A LOT. She loves them too, see how she just took them to have measurements taken and even picked the clothes herself. Men the kids do not even talk back at her (unlike me). Yani, I do not know how I can ever repay her for the great job she is doing with my kids.

I have also learnt that written education is not everything. In many of the Moms groups I am in, mothers are looking for young, educated help for their kids and a whole endless list of perfect qualities they must have. Ours was only for Maggie to love and care for our kids and she has done a fabulous job, without even knowing how to read. Yes, you read me right. The first time she told me she was semi –literate I thought she was joking but yes, she cannot read written instructions. And yes, she was able to measure formula well and has never mixed up the kids’ medication.

I have learnt to be patient. Maggie is much older than H and I. We have learnt to take some things in stride and overlook some, because nobody is perfect in this world. And she is much wiser than us, raised more kids than us and lived longer than us, so on some issues, she knows best and me and my degree certificates just take a back seat. She also cooks porridge better than me, according to my angels 🙂

This has also challenged me on the gender stereotypes we have, and I am still working on this. We have exposed both kids to the same environment, they both tinker with their grandpa on the cars he is working on, both help in house chores including the cooking, both help out in the shamba, both play with the same toys (they have full blown tea parties) but Njeri just gravitated towards household chores. I need to dust off my developmental psychology notes as I am lost on this. Have we subconsciously taught them gender roles or is it just Njeri growing into her gender identity? Leo has more blurred lines but you will hear him say some things are not for boys, or for girls.

Raising kids is a whole degree in psychology I tell you.

It Takes a Village.

This past Saturday, H and I attended a parenting forum that had been organized by one of our Church departments. They had sent out texts about three weeks earlier and has asked folks to RSVP to confirm attendance.

It was an early meeting, from 8-11am, So we were able to plan that day well in advance to be there on time. Not much information had been given, but since it had been billed as an open and free parenting forum, I assumed many parents would sign up. Wrong. We were exactly 12 people. TWELVE! Out of a church with many members, most of whom are young parents. TWELVE. And these twelve included the facilitators and church staff present. Never mind that the texts had been sent to all church members with kids aged 12 and below. TWELVE. To say I was shocked and disappointed is an understatement. I know some had work and urgent commitments but 12 is such a low number.

Anyway, those who did not come missed out on a lot. The forum was basically an open discussion on how we are raising the children we have now, to be the proper adults of the future.

A lot has changed in the world culturally, socially, technologically, scientifically, education wise, but there are still core issues that need to be ingrained in the children we are raising.

  • What values are we instilling in them, and how will they be able to maintain those values? Exposure is key, but there have to be boundaries set on the same.
  • What determines our children’s self-worth? How will they know who they are? From a young age, they are taught everyone is a winner, till they grow a bit older and realize it does not always work that way. We need to start celebrating the right successes in them and with them.
  • Do our children have a relationship with God? This is taught by the parents, not the Sunday school teachers. They need to know how to pray and that God answers prayers. God does not make mistakes, and He listens, even if He does not answer immediately.

Role modeling.

Are we appropriate role models? Who are your children’s role models? In our parents’ time, our aunties and uncles, even neighbours had a right to call us out when we did wrong. It is not the same these days. The saying “it takes a village to raise a child” has changed, or is no longer even valid in some places.

Fact is, as parents we NEED that village. You need fellow parents to encourage you, your child needs village members to learn from as you may not be able to do it all. You could have a grandparent, an auntie, an older cousin and an older friend who know your values, agree with them and are able to impart the same to your children in a way that it does not seem to come from you directly. There was even a great example given to observe how our children treat those younger than them, who look up to them. Observing such interactions speaks volumes on what our children are learning from us. Remember the saying, “Monkey say, monkey do?”

We need to be deliberate and intentional about the people around our children.

Transferable Skills

There are those things we can be able to teach our children to equip them for the world ahead:-

  • Communication skills. Both verbal and non-verbal. When we teach them how to communicate, they are able to express themselves successfully. For younger ones, understand but do not encourage the tantrums.
  • Taking Initiative. Do not decide everything for your child. Allow them to verbalize what they want.
  • Creativity. That is, encourage free flow and expression of the ideas they come up with. Do not schedule their every minute, it is alright to allow them to get bored a bit.
  • Integrity. How do we handle the first “white lie?” Do we lie to them?
  • Attitude. “Talk to the hand” should be nipped in the bud as soon as possible, they need to learn how to have the right attitude.
  • Work Ethic. Always think about the adult your child will become. Let them not think that work tires and is a drudge. Work can be fun, work is rewarding. Encourage them to learn and enjoy work.
  • Team Work. Teach them how to work within a team, how to partner with others. How to interact well with others. Let each have a turn in doing something and celebrate the joint successes.
  • Leadership.How to lead themselves and lead others. Also comes in with patience, honesty, attitude, taking initiative and working well in a team.
  • Time management. We need to teach them how to divide time between different things. Schedule but do not overdo it. Routines are good and teach them there is a time for play, for chores, for others, etc.
  • Listening skills. Reading to them hones their listening skills. Also listen to them as a parent, expect a response from them to know whether they are paying attention or not. Ask them if they understand what you have said. Use age appropriate language and terms so as not to confuse them.
  • Personal Development. Appreciate the milestones. (Do not reward) Make them look forward to each stage of development.
  • Research and Critical thinking. Let them find solutions, do not always give them the right answers.
  • Information Technology. Let them know what it entails just limit the exposure.

There was a lot more and some of these skills were expounded in detail that each would probably need a blog post on its own.

It was a great session, H and I as well as the other parents in session learnt so much and agreed to another forum in future, but most importantly, agreed to share with others what we learnt.

It is never too early to prepare your child for the adult they will become in the future. We are not just raising future scientists, teachers, politicians, engineers, chefs, musicians etc. We are also raising future fathers, mothers, aunties, uncles, workers, and role models.

As I look at our two children right now and how H and I are raising them, we are now conscious that what we may not nip now, will rear its ugly head in a few years, and what we water now, will blossom wonderfully in a few years too.

Have you been to any parenting forum? How was your experience?

The Look

Being a mother is a learning experience. There is no manual that fits all.

The parenting books and websites and Prayers do help a lot, but there are many times one wonders if you are doing right by the kids and your values.

Nobody wants a child who behaves badly, but we do not want perfect robots either. You want a child who can communicate well and stand up for themselves, but you do not want them to be a bully or be arrogant either.

Growing up, our parents’ mantra was “Spare the rod, spoil the child.” Our generation is more indulgent now, and we have to look for other ways to instil discipline in our children. There is one thing that has not changed though, and that is “THE LOOK”

The universal way for all mothers to express disapproval at their children’s shenanigans. That stare is enough to make folks freeze in their tracks.  The day you learn or realize you have “the Look” nailed is a moment of pride for all Mothers around the world. You are there keeping a straight face as you give the child one cold stare that will make them feel cold, but inside you are doing the happy dance that you have finally nailed it. Oh the moment of triumph!

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Being a Mom

How do you know you have nailed it? When your child looks back at you, actually stops misbehaving and either bursts into tears or apologises, or looks down guiltily.

Happy Parenting Folks 🙂

Motherhood appraisal….LizWala style

Organisation: Wala abode Title: Mothering four children Year or period covered: December 2007 to December 2016 Time in present position: 9 years Appraisee: Amakove Appraiser: Management State your understanding of your main duties and responsibilities To mother four children. I had initially applied for 2 children. One boy and one girl. The orders got mixed […]

via Performance Appraisal: Year 9 — lizwala

Potato Love

Potatoes are bae. Love them in all their forms. Roasted, boiled, fried, mashed…..YUM!

We are in the midst of drought and vegetable prices have skyrocketed as supply is less than demand.

Luckily, H travelled to an area known for fluffy potatoes and came back with some plus fresh juicy carrots the kids and I keep snacking on.

I made potato bhajias the other night, with salad and panfried tilapia.

The bhajias were literally eaten off as I cooked by the kids, by the time I plated my portion, they were the few remaining, but hey, as long as we were all fed, it was fine.

For the potatoes, I just sliced them thin and dunked them in a thickish batter of gram flour, paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper and finely chopped coriander.

Do not overcrowd in the pan as you fry so they can get crispy and not clump together.

The salad was a basic kachumbari of onion, tomato, salt and pepper, squeeze of lemon and a bit of chopped coriander leaves, I just added some grated carrots as these carrots are so sweet and juicy, I had to add them. J

The fish-fresh Tilapia was marinated in lemon juice, seasalt and black pepper, then pan fried. Do not forget to squeeze some lemon just before serving.

A delicious and filling meal.

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Crispy  fries potatoes, tilapia and kachumbari

Leo turns Three!

My  Lil’ man is three! Yipee! Oh how time flies.

It feels like just the other day we came home from the hospital and Njeri was a bit afraid of this constantly crying baby but she also showed him so much love and affection, and still does.

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Isn’t he handsome?

The two have a great bond. Oh they do fight like fiends (which siblings don’t?)but they also have their own little private jokes and games they play with each other.

We did not have anything big planned for his birthday. I am yet to throw a huge party for either of them, I have always preferred a family affair which I know will change over time as they grow.

His cake was this beautiful creation from a good friend who has become a leading baker in her own right. In her words, “it was not her best creation,” but  we loved it.

I really appreciate the fact that she pulled it off as she was also planning her twins’ birthday party and my cake was to be delivered the day before the party. Not withstanding the crazy butter shortage in this town. Argh!

I sent her an online pic of what I wanted and she nailed it! This is his current favorite cartoon. His first birthday was Lightning Mcqueen, Second was Paw Patrol (done by Hash too) and this was Blaze the Monster Machine. I am pretty sure next year will be auto themed too. Hahahaha.

Vanilla with buttercream frosting by the lovely Hashnunish Sultan. You can check out her creations on FB page, Custom Cakes by Hash.

It was a beautiful cake by a beautiful person and the taste was heavenly. Still licking my lips at the memory of the yumminess 🙂

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Vanilla with buttercream frosting Blaze Monster Machine Birthday Cake 

 

You should know people.

This morning as I dropped Njeri to school, I decided to walk her all the way to class and say hello to her classmates.

Oh the sweet little girls, playing with their play dough, others colouring and chatting. I walked round and said hey to each of them as I asked for their names. (What better way to match faces to the names when Njeri talks about school? Hehehehe).

Anyway, I got to one girl whose name I knew as she attended the interview same day as my daughter. I said hi and as I walked away this ensued:-

Little girl: I know how you know my name!

Me: You do? Oh, and how do I know your name?

Little girl: Because you see me on your TV!

Me: Oh! I do?

Little girl: Yes! That’s how everybody knows my name.

Me: Is that so? That is lovely.

At this point my mind was blank and I had to ask the teacher what  the little girl was talking about. Apparently she is in a local yoghurt commercial that I haven’t watched yet. Till now.

Oops, I really should know people. 🙂

PS: Zawadi is a very beautiful and confident young miss. And no, her name is not mentioned anywhere in the commercial. LOL