Monthly Archives: January 2014

Role Play

I agree with blogger Fanny P that it’s a little unbecoming for mothers, even mothers who sing and dance for a living, to be rump-shaking on TV. What the blogger really did in her post was to repeat a statement made by President Barack Obama, when he referred to Beyonce as being a good role model for his girls. But what’s acceptable depends on which way the pendulum is swinging.

And right now, it’s all the way over on the side of “anything goes”.

Dancing while she sings is something that the pop star does whenever she performs, and her presentation at the 2014 Grammy awards show was eagerly anticipated. Throw in the fact that her rapper husband would also join her on stage, and the organizers of the show were guaranteed millions of viewers.

I was one of them. I saw her come out in silhouette, giving the impression that she had just left the shower. In the course of the performance, she crawled on the floor, straddled a chair, gyrated suggestively and, as previously said, shook her rump. In my face.

At some points, the broadcasters had to ‘bleep’ out what seemed to me, wide swaths of the song – obviously the areas that contained some profanity. I haven’t listened to the track, which comes from her new “surprise” album so I couldn’t say just what I was missing. But I’m wondering if the song lost any of its flavour because of it.

The audience members were beside themselves when her husband graced the stage. Fully clad in a suit, his attire was more formal than his wife’s own, and his biggest move was one that simulated riding on a surfboard. Can’t tell you what he sang or what he said because I didn’t know that song either. Was it his song? Beyonce’s song? A mash-up of the two?

However, it is nice to see a couple work (the stage) together. And being in the same business they would both understand the need to stay relevant. That’s why it sometimes pays to do the kinds of things that have people talking about you several days later.

I’m not judging anyone and I have the same opinion as those persons who say that celebrities are the last people you should look to as role models for your children. And I know that most personalities will tell you that what they do on stage is all about performing – in other words, they’re just playing a role.

I’ll agree with one presenter who declared that the husband and wife duo “killed it” on stage – if by “it”, he meant, “good taste”.

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Night and Day

It never ceases to amaze me how two individuals (children) who come from the same place (your body), can be so absolutely different from each other. Which shouldn’t really surprise me because they do say it takes all kinds to make up the world. In my universe, my two children are as different as night and day.

But I should have had a pretty early clue that their personalities would have been different. My eldest, the boy, was the most easy-going baby you could find. My sister-in-law always complains about the fact that he was easily comforted by any one or two stuffed animals that he was given. This didn’t sit well with her, as she fought to keep her young ones from fidgeting during a too-long church service.

He would eat anything. He didn’t mind peppery foods and was a lover of olive tapenade. But he was also the child who my husband and I took with us when we went to restaurants, so his palate was well developed before he left his high chair. Maybe that’s why he claims that he wants to be a skateboarder and a chef.

He seemed adventurous back then

He seemed adventurous back then

It’s not that we didn’t want to expose our daughter to different culinary experiences too, but by the time she came along, it became apparent that everything costs more for a family of four than it does for a family of three. So she’s the one who is less willing to try foods that she isn’t familiar with – and inexplicably, she doesn’t like corn. Who doesn’t like corn?

This unwillingness to try things new, however, relates only to food. She will be the one wanting to go on the roller coaster ride even though she’s nowhere near the required height. She’ll be the one to go into the store to buy the newspaper on her own. She wasn’t one of the kids crying when I left on the first day of pre-school. And I had to sign her up for lessons early because she was adamant that she already knew how to swim.

Her brother will hem and haw, and say that he’ll need a week to wrap his mind around doing something new. Then he’ll say he’s too shy and could we ask him again next year. He’s grown even more reticent as he’s gotten older, and we have to tell him that the word “can’t”, shouldn’t ever be a part of his vocabulary. But he’s developing a kind of wit that may serve him well if he decides to be a comedian too.

When she was a baby, my youngest reminded me of a cat. She could really take you or leave you. She’d accept a cuddle if you gave it, but if you didn’t give one, that was fine too. Sometimes her expression seemed to say that she really didn’t know what all the fuss was about. And isn’t it your job to carry her around?

"So what if I'm carrying a little extra weight in my face???"

“So what if I’m carrying a little extra weight in my face???”

She’s a little young to know what she wants to do for a living, but her choices so far are influenced by whatever her father and I are doing, so I won’t take her word for it, yet. But her fearless nature tells me that I may have my hands full when she gets to the teenage years.

I’ll keep you posted.

Liam & Iman on beach

Talk To Me

At work, I come into contact with several people on a daily basis, and sometimes, since some people prefer to wait while having their services done, there is ample opportunity for them to strike up a conversation. It is during those times that I realize that some people have absolutely no problem telling all their business to somebody they don’t even know.

Facebook has taken over, mind you, but some of the things that people tell me, wouldn’t even be detailed there. I would constantly marvel at the fact that they would give me information about themselves and their situations, when all I wanted to accept was their money for services rendered.

I like to think that my face is a fairly pleasant one to look at, but apparently my eyes seemed to have hypnotized them into telling me all. Maybe I missed my calling as a therapist, because I dutifully listen, make the appropriate noises to assure them that I am still listening, and profess outrage when it seems appropriate to do so. They never ask my advice – which is good, because I would have been hard pressed to provide any.

I mean, what do you say to the guy who tells you that he’s interested in a woman, but when he talks to her on the phone to try to get to know her better, she declares that his conversations bore her? I guess you would ask him what it felt like to hang up on somebody who wasn’t worth his time.

Or to the person who tells you that his former girlfriend married someone else very soon after leaving him, but her husband has been in trouble with the law – a few times? Probably, to take his time to find a new girl and that when he did, to be sure to drive by his ex’s house – very slowly.

I’ve always thought though, that people who write into advice columns already know the answers to the questions they’re asking.

Such as, “My boyfriend says that he doesn’t believe in marriage. I’ve been dreaming about walking down the aisle since I was a little girl. Should I fool myself into thinking that I’ll be the one to change his mind?”

Or, “Should I tell my friend that her husband is cheating on her? Or should I just call our friendship quits now, because she’ll certainly do that when she eventually finds out?”

How about, “My family doesn’t like the person I intend to marry. Will we be happy even though I’ll blame him when I no longer have contact with them?”

Just this week, after asking how many children I had, a customer declared that she was giving herself until the age of forty-six to have her first child – and she tells me, she isn’t too far away from her deadline. It seemed a strange number to pick, but knowing that she was engaged in studies, I remarked that she had other things that were probably taking first place.

After she left, I wondered how successful she was going to be in her quest at motherhood, and I was thinking that maybe I should have gotten some more details. Like, did she actually have a boyfriend? If not, how was she going to meet her goal? And what would happen if things didn’t work out for her as they had for Halle Berry, whom she mentioned, and who at forty six recently had her second child.

But I’m sure she didn’t want me all up in her business. She just wanted to talk.

The Tooth Fairy is Broke

I think it’s time that my son knew the truth. I’m sure he suspects it, and since I’m going to reveal the hard fact that even the tooth fairy has some financial constraints, maybe I should just go further and tell him that she really doesn’t exist.

If you read my blog, you know that I’ve written about this topic before. Thankfully, the teeth for both of my kids have been leaving their mouths less often, so I have actually been able to save some money. But two weeks ago, my son lost another tooth. It stayed on the dresser for days – ignored by its former owner and ignored by its new one – that is, until he decided that he needed a sizeable deposit to his piggy bank account for a potential purchase.

So last night, his sister (bless her heart), reminded him about putting the tooth under the pillow, and even though he had already retired for the night, he leapt out of bed to get it. I’ll admit. I said to myself that I would find some money to put under there, but being out of practice, I completely forgot.

When he awoke this morning to the same old tooth and no money, he remarked that the tooth fairy had not visited. I almost slapped my head at my forgetfulness. What I did instead was inform him that the tooth fairy was probably broke – just like the rest of us.

I didn’t see what he did with the unclaimed tooth. But I’m thinking that this is the perfect time to tell him, as we say locally, “how barley grow”. That there really is no tooth fairy, because who has five dollars to give away in exchange for one tooth out of somebody’s mouth? And I’ll broaden the discussion and ask whether he thinks that it’s even a fair exchange.

Given the fact that (unlike his sister), he’s realized that not all people who marry have children, and he’s querying exactly how both he and his sister got into my belly in the first place, I dare say that pretty soon, the tooth fairy isn’t the only thing with wings that we’ll be having a conversation about.

Are you okay, Madame?

Image credit: images.theage.com.au

Valerie Trierweiler and Francois Hollande
Image credit: images.theage.com.au

If only all of us had the luxury. Of checking into the hospital for “rest and a few tests” when we get wind that our significant other has been stepping out on us. But most of us have to actually get on with our lives and go to work the next day.

I’m not making light of the fact that Valerie Trierweiler, who is the partner of France’s president Francois Hollande, was seemingly unable to deal with the “shock” of finding out that he was having an affair with a French actress – because not everyone processes bad news in the same way. And having worked for years as a journalist herself, she knew that her unfortunate circumstance would have been the story of the day.

It was expected that she would be released from the hospital a few days after she was admitted, but she might need a few more days to recover. Or to get over the embarrassment of having everyone else find out. Because if we are to believe from certain sources, that there were evenings when the gentleman did not make it home, she should have been smelling the ‘poisson’ long before now.

But one does have to take what the tabloids say with a grain of salt, because the President may have had some late night meetings of which they were not aware, and these may have been what prevented him from arriving home at a decent hour. And since the lady is ensconced in the “madame wing” of the presidential palace, it’s likely that he tried his best not to wake her when he came in late – on his side of the house.

I’m told that more than most, the French are willing to look the other way with regards to infidelity, and marriage seems to be something that quite a few can take or leave. Francois Mitterand, a former president of France even had a second family, something that was well-known but not spoken about in polite company.

But you have to give it to Ms. Trierweiler. She wasn’t inventing any mysterious ailments. She wasn’t claiming exhaustion or dehydration. She said she wanted to go lie down in the hospital and have her pressure taken, because she couldn’t believe that this man to whom she has so far given a good eight years of her life would do her like that.

Anyway, according to a friend, she’s not closing the door on the relationship just yet. It appears the affair may be considered a lapse of judgement – a “whim”, to quote the friend. But the cuckolded lady rightfully wants to know exactly what his intentions are. Well, as we used to say on the night before an exam – “if you don’t know now, you not going to know again”.

But maybe she will. Since she says she doesn’t care for marriage herself, maybe she’ll get something even better.

Call Mrs. Johnson

The easiest way to make money has got to be asking people what they want to do with their lives, and then asking them how they think they can achieve it. This is the job of a ‘life coach’. I think that I want to be one when I grow up because, well, I have a life don’t I?

If you don’t think that any of us can enter this profession, take a look at some of the things that a life coach does. Then tell me if you don’t think that you (and several people you know), have what it takes.

Since a life coach is a person who supports you, motivates you and “holds you accountable to achieving your vision for yourself”, that could very well be your mother, your sister and your husband all rolled into one.

The life coach is the person who will help you get what you want out of life. Sounds like your boss at work, since it’s her business that’s enabling you to get the money to buy your groceries and pay your rent.

However, a life coach is not a therapist. Thank God for that! Because some of us Caribbean people have a fear of sitting on a couch and telling somebody we don’t know, all our business.

But since life coaches are considered experts at the process of changing behaviour, my grade school teacher from back in the day or my mother accompanied by her trusty belt, are the people who come immediately to mind.

Some even say that a life coach can get you from Point A to Point B, but I doubt that she will lend out her car to anyone who asks.

And while life coaches are supposed to ask a lot of questions, they wouldn’t have anything on the kids who wake up asking ‘why’ and go to sleep wanting to know ‘how come’?

So shouldn’t the person whose life is so screwed up make him an expert in this field? Apparently not, since one life coach admits that her “validity as a life coach isn’t based” on her personal life, but cites things like a resume and years of experience.

What about the person who’s always giving free advice because she isn’t using it? Encourage her to hang out her shingle, because she might as well get paid for something that other people seem to need.

These days you can find a life coach for just about anything in your life that can use some improvement – love, career, image, relationships, job. Most say that they don’t just give you advice and tell you what to do. So although they’re not therapists, similar to those professionals, you actually end up doing most of the work.

Singer Millie Jackson, can be considered one of the first life coaches, when she advises the couple who has fallen out of love to call Mrs. Johnson to babysit the kids for a few days so that they can take a trip and do all the things they used to do.

And she gave them homework. Like dancing till dawn and making love all night long. And if they weren’t “back in love by Monday” – unlike today’s life coaches, she told them what to do.

Baby Steps

The question du jour for the last few months had taken a back seat to more pressing concerns – namely what new toys he would be getting for Christmas. But now that’s over with, my son is back to inquiring about the possibility of getting a phone.

Because you see, his cousin who’s only a year older than he is has a phone. And everybody – and he assures me, everybody – in his class has one too. His father and I want to know who exactly he planned on calling on said phone ‘cause we were both sitting right there.

Although his father jokes that he can get one when he turns 18, I know that we’ll actually have to give in a bit earlier than that. I want to think that I’m a conservative parent – but not so old fashioned that I don’t recognize that we all need to keep up with the times.

We had this conversation in a restaurant, and I sat across from a group of people at another table. They ordered drinks, and in between checking their phones, they would take a sip from their glasses and maybe say a few words to each other.

It never ceases to amaze me that surfing, messaging and posting is always more interesting than carrying on an actual conversation with the persons in our company. And multi-tasking takes a back seat as documenting our lives for others to see becomes our primary focus.

Is this what my son thinks he’s missing out on? Because as we told him already – we’re sitting right here.

But just so that we’re not considered unfair and unreasonable parents, we struck a deal with him, and told him that if he can improve on his face-to-face interactions then we would consider getting him the item.

No easy task for a boy who seems only to be getting shyer the older he gets. However, it proved to be quite a motivator. After several, and I mean innumerable times before he could even ask the server for a napkin, he bounded up to ask her for the check – nearly tripping her up in the process.

Maybe we should have let him pay the bill too.