Trini Mom in D Middle was created as a space to express thoughts, concerns, ideas, jokes and random musings about what it means to be a Trinidadian mother, wife, teacher and national observer of life in this twin island.
I came across this video today and it just cemented how much I admire the FLOTUS. Michelle Obama comes across so succinctly about the balance that needs to be created for working mothers to succeed in today’s world. What struck out at me is something she said: good employers make good employees. I will work hell hard for you if you value what I consider to be important i.e. my family life. Therefore you as the employer, need to support me in that regard for the traffic to flow smoothly on the two-way street. That is so perfect. Often what is ultimately “American” does not necessarily translate and pertain to life in Trinidad and Tobago but this is one instance of a sneeze where I wish we could get the cold.
Check out the video below, it is a bit lengthy but worth it so settle down and take it in.
With a catchy slogan and visual imagery of children having the most glorious time being run consistently on cable television, it was inevitable that the gremlinz would be begging me to carry them to Chuck E. Cheese’s. Of course my focused reply would be “Of course! Whenever we go to the States!” This would be enough to end the whining…until I realised that the franchise was headed to the shores of Trinidad and Tobago. I decided to take in front before the national ads started so I let them know coming to the end of the school term that: yes, Chuck E. Cheese’s is in Trinidad, yes, it’s opening soon, no, we’re not going if your grades don’t shine, no, we’re not going if you don’t behave well, yes, I’m telling the truth.
I was fortunate to be invited as part of the family opening today before the official opening tomorrow and I was sincerely glad because I don’t generally do well with crowds and especially crowds of children spazzing on pizza, soda, tokens and streams of tickets clutched in their little hands. This wasn’t entirely the case today so I had a really good time.
Environment: Chuck E. Cheese’s is located in Brentwood which is on the highway in Chaguanas next to the Unipet gas station. Look out for this sign:
Some finishing touches were still going on on the outside but I suspect will be completed by tomorrow. Parking is more than adequate and compound is completely fitted with facilities for the differently-abled. Bathrooms are clean and were well-maintained for the amount of time I stayed there and Moms would be happy to know that there are diaper-changing stations in sanitized areas, something not often found in kid-friendly restaurants.The play-area is carpeted and a lot of children were so comfortable that they took their shoes off, my gremz included.
Restaurant: Seating areas were located from the front window booths to the very back of the restaurant where there was more open seating close to a large stage/screen. There were also booths in the centre separating the arcade games from the ‘kiddie’ section. Each booth was equipped with the usual condiments as well as a holder for your order number. So you place the order, are shown to a seat and given the card to fit in the holder. Your food is brought to you, the number card replaced with a ‘check’ card and then another server would check on you to ensure everything was alright with your meal and then take that card. A pretty neat system. I tried to be conscientious about this weight I’m trying to lose so I hit the salad bar first. A nice array of choices although I wish they labelled the sauces. Eventually though that resolve went with the pizza and the buffalo wings. The food was ok and the wait was about 15-20 minutes. There was also the unlimited soda supply and dessert for those so inclined.
Entertainment: Where a kid can be a kid they said, they didn’t lie and I am sure today wasn’t even Chuck E. Cheese’s at full throttle. Games in all forms, arcade, shooting, car racing, motorbikes, test-your-strength, football, basketball, Fruit Ninja and Temple Run!!!. I tried to keep my composure. 😀 I loved that they had a play area specifically for the smaller kiddies and a jungle gym over everything else, Mr Cheese himself came out every hour and the children sang, danced, took photos and scrambled for free tickets as they were tossed in the air and floated to the ground. The screen in the back ran music videos, stories and jokes and there was an area that seemed equipped for live activity too. Additionally there are three separate rooms for birthday parties as well!
Overall: The staff at Chuck E. Cheese’s seemed to have worked very hard to create a great first impression and they succeeded in my books. There were officials from the US who I suppose were there to train and they kept it running nicely alongside our compatriots who seemed to take a great deal of pride in their work. Special shout-out to a gentleman named Bose from Texas, he was phenomenal with patrons, staff and children AND he complimented me on my makeup so he wins twice! Smiles were all around! I’m glad I roused myself and took the opportunity to go even after my “ah stayin home!” funk from last week. I honestly hope they upkeep and maintain the standard that they have set thus far. In Trinidad once something isn’t new anymore, the effort tends to wane you know? Fingers crossed that it doesn’t happen here and everything remains
Material used to start a fire or consequence of withdrawal symptoms felt after substance abuse, both adaptable to how I feel about reading.
For as long as I know myself I have been an avid reader. My younger sister and I have spent hours into days pouring over novels, magazines and comics relentlessly. I remember back in the day when going to Long Circular Mall and West Mall was like a field trip, we used to make a bee line straight to R.I.K. which was THE bookstore in Trinidad at that time. Mummy used to give us a limit and we would agonize over which to select, trying to strategically ensure that we got the best out of the purchase.
I used to revel in the escape from the ordinary especially provided by Enid Blyton, Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys Mysteries and in my later years, Sweet Valley High and Babysitters Club among others. That need for escape is probably also why I love travelling (or thinking about travelling and spending countless hours on Pinterest macoing, aka minding other peoples’ business). So yesterday when I was at a bookstore and I saw the Enid Blyton’s laid out in a row, I was almost moved to tears as my moments of happy solitude in these books came rushing back. Sadly they did not have my all-time favourites:
Can you imagine visiting a Faraway Tree filled with magical creatures and at the very top in the clouds you can go to a different land and you only know what land it is when you get there, whether good or bad? Supreme for a young, curious mind!!! If this were reality, I would do it in a heartbeat and I think at a young age I was slightly jealous of those fictional intruders with their ability to go on adventure after adventure but oh how I loved it!
When I received a gift of a Kindle Fire a couple of years ago, I exploded with joy and my status as bibliophile and indeed, bookworm was properly cemented. Now I could have hundreds of books waiting on me to be voraciously read! Now I could read at night in the dark! Now I could keep the top notch bestsellers and classics without having to wonder how many more boxes I need for storage! 😀 😀 😀 My husband didn’t get it and the gremlinz, worse yet. They like to read but don’t loooove it. They greatly enjoy the adventures of a certain Wimpy Kid and his diary though. I’m grateful.
I’m currently settling into the third book of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire epic. I’m also reading Kate Atkinson’s ‘Life after Life’ and I’m gearing up for Paulo Coehlo’s ‘Adultery’. Three books at the same time. Don’t judge me. Yes, the only caveat to Kindling my fire is distraction by other titles, pure greediness and the need to go back to original paperbacks and the smell of the ‘new book’. I know there are others among you who get this. So very soon I will be launching a Kickstarter for the acquisition of this baby right here:
It’s been a week since school has closed, two weeks since preparing for graduation and submitting end of term stuff and three weeks since praying for school to close. Here I am thankfully. I have been vegetating for the past week, resting to the point where Mam’zelle has to check on me every so often to make sure I’m not comatose. The good thing is that I will get up early and ensure place is tidy and meals are prepared, so by 11 o clock, I’m laying on my bed doing absolutely nothing to the complete best of my ability. This morning my husband was annoyed because I was under covers while he had to haul ass to work…..in the pouring rain…..while the room was so cozy…tut tut….:D
So while vegetating, I’ve managed to get up to date on Orange is the New Black (Netflix is like the new HBO!!!), movies I’ve had stored and finally watched, finished two books and setting up myself nicely to complete the Game of Thrones epic. I’ve been checking in on social media primarily for the World Cup games ESPECIALLY as my team made it to the final (ARGENTINAAAA!!!) and spending countless hours on my favourite apps and games without feeling any guilt whatsoever….in the meantime the gremz could watch tv and play video games to the heart’s content.
Now, it’s only been a week and in the absence of me sending them to vacation camp this is how it went down and it will likely continue into next week. Why? Because I owe it to myself. I’ve been bitching and complaining to myself and coworkers willing to hear about how much I just want to be off the road and just home by myself doing nothing guiltlessly and them days have finally come! The ‘by myself’ part…not so much.
Now at a glance there are so many Facebook pages and websites specifically catering to moms with children at home, screaming about 10 million summer camps to choose from!, activities for the kids!, take them here, there and everywhere!….ahm…..no……it’s too damn early, check me towards the end of July please. The gremz have more than enough physical space, toys, books, craft stuff, options on tv and games to keep them company and if they need a referee I’m available as far as my lungs can carry. Does this make me the lazy mom? Absolutely! Give me that crown I’ll wear it! Why?
Society has a tendency to judge me and those like me based on how well I balance raising functional children (home) and ensuring that I produce functional adults (work). At some point this human being needs a break, so if I choose not to conform to what I should be doing since I should be damn-grateful-I-have-two-months-free-vacation, so be it. I choose not to go anywhere! I choose NOT to be up and down on the road from home to summer camp! I choose to laugh when I see a spider-web forming in the side mirror of my car! I choose to lay in bed and have the gremz sit and talk nonsense for an hour or so! Give me wi-fi or give me sleep!
However if I do choose to leave the confines of my castle, it needs to be kid-free, involve some percentage of alcohol and if necessary, football games ad nauseum. That’s my vacation therapy at least until I get cabin-fever in a few weeks and then maybe I’ll conform to the ‘norm’ ;D