Monthly Archives: November 2010

From Baby to Buddy

Oh My GAWD!! Somebody help me!! Somebody took my baby!!! My baby is GONE!!!!

I left my baby and went to Ghana for only seven weeks. He was a sweet cuddly boy, whose only ambition at the time was to procure a warm cup of milk and perhaps the bulk of YOUR food.

That aside, he was pretty content to go along with the day’s agenda.  But when I got back, my baby was gone. In his place, there is now a snarling, growling, stomping, hulking MAN in  midget clothing.

My baby used to toddle over to me, and wait patiently for me to pick up, whimpering with sweet baby coos. But THIS old man grunts, pounds his forehead into my shin and thighs and howls his demands.

“Grrrrr!!!!!”

If I’m not quick enough to lift him up, a meaty 18 month old hand will grab my wrist and jerk me down to knee level to make the owner’s point.

Grrrrrrr!!!!!

My ‘Baby’ is gone, and in his place is ‘Buddy’.

Buddy has numerous diva demands:

Milk ain’t cold enough!

Cheerios ain’t sweet enough!

Hugs ain’t tight enough! Curse you woman!

The other day I attempted to take some offending item from Buddy (like a shard of glass or a piece of plastic), and was pretty sure I got pimp slapped in the process. I can’t say for sure, because it was hard to concentrate above the snarls and growls coming out of the mouth of the meaty little midget.

Buddy guards my every move. I can’t go anywhere without little stomping footsteps following behind me to ensure that I don’t get too far out of earshot or visual range. I assume that Buddy’s version of ‘love’ – this suffocating, possessive thing we’ve got going on here. I also suppose it’s to make certain that I don’t leave him for so long a period again. The look in his eye is enough to make sure I don’t even contemplate it – because I’m fairly certain that the next evolution of Buddy is Chucky…and I can’t live with Chucky.

Jive Turkey!

This week my grandmother-in-law threw her middle finger in my face. I mean, she totally flipped me and my family ‘the bird.’ And by ‘bird’, I of course don’t mean a cuddly, colorful parrot used for entertaining guests.

In the 14+ years that I have known Marshall, I have never met the woman. My husband has flown overseas and met my grandmother, a handful of aunties and a gaggle of cousins, so I thought it would only be right for me to make the effort to meet the last surviving matriarch of his family. He never seemed personally interested in organizing a trip to bring my lofty ideas to fruition, and I have scolded him for years.

“You’re lucky!” I nagged. “Your grandmother is still alive! Don’t you think she’d like to meet her great-grandkids? She’s never seen them, met them…or even talked to them on the phone!”

He would only roll his eyes, sigh, and continue to look at his best friend: the double screened PC. He said I just wouldn’t understand. This year, however, I triumphed. With the plotting and finagling of my mother-in-law, we planned a family trip up to New Jersey to meet the elder Mrs. Grant. Hotel and car rental reservations were made. She was informed 3 months ago that we would arrive to spend Thanksgiving with her. Marshall’s sister flew in from Texas with her husband and son. My family of 6 made the 2 day trek by car to get to New Jersey…only to be told that we would meet her absence. The DAY before we got to NJ, she decided she would spend the holiday with her other niece/granddaughter/something in NC instead. This same person would be coming up to spend Christmas with her as well.

What the focus? I was aghast. Marshall was not in the least bit surprised. This level of cruelty is evidently her modus operandi, hence his apprehension in making any concerted effort to driving up her to make a visit.

My little brother serves as my gauge for whether I’m overreacting. I told him about this strange chain of events and waited for his input.

“What?!?” he said in apparent surprise. Nothing surprises Sami, so I knew this was a big deal. “Well, this is Thanksgiving, so we have to talk about this in the right spirit – and that spirit is: this is some gobble.”

“Some what?”

“Some gobble!”

“Oh!” I got it. “As in she just gobbled the whole family?”

“Yup. She basically said ‘gobble YOU!’ “

“Humph. And we just drove this whole gobblin’ way for no gobblin’ reason!”

“Man, that’s a big pile of gobble if you ask me.”

Gobble yeah!”

“Don’t worry about it. If I were you, I wouldn’t give a gobble.”

“But the whole thing wants me to say gobble gobble GOBBLE!! She basically said gobble me, and I want to say gobble you too!”

We erupted into fits of laughter which ended with me choking on my own spit. He announced he was heading to where the daiquiris were being served (my aunt CJP’s house) for Thanksgiving and had to go get his annual pumpkin pie.  I spent the next 11 hours in the car with a new phrase circling in my head and did my best to forget the old lady who inspired it.

Gobble that!

It’s My Blog-a-versary!

Today I’ve been blogging on M.O.M for a year.

*Insert the fanfare and naked acrobatics here!*

Of course there was cake, but my children decimated it before I could get a picture of it. For my one first blog-a-versary, I tought it would be fitting to have some delectable pastry in celebration of such an auspicious event -  something along the lines of cheesecake or red velvet cake. Sadly, the funds in my pocket would only permit for a $2.99 box of  Duncan Hines yellow powder mix. Ah well. In the words of Marie Antoinette, we ate cake!

A big fat thank you to everyone who has followed this blog and shared in the madness with your comments, questions and suggestions. We’ve done a lot together in this first year: We’ve climbed on tin roofs in our PJs in the rain together; battled Douche Bag in court every three months; been punked by my kids and loved my husband for enduring all the insanity and suffering that comes with the territory with having an insane wife. (OK. You haven’t loved him. You’ve mostly pitied him, and left the loving to me).

Here’s to another year! Keep reading :)  

I Too Was Raped by The TSA

Okay. So I wasn’t raped, but that airport worker’s hands had gone far enough into my pants to find my ‘second virginity’ and snatch it from me. All this hoopla in the media this week about full body scanners and patdowns just reminded me of my own ordeal last month. (Put your drink down if you’re having one. This won’t be pretty.)

As the kids and I were leaving Kotoka to return to Atlanta, we had to go through an ungodly number of security checks. I recall 3 off the top of my head. Nestled among the over-priced local art were bill boards warning travelers that ‘they would be caught if they tried to smuggle drugs in or out of the country(!)’.  That was a really nice touch. It made me feel warm and fuzzy: The last images I would see before getting on the World’s Rudest Airline (*cough* Delta! *cough*) would be of young Black men wrestled to the floor by law enforcement with their hands cuffed behind their backs. But what did I care? I was going home.

The final security check point at the departure hall had 2 American TSA agents checking everyone’s passport and boarding pass for the umpteenth time before we were herded to an area where the men were directed to go to the left and women to the right. It struck me as weird, this division of the sexes, but I was too focused on moving my 3 kids through the ravines and hurdles the airport staff were shooing us through to realize what was going to happen next. I wish I had paid more attention…because at least then I could have prepared myself for the impending anal/cavity search.

I watched in horror as the 3 ladies in front of me got a rough pat down and with a toss of the head were directed towards yet another metal detector where they had to remove their shoes, jewelry and other offending items. I tried to steel myself for what was about to happen next. I don’t like to be touched; and I certainly don’t like to be touched by people I don’t know; and I for sure don’t like palm-to-vaginal contact between myself and a perfect stranger!

I prayed it would be over quickly. The girls were walking ahead of me, so they got the brunt of Aggressive Ama’s hands first. She rubbed them between their thighs, down their backs and under their armpits. Aya flinched at the contact. I had the baby harnessed in a front carrier, and I looked on as Ms. Aggressive lifted her up and rubbed her hands all over her, almost making contact with her diaper. Then it was my turn. I felt my flesh turn cold. She lifted each of my massive DD breasts, and I swear I felt her turn my nipples. Counter clockwise. Twice. She directed me to spread my legs and got underneath each butt cheek and rubbed her hands along my privates, as if almost willing me to be carrying drugs so she could wrestle me to the ground and straddle me. After what seemed like an eternity of her invading every crevice of my body, she announced that we were free to proceed. I looked around and nobody else seemed to be disturbed by what we had all been made to endure. They were all sitting there mindlessly watching a Nigerian film, sports or the  romantic comedy staring Katie Holmes that were playing simultaneously on the flat screens in the departure hall. Is that supposed to be my consolation prize for dry hump rape? 10 minutes in front of a frikkin’ flat screen before I have to walk (outside) to board my airplane?

Well, at least I know where to place the blame if a VD manifests sometime in the next coming weeks. I may have lost the bulk of my dignity, but at least I’ve still got that.

My Husband and I Share Grey Matter

Married people: Don’t you just LOVE it when you and your spouse are just clicking? If you’ve been married a day over 5 years, you know what I’m talking about. Like when you finish each other’s sentences; or set a drink of water on the table knowing that your significant other is going to take 2 huge gulps and leave you with just the right amount to quench your thirst? Stuff like that.

This week, I noticed that my hubby and I are vibing more than usual. Like most men, I’m sure he’d rather I didn’t share the intimate details of what constitutes “vibing” and since I’m learning to use the rusty filter God gave me, I’ll keep those to myself. But here are some examples that I can share that are considered more socially acceptable:

1. Every year, we do a Daniel’s Fast in my church for 30 days that starts New Year’s day. Last night, as I stared at the caramelizing pot of spaghetti sauce that was simmering on the stove, I thought that we ought to challenge ourselves as a couple and do an all juice/liquid fast this upcoming year. 15 seconds later, Marshall pipes up and says “You know, I think we should do a juice fast for the Daniel’s.”

“Me too!” I shouted. That was pretty cool.

2. Yesterday morning, we all woke up late. Na missed the school bus and everyone was getting showered 30 minutes behind schedule. I offered to drop Na off at school so that Marshall could get on his way a little faster, but he said he would do it. Soon after they set off, I thought to call him and tell him to take an alternate route to get into school. Traffic is a nightmare in a school zone at 7:30 am, as you can imagine. Just as I picked up the phone, it rang. It was Marshall!

“Hey! I was just about to call you.”

“Yeah, I figured out a new way to get to Na’s school so that I could by-pass traffic. Thought I’d call to tell you in case you need to drop her off one day.”

“Shut up! I was going to tell you the same thing!”

Now this was just getting weird.

3. Today he was having an interview at 1ish and asked me to wish him luck as he was leaving the house this morning.

“Naw. Scratch that. Pray for me.”

“I will,” I promised.

At 1:18 I was doing the dishes, and started to pray. 12 minutes, he called me up.

“Hey! I was praying for you at 1:18,” I said.

“Wow. I had just got on the phone with the folks at 1:18. It went really well.”

Spppoooooky.

Now, I know this is uncharacteristically Pollyannaic of me, but isn’t it great being so in love with the one you love that you share your very thoughts without saying a word? Oh never mind me. I’m going to get my Mary Tyler Moore hat and throw it in the air in the direction of oncoming traffic. You guys carry on with whatever you were doing before reading this post.

 

Look Out! He’s Got a Gun…and He’s GAY!

Democrats are going to be scrambling during the lame duck session to get Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repealed before they leave their posts. I’ve got a good number of friends in the military, but none of them are gay (that I know of), so I really want their perspective on this who DADT bruhaha.

Here’s my view: If a gay dude wants to take bullet and go through the armpit of Hell so that Americans like me can eat a hamburger in peace, I say let him. I don’t want to wake up at the butt crack of dawn to PT (physical train), spend hours go over boring briefs, get hollered and screamed at by some insane drill sergeant, and then eventually get posted in some back water station – (lets pick one: North Korea!) – all in the name of defending my country. I’m just not that brave or selfless.

But there are some gay men and women that are.

So what if they want it known that they engage in homosexual sex? As I understand it, officers aren’t “supposed” to be fraternizing with one another anyways, so what’s the big deal? Perhaps the big deal is actually a really small one – and that is it makes people uncomfortable.

I can’t fault people for being uncomfortable around gays. They’re different. It’s human nature to shed some level of comfort around things/people that are dissimilar to what you see as the norm. I see the way Indians look at me when I roll up on Industrial Blvd in search of dhosa during Diwali. That look plainly says “What does this Black chick think she’s doing in my hood? Eating up MY dhosa?”. And I’ll be the first to admit, I get a little antsy when I walk into a restaurant and see a sea of nothing but White faces. It makes me uncomfortable, because I know I’m going to have order beef when I really want the chicken. I love chicken. Does my discomfort make me an idiot? I think it just makes me human. To a large extent, humans are like birds and find comfort in and flock with the familiar. So should straight people be called ‘bigots’ and ‘idiots’ because they are uncomfortable sharing barracks with another sub-culture? Nah, not in my view. They just need to find a way around that discomfort. If one of the solutions is separate barracks for homosexuals (for the short term), then let them serve openly and have their own quarters.

Being gay is nothing new. In fact, all men in Rome were gay at some point. Research has shown that during the time of Ceaser, sex with men and boys was for fun and sex with women was merely for procreation. When soldiers would come back from war, they would have to have their wives dress up as men/boys to get them comfortable with sleeping with a woman. I swear. Look it up.

I’m not about to jump on a soap box and ask President Obama to repeal DADT without looking at all the possible effects and consequences that might have on the psyche of certain members of our armed services…because just like integration between the races, it’s gonna happen eventually, and this topic will seem passe and antiquated with the passage of time.

Confession of a Weak Minded Woman – 2

So now we come to the topic that still makes me quake with fury: Stephanie.

Again, you said that you would not have Na around any women that you weren’t in a serious relationship with. I had no idea that Nadjah was seeing Stephanie until the day you told me she spanked her for climbing on her CD case. What pisses me off the MOST about that incident is not so much that your story changed every time you told it: First, she spanked her; then she grabbed her; then it was she said “no, no baby” and carried her away from the CD tower. If it was that simple, why did you threaten to choke her out if she ever touched Nadjah again? What pissed me off the  MOST was this:

“Well, I guess I messed that relationship up.”

THAT’S what you cared about??? Not this woman, who I DON’T know put her hands on my child, but that you had messed up a relationship? I was speechless.

Over time, I not only lowered my expectations of you as a man and a father, I totally eliminated them. You lost 2 jobs, and I could not demand any money from you. YOU severed your relationship with Nadjah for a few months because you felt like you didn’t deserve to see her, even when I offered to bring her by. At the same time, I was still supporting you with money, groceries, sending out your resume and looking out for jobs. You have to admit, you could have taken a part time evening job to somewhat support yourself. I didn’t suggest it because I thought you could figure that much out on your own.

Life went on like this for another year and half. The you decided you wanted to play a little game.

“Tell me something about yourself that I don’t already know. Something that would shock me,” you said. “I’ll go first.”

That’s when you told me about the girl from Eritrea, how you were so in love with her and had gotten her pregnant 6 months after Nadjah was born. I told you I was shocked, but not surprised. I told you how I slept with someone else when I went to Ghana in 2003, when you told me not to because you would know. You didn’t have a clue.

Did that make us even? Absolutely not. But 6 months after Nadjah was born you were still telling ME how much you loved ME and it was a mistake to marry Marshall.

Later on, when I asked you about this woman, you told me that you were so in love with her that you begged her not to have an abortion, but she had one anyone for cultural and family reasons. I asked you why you begged her not to have an abortion and not me? Was her baby more important than mine? Did you care about her more than me? You never really answered the question. You went on about how I read too much into stuff, and how I’ll never know what it was like to drop her off at the abortion clinic, sign paperwork and come back knowing that a part of you was being sucked out her.

A flood of offenses hit me at once: All the broken promises, the shit you put me through, the total lack of support, the slinking into my room to demand that I put you on Nadjah’s birth certificate…on and on until I finally snapped. You ended the conversation that day by telling me about how you’d gone to get a smoothie and this “fine red bone” behind the counter told you that she would make it with extra fiber and you eventually needed to take a shit. What?

The only thing that matters to me about that conversation is that my last memory of you matches up to my first impression of you. You are a womanizer.  This last call was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

The next weekend, I had already decided that was the last time I was going to let Nadjah go over to your house. I offered to let her stay until 8:30 pm, because I knew that would be the last time she was coming over. Remember what you said?

“Can we make it 6:45 instead?”

I said sure.

You asked me if I wanted to know why you had to drop her off early. I really didn’t, but I asked anyway.

“Because I’m going to a singles retreat at church. Don’t you think that’s the best thing for me?”

“I think it’s best thing for you, but is it what’s best for them?”

You told me I was being mean and evil.

MY VIEW:

You’ve had your own struggles these last 3.5 years with blood pressure, losing your job and problems with women. I’ve asked you to keep our relationship business-like in the past, but you’ve insisted that we try to maintain a level of friendship. I’ve been a friend to you Douche Bag, but you have not been a friend to me. I’ve listened to all your issues and tried to give YOU solutions. We’ve only discussed my problems once in the 5 years I’ve known you. Once in 5 years, you have taken the time to really talk me when we weren’t arguing.

Now, keep in mind behind all this activity are the following variables:

1.       Loved and cared for you deeply. I told you (and again, you weren’t listening) that after God and my dad, there was no man that I loved more.

2.       I had to deal with a culture and a religion that says it is a disgrace and a sin to have a baby out of wedlock.

3.       I had to explain to my father (an African man)  how his first born daughter managed to allow to get herself pregnant, and how the baby’s Black American father WOULD NOT be of any help. I had to hope that that wasn’t going to be my reality, but be prepared to face the reality and the possibility.

Have I been a completely innocent party in all this? I would be the first to admit that I have not. I’ve said some things that were unkind, and probably done some things that might seem unfair to you. But they sure don’t add up to half the things you’ve done to me.

Finally, in case you were wondering, in 3.5 years you have contributed a total of $2810.00 (I’ve loaned you $750), a few changes of clothes and 5 pairs of shoes to Nadjah’s well being. You have also had her hair braided a few times by a neighbor or a relative.

I don’t know how you feel I owe you anything, but I don’t. I am not trying to hurt you. I am, for once, taking care of me when it comes to you.

This was my confession in July 2008. Forgive me world, for being of such ‘weak mind’. For listening to a man who was in the Marine Corps and spoke incessantly about honor and courage, and the pain of not knowing his own father. Who wept openly when I tried to break it off with him at one time. Who, up until I got pregnant really wanted to marry me. Who laughed scornfully after recognizing the pain he put me through. Who sneered at me in his emails. After all I had done for him, and after all I had done for him I spat back. I clawed at his pride and tore at dignity. I remind him at every opportunity of his failings when juxtaposed to my success  and that of my husband’s.

Because according to some Black men, being compassionate is being weak minded – but I ain’t that weak.

Confession of a Weak Minded Woman

There are a bunch of little boys out there getting Black women pregnant and dipping; it’s really starting to make me angry.

You, Azania Olezene, Lakieshia Jones, James Holcomb and 2 others
like this.

    •  

      KSTell why are these Black women dealing with “little boys”? 

      Thursday at 9:49am ·
    •  

      Marshall Grant Because these boys lie to women and make them think they actually love them. 

      Thursday at 9:56am ·
    •  

      LG If notice, its only happening to ones that are weak in the minds! They allow it to happen. But a woman that’s strong will know not to have sex til she’s married in the first place. Or if she is going to have sex she’ll use protection. 

      Thursday at 10:39am ·
    •  

      Marshall Grant Bro, 72% of all the Black children born last year were born to unwed mothers. That is up from 24% back in 1965.So you saying that 72% of the pregnant Black women out there have weak minds? 

      Thursday at 10:41am ·
    •  

      Marshall Grant Me. In my opinion. Men need to take personal responsibly for both the woman and the kid and stop being cowards. 

      cow·ard[kou-erd] –noun
      1.a person who lacks courage in facing danger, difficulty, opposition, and pain.

      …There are a bunch of Black Male cowards out there.See More

      Thursday at 10:50am ·
    •  

      LG And I agree! But Yo… out of the 72%… where how many had guns to their heads to have sex? Maybe 26%. The others where just to dumb to realize that the nigga or niggas they’re dealing with can’t even support himself. So why have sex with …’em at all? 

      Trust me, I get angry too. But at the same time there are women out here that want to get pregnant just to use the system so they won’t have to work like some of their crack headed moms. Some try to trap men into having baby. See More

      Thursday at 11:46am
    •  

      Marshall Grant 

      Get out of here. That is a small % who actually think that.And even if that were true, Black men need to Man-Up and take responsibility for first the woman, then the kid. 

      I’ve read, seen, and heard too many stories of a Black woman getting …knocked up by some dude. Then the dude treats her like dirt, then he acts like he’s soooo in to his daughter/son.

      Makes me sick!See More

      Thursday at 12:35pm ·
    •  

      Malaka Grant I can’t believe what I’m reading here. I was going to leave this alone, but these arguments are akin to “I raped her because she was wearing a tight skirt. She looked like she wanted it!”COME. 

      ON.

      Thursday at 2:03pm ·
    •  

      LG no. No. No. I’m not arguing I love my cousin! These are only opinions. Rape is one thing that I will never condone. But the statistics he is talking about come from all urban areas in America, where the majority of blacks people live. If yo…u’ve never experienced this or seen it action, how can you say black man are cowards in general. I agree that dead beat dads should pay. But a rapist… should do his time between the grass and the earth’s core. 

      My Opinion is that… Not every black woman is innocent. Now if you believe anything different then that… you like it, I love it! Just remember… experience is the best teacher! See More

      Thursday at 3:35pm
    •  

      Marshall Grant Naw dog: The 72% stat is across the board. This is the “Out Of Wedlock” rate for ALL Black American children born in the United States in 2009. 

      My wife’s rapist comment was analogy to your blaming the majority of black women for the “out of …wedlock” rate. Not an example.

      I have seen it & dealt with it. And all these men involved are cowards. They treat women like they did something wrong and do just enough for the kid to save face.

      The state of Black America is declining. Someone needs to speak out and challenge the status quo.See More

      Thursday at 3:44pm
    •  

      KS Wow… the black women that you speak of obviously need to make better choices. It takes two… So I guess guys lying to women to have sex is a new thing? I refuse to believe our black women are that dumb & according to you, getting dumber… Marsh, you should look into the effect of women’s lib movement on the “out of wedlock” percentages.

So I sat there reading this exchange on Facebook, gobsmacked. I know it’s long, and between all the punctuation and grammatical  errors of those trying to make their  points, I wonder if you made it to the end? If not, let me sum it up for you: According to LG and KS, the fault that all these little Black bastards (and I mean ‘bastard’ in the legal sense) are running around the country lies in women like me – women with ‘weak minds’. Women who let men beguile them with sweet words. Women who believe that man who is lying naked next to you in the dark, holding you tightly and whispering how much he loves and cares for you is telling the truth. That fine, smooth shaven brother who professes that he will ‘always have your back’ no matter what. Women who should have KNOWN he was lying. Women should KNOW that every man has multiple partners, regardless that his lips say you’re the only one. Blind women. Ignorant women. Women who make poor choices. Women who should wait till marriage to have sex and therefore have kids. You know…a weak minded woman, who can’t see past the smoke and mist of professed and proposed love that this man is wrapping them in. Women like ME.

ME.

Two-parent, middle class home. College educated. And Magna Cum Laude at that. Independent thinker. World traveler. Praised and recognized on every assignment ever given.

ME.

Here is the confession of a ‘weak minded woman’ to the man I once loved. To the man who savagely defiled that love and threw myself esteem in the gutter.

I’m going to take this time to map out everything that’s happened from the time I found out I was pregnant to the day I decided to move on and make a better life for my daughter without you in it. I’m not going to put my own spin on things. I’m going to present the facts exactly as they happened.

PREGNANCY:

When I told you I was pregnant that Sunday morning on June 13th, you reacted with amusement. You asked me if I was sure it was yours, I said yes. You asked me if I was going to keep it (in a very angry tone), I told you I did not believe in abortion. I asked you what we were going to do. You said we were not getting married. I told you I didn’t want to marry you anyway.

You said you weren’t happy, because you really didn’t want a baby right now.

“You think I do?” I replied in disbelief.

You asked me how we were going to split the cost of the baby and I said I could make a list of all the things a baby would need: Diapers, formula, medication, daycare, etc. You said “NO” – you would give me a set amount and you could probably only afford $200 a month. Which implies that the rest of the costs would fall on me. You also said if the baby was a boy, you would name him and his name HAD to be a “C” name with your last name. You said if it was a girl, I could name her whatever I wanted and she could have my last name. You flicked your hand in a dismissive manner, like a girl didn’t matter.

I prayed for a girl, and all my friends did too.

From June to December, you called me every Tuesday/Wednesday and Friday to ask me how I was doing, and how the baby was. You would normally get right into how you weren’t sure this baby was yours, and your dad said you should have a blood test. You occasionally asked me how I was. You promised to help me with my medical bills because I had just started a new job and I needed prenatal care. You never came to visit me, you never sent me a dime to pay for prenatal care… you never even asked if I’d eaten. In fact, one day when I was having an especially bad day, I brought this up to you, and YOU said “What do you want me to do?? Come and rub your feet??”

Of course I said no.

Every week you called me to yell at me, to tell me you didn’t want a baby. Finally, I guess you got a hold of yourself and realized it was going to happen, regardless. You had your mind set on a boy. The week I asked you to come with me to determine the sex of the baby, you said you’d be there. I called your phone repeatedly on the Monday we were supposed to meet. Your line was disconnected. Finally, in the end, Marshall came with me so I wouldn’t have to go alone. HE got to see how healthy and beautiful my baby was. A beautiful girl.

Somehow, at around 9 pm that night, you managed to find a phone to ask what was it? A boy? A girl? I told you it was a girl. “Are you serious??” you asked.  “A girl? Damn! I knew this would happen to me because I wanted a boy so bad.”

You hung up on me.

Then you called back to ask me if I was sure it was a girl. I said yes. You hung up again. I was switching wireless plans and phone numbers that night and didn’t bother to tell you. After all, why would I want to share the life of my child with someone who didn’t want a girl?

After much email conversation, you managed to convince me to give you my new number, which I did. You told me to never try to keep your child away from you again – and it better be my child, because if it wasn’t, you would kill me.

I laughed, because I thought you were joking.

“What are you laughing at?” you growled.  “I’m serious. I’ll kill you if I find out this is not my child.”

On and on for months until my mind and by body couldn’t take it anymore. I was taking as many Tylenol as the doctor would allow. My blood pressure was through the roof. You had stressed and worried me so much that I developed toxemia, and Nadjah was born prematurely, through a T-section. I’ll never have a regular birth because my uterus was too thick at the time of her birth.

DELIVERY:

On the day I went to the hospital, no one would pick up the phone except you. Nadjah hadn’t moved in two days and I thought she was dead in the womb. The only reason I called you is because I knew she was your child, and I felt you had a right as her father to know what happened to her. Oddly, you came to the hospital. I was surprised, and yes, somehow grateful not to be there alone. However, once Marshall and my sister got there, there was nothing else for you to do. Except create more drama. You had nothing nice to say about the man who made sure I ate healthy food to make sure YOUR baby developed well, or tried to calm me down after crying all afternoon from our screaming matches. I had to conserve my energy to get through a delivery, so I did not have time to engage you. You suddenly decided that Nadjah needed to have your last name, even when YOU were the one who said she could have mine, and I could name her what I chose. You chose to throw Nicole in there. As usual, I was still trying to please you, even though we were on to yet another broken promise.

Your family came to visit and they were all very supportive. Again, no kind words for me from you.

“Yeah Mama, her hair doesn’t always look like this,” or “she normally looks better than that.”  Why would I be concerned about how my hair look when I was being told I was on the brink of death?

Finally Nadjah was born, after an epic cuss out, when I reminded you that I did NOT want you in the delivery room. That place of honor belonged to Marshall. Yes, you may have planted the seed, but he watched over it and made sure that it grew. He was the only person who talked to my belly and felt Nadjah kick. She always responded when she heard his voice. He was really her daddy, not you.

POST DELIVERY:

I told you previously that Nadjah could have your last name, but you just couldn’t wait for me to recover and get some rest. You slunk into my recovery room and made me fill out her vital records papers with your name on it just HOURS after I’d had surgery. I couldn’t sit up, see or write. The blood pressure was still affecting my vision. I begged you to do it the next day, but you wanted it done NOW. You later described what you did as a “pimp move”. My brother called it a bitch move.

After Na was born, I didn’t get to see her for 3 days because she was in the NICU and I was still on magnesium in the maternity wing. You made it your business to tell all the charge nurses about how I didn’t give you a wrist band, and how you were the baby’s father, and what a shame it was you had to sign your own name on a visitor’s clip board to come in and see her. On the DAY I went to visit her for the first time, do you know I had to hear all about that as soon as I hit the gate??? Again, you managed to steal some level of peace from me. The second time I went up to see the baby, you pushed my the wheel chair to the elevator, and then went over to the nurse’s station on the way back. Apparently, one of the nurses was someone you used to date. So while you made plans to have lunch and see her again, I sat by the elevator wondering what was going on. Was it awkward for me to hear (from you) about some chick you used to sleep with after I had just delivered your kid? Absolutely.

Let’s not forget about the time you showed up drunk to the NICU one evening before she was discharged.

After 2 weeks in the NICU, I got to take her home. Marshall, my sister and a friend all went through great lengths to make sure she was comfortable and that I was doing well. The first night you came over my house, you wanted to take her to see your brother. I told you it was fine. Again, very little positive to say. You talked about a stain I had on my kitchen floor and that my toilet “looked like dudes lived here” because I cleaned everything but the bottom of the seat. You made no mention of how you might help me out by cleaning the seat yourself if it was such a big deal, because after all, I was a first time mom with a premature born baby who had special needs who might, just might, need some help.

I will admit that first month you gave me $360 over the course of the month. It helped a lot. This dissertation isn’t about money. I’ll get to that at the end.

Things settled down for a bit and we did not argue as much. I told you that I planned on getting married and you told me it was too soon, and that we should consider a relationship. A week later, you told me you had taken a girl to lunch that you met at a party the weekend before. She was dark skinned, with slanted eyes and long hair. She was “fine, and pretty too.” But she pissed you off and you left her with the bill at the restaurant.  What was the point in telling me this? You never took me to lunch. You never told me I was “fine and pretty too”; but for some reason I had to hear about all your exploits. A couple of weeks later, you told me that you had met someone from Africa as well. And she was “fine, and pretty too.” At the same time, you were trying to convince me that getting married was not such a good idea. In fact, one day when I came to pick up Nadjah from your apartment, you excitedly told me about your plan to keep the baby in the spare room if I moved in. “Look at all the closet space she would have,” you said. What was the point in that if you were dating someone else?

This whole time, I had to deal with my feelings for you, which had not been fully resolved, worrying about how I was going to pay my rent because I had not earned maternity leave and trying to plan a decent wedding. At the same time, it seemed like you were trying to get as much out of me as you possibly could: Asking me to drop off and pick up Na from your house; packing her bag; making sure she had formula; calling me at inconvenient hours of the night and morning.  At the very least, if you did not want to give me enough money to cover half her needs, you could have shopped and made sure these items were at your house.

For the six months after that, things went pretty decently. Our major fight was that you and I show up on time at a designated place and time. I drew up a contract and you threw it out, because you did not want to play or abide by any rules. I felt that the least you could do was show up on time to get your baby, and show some consideration for MY time. Was I late in meeting you sometimes? Absolutely. After a while, I didn’t care if I showed up on time or not.

After a while, you began to again display traits that ‘you had to take care of you’ first. I had come to depend on the little money you were giving me. Your car broke down, and you told me that you HAD to get it fixed, otherwise you would not be able to get to work. Well, I HAD to pay the babysitter, since my sister was no longer able to watch Nadjah. Somehow it all worked out, without your help. A few months later, after crying broke, you were suddenly able to buy a house. I bit my tongue because you said you’d wanted to buy a house for a long time. But while you were gallivanting with your real estate agent, again, you were not able to give me the $200 you promised. All this time, I was trying to be as congenial as possible. I lent you money to go to your class reunion, I lent you money to put gas in the car, I lent you money so you and Nadjah could have something to eat when she visited.

Since it became obvious that you were not going to be able to financially support my baby, I asked you to do little things to help in her upbringing; like not to sleep with her in the bed or not hold her all the time because it made her clingy. You promised you would, and failed again. Every other week it was a battle to get her back on schedule; and if you recall, you would sometimes pick her up in the middle of the week from Wednesday to Saturday.

In the midst of all this, I had to hear your snide commentary. “When was she going to be potty trained?” “She’s not going to Alabama with me until she is.” “When are you going to get her to stop sucking her thumb?” “Why do you do her hair like that? My baby isn’t going to have an afro!” “I don’t like the way she’s dressed/what she’s got on?” Never once did you offer suggestions or solutions. Did you give compliments? Yes, later on they came and it was refreshing to hear something nice about the job I was doing or how smart you might have felt Nadjah was. And it was only until the end of 2007/ early 2008 that you went and got her some clothes or gathered hand-me-downs from your friend’s daughter.

I also still had to hear about other women you were sleeping with, like the chick who ended up pregnant while she was sleeping with you AND some guy that was engaged to be married. You told her it was wasn’t yours because you “filled the bag up every time.” Was this really information I needed? I never asked you about these things! You just felt like I should know!

Lessons From A 5 yr Old

Black Eye trans: a.k.a asalla/azoh. A Ghanaian term for a retort so sharp that the recipient is rendered speechless. A mythical Ghanaian man will then jump out of the bushes, fist over agape mouth and cry “Oooooohhh!!!” when the ‘black eye’ has been delivered.

*********

The DAY we got back from Ghana, Douche Bag called to speak to Na. He had been expecting us in the previous Sunday, but due to the Fockery of Delta Airlines (as you may recall), we were delayed. Clearly excited about the prospect of seeing her, he informed her that she would be coming to his house that weekend, which I had hitherto agreed on. I turned my back as they chatted and prepared to change one of Stone’s epic dookie diapers. Douche Bag is extra loud on the phone, so I was privy to the entire conversation.

“Hey, Na!” said Douche. “How are you?”

“Fine. We only got in yesterday because the airplane wouldn’t let us check in.”

“Uh huh… I missed you! You’re coming over to my house this weekend.”

“Can I come over on Friday?” she asked in hesitation.

“Tomorrow is Friday.”

“Oh. I thought it was Monday. Well, I don’t think I can come over. My Auntie Agga is coming into town on Friday.”

“Oh. Ok! How about Saturday then?”

She stretched out on her bed and shook her head.

“No. We’re going to a restaurant on Saturday and then we’re going camping on Sunday! We’re gonna build a campfire and roast marshmallows!”

“Oh…you have a lot to do huh?” I could hear his disappointment.

“Uh huh! I always have stuff to do. Every day!”

I couldn’t hear what he said next because he lowered his volume. I suppose he hung up immediately afterward because Nadjah said “hello?” 3 times and got no reply. I got a text some hours later saying he would get her the following weekend. Ohh!! Asalla for him!!

When I recounted the incident to my younger brother, he voiced his approval.

“Good. She’s learning how to deal with men early,” his baritone  said in endorsement.

“What do you mean?”

My brother, who among other things is known as the Panty Dropping Lady Slayer, guided me through what had taken place during the call. What had happened was far more dynamic than a little girl shunning the  requests of her father, it was a lesson in one of the fundamentals of male-female interaction.

“What happened here was this: She said she had other things to do, and she let him know it. She didn’t clear her calendar for him. She said ‘Yeah…you’re cool and all, but this campfire is way cooler.’ That’s what she should do to all men now and in the future…unless she’s talking to me, of course.”

Wow.

It’s true! Thinking back to my dating life, I recall that men found me far more interesting when I expressed very little interest in them. The more stuff I had on my agenda, the harder they tried to get on that agenda. But the nanosecond I dedicated the day to them – they flaked. And men think women are weird! Men pride themselves and thump their chests for being ‘logical’…does that seem logical to you?

So here’s some advice for you single ladies – or any ladies just having a hard time bringing your man around – ignore him. Find something else to do. Find loads of things to do, and have fun doing them.

You care < He does.

You can thank my kindergartner for the lesson. Click on the dancing cow on the upper right hand corner to pay your tuition fees. ;)

Midnight at the Grant House

Like all multicellular organisms, my house has several parts that keep it running. The hum of the fridge; the glow of our lights; the infernal dripping of a leaky faucet or running toilet all indicate that there is life buzzing inside the modest structure. But if you listen closely in the midnight hour, you will harken unto sounds that are far more interesting than our appliances.

Shhhh!!! Listen:

At 1 am, I was roused by my infant daughter’s mournful wail, beseeching me for food. The cry for milk generally comes at 3 am, so I was unprepared. Disoriented and confused, I staggered down the stairs to prepare her bottle. If you listen closely, you can hear my heavy footfall on our creaky floor boards. You almost hear my woe as I wearily scoop creamy powder into I bottle I hope is clean. 6 minutes later, she gazed up at me with gratitude, blinked a few times, and drifted back off to sleep. She purred and groaned in satisfaction, milk still lodged in her throat. Her slumbering father began to softly moan and gurgle in his sleep as well.

Mmmmmm

Grrrrrrrrr

Gurgggllleeeee!

Mmmmmm!!!!

They sounded like a pair of wounded porpoises/a chorus of jubilant Wookiees.

In the next room, I heard my son begin to bang his head up against his crib, as if attempting to beat the very sleep back into his subconsciousness.

Bam

BAM

BAMMM!!!

Finally, it stops. In my mind’s eye I see a bloody pool where his forehead should be. But then I know he’s ok. The crib is made of wood paneling, not oak. I’m suddenly grateful for our poverty which prevents us from acquiring a more sturdy (and expensive) structure which might injure my son.

In the bunk bed next to him, my second born’s snores go on uninterrupted. Her sleep in so deep that Armageddon itself could wage on her Tinkerbell sheets and she’d be none the wiser until dawn.

Beneath her bunk, her elder sister mumbles almost unintelligibly. In the darkness make out phrases begging me to let her wear a dress to school the next morning and to remember to put the flashlight back in the sink.

What?

With the humdrum of Wookiee melodies, head-banger beats, kindergarten poetry and snores serving as that night’s soundtrack, I will myself to go back to sleep and vow to laugh at Midnight’s Minstrels in the morning.