Dear SuperMom..of a Special Need’s Child

Dear SuperMom (of a special needs child),

Today, I think of you.

I see you trying to calm him down in the middle of the rows of baskets of tomatoes in the open and muddy marketplace.

Your shoulders, slumped a bit forward from the weight of your burden as one hand reaches out to bring familiar balance to his core.

I see you at the Mall, trying to guide her along the rows of wares on display while pointing at some (fascinating) objects in the not-so-far aisle.

Your dedication and love shines forth through your tired eyes.

I see the fatigue.

And trying.

To make sense of it all while discountenancing the sneaky stares.

The veiled pity, glances, unsolicited and sometimes patronizing counsels and queries from the environment.

I see how you try to maintain a balance between caring for your child and having a close-to-normal-life. And while at it, trying to not buckle under the intense pressure of having to do all of these in an environment that far from makes such tasks easy.

I know it seems preposterous to say this, but I totally get how you feel. In more ways than one.

Look away from the fact that all the experiences I have under my belt were obtained by running after little ones whose needs do not go beyond some joyful and painful shrieks, settling squabbles, handling unannounced cuddles, deciding choice of snacks and the more-than-occasional accidental weeweeing on the bed.

Yes, these definitely pale miserably into insignificance, when placed side by side with the tiniest fraction of what is on your plate right now in your job as a parent of a child born with special needs.

But you know what?

All other things may not fit into the big puzzle life is right now but I do certainly wish to tenderly smoothen the lines on your face and to tell you that I understand what you are going through. To a certain degree, that is.

I am but a ‘clueless stranger’ who would never know how hard the shoe pinches but don’t flinch just yet, please.

Maybe I would never ever fully understand your special kind of struggles.

Or your joys at the (often-taken-for-granted-by-the-rest-of-the-Universe) milestones attained by your little one(s).

Or your shock and disappointment at the sly hand dealt by fate.

Or your resignation and acceptance of not having enough powers to wish this away.

Or your acute pain, seeing your precious one in pain, this awful pain that promises to not go away anytime soon.

Or your distress at how the environment un-accepts your precious one while making a show of pitiable acceptance.

How I long to tell you that it is okay and that it is going to end well.

But if I do not get to say those words or hold your hands today, my heart seeks yours across this virtual divide.

My heart hears the unformed words in your heart.

Your heart, golden and magnificent, pulsating with dedication, resilience and love as only angels could muster and master. This angel that had been chosen to care for this treasured one.

And as another Mother’s day looms, revel in the fact that you are loved and appreciated greatly, no less by strangers.

Even if these little ones are unable to fully verbalize their feelings as much as you’d have wanted,

Your sacrifices are not unacknowledged, by the Universe and your cape, that supercape – billowing hard and strong is a testament to your awesomeness.

 

Happy mothers day, SuperMom.

From another mom.

3 Virginity Myths We Should Dispel

As sensitive as this topic is, both in the secular and religious circles, there are 3 virginity myths swimming in the ocean of opinions out there which we would do well to dispel here and now.

I know I am not in any position to tell anyone what to believe and propagate or not but some of these beliefs have a way of clouding our sense of judgement.

Virginity myth, dispel today

Virginity myth 1: Girls should preserve their virginity until marriage.

Absolutely.

I am 101% for this and that is not unexpected for somebody who walked this particular talk and was fortunate enough to be unbelievably equally yoked in that regard. (Yeah, indulge me while I blow this rusty and traditional trumpet a little)

Now permit me to insert 1 or 2 tales by moonlight here.

Sometimes in the very old *Yoruba past, history  has it that  new brides were put through an all important test to determine whether the ‘seals’ on their ‘private goods’ have been tampered with.

Okay, I mean this test is to find out whether the bride had slept with a man before.

That test was usually carried out on the marriage night.

The specimen employed in determining the final verdict was reportedly a clean, white cloth / bed-sheet which was always expected to be crimson with the stamp of chastity.

With drums rolling in the moonlight, the new couple were usually ushered into the laboratory a la bedroom with friends and families cheering them on .

Anyone found with an all-clean sheet was subjected to ridicule, humiliated, ostracized and the marriage sometimes annulled.

Shame of all shames!

Maybe there were no hymen-tearing sports / activities back in those days.

Also, in the old **Igbo past, newly wedded brides were put to a similar test. The result of which was usually determined by the freshness and fullness of kegs of palm-wine which the family of the groom were compelled to bring as gifts in appreciation for being gifted a good wife or otherwise.

Woe betide the bride whose husband’s family brings half-empty gourds of palm wine!

For emphasis, only the brides were tested, the grooms could apparently do no wrong. And if they did any wrong, they were men so it did not matter. This is however not about the unfairness and inequality that still persists today.

Even now, I run the picture through my head and imagine the physical, emotional and psychological burdens on new brides back then.

These days, in a bid to outdo ourselves, we still emphasize and beat a sense of moral and spiritual rightness ONLY in our girls.

We continue to teach ONLY our girls to aspire to coming out of the conjugal laboratory with the crimson colored sheet on the wedding night, a worthy badge of honor.

Mind you, both bride and groom are almost always a product of the same society that chooses to raise them differently.

This may seem ludicrous, considering that it is a patriarchal society we live in, but by the virtue of our selective teachings, won’t we end up shooting ourselves in the foot with our own rusty gun by allowing ‘our’ half-tutored male kids mentally roam unfettered while exposing our well-tutored girls to the risk of being un-virgined?

For example, a family with an all-boys’ brood that fails to instill a sense of moral and spiritual rightness in their male offsprings leave the ‘tutored’ female at risk of being stampeded.

I strongly believe that if virginity is to be upheld, boys and girls must be taught to aspire to it and abstain from pre-marital sex. 

Virginity Myth 2: Girls who have already lost their virginity are not marry-able and are promiscuous.

As much as I belong to the ‘no premarital sex camp’, the myth up there is an ignorant assumption in some equally ignorant quarters and this has led some young (‘experienced’) men to make searching for virgin brides their life mission such that some disvirgined-virgin-aspirees would give anything to repair their hymens.

Or how else would one explain the incursion of ‘super-natural’ products reputed to be able to restore long-lost virginities in today’s market?!

No kidding.

Virginity myth

Source: Google

Source: AliExpress

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is a lot of virginity frauds going on so that prospective grooms would find a seemingly intact hymen which is perceived to be a pointer to holy / good-girlism and an indicator of a happily ever after life.

Height of absurdity pointing at misplaced priorities.

Virginity Myth 3: Virgins are not good in bed / Non-virgins know all the rules in the bed-game etcetera etcetera

This might be one myth too many but do stay with me awhile, let me squeeze in one more story here.

I learned to draw after I got married and I also picked up writing shortly after and even though I may not write or draw so well now but those ‘talents’ were apparently innate, lying un-utilized until they were stirred up.

See, it is the same thing with sex.

Writing or drawing is an art which can be learned with the right dosage of knowledge mixed with passion and patience.

The fact that somebody  was once a non-writer / artist does not imply s/he can never be a good artist / writer.

Same as there are hundreds of somebodies s working and walking around who learned to write or draw early in life but are yet to attain enough exposure, perfection, excellence, etc.

We all need to start from a virgin point (and that is no virginity myth). Same as Chuwechuwe, Emecheta, Achebe, etc

Whatever is yet to be learned can be learned at the appropriate time, the tiger(ess) can be unleashed and whatever was learned can be unlearned.

To generalize on account of one non-virgin who turned promiscuous or a virgin who became an inadequate lover smirks of ignorance.

Girl and boys alike should be taught right, prayed for and allowed to choose the right path…hopefully.

The truth:

Marriage is indeed honorable and the bed un-defiled.

But.

Every party is responsible for upholding the bed’s sanctity, every child must therefore be taught the values of remaining chaste until marriage.

 

5 Love-inspired Kids’ Crafts + Gift Ideas

5 Love-inspired kids' crafts

Today, there will be a flurry of red and white as usual (for the ‘baeful and baeless’..lol..sorry, couldn’t help being naughty a bit).

Just because. It’s February 14.

I love seeing the efforts even though I do not celebrate Valentine (there we go again!!) in the accustomed fashion of dorning red and white, scurrying to give and get chocolates, flowers etc but we do celebrate love and life. Every. Single. Day.

Aye aye.

Nevertheless, it really is a good day (for me) to put together and (for you to) check these 5 love-inspired kids’ crafts. We can consider this as my little valentine gift (*grinning hugely) for you to try with your little ones, if you have a little time on your hands.

5 Love-inspired Kids’ Crafts

  1. HEART GARLANDS

5 love-inspired kids craft

This is a very simple craft to make and will take all of 5 or 10 minutes to put together.

Materials required: Old newspapers, cardboard or wood, needle + thread, string, glue

Continue reading →

This entry was posted in Crafts.

Do as I Say, Not As I do

Do as I say
Do as I say, not as I do.

I got to ‘know’ this phrase a long time ago and it was/is still used to depict hypocrisy at any level.

More often than not, what is good for the goose is hardly ever good for the gander.

Like the Leader who advocates for local content when ‘they’ themselves resort to ‘foreign’ content even to treat ‘common’ infections.

But I do not intend to write about any Leader or Country’s problems right now.

So we were stopped by a traffic light last week on our way home and as we waited on our own lane, there was ‘this’ Van on the right lane (we were on the left).

The driver was already hemmed in on both sides and I still do not know what got into him but he decided to wiggle out of his lane all of a sudden, by ‘reversing’ his van.

Continue reading →

(Dare to Dream) Henry Worsley: The Man Who Trekked the Antarctica…Almost

Henry Worsley: Lessons From the Man Who Trekked the Antarctica

I love Henry Worsley.

Henry Worsley

And I did not even know he existed until a year and a month ago (or thereabouts). You may be wondering who this man is.

He was the man who attempted to cross the Antarctica, unaided and unsupported.

I wished he had succeeded, unfortunately he never made it through as his organs shut down on him due to complications arising from his gallant attempt.

You may wonder why this is worthy of a post here after a year as I am not related to Henry, neither was he my friend or a friend of any of my friends.

His story resonated deeply with me and pulled a chord. Or two. Still does.

He was a parent for one. He had a wife and two children who all loved him and were rooting for him along with the rest of the world.

Even now, I hope they remember him always with a smile playing on their lips.

I hope they are proud of his feat even though his body shut down on him and the world lost him, 48km / 30miles shy of the finish line when the temperatures fell dangerously low (below 40degrees Celcius).

He is British, I am Nigerian but I am proud of him.

Okay. Why am I even posting this after 1 year?

Probably because I had recently been thinking of dreams and goals and actualizations, etc etc.

(Hint: this post had been lying in the draft folder since the week he died!!)

You see, my little boy asked me some days after he died (out of the blues as usual) whether the Antartica could be flooded just like ‘America’ (Some parts of America got flooded around that same period)….I said no…I might be wrong.

I mean, isn’t the Antarctica meant to be icy? So what business does any flood have over there? Except of course the flood is icy as well, in which case it would cease being a flood. Not making much sense, I know.

But there are more than one zillion unflooded Antarctica out there as there are many Henrys, like You and I.

I digress.

When the Henry Worsley’s story broke in 2016, I wondered where one gets the strength to go on such seemingly out-of-reach expeditions.

Pause. Take a deep breathe.

Now ask yourself what drives a human being across a continent, alone for 70+ days?

Maybe you know, like I do that whatever our minds can conceive is halfway to being achieved. It all really starts from the mind -that fertile land where ideas are birthed (as well as where successes and failures are conceived)

Note that Henry did not just set off on a whim of something nice out there to be conquered.

He reportedly planned thoroughly and meticulously and even raised a sizable sum of money for a Fund that supports injured service men and women.

He was a former army officer so he had a good idea of what was out there on the Antarctica.

A resolution which became a goal that must be achieved.

He dared to dream, and to work and walk his dreams.

We all dream. And pen down our goals and visions from time to time but ‘working and walking’ our dreams is where the juice lies and that is where we (read: I) often fall short.

Last year, I had several ‘dreams’, I still do.

You see, we all want to get to our destinations, to leave our footsteps on the sands of time but without doing the work and walk- mileage, guaranteed to get us there.

I want to change that, this year. Like Henry.

For me, Henry did not fail. He saw the Summit but his body unfortunately failed him and I still am humbled by his feat even as I pondered on my own life. He made history.

His final (recorded) words before being airlifted to an hospital where he died in Chile:

“My summit is just out of reach, having been a career soldier for 36 years and recently retired, it has been a way of giving back to those far less fortunate than me.”

What a man..and what a way to bow out!

Beyond glamorizing his feat, some of the Key lessons for me from Henry Worsley which I want to remember as I walk through 2017:
  • Dare to dream
  • Let your dreams be bigger than you
  • If your mind can conceive it, your mind can also drive your body to achieve it or stifle it!
  • Plan, plan and plan but do not spend your lifetime planning,
  • ‘Work and walk’ your dream
  • In walking, know when to call for help
  • Get as much help as required to achieve success
  • You do not need to work and walk unaided.
  • Even after dreaming, working and walking, things may still go wrong along the way
  • Do not give up if you still have breathe in you, go back, re-strategize, continue on your ‘way’!

Are you dreaming yet?

PS: Hope 2017 is beginning to take shape for you..

PPS: Do have a ‘dreamfilled’ week.

 

 

When You Fall

Fall

Source: Pixabay

Yoruba adage: “Ti Omode ba subu, a wo iwaju; ti agba ba subu, a wo eyin”

Literal translation: When a child trips, s/he looks forward / continues onward; when an adult falls, s/he glances backwards.

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

To fall is to live,

To live is to fall, sometimes.

………………………………………………………………………………….

Little Lagbaja falls, he fastens his hands on the turf

Heaving his slight frame upwards

The fall fast forgotten as he sets his face on the journey ahead.

When big Tamedun falls, she painfully looks back

Searching for what caused the fall.

………………………………………………………………………………….

To look forward is to yearn to rise, swiftly so.

Progress. Determination. Resolutions.

To look backwards is to yearn to rise, too, but not before looking the impediments squarely in the face,

And ensuring the next impediment doesn’t snare or overwhelm, like this

Critical analysis. Considerations. Evaluations.

Which one then is superior?

Which one is required more on this journey of life?

Both, I think.

Looking back is to learn from impediments and how to avoid such (in the still-new year).

Getting your fill of ‘it’ from every angle, registering the forms and figures and shapes.

And then,

Doing away with it and facing the journey which was temporarily stalled.

Pushing up on both hands and moving.

Against all odds.

Rising and making meaningful progress.

Cessation of  regrets and dwelling on the past.

For,

To dwell too much on the past is to risk losing touch with the present

Or worse still, losing view of the future.

Let’s rise, together even as we have learned from our mistakes or near-mistakes.

This still-new year.

 

PS: This is one of those ‘formless’ posts.

PPS: I just wanted to write..

 

Mixed-Veggies Fried Rice: Quick + Easy Recipe

I know it’s been a while and I tell you, the latest hiatus was unplanned.

What better way to re-start ‘my engine’ than to pretend I am doing some world of good in encouraging tempting someone to try this nutritious (medley) mixed-veggies fried rice?

 

mixed-veggies fried rice recipe

 

In my quest to inculcate healthy living / eating, I had succeeded in weaning myself and my household off MSG (to an extent) and I am now more in favor of natural herbs and spices.

For one, the ‘replacements’ are Natural with a capital N and really tastier.

I mean when we get round to convincing our taste buds to forget the unhealthy tastiness of the MSG-filled spices and seasonings available all around us, we’d get to agree that they are actually a tastier and healthier option.

So, let’s get round to the much-touted easy recipe for this delicious goodness called the mixed-veggies fried rice.

INGREDIENTS NEEDED

Rice (white / brown / short or long-grained)

Olive oil (or any oil of your choice)

Moringa (leaves, preferably fresh)

Turmeric

Ginger

Garlic

Green peas

Carrots

Spring onions; white onions

Prawns

Green pepper -1

Bell (red) pepper -1

Salt / seasoning to taste

PREPARATION TIME FOR THE MIXED-VEGGIES FRIED RICE: 45mins
DIRECTIONS

-Chop / mince the veggies and combine in a bowl, season with salt or as desired.

-Cover and refrigerate for 10 – 20 minutes to allow the salt / seasoning seep in.

-In a pot, bring water to boil and add your desired quantity of white rice.

-Parboil by allowing to boil for 15 minutes and proceed to wash away the starch until water changes from milky to clear. Drain rice in a sieve and set aside.

-Heat 2 spoonful of oil in a different pot / saucepan / wok over medium heat. Add the pre-seasoned veggies -onions, pepper, garlic, ginger leaving out the peas, moringa leaves and prawns.

-Fry lightly for 2 minutes.

-Increase the heat to high and stir in the parboiled rice, prawns, turmeric and moringa leaves.

-Stir-fry for 3 minutes, add just a little water / chicken broth.

-Add green peas and cover the pot.

-Check for the ‘softness’ of the rice, if not fully cooked, add chicken broth / water as needed.

-Taste for salt and leave to cook some more, for about 2 – 5 minutes -stirring occasionally.

Scoop unto a plate, add your lightly fried chicken / fish and garnish with egg as desired.

I kinda love the yellowish color which is due to the Turmeric.

healthy mixed-veggies fried rice recipe

Is this something you might try?

Please say yes..