Wanna hear a story?

Here it goes:

Once upon a time on a random Tuesday afternoon, a teacher set aside her lesson to scold her class of form ones (11-13 years olds). They had been behaving badly in recent times and they needed a shake up to try to bring them back to reality.

When the teacher was finished and the bell had rung signalling the end of the school day, she had scarcely reached her office and begun to pack up when she was confronted by another teacher who indicated that two girls who were part of the class to whom she had spoken earlier, had instigated a fight with another female student that very minute. The teacher was aghast. Hadn’t she just spoken to these students about their deportment and their lack of discipline? Was it simply a matter of her 35-minute sermon going in one ear and coming out the next? Had she lost precious teaching time for nothing?

The teacher went outside and proceeded to call the two girls who proceeded to delay in walking toward her. This got the teacher annoyed because she began to think about her own biological children who needed to be picked up from school a whole 60-something kilometres away while she had to be there dealing with that nonsense. She began to shout with authority at the girls about the mere stupidity of their actions and insisted that they go to the office.

Concurrently, one of the girls had a boyfriend who was in another class who decided that he would jump into the fray to save his girlfriend from the teacher who was admonishing her. Upon realizing that the boyfriend was addressing her, the teacher turned to the young boy and spoke to him directly, indicating that no one had called him and he should excuse himself. The boyfriend muttered. The teacher asked for clarity and indicated that if he had something to say he should come to her directly. The young boy bounced up, pointed a finger in the teacher’s face and said she should mind her business. Unrelenting in her purpose, the teacher told him that he had no authority to point at her to which he replied “Hush your cunt”. The teacher replied that she didn’t know that he was aware of any body parts belonging to her and then turned to the girlfriend and said, “You have great taste in men.”

In the office, while writing up the notices to see parents for the two young girls, the teacher’s annoyance switched to amusement.  In all of her years working at the school, never had she been so disrespected but she felt as though if it had to happen, it should have been someone a bit more worthy. She jumped in her car and went on her merry way, eager to give her husband the joke about these students’ obvious loss of mental capacity, ruminating on her strategy for the following day and boy would it be a good one.

THE END

EPILOGUE

The mother picked up her own children from school and after her usual pleasantries, realized that something was wrong with her son. He was unusually quiet. He then randomly asks (or maybe not so randomly) when was the next occasion for Confession at their church. This made the mother anxious. At home she realized that he was shadowing her and kept asking for hugs. She didn’t ask him anything but merely waited. Eventually he said he had something to tell her and after almost five minutes of fidgety eyes and playing with his fingers, he said that he knew she was going to get mad but he proceeded to outline what happened. Apparently he was part of  a WhatsApp group with boys commenting using very strong obscene language. A parent found out and the boys got in trouble at school with their teacher. He looked at his mother and said that he was sorry and he knew it was “out of his character” and that he got “caught up”. The mother sighed and said she was glad that he told her and she spoke to him about being responsible on social media and not bowing to peer pressure. She imagined that it would be the first of many like conversations but boy was she proud that he found it enough on his conscience to recognize his missteps and to come clean. She trained her son to be sensible enough (not perfect but sensible!) to identify a basic right from a wrong approach and wondered why other parents couldn’t do the same.

Bless up

TMIDM

Have merSEA!

Well my Son-son is 11, in standard five in primary school and about to write the big Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) exam this Thursday. According to Trini culture and lore, this is the most important exam of a student’s life, destined to make you or break you depending on which secondary school you are headed when the results come in. Parents cry, teachers lose hair and the children drill mathematical formulae, grammatical exercises and seemingly endless compositions up until the dreaded day that they aim to get their first choice out of four. Cue ominous voice:

may_the_fourth_be_with_you_by_themooken-da1apux

http://themooken.deviantart.com/art/May-the-fourth-be-with-you-606841449

Knowing that he is prone to anxiety, I laid all the pressure on Son-son on standard four and eased off the valve considerably. As the date draws near, I think I am more anxious than he is. However my anxiety stems from the fact that I am completely FED UP! of the preparation for the exam. I’m so thankful that his teacher is so meticulous, another parent told me some time ago that he has a ‘system’ to churn out boys to perform at the SEA exam. But at this point if I see YET ANOTHER quasi difficult poem, I will scream. I think a couple of nights ago was the last straw.  He came and said he read the poem and didn’t understand it. So I took a look. This is a poem called Children’s Song by R.S. Thomas which he had to read and answer about ten questions:

We live in our own world,
A world that is too small
For you to stoop and enter
Even on hands and knees,
The adult subterfuge.
And though you probe and pry
With analytic eye,
And eavesdrop all our talk
With an amused look,
You cannot find the centre
Where we dance, where we play,
Where life is still asleep
Under the closed flower,
Under the smooth shell
Of eggs in the cupped nest
That mock the faded blue
Of your remoter heaven.
 
Ronald Stuart Thomas
Dafuq is subterfuge??? ‘Remoter heaven’??? My poor child!
I mean honestly, I get the gist of the poem, but I think it’s a bit much for an 11 year old to find extra deep metaphorical meaning in a high stakes exam. I understand that the poem is usually the difficult part of the exam but have mercy, this or any poem like it reads like stress! The questions that followed were even worse.
So these last few days I haven’t been harping on him at all partly because I think he’s reached his zenith and partly because again…me…fed up…. He had practice tests for the past two Saturdays and beyond that I gave him a free pass to the TV and the games on his tab. Of course everything was done in moderation so he also had to clean inside my car and do his regular chores as well. I don’t want this SEA pressure to fold him in even before the exam.
Thursday morning I plan to wake him up, act as normally as possible and not make a big deal about it. On our way there, he may get a Bruno Mars karaoke session, lame jokes in the car and I’ll kick him out with a hug and a ‘good luck dude’! If I get the butterflies, they’re going to remain in stasis at the very least until he’s out of my sight. I hope I don’t wig out. This SEA can’t drown us both.
Bless up
TMIDM

As The World Turns

 

*dusts off cobwebs again…….

So much has changed that I had to actually go back to the About Me section of my blog and switch up a few things…most notably that I’m no longer dreadlocked, no longer a student and now a Trini Mom in the Middle of THREE children! My world is still spinning on its axis though.earth-spinning-rotating-animation-25

I cut my locks simply because they were getting too long and I felt like I needed something new with my hair. It’s so strange how people react when you cut your hair, I cut it Christmas last year and people STILL ask me “why I cut it” and “if I’m growing it back”. I get that locks is an “investment”, to some it’s a spiritual thing, to others a statement. To me it was just my hairstyle, not a measure of my blackness or a way to fall into a trend. I cut it, if I feel like it, I’ll grow it back, meanwhile the Earth still turns.

 

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I am not my hairrr…

I finished my Postgraduate Diploma in Education (yayyyyyy!!!!) which took up ALL of my spare time. I couldn’t even spare time to blog, the guilt was too much! It  was such an INTENSE programme crammed into less than a year that there were times I felt as though I was losing my mind. Sleepless nights, split personalities, loss of brain function…the works…And in the middle of essays, research, teaching in other schools and sitting through three-hour long evening sessions, I still had to pretend to adult: routine to uphold, two gremlinz to see about, household to maintain and of course my job to do. I’m done my life is back to normal, the world is still turning and I’m so glad I got out in one piece…..well maybe not ONE piece…….

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New gremlin!

So there is some talk that the DipEd would impact your personal life in various ways. I’ve heard of marriages, mental breakdowns, divorces and pregnancies. I found out I was pregnant in the middle of the programme which initially was very difficult for me to deal with as I had ZERO intentions of having another baby. I eventually got over the shock and simply went with the flow. To be a little more honest I didn’t really “feel” pregnant until my programme was done. I guess I dealt with it by putting it on the back burner, let my brain compartmentalise in order to function…..

This Trini Mom in D Middle of it all has had it to deal with over the past year or so. Hopefully within it all I can continue doing a better job in documenting it here. In the meantime, life spins on.

Bless up

TMIDM

TIME

Jeezanages…….

It sure has been a while hasn’t it? Ah too shame but you know what they say, Sometimes life gets in the way of having fun…..

Now I think Time is the most powerful force on the planet. I doh even know if Time is a force but it’s clearly pretty important and damn near priceless because we are all using it, some wasting it, racing against it, begging for more of it, wishing we could go back in it, wondering where it went and trying to spend the remainder of it the best we could.

I am in a persistent race with time simply because I value it so much so I don’t like to waste it at all. I am hustling every single day and at the end of each day I still beat up about what I should have done or what I could have slipped in. Then I plan for the next day and the cycle continues. Some people (read: my husband) get annoyed by this but it is simply the way I am wired. I hate leaving home late, I am always strategizing the distance and time to and from places, trips to run errands, workouts at the gym. Imagine I haven’t gone to the new Chaguaramas boardwalk yet because I seriously dread the outcoming traffic and I won’t even be the one driving! One of my closest friends suggested “Parang on the Boardwalk!” And as much as I’m a Christmas baby and I love anything Christmas-related and not to mention FREE!, my response was “Do you have a boat?”

Now October is the month of the year where I always think about Time, it’s my reflection month. My two gremlinz go up a year, Mamzelle on Thursday, Son-son exactly one week after and this year he is entering double digits!!! The big 1-0! (Cue ensuing staring into space trying to recall all memorable moments and frantic watching of baby pictures from now until next week…..) These days I casually observe them even more, I look at how he’s almost my height and she’s getting thick in the legs like me. I listen to them as they watch TV and enter into this university-level discussion about why pirates are fake, or why Flow trying to teach people Spanish in smart. I watch her storming his room and sleeping on his bed every…..single…..night and as frustrated as I am about this, (dis chile doh like to sleep a full night on her own bed at allll!!!) clearly neither of them seem to mind. In time to come that will change so maybe I should just cool it.

I try to remember what my freedom was like before I had the gremz and sometimes come up short. I know I went out and partied a lot but I can’t recall what I used to do in my spare alone time. I tend to study what the future would be like once they grow up and buss out God spare life. These days I’m starting to envision them in secondary school and wondering what their career specialties will be, my version of putting it out there in the universe I guess. I remember once I was in a deep reverie about them having their own children and their own lives and then I would be old and then die and they would have to put flowers on my grave in Lapeyrouse and I wouldn’t be around to watch them anymore and to tell them that I only want lilies and not dem cosquelle chrysanthemums that always appear on coffins in these wide-ass bouquets which I hate. I won’t lie, I shed actual tears during this stream of consciousness that happened only in my mind with my obsession about time. It didn’t help that I also had PMS.

Although October makes me stop and think, there’s no sense in me telling myself that I will slow down to smell the roses, this only happens when I’m on vacation. I keeps it real but neither will I ‘sleep when ah dead’ either. Life is about maintaining balance I suppose and I am certain I’m not the only one who feels the same. In the meantime I’m living and the clock is ticking.

WWW.TRUTHFORLIFE.ORG

Bless up

TMIDM

Allow me this rant…

Last week Son-son was in a fight. This is the first time in his whole 5-year primary school career that he has ever been in a physical fight so I was understandably stunned.  He didn’t start the fight but he was in it, and by in it, I mean he was punched and kicked twice by one boy while he lost his footing and fell to the floor. Now thankfully he was not bruised and no bones were broken but I quickly grew to rage as I saw his face swollen, imagined the visual and realized that there was nothing I could have done about it at the time as school was already dismissed.

He’s fine and the matter is settled now with the school but I think in all what really ticked me off was this expressed sentiment by a few that my son couldn’t have defended himself or that he ‘does take licks easy’ and that he’s too ‘sorf’ (soft). “He didn’t know to hit that boy some tap?” Now there was a point in time where it was just my son and I and since then my family has grown but there has always been this idea by some that because he grew up with me in his younger days, he was too ‘up under me’, too sensitive and not ‘tough’ or ‘fearless’ enough.

I don’t know why people don’t understand that my son is not a fighter and that is perfectly OK. He does not like conflict, he does not engage in it and does not want to be caught up in it and that is perfectly OK. He does not like karate and that is OK. He is not devoid of physical activity because he is always on-the-go, sweaty, smelly and speaks excitedly at break-need speed. He is normal, functioning and intelligent. When the time comes he will be able to defend himself wisely and nobody will have to teach him how to throw a punch or to block and that is what it is. I always thank God that he has never been the subject of the bullying that is so rampant in Trinidad and Tobago’s primary schools these days and this was a random, wild incident by a peer who temporarily lost his mind it would seem.

I asked him why he didn’t defend himself, he replied that all he was thinking in the quick time that it happened was that he didn’t want to be expelled from school. He suffered as a result of it but after the fact that answer worked for me especially as I see the result of the tit-for-tat school scuffles bleeding into the secondary school system. I’m raising my son to be a thinker not a fighter and the pure fact of the matter is that the thinkers, the ones who see consequence before action, are the ones who succeed in this life. Plain talk.

Bless up

TMIDM

No words for this…

“Look I smoking weed!”

I looked at my husband, he looked at me. Casually I asked her still facing front in the car, “what did you say dear?”.  She replied, “I smoking weed!” confirming what I thought I heard and wished I dreamt. Son-son who was having none of it retorted, “Do you even KNOW what weed is?”.  She replied matter-of-factly, “Youuu doh know what weed is? Hm!” I was shaking but not externally. I turned around and saw that she had taken one of the paper napkin rings from the restaurant we just left and had rolled it up positioning it between her index finger and thumb. I turned back around and took a deep breath, “Who told you about weed honey?” My daughter then detailed that her BFF told her about weed, her brother smokes it, it looks like dried leaves, you put it in a little paper, you roll it up and smoke it. When she was finished I turned back around looked her square in the eyes and I told her, “Listen to me, smoking weed is a very adult thing, it is not even for children to pretend to do. You know what happens when you get caught smoking weed? The police arrests you because weed my dear is illegal! You can go to JAIL!” Yes, I crescendoed to make my point and I know it worked because the fear in my voice transferred to her now very wide eyeballs. I told her to take the information to the BFF and let her know too to put a stop to THAT game. That’s the best I could have done, mission somewhat accomplished, obviously more explanations to come.

Why Lord do I have to inform my 6 year old about the dangers of smoking and weed? I’m in the middle of 6-year old matters! Spelling and dictation, girls’ drama, negotiations for increased pocket money, ballet… Sex is a big enough hurdle to cross with trepidation even at 6, drugs is something you think you would comfortably tackle in the teenage years! Never would I have imagined that this is something that I would have to explain to her at this age. Am I naïve? What was also scary about it is the casual manner in which she said it which was unnerving but I needed information and I guess she was innocent to it all. However, the words for a conversation with her about this haven’t even been formed properly in my head so I just gave her the basic answer, it’s not for children.

You have to be so careful as to what your children are exposed to but there are times when it cannot be avoided. Yes you can turn off the tv or switch the channel from Disney and their growing filth, but are you in the schoolyard or on the playground when the children are huddled in their little corners having their powwows? More and more I’m realizing that it is beyond critical to raise my gremz who are independent thinkers complete with the morals and values that will enable them to stand up when the occasion arises. I’m not always going to be around. But worse than that is that there are things that we as parents are going to have to fully explain to children at ages younger than intended simply because of the way the world is turning nowadays. Are you ready? I hope I will find the correct words…

Bless up
TMIDM

BANANAAAAA!!!!!!

minion

Happy Birthday to me! Or rather Happy Anniversary to me!!!

Yesterday marked one entire year since I decided to launch my adventures and thoughts publicly on the interwebz as Trini Mom In D Middle and I must say it has been a very interesting year thus far. More than a year ago I would not have thought to start a blog and during consideration I was still so wary that I even asked advice from an old school mate who is heavily into media of all forms. She encouraged me so much that if she didn’t I don’t think I would have been here 51 posts later. I can now say fully that all my trepidation about writing has waned somewhat but  I’m still learning!

So this is a big deal for me, a whole year has passed, I haven’t quit or left my blog to totally rot. I knowwwww I could do a bit more posting and to be honest all sorts of things pop into my head and I say to myself “Self, you need to do a post” but sometimes circumstances (and carving out time!) get in the way….still learning!

So thanks for reading the few of you who do, I’m soooo grateful for the support you guys have no idea. Thanks to the peeps who encourage me on my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/trinimomindmiddle, thanks to those who also encourage me in my daily travails as well. Here’s to my second year!

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Bless up!

TMIDM

So disgusted by this!!!

This past week in Trinidad and Tobago has been really trying for my soul. as a Trinbagonian. I had to endure the police road blocks on Monday which effectively paralyzed the country (we made Yahoo news!), it’s the last week of school and the usual drama applies and now this nonsense in our national Parliament last night.

I don’t usually get worked up about what happens in Trinidad’s Parliament because as far as I see you have to have a certain amount of brain cells to follow what goes on in the Lower House and I don’t have brain cells to waste. It’s a lot of shouting, derailed “arguments”, unnecessary picong and time wasting. Yesterday this senseless motion of no confidence that was brought against the Opposition Leader Dr. Keith Rowley was enough for me to steups but what that woman Vernella Alleyne-Toppin from Tobago said enraged me to the highest when I woke up this morning to the news. How the hell are you going to abuse the cover of parliamentary privilege to accuse another Parliament member of being conceived through rape which resulted in his aggressive, arrogant behavior. Hellooooo? You had that mess written on the paper from which you were reading??? You using the story that he was born due to RAPE to make a political point of no confidence against him??? Rape is a damn crime!!!!!!

Of course I heard the full broadcast on the radio this morning and I was beyond shocked and starting yelling in the car to myself and well the gremz in the back seat who kept asking what was ‘disgusting’ and who was a ‘damn fool’ and if I was alright. I was so damn mad. I started thinking about one of my relatives who was a victim of rape and how BROKEN she was months after being stripped of her dignity in her own home. I started thinking about one of my students who was a victim of incest and rape and how dehumanized she felt and the sea of tears that she shed in front of me. Rape victims have to deal with that act that crushes their soul and then be strong enough to deal with the possibility of disease and pregnancy. Do you know how strong you have to be to raise a child of rape? Do you know how strong you have to be not only to raise a child of rape but to raise him/her with strength and love and to destroy the residual feelings of resentment? Do you have any idea of the level of trauma facing rape victims and to a lesser extent their family members?

Whether this story is true or not, what kind of human do you have to be to decide to include that in your speech to “get one on him” in a parliamentary debate? And better than that, what kinda implication is that to make, that a child of rape is aggressive and uncouth and therefore cannot aspire to attain a lofty position as the Prime Minister of a country? To make it worse you are the Minister in the Ministry of the People and Social Development, a ministry with dubious beginnings but dreamt up to “care for the people”!!!!!

Vernella Alleyne Toppin, do us all a favour and get the hell out of office and take all those others who agreed with your atrocious view by thumping their desks in the house. Your statement was sick and repulsive, was an affront to all rape victims and children of rape victims and brought down whatever scraps of dignity that remained in the Parliament. I wish you well on your return to Tobago, you will have it to deal with across there. They waiting for you…

Loss…

A student at my school died last night. I saw her at school walking around and chatting, left work, went to dance, came home and got an email from the principal informing all staff that she had passed. I am still in shock and totally unsettled.

Today was uncomfortable from the jump. There was no lusty singing of the national anthem at assembly this morning, glassy red eyes staring into invisible voids and an eerie silence that descended and quite frankly had me feeling like the school was enveloped into total depression and heaviness.

I accept death and the fact that it is part of life, what I have trouble with is the unexpected nature that it takes, especially when it relates to our young ones who have left and the ones who remain to whom it affects. I found myself drifting in thought to the student’s best friend. At age 15 or 16, how do you process that your best friend who you just left mere hours before on your way home, suddenly died? My heart hurt for her.

My heart also hurt for the child’s mother who is wrapped up in guilt. She was ill and depended on her daughter to help with the little ones, which she did and now that she is better, she can’t return the care and favour that her child showed to her. She can’t be the mother she intended to be to take care of the child who stepped up to the plate when she physically couldn’t. There isn’t enough sympathy in the world to bring the comfort that the mother needs right now. Time has to step in.

Of course when situations like this occur you tend to dwell on your own life, your past, your future, your children…you feel like you need to ‘go to the mattresses’ or like in Sons of Anarchy pull everybody in the MC, bring everybody in, give extra hugs, kisses, say extra prayers for protection because as selfish as it sounds you don’t want to feel that kinda loss although the majority of times it is absolutely unavoidable. That’s the very nature of life, you think the road you’re driving on is the right one and then something happens and you detour (or derail) and you head straight back to the start.

I tell my form class over and over, tomorrow is promised to no-one, so make the best of today. It’s an almost daily mantra that I use to try to get them to understand that life is not to be trifled with which seems to be the very nature of youth today. Today more than ever they understood the message as they came to terms with their peer’s death in their own ways. It is unfair but God alone knows…

Bless

TMIDM

Overheard on the radio this afternoon: Remember then: there is only one time that is important- Now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power. (“Three Questions” – Leo Tolstoy)

Onward!

This is the time of year when people take stock of the past and make promises for the future. I’m not one for resolution-making as I can’t make new year plans for my life in let’s say July. My past has been checkered with detours and curve-balls so I don’t even bother anymore. This is not to say that there aren’t overall plans eh, it’s just that I’ll be taking it one day at a tiiiime (sweet Jesus!)

2014 was a year where I learnt many things (sometimes the hard way) and most of which I plan to carry into 2015. These include:

  • sometimes it’s good to step out of the comfort zone even in the realm of self-doubt
  • mental and physical health is of prime importance and stress will kill you
  • in the face of temptation the strong say no, the regret is less
  • learn the lessons given from regret
  • everyday it’s important to draw the line in the sand as to how much shit you plan to take that day. this line can move forward or backward depending…
  • time spent with the gremlinz is like oxygen for the lungs
  • time spent alone with the husband also oxygenates
  • i’m not as young as i was and this relates especially to my alcohol intake…
  • it’s important to actually see my friends once in a while
  • i make my own comfort

I suspect that there’s more via introspection but I’m good with this for now.

So here’s to 2015, new is the year and new are the hopes. May it bring to you the warmth and satisfaction you deserve!

Bless up

TMIDM