My Christmas Day Miracle

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Ever since i got hitched, reproduced and became saddled with the responsibility of cooking Christmas meals, Christmas day is always an anti-climax for me. 25th December 2011 was no different.
My family and I travelled to the villa to celebrate the day with the rest of the extended family. That morning as usual found me in the kitchen, prepping the just-slaughtered goat for cooking. My sis-in-law and I were supposed to have gone to church with the rest of the family but we begged off so we could finish the cooking before service ends. So, we stayed home and cooked. No, my SIL cooked; i stayed steady downing the jar of palmwine that was just delivered that morning. Someone should package palmy in powder form and sell as tranquillizers/sedatives cos next thing i knew, i was snoring in bed, cooking forgotten.
The hubby’s call woke me and it wasn’t good news: our flat in Lagos was burning. Disturbing. The hubby was making frantic calls here and there...Helpless...only he didn’t look frantic. He carried on as if he was ordering bushmeat from Amokwe Station for a large party in a hurry! Unruffled. Finally, we got the call that said everything was ok. The fire has been quenched and even though our doors were broken down, they have been fixed and the house secured. Relief. We murmured the traditional “Thank God” and went back to drinking palmwine!
On the 27th of Dec, i boarded my flight to Lagos against work the next day. I was a little scared of going home. I didn’t know what to expect. No idea at all. Then, the taxi drove into my compound.
Dear Lord! I held myself long enough for the people that brought my things up to leave and then i collapsed in tears. I cried for nearly an hour!
I stand in awe of You. Only, God, to thee will all my praises be. I stand in awe of You!
I cried not because of the damage to my apartment. No. I cried because on the 25th of December 2011, a Miracle was wrought on my behalf. Favoured. Where my flat was extensively damaged, two feet away, my neighbour’s flat is non-existent. They lost everything!!!
Three days of electricians breaking more ceiling boards to re-wire the house, carpenters hammering left right and center, painters scrambling around lugging paint brushes and buckets, cleaners and washermen coming and going, three days of backbreaking, unbelievable stress, i finally have a clean space the kids can come home to. Except for the concentrated smell of smoke, no one will ever guess the trauma the flat underwent.


 


This space is what separates the two flats!

As i executed the last swipe of polish on the wooden floor, i knelt before Him that sits upon the throne and sang songs of praises. I am yet to comprehend the magnitude of what God did for me! i am sooooooooooo thankful. So full of thanksgiving! Where would i have started from?
There is a God and today, He became my personal Person!
I’d like to use this opportunity to thank every single one of you that helped out, called, texted, visited, tweeted. Special thanks to Tanna Obidike and family, for housing me and Foluke, for gifting me the mop that cleaned the entire house. God bless y’all for me. And on Sunday, if you are lead, please put a little bit more in the offering box and murmur prayer of thanksgiving on our behalf to God! He totally came through for us this year!!!
HAPPY NEW YEAR IN ADVANCE!

HHC: Another One Bits The Dust

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One month ago, on a certain wednesday morning, Happiness walked out on my household. No, not happiness the feeling. Yes, Happiness the nanny. She upped and left that day and *who am I kidding?* took my happiness, the feeling, with her!
Happiness was the nanny I never mess with and absolutely do not allow anybody mess with her! She took care of my kids like her own...or so I thought!  A mother of three boys, Zi was like the little girl she didn't have. Heck, Zi called both of us Mummy equally...anyone within hearing distance answers her call.
Happiness was a lifeline and even though I didn't outrightly say this to her, I always made sure she knew how much I appreciated her efforts from my actions.
Happiness was more than my children's  nanny to me. Yes, she was much more...Happiness was my friend!
Happiness stole out of my house and my life unannounced that fateful morning as I left for work, leaving my kids stranded in school! No warning! NONE AT ALL!!!
That day, I couldn't eat. I couldn't summon even the tiniest of appetites. I had this bitter ugly taste in my mouth. It took a while to realize what that taste was. Betrayal! It tastes like garbage, mixed with a generous dollop of really sour mayonnaise and served, wrapped in trash!
I will not even front...I cried. The only other time I cried over a heartbreak so deep-seated it physically hurt in my chest was when my boyfriend of many years decided, all by his lone self, that we needed a break (the boyfriend is now the hubby and I still haven't forgiven him for those tears).
With Happiness, kai, I was floored. I didn't know what to think; who to blame!
I blamed myself..maybe I have MPD such that after I slush off to bed, Cruella Devile, complete with claws and vampira dentition, emerges to torment these people.
I blamed my son..maybe this pint-size barely-four-year old boy is really a "problem child", rude and unruly to the point of driving grown ass women from my home.
I blamed my driver..beneath his dumbo cant-hurt-a-fly exterior, he really might be a househelp-molester.
I blamed everybody except for the person that thought I didn't deserve the courtesy of information. It took me a month to realise that laying blames and wondering where I got it wrong was an effort in futility. Like Toinlicious or was it CoyIntrovert tweeted, these people come wired with special effects. Nothing you do is gonna ever satisfy them! It also took me a while to realise  nothing is wrong with me...infact I'm the mellow-est of 'madams' I know. Nothing is wrong with my son...he has just plain refused to be bullied. And finally, my driver has not given me reason to suspect he's into diddling helps.
It took me a month to be ok with her actions (no word from her as yet); it took me a month to let the hurt go; it took a month to bring myself to blog it!
And this day that it clocked exactly one month (a week ago), Mary packed her things to leave...same MO! And this time round, I had the last laugh. I laughed so hard, I nearly peed my dross. Even now, I have a small smile on my face! Because as she was about to abscond, I got wind of it, got someone to hold her down and made a mad dash home! How I handled that situation is post for another day. BUT she left...still...shocked to her marrows and I chuckle...still...each time I remember the circumstances of her exit! I'm done rolling over and playing dead! Last I checked, that tree at my backyard never begin shed money! Oloshi{s}.
[If you have any househelp tales that could educate mothers on signs not to ignore in a help amongst other things, please send to 21stcenturycareermom@gmail.com. It’ll be hugely appreciated. You never know whose life or marriage it might save!]
How is everybody doing? Good, i hope. Anyways, Beddings’n’Beyond is gearing up for its first ever sales. In case you are not familiar with what i’m going on about, check them out on:
You can follow on Twitter: @_beddingsrus_ and they follow right back!
Ok, that is all for today. Lemme now go and make Sunday rice before Chets crucifies me for tarrying! Blog soonest....xx

Snippost: A Little Bit Of This & That

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On Cheating: Cheating in relationships is getting so old. I'm tired of hearing and reading the statistics. I'm equally tired of hearing justifications from those who cheat or are cheated on. I only have that strength to pray and watch that mine doesn’t!!! Sometimes I wonder how I would react if it happened to me. Some women just shrug off it off…business as usual. That ain’t right, right?

Which is why this is frigging hilarious: A guy friend of mine took this babe he really likes out on a date. He said while they were trying to iron out the terms and conditions of their relationship, he mentioned that once in a while, he'll cheat on her. That's just the way I'm wired, he said! He was pleasantly surprised when his date said that it was fine if he cheated every once in a while. After all, he’s a guy and it is to be expected. He said he couldn't believe how cool that babe was. Whaat...he has hammered! But his triumphant smirk was wiped clean off his face when the girl continued, "If you cheat on me, then I hope you don't mind if I cheat on you too. Oh, and I won't cheat on you with just about anybody...nah! I will cheat on you with a guy that is better than you in all ramifications and I'll rob the entirety of your face in it! If that is fine by you, then by all means cheat on me every once in a while!”

I don't think they ever checked "I Agree". Attagirl!
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On Child Discipline: Children between ages 2-4 are a mother's nightmare. Terrible-twos until 4 is no joke. Umuaka a question your every move, taunt and push your buttons sooo hard you actually quiver with the effort of reining in your frustration. Sometimes you succeed; other times you don't and if they are lucky, you only scream out the frustration. If they are not, well, Hello Mr Cane {I’m not sparing the rod, even if it’s the really tiny rod, and spoiling any child of mine}. This happens to me a lot; most times I find myself lashing out. The thing about lashing out is that over a period of time, it becomes ineffective! Then what happens?

So, one day I decided to ask his teacher what it is she does specially that keeps Chets in check, without hassles. Its crazy but kids are sooooo well behaved around their teachers one would think they've been hypnotized. Her answer was so simple it was shocking. Bribe, she said. The promise of what he wants extended over a period of time and redeemed after said time would do the trick.

Unu anukwa?
Anyways, I tried her system last week. Worked like magic. My son loves to read. I promise him on Sunday last week that come Saturday, if he was a good boy all thru the week, we'll go buy story books and a racing car (he added this to the bribe) for him. Just me and him, hand in hand, strolling round Iponri market, buying books...and racing car, he reminded me! He was hooked
And so, each time he was being naughty, I just say, "Saturday..." and he completes, "...will not happen!"
Saturday happened! He was a such good boy, well relatively, all through the week. And, I already have my next bribe lined up...a trip to Fun Factory in 2 week!

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On Building A Relationship: This particular day, i had just got back from school runs {was on leave} and i was trying to juggle bathing the kids and feeding them as quick as i could before they nod off to sleep in the midst of bathing or eating. I had just settled the boy to his food and was trying to arrange Zi in the bath when i noticed this huge patch of water on the rug in front of the loo. Running out to investigate, i found out that for some strange reason, i had been blessed with a swimming pool right in the middle of my toilet space, and the water having over flown its banks, decided to bless my rugs too. I HATE untidy spaces. Seeing the humongous patch was like waving a red flag in front of an irate bull! My hackles went up. Here was i being the good wife and mother and this stupid water tap will not just allow me to be great. I was tres frustrated. Where else to channel my frustrations except to the hubby, my problems solver! It didn’t matter that he was at work or might be in the middle of a meeting...i didn’t stop to think. I just called and as soon as he said hello, i jumped in with “Where’s the plumber?” Poor guy must have been confused. I still didn’t stop to think....i unpleasantly offloaded my frustrations on him. He made the colossal mistake of uttering the wrong words, “Sweet, there’s nothing i can do. You know i’m at work!”
I saw that red flag again. What does this man mean by there’s nothing he can do from there? With all these hoops his children are making me jump? Why can he be considerate and think of me sef? I worked myself into such a state, it was so easy to compose the stinker i texted him. Of course my hubby, being almost exactly like me, sent a stinker back....and his came with double the stinking strength. Oho, i said, this man wants to try me today. Does he not remember i’m a blogger? Composing a stinker with triple stinking capacity is a piece of cake!
I dropped Zi on the floor, arranged my phone to compose the stinker and somehow found myself writing:
I’m sorry love. I didn’t mean to sound so harsh and negative. Its just that its been so freaking hard juggling these kids and house work without any help. I’m just tired and now, instead of catching a much needed 30mins of rest, i’ll have to start mopping the floor so the kids don’t fall when......blah blah blah. Pls forgive me.
God knows that i didn’t mean one single word of that text, honestly! Not one...especially not the first sentence and the last one! I was still berating myself for stooping so low...
...when i conquered! He wrote back:
 I understand, love. And i thank God everyday for giving me a wife like you...blah blah blah.
I think i got a bottle of perfume out of that incident. Change starts from that one person. Be that partner!
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Happy Thanksgiving to all my American blog friends!

For Love Or Money

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CBN rolled off the side of its bed one morning, rubbed its hands together and thought,
“What shall I do today?"
“I know”, it cackled, “I shall harmonize all bank account numbers”.
And it gave the mandate. It didn't matter that its minions working in the various banks nationwide had to work weekends in addition to the grueling 5day-work week. No it didn't matter...harmonizing the numbers was the greater good!

Bank accounts were harmonized to 10-digits numbers across all banks.

A few weeks later, CBN and its head honchos thought again,

"Lets 'excite' the citizens a bit more. Now that the harmonized accounts are in place and functioning seamlessly, let us introduce a cashless Nigeria where less cash would be in circulation and most monetary transactions would be card or internet based. BUT let's not give the citizens collective stroke by implementing immediately. Let us allow the idea simmer a bit in their minds then until sometime in 2012 and then we will unleash…full force”.

The citizens balked at the idea. Persons and organizations who have the ears of the apex bank voiced their arguments against the idea; chief amongst the concern being the security of these transaction portals. A very hungry and determined fraudster will make mincemeat of the supposed security in place. Their fears were noted but it changed nothing…that ship is still set to sail come June 2012.

Banks went to work. The internet banking platform was and is still being deployed to every human that requests for it; the magnetic-stripe cards were traded in for the chip-and-pin cards {to reduce fraudulent withdrawals}; POS machines are being deployed in droves and ATM galleries are sprouting everywhere.

We are getting ready for this cashless thing sef….and so is the fraudster.

The face of fraud these days does not wait by the ATM and soak up your pin by osmosis after which you are robbed of the card. No. The face of fraud does not send mails anymore; mails asking that provide your bank card/pin details to authenticate ownership. No, people have wizened up….and so has the fraudster.

These days, the face of fraud has decided to be your friend…your boyfriend in fact. And so is the case with Debbie, a 20-something year old final year student of Law.

Mike told Debbie he is a practicing Medical Doctor in National Hospital, Abuja. He dressed the part. They were introduced by a mutual friend. Their relationship commenced and blossomed via BBM and after three weeks, Mike told Debbie he was coming to her school, all the way to Enugu, to visit her. His annual vacation starts in a few days and he wanted to take the time and come see his new love!

Things were rosy until a few days into the visit when Debbie discovered her debit card inside her bobo’s wallet. “What in God’s name is my debit card doing in his wallet”, she wondered! She asked him and he said she gave him to hold for her the night before. She does not remember any such incident but she didn’t raise alarm. Instead, she quietly left him and rush down to the ATM to confirm her balance {smart girl} but lo, her money was all gone! She had a couple of hundreds in the account; her current balance read 2.5k.

Oh, she’s got credit/debit alerts on that account but the phone that it usually goes to was with the boyfriend, whose phone was being repaired because it, accidentally on purpose, fell into water.

How did he get her pin? Her phones are usually password-locked. Humans are victims of habit. Once we have a workable password/pin, we generally tend to use same for everything. She gave him the pin to unlock the phone whenever it auto-locks! He guessed right…debit card pin and phone password were one and the same!

Mike has disappeared but some more debit cards and laptops were found in his place! Dude is a practising scammer. The police are after his hide but I reserve my comment on the efficiency of our police force! Oh, and he’s no doctor! Doctor oshi!

This is my little contribution to this war against fraud: Your PIN is your identity. It might be difficult but...Do not give away or lose your identity in the name of love! Not unless he/she has put a ring on. In which case its totally fine to lose your identity. After all, two has become one! Until then, biko, GUIDE YOR PIN JEALOUSLY!!

Mom-Sense {II}

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Continuing from where I stopped yesterday…
6. Develop a sense of patience. Ask God to help you learn how to wait and deal with stressful situations without becoming irritated or upset. {I’m asking right now!!!}
7. Develop a sense of respect. Ask God to help you model the Golden Rule: treating other people the way you’d like them to treat you.
8. Develop a sense of consistency. Ask God to help you become a reliable and faithful person who your children can count on to be there for them when needed. {Dear Lord, I ask You to bless my hustles, so I can be there for my kids}
9. Develop a sense of perspective. Ask God to give you the right perspective on challenging situations so you can focus on what matters most.
10. Develop a sense of self-control. Ask God to help you live with self-discipline in a world that’s often self-indulgent, so you can avoid some sinful and destructive choices.
11. Develop a sense of calm. Ask God to give you the strength you need to be calm even in the midst of chaotic situations, and to help you create a peaceful atmosphere in your home.
12. Develop a sense of joy. Ask God to help you enjoy fun times together with your family at home and maintain a sense of humor.
13. Develop a sense of love. Ask God to remind you regularly of His unconditional love for you, and let your gratitude for God’s love for you motivate you to love your children unconditionally.
14. Invest in relationships with other women. Don’t neglect your relationships with other women, even when parenting demands are keeping you extremely busy. Make time to keep up friendships, and ask an older mom with more parenting experience than you to mentor you, as well. {This is sooo important…I cannot over-stress it}
16. Keep growing closer to God. Make your relationship with God your top priority. A close connection to God will transform you into the kind of person who can love and serve your children well. Pray and read the Bible regularly. Worship and serve in a church every week. Keep choosing to trust God with every part of your life, and looking forward to the future He has planned for you and your family.
Adapted from MomSense: A Common-Sense Guide to Confident Mothering, copyright 2011 by Jean Blackmer. Published by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Mich., http://www.revellbooks.com/

Mom-Sense {I}

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First time I saw this, I didn’t really care for what it had to say…hunger had me well in hand at that moment. I thought I clicked on the “Delete” button. Today, I saw it still marked unread in my mailbox…
I read it…
I want to share it…
How to Become a Confident Mom
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Jean Blackmer's book, MomSense: A Common-Sense Guide to Confident Mothering
If you feel overwhelmed by the responsibilities involved in raising your children or afraid that you’ll fail to fulfill them well, take heart. No mother is perfect in this fallen world, but you don’t have to be perfect to be a successful mother.
God – who created you and your children – knows that you have what it takes to be just the kind of mom your children need. And God has given you “MomSense” (a combination of intuition and common sense) to help you figure out exactly how to do so. When you use your MomSense, you can become a confident mom. Here’s how:
1. Realize that you know what’s best for each of your children. As your children’s mother, you and their father know better than anyone else what’s best for them. You’re an expert on each of your children.
2. Don’t look for “one-size-fits-all” parenting methods. Such methods don’t exist, because all families are different and need to seek God’s guidance for their unique relationships rather than trying to follow a uniform parenting plan. There’s no shortage of parenting advice for you to consider from other people, but much of it conflicts, and what works for them may not work for you. Pray for the wisdom you need to choose the parenting methods that God intends for you and your children distinctively.
3. Consider what you can learn from your own mom. Reflect on what your mother did well when she was raising you, and decide to follow her good example in appropriate areas of your own parenting. Then think about the ways that your mother struggled as a parent and how you can learn from the mistakes she made.
4. Develop a wise decision-making style. Determine your values – what’s most important to you and your family, and why. Then build your priorities in life around your values, and make your decisions according to your priorities while staying in touch with God in prayer. Don’t compare your choices to other people’s choices; simply do what’s best for you and your family. Set time limits for making decisions rather than agonizing endlessly over them. When a single right answer isn’t clear and different good options exist, have the courage to go with your gut feelings about what you should do. Expect the unexpected to happen sometimes; be flexible so you can adjust your decisions as necessary. When you make mistakes, learn from them instead of worrying about them.
5. Strengthen your marriage or find a parenting partner. If you’re married, invest time and energy into your marriage regularly. Your children will benefit in many ways from seeing God’s love in action in your marriage relationship, and sharing the parenting responsibilities equally with your husband will help prevent either of you from getting burned out. If you’re not married, find another person who loves your kids and is willing to partner with you in raising them (such as one of your parents or siblings, or a close friend), since you need regular encouragement and practical help as a mom.
I’m gonna post Part II tomorrow. Feel free to share with other mothers or mothers-to-be. We need all the help we can get raising our children, our gifts from God, the right way.
Until tomorrow…ciao!

All I Want For Christmas...

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This pair of Christian Louboutin leopard print platform pumps is giving me sleepless nights. This is the one and only item on my Christmas wishlist. See, i put up nearly 360 degrees view of it so there won't be any room for confusion.

Someon....anyone, make this happen!!!

HM QuikLinks Special

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I haven’t done a HM Quiklinks post in ages but while trolling blogs today, i came across two beautiful posts and i thought, “I gotta share this!” Hope they speak to you as much as they did to me!

I Am Simply Phury wrote about God’s Grace that saw her through a difficult time and is still available to her, daily!

“I tell God everyday how i promise not to be naughty or engage in any sexual activities of any kind. But next thing I'm kissing some guy with really beautiful lips or dreaming about licking another. And yet with all my short comings I'm still loved by God. I bet when i have conversations with him, he chuckles every time. I bet he thinks 'Phury, what would i do with you'? I grin sometimes when i imagine him too. And i love to tell him how utterly graceful, loving, forgiving, honest and slow to anger he is. When i feel like his patience may be running out with me, i get on my knees and pray to him. I apologise for being a naughty girl, I apologise for being proud, I remind him that just because i haven't prayed doesn't mean that i don't love him with all my heart. I apologise for not going to church or paying my tithes. Then i thank him for his patience, my family and for life but most especially for sending Jesus to die for me. I ask him for strength to fight temptations and he gives me that. He always gives me that benefit of doubt. I pray for my enemies, which is a big deal as I've only  just learned the act of forgiveness. Its a given that he knows my future and sees into my heart. But honestly, where would we all be without his grace? I'm a sinner. I know this. He understands this”
                                 
Yellow Sisi Unspoken’s Who Is He? asked a question that subdued me: What if God got tired of forgiving us?

“Who Is He?
On His mother's side He was hungry but on His father's side He is the bread of life
On His mother's side He was thirsty but on His father's side He is the living water
On His mother's side He was been nailed to the cross but on my father's side He rose again
On His mother's side He slept on the boat but on my father's side He commands the storm in the sea
On His mother's side He died and was buried in the grave but on His father's side He raise the dead from graves”.



Two posts, two questions...

Where would we all be without God’s grace?

What if God got tired of forgiving us?
What if God got tired of forgiving you??!

Two Weddings And A Garden

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I quite like the clay pot twist to this fountain. Very original!

I finally got to visit Shodex Gardens, located opposite Anthony Village across the Ikorodu Road, last week and if i didn’t take anything away from that day’s excursion, at least i was reminded yet again NEVER TO JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER!
I honestly never think of Shodex Gardens except in passing...literally...on my way to the island and i firmly believed that place had nothing to offer. My friend, Miranda, invited my brood and i to come hang with hers there. I never pass up an opportunity for outdoor entertainment for the kids...they must feel caged being indoors almost all the time. Plus the promise of physical and mental exhaustion is a powerful incentive; makes for less whining from the kids, more rest time for me! #winning
Chets, his paddy Bubu and Zi



Anyways, Shodex Gardens is such a serene place. Its much more than a botanical mire. In fact, its got a mini zoo within the premises. Chets couldn’t contain his excitement. He saw a spider monkey, not the Ben10 version, up close and personal. Ostrich, owl, crocodile, rabbits, fishes in the aquarium, ducks...he was sooooo excited i knew leaving for home would take the special Grace of God. That and sheer force on my part.



While we were walking the lush green grounds, we sighted this couple having a quiet wedding in one corner of the garden. WOW...Just the two of them and their pastor {we later found out a couple of their friends were outside the gates; the pastor just wanted a quiet moment with them}. This was a Thursday so you could imagine our collective astonishment at the setting. Miranda insisted we talked to them. Apparently, they wanted a micro-small wedding for no reason other than they would rather channel their energy and resources to making the marriage work. Sounds like a good plan to me. I bet their marriage would last more than 72 days too.



In hindsight, i should’ve had a micro-small wedding too, on a beach, just before sunset, just the two of us...and the Priest, and our witnesses, and our parents, and... See, the number don dey increase. But wait, I did mention the beach setting to my mother. She made a long speech. I swear i heard only two words: water spirits and deliverance. I booked the church next day. Oh, but i digress!
Came Saturday the 29th i went for yet another wedding, this time sans kids. It was a re-union of some sort. The groom was a “staff kid” {and thats what we called kids whose parents were lecturers in UNN} and the bride is a colleague. The crowd at the wedding was mostly guys and a few babes i knew from UNN. Major fun!


@Maynezee

Meet my friend @Maynezee. We met on twitter a month ago; met her in real life 2 weeks ago and shes such a sweetheart. She was alreay coming for the wedding. Turns out she knows nearly all the UNN gang. It was like re-uniting with an old friend!



@Maynezee and Kimmy A


I told y’all it was major fun. Look who i ran into! @Sphinx640 thinks i had a crush on him back in school. According to her and i quote, “You did have a crush on him which you refused to act on and was just there blocking the rest of us!”...unquote. She’s been my bestie since year one...what does she know? Until i breathe my last, i stay denying that notion.
We were so into that gist we forgot we were supposed to be posing for this photo


Hazel & Ginika


Hazel

Like my dress? Kimmy of VraiAmour hooked me up with this number. Made to measure, tailored to fit. I mostly loved the attitude at the back of the dress {sorry i didn’t get a picture of the back...im unbelievably awkward in front of a camera}

Kimmy {BossLady, VraiAmour}

Kimmy does really good work. Im totally impressed with all the pieces she's made for me so far. She has a few of her work up on her blog VraiAmour. Go check it out.
How has everyone been? 

House-Help Chronicles

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Somehow, it is inevitable that this blog would have a series dedicated exclusively to house helps and all the lessons i’ve learnt employing them. With a job that affords me just about enough time to come home, eat and hit the sack until the next morning, having a help is not even topic for debate. Did i say a help? Make that TWO helps in my case, one in charge of the kids’ welfare and the other to take of general housecleaning. And having two helps saves me a lot of headache and embarrassment. What sort of story would i have concocted for the office after that help of mine ran away, if i didn’t have a backup in my nanny?
My house-help ran away weeks ago; i mentioned it in my last post. Last week {Thursday to be precise} i got a replacement from Enugu. This post is all about the replacement and the lesson i learnt from her!
Thursday 20/10
4:10pm- I called this 20-something year old help to ask her whereabouts to determine when to go pick her up. She said she had no idea. I asked that she find out from the bus conductor or driver or whoever could give her the information. She returned, few minutes later, with, “We are in Benin”. Great.
6:05pm- I called her again. She picks and says they are in Ojodu Berger.
 “Progress”, i thought.
 “Thank You Jesus”, i said.
Then i told her to stop at Ojota to which she replied, “Be coming out now. Come and wait there. I’ve told you we are in Berger. Just come out and wait in Ojota”.
To be totally honest, i’m still smarting from Precious’ absconding, the help that ran away. It pained me more because she waited until i paid her salary and as i left for the neighbourhood market the next day to get foodstuff, she took off...literally...slippers in hand. And so, when Madame New House-help said i should stand in Ojota, name card in hand i suppose, and wait for her, i got pissed again. Whats with me and these girls with attitude?
6:29pm- She flashes my phone; i called back. She said they were in Ojota and i said, “Good. Now ask for the bus coming to Maryland Junction. Its about 5-10 minutes drive and it won’t cost more than N50”. She started whining, “You know i don’t know anywhere. You were supposed to be waiting for me in Ojota”. I told her not to worry; she cant miss the Mr Biggs by Mobil Gas Station in Maryland Junction. No way. Also told her i would be waiting right there for her. Tihehe...small victory i know but i’d rather show her right off the bat who was BOSS...ME!
7:02pm- 30 calls later...23 of which she ignored out rightly, 5 cut off...we meet ourselves for the first time ever.
I usually give my new employees pep talks but i decided to skip hers that night. She was tired from that long ass journey. Pep talk can wait until the next day. I gave her food and told her to go rest.
Friday 21/10
9:07am- PHCN just brought the light. I was in the bathroom trying to load the kids’ dirty laundry into the washing machine. New Help was cleaning the loo. She met me, mop and bucket in hand, in the bathroom and started “mopping” the bath floor. Then she asked, “Which bucket am i supposed to use and mop this floor?” to which the nanny replied, “Haba, the one you are using right now”.
New Help: Hian. Don’t you people have that normal mop bucket? Because my hand cannot touch this mop.
I heard that statement and my ears perked up. I slowly backtracked and asked her: What did you just say?
New Help: My hand cannot touch the mop head to squeeze off the water. It irritates my skin.
Me: How did you clean the toilet?
New Help: I just hold the mop until the water stops dripping and i use it. Theres no way i’m touching that mop. You people should try and buy the mop bucket.
Me: Can you see my hand? Is it scaly or itchy? Can you look at Happy’s {nanny} hands? Are they scaly or itchy?
She answered, “All hands are not the same!”
I gave her the pep talk then...but it was not the initially prepared talk. I gave her a different, more aggressive, not-ready-to-take-shit version of the pep talk and it seemed to sober her up a bit.
5:27pm- I came home from my day’s waka and met with her to give her the chore list. Before i gave her the list, i asked,
“Have you done this sort of work before and where?”
“You won’t know the place so there’s no point telling you”, she replied.
“What?” I was shocked. My goodness!      
“Its my Aunty’s place and we were three and...”
“Whatever”, i cut her off and read out her chores. After i was done, i asked her if she had anything to say. She started:
1.     I don’t like working and working and somebody cannot rest in between work.
2.     I don’t like someone sending me on an errand when i’m already working on something for them.
3.     I don’t like being disturbed by kids while i'm cleaning.
4.     I don’t like children scattering places i’ve already cleaned.
5.     Ulcer is real. I don’t want anybody starving me o. I need my food 3x a day.
6.     When can i watch TV?
I was dumbfounded!! What??? When i recovered, i asked just that one question, “That money i sent to your agent for your transport, is any still remaining?”
I need a help not a liability. I need someone that would reduce my stress level to the barest minimum not someone that would increase it ten fold. And i certainly do not need any ugly ass entity with attitude, schlepping drama around my household. Enough was enough!
Tuesday 25/10
6:05am- I woke up and told her to pack. This relationship is cursed from the get-go. I helped her pack the electric iron and plate and cup and cutlery into her bag! Who packs their own plate and cutlery to a job like this?
In the four days she was with me, it has been one drama or the other. Just yesterday, a friend of mine that we all went to visit walked her out of her house. My friend says she thinks her problem goes beyond attitude. She senses a dark spirit around her. Oh boy!
I know the lesson these few days thought me. I will never second-guess my first impressions...my instincts.  

Random Ish

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I took my annual leave off work a couple of weeks ago. I sooooo looked forward to those 15 days of pure bliss. I made plans. I was going to just lounge and lounge and lounge. Travelling was out of the question. With the kids, i knew i would be more stressed out than rested. I just wanted to be able to wake up late, well later than the usual 4:30pm wake-up time, prep my kids for school, pack their lunch boxes, drop ’em off at school, come home and catch up on tv programmes or blogs until its time to pick them up from school. God in His infinite wisdom granted my wish, in abundance sef *sigh*
Few weeks before my leave, my househelp absconded! Strike one. Five days to the kain long awaited period of much-needed rest, my nanny left to go see her children for one whoooooole week. Strike two. And I, Hazel A a.k.a @Zitera a.k.a 21stCenturyCareerMom, was left in charge of my two beautiful, almost well-behaved munchkins. Easy piece of chocolate-gateaux-with-cookies-and-cream cake!
Mehn, ignorance is indeed bliss. I can authoritatively tell you that being a fulltime homemaker especially with kids thrown in for good measure is anything but easy. Dear Lord, i had a total, nearly-overwhelming culture shock! Cooking, doing dishes every five minutes {i kid not...I had no idea the rugrats utilized that much tableware and cutlery}, sweeping, mopping up, doing laundry, resolving toy-sharing scuffles between my duo! WOW! I know i multitask easily...which woman doesn’t...but that week’s multi-tasking was on a kentro level.
I needed help but seeing as none was forthcoming, i harnessed the four year old resource i have...Chets. When he is in a good mood, he can be really helpful. And he’s always in a good mood when i promise to give him my iPhone or to do his homework with him. Other than that, i’m flying solo. He always always has an excuse for not doing whats asked of him. Always!!!
Me: Booboo, please get me drinking water. Mummy is choking!
Chets: Muuuummy, but you are not coughing.
Me: Pleeaaaaaseeeeee *cough cough*
Chets: Ok
He’ll get a tall glass cup with prolly about 100ml of water in it.
Me: Chets, this water is too small. Get me BIG!
Chets: Mummy i can’t. Because you’ll wee-wee on your bed if i get you more. I don’t want Daddy to ‘not be’ happy with you.
OR
Me: My baby {i have to butter him up first}, please tidy up the sitting room.
If he’s with the iPhone, the sitting room is tidied in two seconds flat. If he is in his ‘because’ mood,
Chets: Muuuummmmy, i can’t because my hands are getting smaller. Look, look *he’ll thrust his supposedly shrinking hands in my face* See, i told you my hands are getting smaller!
OR
Me: CHETANNA!!! Stop writing on my wall.
Chets: But i’m not writing on the wall, Mummy. I’m only painting on the wall!! Huhuhuhu...this girl sef!*
Where most mothers have ‘why’ babies, the ones that are perpetually questioning everything you ask of them, i birthed a very ‘because’-orientated precocious child. Quite frustrating. I used to think my hubby was strong willed until i met my son....and daughter Zi. And they both seem to have inexhaustible wells of energy; getting them to sleep at the end of the day is an arduous task
I survived that week sha but with such body pain i was quite convinced i sleep-ran a marathon. I survive but with a long face and a cantankerous disposition i’m surprised my husband didn’t suggest a short visit to my father’s house. Frankly, I would‘ve bollocked myself if i actually hired me.
Wearing heels and klunking off to a career is the easier option, in my opinion. You don’t have to deal with the drama at the home front and believe me, there are plenty of them dramas. I’ve got a newfound respect for housewives and women devoted to their kids and nannies, for that matter. Theirs is a labour of love; their wages hugs and kisses and ‘Mummy, i love you’ and foot rubs from any understanding hubby. I’ll take the ‘Mummy, i love you’ over being called an aunty by any kid of mine, any time...any day!
I resume work in a few days but i've thoroughly thoroughly enjoyed this time with my kids! School runs, home works, bath times....wouldnt trade ‘em for anything. It was hard but it was totally worth it. My kids rock my world, totally!
There. Thats what i've been up to these past weeks. Its been so hectic blogging and catching up on other blog kinda took a backseat. However, something really good happened within this period...I GOT MY READING MOJO BACK!!!! I cant remember the last time i read a book which is really crazy considering that i was once a devourer of books. Between RIM and PHCN, yours' truly was forced to go register at a bookclub. Best N500 i've spent in recent times! I'm on my 7th...Mini Shopaholic by Sophia Kinsella. The Lord is good....


Oh, lest i forget, happy birthday once again Sisi_Yemmie. Hope you had fun today! And many thanks to The Relentless Builder for yet another Versatile Blogger award. I promise, i’ll get to that post soon-ish!

In Her Shoes, What Would You Do?

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The easiest time in the life of a mother is the nine months it took to incubate the child. Once that baby pops from the womb, life as you know it pops out of with it! In that second, you transition from a seemingly sane woman to a mad woman who screams at innocent urchins that had done nothing wrong, nothing except frustrate your every effort at some me-time with their attention-demanding antics. You scream, you beg, you shout, you cajole, you bribe, you punish but mostly you worry! You are worried: Am i raising this child right? Have i taught her enough to facilitate her growing into a young responsible God-fearing adult that would do my heart proud? You worry and you pray that God guide their every footstep.
What am i going on about? Here’s what. My neighbour’s niece just moved in with her. Her own mother threw her out of the house. The good niece is 16 years old and heavily pregnant!! Her mother couldn’t bear the “shame” and sent her packing. She is not faring any better in her aunt’s house but at least, there’s a roof over her head and food in her belly...aside of the foetus growing in there, that is. I also know this good Christian lady; one minute, her young daughter was preggers; the next minute, she wasn't!
If you were a mother and your teenager daughter comes up to you and says, “Maman, i’m pregnant!”, what would you do???? Welcome her with open arms? Hustle her off to the nearest doctor? Cry and wail out, “Why me?” Or generally beat the crap and the baby out of her? What would you do?
Its a tough situation to be in! Its a tough call any way you wanna look at it. I promise, i don’t ever want this in my cup. However, faith without works is babash and God really helps those that help themselves. So for me, sex education on her first ever period or earlier sef. I would pull the God-says-thou-shall-not-fornicate card but look how many of us that actually deterred from doing! I won’t even touch the you-get-pregnant-if-a-man-just-touches-you card. Didn’t work then; certainly not in this tech era that kids are so much wiser. So, i’ll embellish the truth a teeny weeny bit and feed her that version and hopes it keeps her till she’s 21. Why 21? Because, at that age she’s would be old enough to make informed decisions plus hopefully, her Prince Charming would come get her off my hands by then. Hehehehe...just kidding!
My version of the truth would probably go along these lines:
“Uloaku mama ya, you know i love you right? And i would never never lead you astray? So, now you are 10 years old and since you are my best friend, i wanna let you in on a secret. You see Chets’ twi {thats what my son calls his kini} you always used to grab when you were really little and both of you would laugh...yes i noticed...well, that twi is not as meek as it looks. Dont be fooled...it is heavy artillery. Thank God you stopped playing with it a long time ago. Do not for any reason even touch it, not your brother’s or any other person that carries one around, until you are 21. You know why? Because if you as much as look at it before 21, your entire body will become bloated. Thats the sort of damage the twi can wreck. I reckon you still want to be a model when you grow up? You still do? Thats great. So tell me, what kinda model will you be with a bloated body? And thats not all. Your skin would become rumpled and you know how ugly you would look with a rumpled skin? *embellish, embellish and more embellishment*
Who am i kidding? If God doesn’t watch a city, in vain do the watchers watch! *sigh* If my teenage daughter tells me she’s pregnant, i have no idea what i would do. And that, my people is the honest truth. What would you do??
*****************************
PS: I just finished watching Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story {again} and all i can say is WOW, God is truly, truly, truly-truly, truuuuuuuly, TRULY amazeballs!!!!! I do not acknowledge this enough!
PPS: Mucho gracias to Toinlicious and Coy-Introvert for the Versatile Blogger award. I’m so stoked. Will get to it as soon as i can! Thanx-a-sweet-bunch!
PPPS: XOXO to everyone that reads, follows and comments on this blog. I genuinely appreciate your visits. Mmwwaaaah.....x