Monthly Archives: March 2012

Is it Friday Yet?

Cirque de Westcott has been busy. The Other Half returned unscathed from his annual Boys’ Skiing weekend, Boy Wonder lost his credit card again, Mini Me got her provisional driving license (Lord help us), and Hobson and I continue to muddle along as best we can.

In lieu of a blog post this week I’ve written a Vampire Diaries article for TV After Dark Online. Fans of TVD check it out

http://tvafterdarkonline.com/2012/03/is-the-vampire-diaries-losing-its-bite/

and let me know what you think!

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MOB Rule

Boys and girls are different. They just are. It’s no good people saying treat all children the same. By all means love them equally but good parenting is about knowing when to adapt your style to better influence the child. Throw gender differences into the mix and it’s a whole ‘nother story.

Very early into parenting The First Boy I understood the differences between boys and girls. It was evident from the playgroups and toddler birthday parties. School only served to amplify the differences.

At birthday parties the SMOGs (Smug Mother of Girls) could be seen sitting together serenely discussing recipes and breastfeeding tips while their daughters linked arms and pretended to be Disney characters.  Meanwhile the MOB (Mothers of Boys) hovered nervously over the whirling dervishes  masquerading as their sons; afraid to sit down or even take a potty break lest Junior choose that exact moment to attempt some gravity defying lunacy.

SMOGs arrived at playgroup/parties/play dates well-dressed and on time. SMOGs wore make-up. The MOB on the other hand arrived late, harassed and dishevelled; inevitably chasing after the fiends who escaped their grasp as soon as they arrived at the destination.

The MOB had well developed cheek muscles. That’s because we spent so much time talking through gritted teeth. SMOGs wore nail polish. SMOGs had no concept of chasing a toddler half-dressed around a clothing store because the little monster slid under the changing room door just as you got your kit off. Or yanking your cherub out of the ornamental pond at a wedding – ruining your outfit in the process – because he just HAD to see how deep it was.

You’d think after acquiring a daughter I’d become a SMOG. But no – you can’t escape the MOB. Membership is for life. Womb to tomb, as a friend of mine often says. As the children grew older the MOB reassured me that it wasn’t just my child – male children have an innate appetite for mayhem and chaos. They are gifted at finding themselves in the most bizarre situations that defy logic or reason.  Hospital emergency rooms? Know them well.

By the time The Second Boy appeared I’d gotten over the shock of the first but the parenting experience has been no less eventful. As my boys grew into teenagers I discovered a fundamental truth. The male body has sufficient blood supply for only one head at a time. Inevitably the big head loses out to the small one. When you think about it, this explains EVERYTHING.

I’m not saying The Only Girl hasn’t given me cause to grasp the vodka bottle but such instances have been few. I’ve grown to dread telephone conversations which begin with the words “Are you the mother of insert boy name here?” It’s never good news. I have heard tales of angelic sons who never give their parents a moment’s worry. I have never encountered such a creature. I suspect I’d have better luck finding the Holy Grail. But when I do I’ll be sure to buy a lotto ticket and put money on play whe mark 10 (monkey/boy child).

Some years ago I attended a lecture given by psychologist Dr Diane Douglas. She said “When you have children, cut down your shame tree. Your children will do embarrassing things which can cripple you if you focus on the shame. Focus on the child instead” This has been especially true of my boys. There have been times when one or the other has done something particularly stupid and I wondered aloud “What the hell was going through your head?” But then I remember. Absolutely nothing – no blood supply.

I have been blessed to parent two boys and a girl. All three have enriched my life in ways I could never have imagined. I am not saying girls are better than boys or vice versa. They are just different.  Only by recognising and embracing these differences can parents truly understand and guide their children.  Or something like that anyway.  When all else fails pretend they’re not yours. Works for me.


Random March Musings

By Cirque de Westcott standards it has been a quiet week. No visits from the police or Mormons; some Bajan Amish-like characters came to the house today but that doesn’t count, does it? (For readers wondering about the Mormon reference – Don’t. Even. I still have nightmares). Boy Wonder hasn’t acquired any additional tattoos (yet), Mini Me celebrated a birthday, and Hobson’s OK). I should point out that I am writing this after 2 1/2 glasses of Pinot Grigio. Probably not a good idea, but let’s press on.

Mini Me ushered in another year of life. Luckily this is only the filler year between sixteen and eighteen so I didn’t have to take out a mortgage to pay for a birthday party. For the money I spent on last year’s shindig I should have acquired a son-in-law at least.

I was supposed to be on my way to Ghana instead of sitting in my living room but at the 99th hour, the Client bailed. They weren’t ready and thought it best to postpone the trip. So instead of sleeping in Frankfurt airport tomorrow, I will be attending a paternal family memorial in Tobago. What joy!

Don’t get me wrong. I love my family. But…

Three weekends ago I went to a maternal family memorial in Barbados. Reconnected with family I hadn’t seen since Moses was a boy and it was wonderful. Sitting poolside at the Hilton sipping a pina colada found myself pondering the question which has plagued me my whole life – what nationality am I?

Whenever people ask me where I’m from I have to take a beat. The truth is I don’t know. I think of myself as a British West Indian but not many people can relate to that.

Born in England to Tobagonian father, Bajan mother. Grew up in Trinidad ( a year in England and a year in Antigua as a toddler don’t count). Adult years spent in England, Mozambique and Trinidad, in that order. Confused? You bet I am. And did I mention that I’m an only child?

I like to think that I have a little bit of England, Trinidad and Barbados in me in unequal portions. The Brit in me loves order and Systems That Work. This person also loves Coronation St, Sainsbury’s, Christmas pudding and Daniel Craig. The Bajan in me loves Sandy Lane, pristine postcard beaches and service with a smile, not a scowl (A Certain Coffee Chain in T&T – I’m talking about you).

The Trini in me loves Carnival, getting on wassee and the cultural melting pot I call home. Does this make me schizophrenic? Maybe so. I laughed when a Bajan relative complained about pedestrians darting across traffic in Bridgetown. In Trinidad, pedestrians stroll across the road – on their cellphones – and dare you to bounce them.

So where does this leave Tobago? I struggle to place myself there.Being able to demolish a plate of crab and dumplings may not be enough proof that Tobago resides within me. Perhaps this weekend I’ll find out. The shared gene pool will gather and if we manage to get through the event without a Major Incident (unlikely) we may come to a common understanding (even more improbable). And who knows – I may finally recognise myself in my Tobago heritage.

I live in hope.

 


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