Parenting and Adulting

Big steps taken!

The New year brought major goal setting, (as my last post spoke about) and one of those included prepping L for Primary School so I wanted to update you guys on the progress he has been making. Our guidance included getting him more familiar with how to hold a pencil, forming letters, reading simple words etc. So, the first step was that we instituted a ‘reading and writing’ period in the afternoon. We got him a Spiderman workbook (he loves Spidey – only because he doesn’t know Batman yet*snicker*)

…anyways, we got him a Spidey workbook and colouring book where he can practice his pencil holding and letter-formation.

For a child who goes to a Preschool that utilises the ‘learning through play’ method, his letters are coming along pretty well…

 

 

We even found time to do some colouring together (I did the red, peach and orange parts).

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Exciting times right! Oh, and he surprised us over the holidays by reading about 90% of his ‘Good Night Moon’ book during reading time. I swear I was brought to tears. I hope to be able to record him reading and post sometime. That moment we were so stunned that the phones were forgotten and we just kept smiling and hugging him and telling him how proud we are of him. Our sweet boy! More of L’s progress to come!

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Being me · Parenting and Adulting

We finally made it to the Library!

After promising for what seemed like ages upon ages, we finally made it to the library! L was super excited because, as you guys know, we have kicked our reading and writing into high gear and he has been surprising us every day with how many words he knows. So a library was a big deal for him.

As we sat and waited for the librarians to issue our library cards (his is new and mine had to be renewed from expiration since 2010 – for shame), I realised how much I missed the wonderful world of books. Real paper and glue and thread and hard cover and soft cover books! The smell, the feel…it was so, so…well…near orgasmic if you ask me! I did not realise how much I had missed libraries. About 10 or so years ago when e-books made an appearance and kindles and e-readers were new and snazzy, I would swear to all that I would never, NEVER read or collect e-books because why would you want to give up the smell and feel of a real book? Then my then boyfriend (now hubby) gifted me with a kindle and it all changed. The matrix got me and I fell in love with the convenience (and frankly, the affordability) of an e-book. Then life kept happening and I kept collecting e-books like I did with hard copies before, but I read less and less. I recently told myself that I should start back reading, I mean what kind of writer would I be if I did not read even a fraction of the time that I spend on writing? I found a good ole classic (The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde) and begun to read…I got through a heaping 4 pages in a month…

So! I have thus challenged myself and I renewed my library card and where my son picked up two books I got me one (which is really two books in one). I have 28 days and I plan to use those days wisely. Here is to rekindling my relationship with books again!

 

Our books…

Parenting and Adulting

We have been busy little bees!

Over the Christmas clean-out/de-cluttering period when I was searching online to find the perfect gift for L, somehow Amazon, with it’s all-knowing powers told me (down-right insisted) that I should get a lovely organizational centre for L as well. So, I spent my hard-earned cash and bought the centre for him and waited with great anticipation for it to arrive. I actually was afraid neither it, nor the gift, would arrive on time since our Skybox providers (like all others) were having some shipping issues over the holiday period. But, it arrived and I sat back and let L and Daddy put it together. Yea…usually I am all in with the ‘putting stuff together from scratch’ thing, but this time I sat back and allowed them to have a great bonding experience. Hubby decided on the design and L found the pieces and hammered them into place; what a team! I was more than happy because finally all of his toys would be off the floor and displayed in a way that he would be able to access without help. This way, he (hopefully) won’t simply forget all of the things he has to fill his days.

Their hard work paid off…I supplied the ‘skill’ of label-making. Now, there is a place for everything and we are no longer in danger of obtaining a major lego injury, or a truck-borne fracture. Good times!

 

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So no need for these bad boys!

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I even found time to re-organise my own workspace. It isn’t too fancy, and I do more than just writing in there (sewing when I have the time), but now I am able to breathe and know where it all is and I don’t feel claustrophobic anymore. 

Sidenote: I diy-ed the note board from a frame my friend, and Maid of Honour made for my beach-themed wedding. Cool right?

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So  now we both can see where our stuff is and we can access it all we easily. So here is to a more organised and focused crew!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Writing

Old Year / New Year: What did you achieve?

I sit here writing this post on ‘Old Year’s Day’ as we Trinidad call it (New Year’s Eve for everyone else), and I have so much going on in my head. Do I make the cliche ‘New year, New me’ post, or do I do something else? Well, seeing as I am not one to make resolutions, I think just sharing my goals would suffice. Most people make resolutions because it is the ‘thing to do’, but never achieve it because it tends to be the same vague resolution every year. Everyone wants to ‘exercise more’, or ‘eat healthier’ but never looks past the resolution to attainable goals. I say, instead, set goals. Put it in writing and note, step by step, the process to achieving that goal. If it is important enough, then you need to commit to it; make it concrete, so along the way, you can tick off each step achieved and you can see how much closer you are to achieving said goal.

So here I go sharing my General goals….

But first, I want to look back a bit at what was achieved in 2017.

  • I finally got approval for my Oral exam for my MFA programme. The final step to completing my Master’s programme!
  • I got very specific about my career and the services that I provide and took a serious look at how I plan to move forward. This included me no longer compromising payments simply because I wanted the job.
  • I took some risks and was able to secure opportunities that I thought I would not have gained otherwise.
  • I started this blog! Restarting my blogging has been something I have had on my mind for many years and I was afraid to do it because I always wondered, ‘what would I write about? Well, that is no longer an issue, thankfully.

Looking forward to 2018…

  • Secure more meaningful opportunities when it comes to writing and my freelance work.
  • Focus more on my son’s preparation for Primary school (I will definitely be blogging about this).
  • Take more risks! I have allowed my fears to prevent me from grabbing at many opportunities, but if 2017 has taught me anything, it is that taking risks do tend to pay off. So while my stomach may be in knots, I am going to make that call, send that e-mail or click that link.
  • I am going into super overdrive scheduling of my life so as to achieve all that I need to.

So, let’s head into 2018 together with a positive outlook and a plan to achieve our goals!

Parenting and Adulting

We finally put up the tree!

As I said in my last post, I have been juggling the task of cleaning, organising and downsizing for the past month in prep for Christmas. Well, I finished with my house feeling lighter and we finally put up the tree!

We were smart enough not to tell L that we were putting up the tree until the day before (Saturday) because if you have a small child, you know how many questions you can get between the telling about the event and the event itself. In order to spare yourself some words (and from losing your shit multiple times) you tell them they are heading to a birthday party while they are in the car, or going to visit a friend while you are pulling up in their driveway. You can’t leave these things to chance or else you will lose your mind (new parents take note, this is not a joke!).

Anyways, since he has been going on and on about Santa attending their school party and giving him a gift and how he can’t wait for the 25 December (yes 25, not 25th), we knew helping to put up the tree was going to be an even bigger deal for him this year. He pranced and paced all Sunday morning waiting until we brought out the boxes and he could not contain himself. But my big boy helped string lights and hung decor and did his job (putting the star on top of the tree). We did all this to the merry music of the Mariah Christmas album (a favourite of my husband’s) and we made some memories.

Oh how I love Christmas!

 

Uncategorized

It has been a while…

Whew! It surely has been a minute since I made a blog post, huh? Well, I haven’t given up on blogging just yet! I have been super busy with writing a monthly article for the Care Parenting Magazine in the Trinidad Guardian, doing client projects and trying to get my house all spruced up for the upcoming Christmas holidays. We also had some days in there where L got his first cold for the school term and he was home for a few days, then when he got better he had to go get his booster shots and his arm hurt for about two days, so he was home again until he felt better.  But all in a days/weeks’ work right?

To be honest, cleaning really shouldn’t have been taking so long but I have taken on the task of also doing major decluttering as well. So one room has been taking at least a day or two because I am deep-cleaning and sorting and deciding what needs to be tossed. Anyways, between my self-imposed decluttering Christmas task, my hands have been full (thankfully) with jobs and of course, since they pay the bills, they take first preference. But, I have three more days until school is up and I have un-encumbered time to clean and do the needful without  my four year old shadow.

Oh! I almost forgot to mention my biggest news yet! My manuscript has been accepted for examination! Finally, I am one major step closer to finishing this MFA programme and it has been a long hard road. I am over the moon elated!!! So come January, I shall get info on my oral examination and of course I shall blog about the process (once it is allowed).

Anyways, back at it again. Christmas is almost here!! (In my elf voice).

Parenting and Adulting

Of Myth and Legends- Part 2

Last time I blogged about some of the more ridiculous bits of advice some of my mommy friends had been told while they were pregnant, and when they had just welcomed a newborn baby into their lives.

Today, they will reveal what they did with the ‘new-school’ info vs the ‘old-school’ info. How did they manage to sift through all the myth and legend to find their way to a steady state of parenting? Here is how:

What important child-rearing advice did you purposefully ignore as a first-time parent, and still got desirable results?

Crystine: Hmm. I really sifted through all the advice I got for what made sense. I think that the one I ignored and got great results still was to put him on his back to sleep. There was a whole “back to sleep” campaign about how it’s possible to reduce SIDS but he was a belly sleeper at first.

Sean-Ann: That I need to embarrass and spank a child to get them to listen.

Jennifer: Taping down her navel with a penny. I bypassed that and today she has a ‘innie’ and not an ‘outie’.

Krystal: Spare the rod. I can discipline without a physical rod!

Aryann: I didn’t listen when they said I had to close the opening on their heads. Science said it would close if I didn’t try to manipulate it.

 

What old-school advice did you take that has proven to be true?

Crystine: A held baby is a happy baby. While one grandmother was against baby wearing because she thought I was spoiling him *again eyeroll* another was 100% for keeping him close. And it was wonderful for us both. He was not at all fussy once worn on my back or chest and I got all my work and errands done without trouble.

Sean-Ann: Don’t co-sleep, and set a bedtime routine from birth.

Jennifer: None.. none at all

Krystal: Keeping their tummies warm to help with gas.

Aryann: Sleep when they sleep. Best advice ever!!! I didn’t realize I would find all sorts of random things to do and I was overwhelmed and exhausted, I eventually learnt.

 

Which new-age advice did you practice that you were told would never work (from your advice givers) that worked exceptionally well?

Crystine:  I can honestly say I didn’t do anything “new aged”. I did centuries old baby wearing, centuries old co-sleeping, centuries old boobing when he called for it… I didn’t do the whole healing crystals for teething and all that jazz. Mostly the things my ancestors would’ve done.

Sean-Ann: No matter the age of your child speak to them like they understand you and like their opinions and feelings matter. Trust your children and show them they can trust you.

Jennifer: Not feeding my child water at the age of 3 months… look she’s still alive.

Krystal: Putting baby to sleep on their back. They said the baby will never sleep well. They must sleep on their stomach. Turns out to be wrong.

Aryann: Kids are resilient. They will overcome.

 

Kids are resilient; they will overcome. What a wonderful way to put it. So simple, and so true. Despite all the crazy advice we were all given (whether rooted in science or familial practice), and whether we took that advice or not, our children have all thrived. I know for a fact my mommy friends who took part in this have wonderful children who continuously amaze them in all that they do. They make friends, they learn their ABC’s, they are as mannerly as their age group is expected to be and above all; they are loving…and alive! Yes, you may laugh at that last bit there but let us not discount the fact that keeping the  little buggers alive and thriving isn’t important! None of my mommy friends ever took advice (old school or not) blindly without first ever taking into account their child’s welfare, and that I think is paramount to everything.

While I will never discount the importance of handing down information and practices throughout the generations, we all need to sift through the madness and don’t follow it all blindly just because ‘granny say so’. In fact I would even say that about new-aged stuff as well. When it comes to our children; do what you think is the best thing for them.

Here are a list of traditions that I found out about later on:

  • Pinning a blue bag onto the baby to prevent maljo* (this bag would most likely contain a piece of Indigo Blue, a twenty-five cent piece a Psalm and some would add a medallion).
  • Baby should also be marked with the Indigo Blue to prevent maljo
  • Throwing a dirty diaper onto the roof to treat colic
  • The new mother should not bathe for 9 days
  • Stand up in the sun on the 9th day and drink a dose of Castor oil to get your ‘clean out’
  • Tie a bag with square camphor onto a child for the treatment of a cold
  • Blow on baby’s nails so that they won’t grow too quickly

 

*Maljo or correctly, Mal Yeaux : Trinbagonian version of ‘bad eye’ or ‘evil eye’. When someone has this evil eye put onto them, the only way to get rid of it is to ‘Jharay’ or exorcise the demons/evil spirits.

Parenting and Adulting

Of Myth and Legend- Trinidad and Tobago Parenting edition- Part 1

Recently I have been having conversations with some mommy friends of mine and I realised that we live in a country that thrives on myths and legends and old wives tales when it comes to pregnancy and raising children. While I would never dismiss the validity of old-school advice or medicine, some of the things I heard in my conversation were downright ridiculous! I mean, what would throwing a dirty diaper onto your roof really achieve except for a roof that now smells like poop? But, not many people see it like that. Many members of our society believe there is some validity to all these myths and legends and tales…

*Shrug*

Somehow, I was able to be pregnant and have my son without any ‘old wives tales’ being slung about – possibly because many of my friends at the time did not have children, and those who did only had practical advice for me. However, many of my new mommy friends weren’t so ‘lucky’ as they were constantly bombarded with ‘advice’ from grandparents and parents and in-laws and the random old lady on the street.  My near-hermit pregnancy existence protected me from a lot I guess!

But truthfully, I was only able to live in this bubble because my mother was not in the country at the time and we did not always have a clear line of communication. I knew if she were here, I would have had my earful of things that were ‘necessary’ and ‘life-or-death’. But I was able to rely heavily on advice from my older sister, who had two children of her own. She did not sugar coat things for me (which I appreciated), but she did not get into the ridiculous tales of yesteryear either. I managed to get through my pregnancy, labour and birth without hearing nary an old wives tale, so when my mommy friends began to speak of the many they were told, I sought to find out how far these myths and legends went.

I spoke to five friends and asked them some questions; the answers I will share over the course of a few blog posts. This post will be on just pregnancy and newborn myths.

 


Mommy Respondents

Crystine (32), 1 son, (4)

Sean Ann (41), 2 children (10&6)

Jennifer (32), 1 daughter, (3)

Krystal (29), 2 children (1&3)

Aryann (26), 3 children (2 girls; 6&3 and 1 newborn son)


What was the most ridiculous thing you were told to do when you were pregnant?

Crystine: Don’t rub my belly when craving food. I will mark the baby.

Sean-Ann: I shouldn’t do (insert normal task here) because of my “condition”, it was like I was handicapped or something.

Jennifer: When  I was pregnant I was told not to eat too much pepper as the baby would have bad skin and break out in hives and rashes. I guess this is why N has eczema.

Krystal: Don’t eat pepper because the baby will be born with heats.

Aryann:  I’ve been told a lot of ridiculous things, for example: don’t have sex, it will hurt the baby’s head, don’t eat pineapple or paw paw, you cant go out in the dew because the baby will be asthmatic.

 

What was the most ridiculous thing you were told to do when your child was a newborn?

Crystine: It’s really a toss up between don’t wear him in the wrap or feed on demand because I’ll spoil him *eyeroll* and throw his dirty diaper on the roof for dew (colic).

Sean-Ann:Don’t wring her clothes while washing, she’ll get gripe.

Jennifer: There were a few well… throw her poop filled pamper on the roof as to prevent maljo.. also to stay out of the evening dew; another way for her to get maljo.

Krystal: Give the baby cereal at 2 weeks to help them sleep!

Aryann: That dew is bad for a baby, that I need thread sucked on for her forehead because she has hiccups and, if her poop is yellow then she has maljo.

 

If you enjoyed this, then don’t hesitate to share even more old wives tales (from your country or community) and the effect they had on you and how you raised your children.

Next post will be on how they managed to sift through new-school and old school advice and came out on the better side of child-rearing.

Writing

Beneath My Skin-My collection of Poetry

So a while back (think about 4 years ago) I decided to gather all the poetry that I had been writing throughout my teen years and get down to editing them. I spent the better part of 6 months or so editing and formatting it into an E-book. I even commissioned a special cover from a graphic artist friend CDB Design Studio. I was, and still am very proud of all my work and if you want to take a read you can feel free to get it on either kindle or hardcopy. I do hope you enjoy it and don’t forget to tell me what you think in the comment section on Amazon!

Get Beneath My Skin.

I have also recently finished my second manuscript (a collection of short stories) which was my thesis for my MFA Creative Writing programme. I am both equal parts scared and excited for this manuscript. It is currently with my Postgraduate supervisors awaiting comment. Let’s hope I get to graduate this year, as this programme has drawn on for ages! But I shall tell you more about my postgraduate experience in another post soon, I promise.

….So, just get my book okay. It’s real affordable and makes a great gift!