02 May

Own Clothes’ Day and other Developments

I don’t think it’s fair that I share how my day went with you, but you don’t tell me about yours. Tell me what you’ve been up to in the comments box at the end of the post 😉

It’s ok Toks, breathe. You look like you’ve got it all together, you run a business and have a husband and four sons all adorable in every sense of the word. Your boys look well looked after, no one can tell that you scream at them like a mad woman indoors, you can handle this.

This was my pep talk as I made my way to #4’s school for the second time this morning. Now I know why when we first arrived, the headteacher looked at him until he disappeared into the school gates, but never looked back at me to smile as she usually does. Every child was in yellow. Every. Except mine. Yes, it was yellow own clothes day for Alzheimer’s or whooping cough- or some disease. I started to mentally go through his drawer as I drove back home for a yellow top. Nada. Then I went through each of his brothers wardrobes and recalled #3 used to have a yellow T-shirt which I hated. Did I toss it? Did hubby? That man! Always tossing stuff!!!

I arrive home and find a black shirt with orange stripes. I look at it from every angle each time convincing myself it would pass for yellow, it simply depends on how much of a fault-finder you are. I find a black cap with a bit of yellow threading. I contemplate rushing to Primark for a yellow t-shirt, but I don’t see the time logic in that.

Back in the car, I slowly déjàvu myself down Elm road to his school. I draw comfort from the fact that at least the school hasn’t called me, I noticed first. It could have been worse. I could have remained oblivious to the glaring yellow dresses and shirts, but I didn’t. Surely observation and swift action must score me some points?  A quick glance at my phone reveals 2 missed calls. One is from my tradesman who keeps calling me Tosk, and the other is from the school. The voice message denies me any sense of pride as it tells me #4 is crying, he told his teacher it was because he bumped his head on Chloe’s, but the teacher just knows it’s because he’s not wearing yellow. And can I please bring him something if I’m not far? That last ‘please’ concocts 2 emotions in me.

1) Renewed love for the school he attends. They care so much for the kids and play the role of mummy very well.

2) I’m the mummy here, why does this voicemail make me feel like they’re doing a better job at being mum than I am?

I walk into the school dragging behind me the carcass of my dignity and rehearse my nonchalant speech as to why for the second time in as many weeks I forgot own clothes day. I survive the knowing smiles they offer me.

The mother in law has had minor surgery on her foot and is at my home, she would like to go back to her house today, she announced yesterday and again this morning. As I make my way back home I contemplate my options. I have a busy day ahead and driving through the overcrowded streets of South London is absent from my list. Each morning when I arrive at work I do the most dreaded task first. It’s called eating the frog. The drive to my mother-in-law’s house is my frog. Should I give the juiciest part of my day to frog eating & get it out of the way or keep the pulsating creature in full view to address it at the end of the day? I decide I don’t want it breathing heavily over my mind all day so off we go.

In the car, she informs me that ‘the corpse’ of her club secretary is being flown back to Nigeria. She says ‘corpse’ at the exact moment I shove a sausage roll into my mouth. I manage to swallow the unbroken bits hurriedly. Why do Nigerians talk like that? Couldn’t she simply have simply said he was flown home? Or even the body was taken home? As if that isn’t enough she goes on to explain how the corpse was ‘butchered’, read has stab wounds, and the viewing won’t be done during the wake keeping since it is unsightly. This part of the conversation happens while I’m swallowing a mouthful of pineapple juice. My mind, insistent as it is, conjures up neat, even cuts like you see on grilled tilapia- with yellow liquid oozing out. I swallow my juice, which tastes like blood and make a mental note not to eat and drive with her in the car again.

The Nigerian elections got me super excited, I was on a roll and I apologise to the friends I kept texting even in the middle of the night. The highlight for me was when the Rivers state election results were being read by the guy who introduced himself with several titles. Add to that the sign language interpreter whose actions bore a striking resemblance to that of the Mandela funeral interpreter’s. Then there were the memes that followed:

jegaThis one was in reference to the cool and calm manner displayed by the INEC chairman following another bit of drama.

#4 has advanced in many ways but sadly has regressed in others. The last 4 nights have had him creeping into our bed in the middle of the night. If he curled up on a spot and remained quiet through the night I wouldn’t say a word. I’ll simply cuddle him and enjoy the last few years of having a pre-tween. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. He fights and argues in his sleep. Snatching toys or whatever it is from his brothers. He holds full conversations. I hope it isn’t the watching of too much TV that’s got his mind wide awake at 2am while his body sleeps. I have reduced his TV time sha and he isn’t happy. But I don’t care, I just want to sleep. And raise a sane and successful child. And remember when it’s yellow, red or green t-shirt day.

How about you, what have you been up to?

13 Jan

Quick Update on the Temperament Test

I had no idea what The Personality Test post would result in. I received results of the test from friends by phone, email or on facebook. Worse than that was the fact that I started psycho-analysing everyone I came across. Someone on facebook had posted a cute picture of her daughter and one of the commenters couldn’t simply say ‘aw, sweet‘ like everyone else did. She had to add; ”my daughter does that too, a lot!”. I immediately recognised it as typical sanguine behaviour. The need to steal any limelight that isn’t shining brightly on her. I had to resist the urge to comment after her; “madam, you have your own wall, go there to boast about your daughter!” And no, I don’t know her.

Suzy and I were holding a normal conversation and without realising I started to analyse the people she was talking about. ”She must be a melancholic”, said Toks. “She can’t help being moody”.

I forced, told  suggested to my staff to take the temperament test too. Now I realise that although she’s a sanguine like me, I’m the one who instigates all the chatting in the office. Not her.

Clearly I need help.

Justjoxy (aka Dynamite) also did the temperament test and found out she has painstakingly surrounded herself with fellow cholerics. Sanguines, Phlegs or Melancholics need not apply. That means I am really chuffed that she couldn’t resist having me, a mere sanguine as her friend!

Remember I had asked for help in naming my new blog? Now I request your help in naming my new personality. I thought about taking all the fine points of all four temperaments and creating an alter ego but I don’t know if that’ll work, I might forget which trait I’m trying to exhibit on a particular post. I have a habit or a rule of not using my real date of birth. Besides my passport, driver’s license and birth cert, I see no earthly reason why any organisation should have it. I’m talking about utility companies and the likes. When I opened a mobile phone account 2 years ago, I gave a fake date. Unfortunately that was before I decided to stick to one  fake date of birth. So when I was moving house and needed to verify my account, 3 dates later and I couldn’t remember my ‘D.O.B’. The customer service rep turned on me saying ‘you don’t know your own date of birth?’ I could have slapped her! If there’s a way I can present multiple personalities without coming across as having a personality disorder, please share.

Remember my wedding videographer I mentioned in the last post? Well I called him and he assures me he really still has my video- that should be DVD by now. We had a good chat and I want him to refer some business to me.  He wants me to add him as a friend on facebook. Trouble is I have already tattled about him on Pawpaw & Mango (note: previous post only!) and I shamelessly pedal the blog up and down on my facebook wall. Please send in your suggestions on how to get out of this pickle. It gets worse. I have become bolder and now accept friend requests from acquaintances especially if we can mutually benefit each other, or we have common interests. This means I can no longer write posts brazenly. They might conclude I need psychological assistance if I share some more on how I raise my boys. They might stalk me if they feel I’m writing about them.

I shared a post on InspireMe on how blessed I am. This week has been phenomenal as God revealed to me how blessed I was with very good friends. My friends are all dynamic in their own way and invest in me too. Just the knowledge alone gave me such joy. Now I really have to do that post on friendship I have bragged about for the last two years. I’ll do it. Next time.

Nothing more to report, have a blessed week!

06 Sep

The Toddler Insists on Growing Up. I Refuse to Let Him.

My little Josh started school an hour ago. its not like he hasn’t been to ‘school’ before, after all he was in pre-school. Does that count? No? Ok.

He looked so cute, determined and excited as I dropped him off, wondering if his school will take me in as a substitute teacher for one day only.

The day started with me waking him up and asking if he remembers what he’ll be doing today.

He answered;  ‘sleeping. I want to sleep some more‘ and he promptly nodded off to sleep again.
Finally we get him all dressed with me fussing over him the whole time. I ask if he is excited about school, he replies quizzically,

‘Why?’

You see this child has inherited his some father’s cynicism and I keep forgetting that. It wasn’t like this with my sweet son #3, he cuddled me and shared the same emotions I had- which went from extreme calm to anxiety nervosa.

We try to take some pictures. He keeps jumping off right before the flash goes thereby rendering my resolve rewrite history, useless. I  need to have every memory recorded because now I know I’ll forget like I’ve forgotten a lot that happened with his brothers.

On our way to school I tell him how proud I am of him.  Again he asks why, this time with a real desire to know. I explain that he is such a good, clever and handsome boy. I tell him how proud I am to be his mama. At this he smiles his charming smile. I push back the tears I feel welling up.

When we arrive he runs ahead happily, promptly stops and asks me to pick him up, he is tired of running. I worry that this carrying thing won’t last for long. I stop worrying and choose to enjoy the moment instead.

We arrive and go to meet his teachers, they are warm, friendly and appear to like my Josh already. I notice that I’ve managed to smear his white shirt with my make-up. I don’t care, I hope my love and my smell got smeared on too and will remain with him until I pick him up at 3:20pm.

While we wait in the presence of other mummies, many of them visibly nervous, I ask him if he’ll make new friends.

‘Yes mum, and if anyone punches me I punch them right back’.

‘ Punch them right back’  is accompanied by a forceful swing with his fist, I think it’s called the uppercut in boxing.

I watch my potential rep as a perfect mum disappear quietly down the proverbial drain. You know how there’s always one mum who annoyingly stands out from the rest of us as perfect. She is NEVER late for the school run. When you’re late she just has to ask;

‘Did you over-sleep?’

You reply defensively but with just the right amount of dignity;

‘No I didn’t, but I had to scrape the ice from my windscreen’

She replies in a sing-song, high-pitched voice;

‘You should have allowed time for that!’ Her response is finished off with a small laugh and a cursory wave of her left hand. Not just a laugh, but the laugh that is er…’at you’.

She buys mainly organic veggies from the grocery store and plants her own herbs and tomatoes. Oh and she makes her own ice-cream in the summer. She has on brown cords, knee-high boots and a tweed blazer over her cream coloured, floral top.

Sorry I digress, another post.

I sprint back to the car, partly for exercise (still trying to get past 3 mins of exercise daily. The plan was to start small and build it up. The problem is not the starting.  Another blog post, another time.) I remember the last time I sprinted to the car after dropping of a certain son on his first day. I was sprinting from a myriad of emotions, glee, liberation, thankfulness. I didnt want to waste a second of my new-found freedom. That child shall of course remain nameless.

My advice to mums who have found themselves an emotional wreck on first day at school? Remember that a new experience prepares them for all things life has to offer. They’ll enjoy the exhilaration of new friends, new routines and new toys. It works for me every time. Except today.

Off I go to vent those tears, they’re becoming rather annoying!

17 Sep

The insanity test

Dear Rosemary,

It is 8:43am. I very nearly forgot that I need to pick child #3 up from his sleepover at your house.

You see it has been a blissful week. Child #2 went on a school camping trip on Monday and only returned yesterday, Friday. Five days with 3 children has had hubby and I wondering what life would have been if we stopped at 3. Of course we love all our sons equally and life would have been lacking a ‘certain something’ if we had just 3, but boy!  People ask me how I ‘do it with 4 boys‘, ‘boys’ is always emphasized. They think I’m superwoman. Or suffering from madness. Or both. Those who tend to accord me these laurels usually have one or two children and naturally find things very hectic already. My response is always the same. “When you have 3 children, adding 1, 2 or 3 more really makes no difference, so please leave them, I’ll be more than fine”,  I respond dismissively. The other mum will then look at me in awe, no doubt wishing she had my powers. Or mental condition. Or indeed both.

Well all that has now been proven to be inaccurate.  In the last one week, the scales have had a recalibration. Stress levels, down. Shouting frequency, down. Accidents, greatly reduced. Even whining is on the low.  On occasion hubby and I find ourselves calling one or all of the remaining  3 just to see if they are still in the house. Yes it is that blissful. This serenity isn’t being enjoyed across the board, i.e  in other homes that have one less child I mean. While the parents waited outside the coach seeing their children off, there were tears, lots of them. I didn’t see ours off, hubby did. He saw some mothers crying hysterically. Some trying to console their friends, all were about to suffer the same demise for a week. Hubby was baffled. In our house when one child goes away for a short period, we don’t cry, we laugh.

So Friday came and child #3 was off to his sleepover at your house- as you know right after school. We even had the privilege of a 1 hour window with just 2 children as #2 didn’t get back home until 4:30pm. Consequently we were granted an extra night as parents to 3 boys.

Clearly I am getting used to this. I love my sons and love them being around me. But are you sure you said one night and not two? Just asking. Sometimes I do get my dates muddled up.

Thanks so much for keeping our Zack, I would love to return the favour someday but you’ve pretty much just told me that I’m not superwoman. And that I’m mentally stable. I can’t promise anything, but er, ‘we’ll see’.

Yours most thankfully & worrying-about-life-going-back-to-normal-ly,

Toks

Thank you for reading, do come back.