Monthly Archives: May 2010

Becoming “That” Mother

Anyone who has spent any amount of time in a grocery store, a parking lot, a laundromat, or any public place has witnessed the antics of “that” mother. You know: The one who goes berserk because her kid was running unchaperoned down the aisle and ran into your cart, and subsequently gets royally pissed because you had no business being in his path in the first place? Or the one who goes into Babies ‘R Us and cusses out the staff and management because they don’t make Black He-Man action figures anymore? (This is a head-scratcher for the staff…because He-Man became obsolete in the late 80’s…and he was never Black in the first place. But what does that matter? She needs a strong Black male role model for her boy and your crappy company can’t provide it!)

“That” mother is uncompromising. She’s unyielding. In short, she’s insane.

Most notable in this group of bizarre women are two kinds: Mothers of only children and mothers of only sons. It now appears that I am a part of the latter group.

This weekend we celebrated my son’s first birthday. My only son. The one who gave me the most trouble in the womb. The one I have to work the hardest to coax a smile from. My ONLY son.

Exasperated that his father wasn’t taking more initiative or interest in planning his birthday party, I invited a few people over impromptu for cake and ice-cream. When ordering his cake a few days before, I had spent 15 minutes mulling  between Handy Manny and Elmo. I mean…he’s one. He doesn’t HAVE a favorite cartoon character yet. His older sisters solved my quagmire when they agreed that the Hispanic fix-it guy was the way to go, and Manny was scheduled to come home with us on Friday.

I went to Publix at noon to pick up said cake and party accoutrement, pleased with how smoothly everything was going. Everything I needed was on the shelves. The girls were excited to have friends and guests coming over and gaily discussed what dresses they would be changing into once the party began. I strolled over to the bakery, basket full of wares and gliding to the hot 90’s tunes that had now become muzak for the generation. When I got to the bakery counter, I was greeted by no one. Odd. The folks at Publix are usually pretty attentive.

I waved at an unconcerned Asian lady and asked her if anyone could help me. She pointed to the back of the room. A lady with a bad relaxer, sporting straw-for-hair, lazily sauntered over to me. She raised her eyebrows in question – as if to say “what do you want???”, but was too slothful to utter the words.

“I’m here to pick up a cake,” I said.

“Fuh who?” she asked.

“Grant,” I said tersely. I felt a slight headache coming on.

She walked over to the rack where the finished cakes sat and set my cake on the counter.

“I wanted to talk to you about your cake,” she said in opening. “Our airbrush machine isn’t working, so I had to draw in the decorations.” She pointed at her shoddy workmanship with her right pinkie finger. I was immediately vexed.

“I don’t know what your airbrush machine was supposed to do, but honestly, this is the worst cake I’ve ever seen done here at Publix.”

SCRRREEECCHH!!! Let me pause right here.

What I need for everyone to understand is that I grew up in Ghana, where there is NO SUCH THING as customer service.  If someone burns your burger, you pay for it and say thank you. If your seamstress ruins your cloth, you pay for it, and mutter and complain all the way home…but never utter a word to her. In my day, we were taught not to complain (although things are quickly changing nowadays). It’s considered rude to complain or make a fuss. Service providers in Ghana act like they are doing you a favor, never mind the fact that you might be paying a hefty sum for that favor. In light of my upbringing, it was a huge step for me to even speak my mind about this abysmal cake.

Now back to the story

“Look at the cracks on this cake. It’s like someone dropped it on the counter and didn’t bother to smooth it out. And look at the penmanship on ‘Happy Birthday’…it’s awful! It’s like a 3 year old wrote it in.”

Old straw head (who turned out to be the bakery manager) looked quizzically at me, as though I’d lost my mind. I feared I was about to.

“So what are you saying?” she asked. “You don’t want the cake?”

She waved her tattooed arm in frustration. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the word Pisces with little stars and lines surrounding it. I’m not into astrology, so I didn’t try to judge her by her sign. I chose instead to judge her by her missing front tooth and bad attitude.

“No,” I said simply. “I don’t think I do.”

She seemed shocked. I began to vigorously rub my forehead to release the building tension. In the midst of this conversation, my girls are clamoring to see the cake. It was hard for me to maintain my composure with a chorus of “can we see it?” in the background. While the bakery manager and I stared each other down, her assistant manager walked over, observed the imperfections, and offered to either fix them or offer me a discount on the cake. The assistant manager was a brunette; meaning she was White. Why does it always take White people to solve my problems??!?!?

“I can’t come back,” I said. “I have to get home and cook for the people showing up at 3. It’s 1:15 now.” I sighed deeply. “I guess I’ll just take the discount.”

With that, my $27 cake was dropped to $14.99. I didn’t feel vindicated. I still had to serve a crappy looking cake for my son’s first birthday.

Now should all that turmoil have happened over one little chocolate sheet cake? No. Do I even have a picture of it to share the memory of its existence with my son? Nope! Doesn’t matter. I was ready to set that building on fire becuase those people had screwed up my baby’s honorary confection. Some of you guys out there can feel me too. You’re probably sitting at home watching TV with “that” mother as I type.

This week, a Roq Star was born

When my sister told me that she was pregnant last September, I was pretty sure she was lying. It’s hard to trust any one of my siblings – We all have a cruel sense of humor and every year we engage in a 9 month long marathon of practical jokery that we have termed “April Toq”. It starts April 2nd and ends on December 30th. We’ve “toq-ed” each other on faked accidents, lost limbs, pregnancies, evictions and phone calls from our dreaded mother (shudder). So up until she actually had this mythical baby this past Tuesday, I still had doubts about her pregnancy. Even my husband didn’t believe her…that’s how strong of a toq-er she is. Last night, Skype eliminated our dubiousness and we watched Aiden Christopher slumber peacefully in his plastic hospital issued crib while we chatted with my exhausted sister. I watched her ravenously consume some jello/pudding. She hadn’t eaten in 2 days.

Why had she not eaten in 2 days you ask? Ahhh! Let me tell you why! Because my new nephew laid the smack down on her birth canal and avenged me for years of his mother’s trickery. I’m just going to go on record and say that I think “Aiden” is a gay name, which is why I will only refer to my new nephew as “Roq”. That he chose to wait to be born on a Tuesday just like his beloved auntie shows that we share a bond and are united in our desire to thwart and destroy Adwoa’s every ambition.

I have not spoken to Roq yet, but telekinesis tells me how he chose to make his entry into the world. Journey with me into the mind of a new born as he describes his birth day(s):

On May 24th at 5:30 am, I broke Adwoa’s water. And it was not the gushing, bursting of waters they portray in the movies…it was a small puncture; Just enough to get her out of bed and get her attention. I listened with amusement as she called Auntie Malaka

“Malaka,” she said. “I think my water just broke.”

“Ok. Well, go to the bathroom, get a rag and wipe yourself to see if you peed on yourself or if this liquid is clear.”

“It’s clear,” said my mother.

Auntie Malaka instructed her to get her overnight bag and get to the hospital immediately.

“I have to take a dump!” my mother whined.

“Listen here, Adwoa. The same muscles you’re going to use to take a dump are the same ones you’re going to use to push the baby out. If you sit on that toilet and push, you might deliver your son head first into a porcelain a pile of poo. Is that how you want to give birth to your first child? Get to the hospital now. The baby needs fluid to live. He can’t breathe amniotic vapors/dust.”

Heeding my benevolent Auntie’s advice, my mother and her troll-mate (my father, Chris) rushed off to the hospital. For what, I don’t know. I wasn’t going anywhere.

When they got to the hospital the nurses busily hooked her up to IV’s and waited for some action to happen. Nuthin’. A few hours later, Doogie Howser M.D. came in to break the rest of the water to see if that would encourage me to come out. Sure, I was sitting head down in her birth canal, putting pressure on her back and waist, but I had a point to prove. I am the man of this house. I own this womb. And there was nothing those sissies on the outside could do about it. I’m Roq Nottingham, bitch!

Keep in mind, my mother had not eaten since Sunday night and it was now Monday afternoon. She’d been in labor for 15 hours. I heard the nurses put her on pitocin. I felt a little bit of pressure, and it made me slightly uncomfortable, but not enough to make me want to do anything. Why? Say it with me: Because.I’m.Roq.Nottinghaaaaaam.

So there I sat, head first in the birth canal just chillin’. We’d passed the 24 hour mark and I was pretty sure I’d established myself as the dominant male in the Winfrey-Gyekye house. But I had to make sure that Adwoa and Chris understood me. 5 more hours would suffice to make my triumphant, fashionably late entrance into the world. Diddy-style, ya dig?  29 HOURS after that water first broke. Can I get a what-what?!?!?! (I’m throwing up gang signs)

I took a bit of pity on Ms. Gyekye and Crip walked out of her vaginal opening within a few pushes. She had gone through 3 rounds of epidural and had not eaten in 2 days…which means I was kinda hungry too. Time to slide on out and get a sip of some Enfamil.

Yeah…I was born with an extremely long head and slanty eyes from being squished up in a hole the width of a garden hose , but like I said, I had a point to prove. I am 8 lbs 8 oz of solid Roq and I only do what I do when I’m ready to do it.  Scared the crap outta my dad while I was at it too. Oh yeah, and I heard what you said about going on Maury, nigga. You know this is your nose.

And that, folks, is how my nephew came into the world. Balls to the wall and guns blazing.

…And Then Suddenly You’re Dry Humping the Fry Cook at Taco Bell

The other night a friend of mine called me at about 10:30 pm, obviously pissed.

“Write me something amusing and sarcastic on being a single woman,” she commanded. “I need a laugh.”

Understand that I go to bed at 8:30 these days. The fact that she caught me awake at that hour was totally a fluke.

“What’s got your panties in a twist?” I asked.

“This n*gga from work who is THE most date breaking-est n*igga I’ve ever met!” she howled.

A quick recap of their relationship revealed that although he was insanely good-looking, he was not only the lowest on the totem pole at her company, but served as the very hole in the ground that said totem pole was driven into. Lets put it this way: If she worked at a dog pound, he would be the guy cleaning up poop and sanitizing the cages…while she would serve as the Director for community relations/adoptions. Ya dig? She wears a suit and he…cleans poo. And while they have been physically involved (kissing, heavy petting, etc), they have never had actual genital contact. The reason?

“He has a small dick,” she said dryly.

Ok.

So I was going to write something witty and humorous about the state of single womanhood in America today on her behalf, and I realized the more I tried, the less I could come up with. Shoot, it’s hard for ALL women in any sort of relationship in the world today. Everywhere you look, the grass is greener in someone else’s pasture, whether you’re a widow, divorced, married with 4 kids, single with 6 kids and 4 baby-daddies, or just straight up single. That this woman who has a “Dr.” in front of her name, a brand new house that SHE purchased and a brand new car wanted me to feel sorry for her was insane. I can’t bring myself to make light of her enviable situation.

“I just never thought that this is where I would be at 32,” she mused.

I thought about my sagging breasts, long gone waist and stair-step kids.

“Shoot, I never thought that this is where I would be at 32,” I replied. We laughed.

After I thought about it for a few days, I realized what the problem is. Women today spend too much time listening to They.

They keep telling us that we’re not pretty enough, slim enough, or educated enough.

They also tell us that real women don’t have to be a size -2 to be a woman, and to celebrate our curves.

They tell us that we need to buy the latest anti-aging wrinkle cream to ward off the effects of time.

Then They say celebrate your laugh lines!

They tell us how to dress, what make-up to wear, how to rear our children, why you’re a bad mom, how to give your man the best mind-blowing sex he’s ever had, why you should be a lesbian, why you shouldn’t be a lesbian, oh, and if you’re going to drop your kids off at car pool – make sure you do it in heels. Blah blah blah.

They, They, mother-freakin’ THEY!

At the confluence of Self Achievement and Self Doubt, the utterances of They merge the waters and create a swirling rapid of dissatisfaction in the mind of a woman. Suddenly, she’s just not pleased with anything going on in her life and then  the high powered marketing executive finds herself dry humping the dude who stuffs taco shells in the back of her Lexus. Why? 1) Because he has no car of his own and 2) They have told her all the men in her league only want White women, or mixed women, or at the very least women with a weave down to her crack.

They have stripped her of all confidence, and she doesn’t even know it.

So to my friend: Girl please. Take a page from some hardcore feminists and stop calling him, stop trying to be the “man” in your relationships and take charge all the time, and stop looking for pity from me. I dare any single woman to live a week in the shoes of a woman with 3+ kids under the age of 6. You’ll run screaming back to your life in 3 hours. Iraq ain’t got nuthin’ on this.

*Muttering* With your free time, and your clean house, and your clean car, and your fly make-up…  Y’all single/childless women make me sick.

Douche Bag Drama – Part 2

Retta’s DEETS

So: I woke up on May 21st ready for my date with Drama to ensue around 1:15pm, the scheduled time of my daughter’s event. What happened instead was quite unexpected and quite the opposite of my expectations. I prepared myself for a rather mundane morning. What I got was every mother’s worse fear – My son toppled head first out of his crib and onto the carpet below. His shrill scream caused me to race (as fast as a sopping wet, preggo Black woman can) from the shower into his room and scoop him up to console him as best I could. We were both trembling. Fortunately, I’ve had enough children to know that since he was sitting up independently and could support his weight on his own legs that he was ok.

After I got muh baby calmed down, in stomps my oldest, angry over the clothes I had laid out for her.

“Mooommiiiie!” she whined. “I wanted to wear my pink dress with the lace and bows on it to school today.”

I patiently tried to explain to her that she was having an ice-cream social for her last day of school, and that I did not want her to get syrup and sprinkles all over her church dress.  She pouted and her eyes began to well up with tears. Knowing that I would have to face a retarded douche bag later in the day at said social, I was in no mood to brook any opposition.

“You can wear these capris and this pink top to school, or you can stay at home and miss all the fun,” I said with finality. “Your choice.”

“I’ll wear this and go to school,” she said. She did her best to appear heartbroken.

Whatever.

Next comes in her sister, who was also having a graduation ceremony at her daycare.

“Mommy, can I wear my cap ‘n gown to school today?!” (Everything is a both a proclamation and a question when she speaks)

“No sweetie. You have to put it on just before your ceremony.”

Her lip jutted out and she threw herself on my bed and began to whine. Fat, naked, and still wet from the shower I had to jump out of just 5 minutes before, I began to holler.

“Look here!!! You get your clothes on! You straighten up your face!! And when you’re done, get downstairs so we can have breakfast. This is the last day of school, and I am NOT.HAVING.IT. THIS MORRRRRNNNIIING!!!!”

Children scrambled everywhere and I felt my head begin to throb.

When I arrived at Nadjah’s school for the ice-cream social, I braced myself to be confronted with Old Broke and Crazy’s hulking frame and all the drama that would come along with it. 1:15 came and went. The kids sang two songs. 1:35 came and went. Her teacher handed out diplomas. 2:00 rolled around and we were all blissfully eating ice-cream with syrup, sprinkles, fruit and whipped cream – Still no sign of Douche Bag. I breathed a lot easier as I gathered up all the work she’d done over the course of the year and watched her hug her teachers and friends good-bye for the last time.

Am I disappointed he didn’t show? Not at all (although it would have made for an entertaining blog post). On the contrary, it just confirms what those closest to me have always said. My friend Caroline describes him as the village fool who is “constantly kicking up dust for no reason.” My dad says he is a “paper tiger”. My siblings and I are well aware that he is a mentality incapacitated platypus. Fortunately for me, I have never been one to set expectations for my daughter concerning the intentions of her sire-father; she will find out soon enough, when she  is old enough, that he is a man who is adept at making promises only to fail.

Today, I got this email: U haven t informed me of any of her school plans. I didn t know about her last day of school function till the day of.

You didn’t know? Really?? C’mon man. I’m no one’s dumb African. We don’t all live in trees, you know.

Built to Make Babies

In the world of reproductive activity there are 3 types of women. There are those who are barren and will never have children: In fact, some are so allergic to their mate’s semen that they break out in rashes upon seminal contact. Then there are those in the middle…the masses, who may or may not get pregnant after a romp in the sack. On the far right of the spectrum, there is an elite group of women who are always pregnant. You know the ones who walk by their husbands on a Tuesday and by Friday they have a positive pregnancy test? Like Michelle Duggar on 25 Kids and Counting? Yeah…it appears I find myself in this latter group.

They say for sperm, a woman’s vagina (yes, I said vagina) is a hostile environment. It’s outfitted with hundreds of caverns in which invading sperm find themselves trapped and will die a slow, lonely death in a matter of hours or days. There are antibodies whose job it is specifically to annihilate the invading sperm and out of the millions that are spewed with each ejaculation  only a few dozen will reach the fallopian tube and less than 10 will make it to the egg. Entering a woman’s vagina is like going straight to hell for sperm cells. It’s the biological equivalent of D-Day.

In a typical woman’s body, her egg will growl at the approaching sperm.

“Who’s there?!?!?” it will ask gruffly. “None of you bastards better try to get in here!”

Terrified, the sperm will halt, and only the boldest one will bury his head into the walls of this massive being an begin the fertilization process.

Then you have MY egg. As the sperm cells approach, the egg will sweetly ask:  “Who doth approacheth? ” The 12 or 14 sperm who have made it through the vast terrain of MY accommodating vagina will say in unison “We do!”

“Do come in!” says my egg. “I’ve baked cookies!”

All 14 sperm will then bury their heads into the very hospitable egg and work on making a baby.

After my last c-section, I asked my O/B if everything looked alright in there. He was doing quite a bit of tugging and pulling to get the baby out because his placenta had buried itself into the wall of my uterus. The anesthetist had cautioned me not to have anymore children after my son because “it looked like hamburger meat down there”. I called up my doc a week later and asked if I’d ever be able to bear more children or if this was it.

“Contrary to what the anesthetist said, you have a very strong uterus. An uncommonly strong strong one, in fact. It’s like it’s made of steel. It looked like it was on steroids.”

I suppose that would explain why 4 months after having what I thought was my last baby, I found out I was having another!

My husband and I decided that we would have to take permanent measures to end our baby making days. Being a man who is not interested in the possible anamorphic  side effects of tubal ligation, he decided he would get a vasectomy instead. When we scheduled his surgery 2 weeks ago, I dropped him off, a little saddened knowing that he would come out sterile and we would have no more little Grants running around our house.

3 hours after what was supposed to be a 45 minute procedure, my husband called me to come get him from the urologist’s office.

“What took so long?” I asked.

“He couldn’t get to my second vas deference,” he said.

“So…it failed? You’re only 50% sterile?”

“I’m not sterile at all,” he replied. “50% sterile still gives me a 100% chance to get you preggers.”

“Huh. I see.”

On the ride home, he told me how the doctor had tugged and pulled and just couldn’t get a clamp on his tube so he could cauterize it. He called in a second specialist and he failed as well.

“Mr. Grant…in my 20 years of practice you are only the second man I’ve had to give up on,” said the vasectomy guy.

If I have a uterus of steel, it would appear that he has balls of brass. Our reproductive organs are impervious to the destructive tools of men. Pills don’t work, knives don’t work…fire to our organs won’t work! We are built to make babies.

But seriously, this has to stop. I’ve had 4 kids in 5 1/2 years. So what if my body can take it? My mind is slowly being turned to gravy dealing with the daily antics of these chirrun.

Douche Bag Drama – Part 1

Silly me for thinking that this summer was going to start off on a positive and drama-free note.

I drove my daughter up to school today, excited that she had gotten through the year with relatively few set backs. Tomorrow is the last day of school, and my mind was filled with all the possible activities we’d be doing. There was the ice-cream social, a possible song and dance the kids would perform, and then a graduation ceremony right after.  As I pulled up to car pool, Ms. Lyndsey, the assistant director for her pre-school greeted me pleasantly. What she revealed to me net was not on my mental agenda.

“Good morning!” she said.

“Hey! You look pretty today.”

“Yeah, I wore make up for a change. But I didn’t do my hair.”

“Hey, it’s one or the other,” I joked.

“Yeah…By the way, your ex called up here the other day. Cour-Courtney?”

“Yeah,” I said tersely. “Courtney.”

“Well he asked about the celebration on Friday…and I told him about it…”

Her voice trailed of. She looked apologetic. My daughter stood tensely at her side. I tried to keep the steel out of my eyes.

“Oh. OK,” I said, trying to sound nonchalant. Inside I was fuming. “Well, we will be bringing sprinkles!”

“Everyone loves sprinkles,” she returned, also trying to sound light hearted.

I kissed my girl good-bye and got in the car. What a $%(&ing DOUCHE BAG!!! Is his presence needed at the school that day? No. Is it his weekend?? No!! Will he bring drama? Abso-frickin-lutely.

Douche Bag Franklin is a juvenile and easier to read than Mother Goose. Here is how I anticipate the day will go tomorrow:

He will show up early, with some moderately attractive woman between the age of 35-42 that he’s porking this month. She will be a size 10-12 with saggy boobs supported by a really good bra and will either have a weave or a perm with a side-part and hair tucked behind her ears. She may even come with her own child. He will attempt to monopolize all of Nadjah’s time during the event and for the sake of keeping up appearances in front of his “date”, will work the room, attempting to be a charming and involved “father”. He will then make a move to take all of her school work that she’s accumulated over the year home with him, and then benevolently offer to share it with me when classes are dismissed. For my part, I will watch him with amusement from the other side of the room, enjoying my punch and ice-cream.

I’ll let you know tomorrow how the day actually goes. Lets see if I’m a soothsayer.

Trying to Raise a Socially Decent Child

I wanted to do a happy-happy post today; I did. But this is the second day in a row I’ve been called into my daughter’s school to discuss her “attitude” since she got back from her douche bag sire’s house this weekend. I swear, it’s like going back to 2007 all over again.

Until recently, Na has been doing phenomenal in school all year. She has been considerate to class mates,  quick to participate and respectful of her teachers. Enter Douche Bag with his court order and demands to begin unsupervised weekend visits this past April, and now I have had to have 3 meetings with her teachers about fits she’s been throwing in class when she doesn’t get “her way”. Did I see this coming? Of course I did.

When she was 2 1/2 she used to spend every other weekend with him. She was again, a model child until she started going over for extended visits. She would come home, refuse to obey simple commands, go to church and tear down other kids’ block towers in the nursery and just be disruptive…unexceptionably so. When I confronted Old Tired and Broke Ass about it, he said he had done nothing to her.

“I give her anything she wants, in fact,” he said proudly.

“That’s not good parenting,” I retorted. “She’s 2 1/2. She needs limits.”

I cut off weekend visits not too long afterward. Coupled with the fact that he owes me $12K in back child support, utilities and meals that I provided for both he and she when she did go to visit, I had no qualms about it at all.

I have no clue what goes on at his house now during his weekend visits, because he’s such a liar there would be no point in asking. All I know is my child comes back whining, emotionally regressed and quite frankly, a chore to deal with. A week into setting her straight and I have to send her back over to that country idiot’s house and start the process all over again.

I am trying to raise a brood of socially conscious and progressive youth, who hopefully in the future will become productive members of society. The failure I am experiencing with my first is disheartening, because there is a trickle down effect to my younger ones. I am a Black woman living in America. I can’t let my children fail. The stakes are too high, and the consequences too dire.

When Old Douche bag filed his court action to initiate visitation after five (count ‘em FIVE) years of letting my husband and I hustle to secure the financial well being of “his child”, he stated it was in her “best interest to do so”. So far, I have not seen any evidence to support that proclamation. Every 2nd and 4th Friday, she asks me if she has to go to his house. I answer that she does, sadly.

“But I didn’t wish to go there,” she moans.

I am helpless to do anything about it. The State of Georgia says it’s in her “best interest” to go to a mentally inept, dishonorably discharged Marine corps man-whore’s home, who thinks it’s a good idea to slather a 5 year girl old with deodorant twice a month. Oh, and incidentally, he thinks it’s good parenting to give her whatever she wants and to sit at home all weekend watching The Incredibles (or Tha Incredables, as he spells it) and Princess and the Frog instead of picking up a book and perhaps furthering her Intelligence Quotient. But how could he be expected to do so? He’s an imbecile himself. God help me.

You see why I’m moving back to Africa???