Open Letter to My Baby Daddy: No, I will not take you off child support.

Dear Douche Bag:

Wait. That’s not fair. I don’t really think of you as a “douche bag” anymore. You’re more like an unused, empty Ziploc bag with a slight hole in the bottom: full of potential, but will probably remain at the bottom of the drawer until there is the need to marinate a flank steak, after which you will be summarily discarded. Because, the hole.

Anyway, this letter is not about your numerous shortcomings and failures…

I’m lying. It is.

I must confess I was surprised to receive your text last night around 8pm, telling me that you needed to speak with me the following morning.

“It’s important,” you said.

Well, what could possibly be so important that you’d want to speak about it the next day as opposed to in the moment? I figured you were about to tell me about some “big move” you were about to make, which is usually the same song and dance you jig about whenever you want to gauge how much I care about your wellbeing –if at all.

I was right, but what came next was a complete shock.

“I want to go back overseas and work,” you said.

“Oh? Okay…” I replied.

“But I need you to take me off child support,” you said in a rush, as if saying them hurriedly would make them sound less ridiculous and more likely to come to pass.

“I don’t see how taking you off child support is going to prevent or help your going overseas,” I stated flatly. “And I really think you should challenge whoever it is that’s telling you you can’t get a government contractor job because you pay child support.” (You remember when you tried to sell that crap to me late last year, don’t ya? News flash, ninja. I gots friends who work in DC and they ALL pay child support and they are ALL government contractors. Try again.)

You went on to remind me of how the last time you went abroad and how badly it went for you. You were nearly $10,000 and 2+ years behind on your support payments. Through it all, I never called you, harangued you, or stopped you from seeing your second born. I didn’t do what your first baby momma did to you, which was to disappear entirely on you. I just let you keep living life, carefree as a koi fish, until the law of karma caught up with you.

“Malaka, you remember that they almost didn’t let me work. I had to take out an advance on my pay just so I could get my driver’s license reinstated.”

“Yes. I remember. But you are not 2 years behind on your payments. You aren’t paid in full, but you aren’t even a month behind on your payments. I don’t think the situation is the same.”

“Yeah…I know, but I can’t be on child support when I go over there.”

“That’s not true, Ziploc.”

“Okay. What I’m saying is, I have bed credit and I owe, and it would just…*sigh*…it would just really help me if you could take me off. Imma always be there for my daughter. You have my word on that.”

I stifle a snort of contempt as you speak, and remind you of the following.

“Sorry to be the one to drudge up old news, but for the first FIVE years of her life, you gave me a total of $1400 for her upkeep. I had to get on welfare just for us to survive.”

There was silence from your end. I carried on, telling you that unfortunately, I could not stand by your word. I promised to “think about it”. Every time you ask me about something foolish, to which my reflex is to respond with a resounding “NO”, you ask me to think about. I beat you to the punch, knowing what my reply would be in two hours. Two hours is a respectable amount of time to “think about” things.

My pet peeve where you are concerned, Ziploc, is that you do not think 5 steps ahead before you talk to me. Hell, I don’t think you consider what consequences will come to bear in the next 45 seconds. I suppose it is my place to remind you that I did not put you on child support, and therefore it is not my place to take you off. The first 5 years of our daughter’s life were difficult for you financially. You bought a house that you were not prepared to pay for because you were tired of living in an apartment. You went out on numerous dates and spent money you didn’t have. You purchased a car you could not afford. You eventually lost 4 jobs in 1 year because you continuously stepped over the bounds of your responsibility. Meanwhile, I went on WIC, married my husband and lived frugally. You think I like raising a family of 6 in 2 bedroom townhouse? Think again! I want a yard too, niggro, but that’s not in the cards for me yet.

And yet, knowing the sacrifices I and my family have had to make, you have the audacity to ask me to take you off child support? A position in which YOU placed YOURSELF? Have demons possessed your mind? Forget demons: it was a vagina that led you to this action. Oh yes. I remember it clearly.

I remember when the sheriff showed up at my house when a court summons. You had initiated visitation and child support proceedings because you felt I was treating you unfairly in terms of visitation. You black mofo!^#*^! Your house didn’t have any heat and you didn’t have any food. I was not sending my toddler over there to freeze, just so you could show her off to your new girlfriend. Oh, and don’t try to deny it. I still have the receipt from the heating bill I paid the previous month, just so she could come over. Your paramour, of course not knowing the full picture because you LIE so much, urged you to get some justice and take me to court! And that’s what you did. Spent $100 in court costs and filing fees to put yourself on child support so you would look like a man in her eyes.

Tell me, where is this woman now? Why don’t you ask her what to do, now that you are in this quagmire? Or has she fled your grasp, just as you fiancée wriggled her way out? At least she bought you a car before she showed you the door. You ought to be grateful for that. In fact, I don’t know how you were living up in her house rent free for a YEAR and was still unable to repair your credit or earn something. You mean Burger King wasn’t hiring? You didn’t have some leaves you could rake? I tell you one thing: Kroger is always on the look out for some new talent. You could have spent that year stocking shelves, but I guess you were too busy fronting.

And now, again, you want me to solve this problem for you. You wanted me to pay your bills, bring you food, care for your child, dress her in the best clothes, fix your resume, find you a job, put gas in your car, give you pocket money…and like a fool, I did all those things and more! Now you want me to “take you off child support”?

“I promise I will send you money if you do!” you said. “Imma always take care of my daughter. I’ll make sure you get every cent you’re owed.”

Ah ah. Why, you dey craze? Or you figga say I dey craze some?

Please. You are living with your uncle. Go and ask your uncle for a child support loan and tell him you will pay HIM back. He is a widower. He has money. Don’t move into this apartment you are trying to go to. Get some local work, no matter how menial and tell him you will offer him gas money if he will just bear with you. But you won’t do that, will you? You would rather look like you have it all together in his eyes, rather than give me the respect I’m due. What you are requesting is the epitome of impertinence!

Look, we both know the law won’t come for you because you are behind on your payments unless I send them for you, and I have no incentive to do that. That’s just one more thing to manage. I won’t do it; but for the love of sweet, hot kenkey, please don’t ever ask me about releasing you from the obligation you put yourself under. That is not my role.

This is your life and your mess. Fix it.

child-support

Sincerely and please believe me to me,

Malaka.

Open Letter to OccupyGhana and Other “Progressive” Ghanaians

This open letter was written at Kwabena Amporful’s request. Please direct all your vitriol to him in Facebook. I believe he is on Twirra as well. Don’t trouble me in my comments section. I would rather spend my Saturday blogging about the virtues of cornbread, but Mr. Amporful was insistent.

 

Dear Occupy and Other Progressive Ghanaians:

Let me put it to you plainly. You can’t win.

There, I’ve said it. Who am I? I am the spirit that rules this land you call Ghana. I am the menace that governs the actions of the nation. I am the shadow that follows and will eventually overtake you. I am Abonsam Moja – Satan’s Blood – and I cover every endeavor you mortals who call yourselves Ghanaians engage in.

I am the spirit who causes you to roll up your windows when beggars approach you at the traffic light. I am the voice that prohibits you from offering the lowly a kind word or an encouraging smile, even if you cannot give 20 pesewsas for ice water.

I am the ghoul who lives in the pastor who strikes the swollen bellies of expectant mothers, or convinces women their lives are meaningless unless they can cook jollof rice, and declares vehemently that God will not bless them unless they willfully place themselves in subjugation to a man…even if he is not worth the 9 months and 36 hours in labor his mother expended to bring him into this world. I, Abonsam Moja have even infiltrated your houses of worship! If your pastors, preachers and bishops truly believed in Christ’s power and blood, would they conduct themselves in the manner in which they do? Would they dare to spew false prophecy with the frequency in which they do? Hahahaaa!!! Yet they have blinded you all. They have told you that the more education you strive for, the less close to God you will find yourselves. They have told you men of science cannot be men of faith. As for women? They have told you it is better you learn how to cook than to go to school anyway. No wonder you dense lot haven’t created a fufu pounding machine yet. You are happy in your listless, mindless toil.

I am Abonsam Moja – the Blood of Satan – and you cannot defeat me!

I am the creator of the endemic condition you have termed “corruption”. Where you try to fight against me, I will adapt, morph and recreate myself. I am a virus. There is no curing me. No amount of street marches labelled as “registers of displeasure” will cause my existence to cease. I inhabit the souls of ministers who stand on the 5th floor of Flagstaff House, take pictures of you from the window and mock you on Twitter as you as you mill about with your placards and slogans and your recycled jama. How cute you look to me, OccupyGhanaians. You have the appearance of ants hit by unexpected torrential rains, and my sides split with laughter when I think about how I will cause you to scatter when the next set of economic and soul crushing programs I have in mind are manifested. Your demonstrations are little more than white noise to me. What, really, has any of these street protests changed?

Do you really think I am moved by any of these displays? I am ALL powerful. I am your government. And by government, I mean just that. I rule your passport and drivers’ licensing offices. I am the reason a CHRAJ boss can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to refit a palatial home while her offices don’t even have paper to print with. I am the reason the media can/has/shall drag rape victims through the mud and expose them to harm and ridicule without a twinge of guilt. I can do all this while you sit in your churches and mosques, singing meaningless hymns, doing salat and paying tithes and offerings as though you can buy your way into heaven. You call on my enemy, the Almighty God, but He cannot reach you because you are literally soaked in the Blood of Satan. How stupid you must look to the gods you think you serve. You serve ME, and you serve me willingly.

I dwell within many of you, and even if I have not managed to completely capture your imagination and your soul, you are not untainted by my influence. I am the spirit who begs the Ghanaian abroad – yea even shames him – into returning home to serve the country rather than “sitting on the sidelines” and then frustrates the earnest returnee until he is nearly driven mad. (S)he knows that with a few simple measures, the chaos at the harbor can be solved, the forests can be replanted and architecture can be revamped so that buildings run more efficiently. But you will label him/her too known and tell this person to return to America…or if they like, apply for a job as your subordinate. And when the professional Ghanaian chooses to return abroad where their skills will be optimized to their best potential, you shame them for not seeing the course through and staying at home to develop the nation.

Hahahahaa! It’s beautiful! I have created a craptastic human masterpiece, and my medium of choise is the toil, sweat and tears of the everyday Ghanaian!

I am the specter who would rather you all dwell in darkness, both physical and proverbial, than to see you prosper. Your doom enriches my sincerest servants. Dumsor could have been solved 30 years ago by the likes of Benjamin Dedjoe, Senior Electrical Engineer at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Arsenal division. But I do not want dumsor to end. What other campaign promises can my servants run on? This is why I have and WILL reject any Ghanaian’s offer to solve the electricity and human waste problems, even if those services are to be rendered gratis. We would rather kowtow to Germans than to solve Ghana’s problems with Ghanaian know-how.

Rejection Letter MOPE

You will not win this fight, so-called Progressive Ghanaians. You are too weak. Be honest, you have resigned yourself to the fact that it will always be this way, haven’t you?

Did I mention that I am also the patron spirit over football, the opium for the masses? You silly Progressive Ghanaians forget all your woes, as long as there is electricity for football. Oh, you say you are not among those, eh? Your progressivism is “different,” right? The Ghanaian who would label him/herself “progressive” is not of one sort or the other. That is the beauty of my plan. I have confused you all! A progressive Ghanaian is one who calls himself a women’s rights advocate while saying it is impossible to rape a Ghanaian woman because she is “cheap” by nature. A progressive Ghanaian is one who mandates monthly clean up exercises but does not provide the tools or instructions to do so. A progressive Ghanaian tells you to defecate in the sea so fish can eat your poo, rather than in facilities you must pay for. Every 4 years, dozens of “progressive Ghanaians” crisscross the country with loud speakers and flashy cars, promising free uniform shirts for students while their parents lose their jobs at factories or entire livelihoods because the cedi has fallen.

Speaking of the cedi, it didn’t rise when it was commanded, did it? Ask yourself why. >>>Abonsam Moja was covering that thang!<<<

You silly cartoons. I really do enjoy watching you. Until you learn to speak the language of the imbecile, you will never transform this country. And to do that, you must become imbeciles yourselves. There is no way out of this. Ghana will never work again. Not in 50 years, and not in 500 when the Chinese invasion is complete. Get comfortable in your mediocrity. Your demise is nigh.

Sincerely,

The Devil

 

Respectability Politics and Black Motherhood in America

Yesterday was Presidents’ Day, and like many stay-at-home moms across this country, I stayed at home with my kid. School was out and the older girls had come up with the wonderful idea to hold a mock election at home to see who would assume the position of “President for the Week”. As they busied themselves with poster making and decorating their ballot boxes, I realized that we were out of a few materials at home. We needed glue, cereal, shoes for Nadjah, a coat for Liya and Chick-Fil-a. The thought of driving around Roswell/Alpharetta and darting in and out of several stores with all my kids made my temples throb, nevertheless, I had put off purchasing these items for a week at least and decided it had to be done. Today.

I told the kids to put their coats and shoes on so we could head out, and locked the house door to a chorus of “YAY!!!” and “Where are we going Maawwmie?!?!” As I locked the door, I took a look down at my left hand, which was devoid of my wedding ring. I cringed and found myself confronted with another decision: Do I go back into the house and retrieve my ring and jam it onto my finger, or do I save time and energy and just leave without it?

I left home without it, but not before posting a quick status on Facebook about my decision.

Noring

You see M.O.M. Squad, I’m on this new diet, and one of the side effects for me has been puddling. I can literally feel the water puddling in my joints, and my fingers are no exception. I haven’t worn my ring in almost a week because it’s just that intolerable. Now, I’m going to let you in on a little secret: This can be a decision that comes with certain severe repercussions for Black women. Much like the young Black male who is “willfully courting danger” by leaving his home dressed in a hoodie and sagging jeans, the Black mother risks a particular set of repercussions for leaving her home in the company of her children sans proof of her betrothal, that evidence being the presence of a ring.

I’ve seen it happen on more occasions that I can count. The cashier or the passerby’s glance down at her left hand, the eyes roaming over the attire of the mother and/or her child(ren), the flash behind the eyes to quickly determine what level of respect this probable Welfare Queen should be accorded. I knew all of this when I left the house yesterday afternoon, but I simply could not bring myself to force the titanium and gold ornament my husband had given me a decade ago over my joints just to make other people comfortable. So out I went.

The first two stores I went into presented no problems. I shopped at Carter’s and Payless in search of clothing for the kids and struck out at both locations. Payless had tights on sale, so I snapped those up. The girls go through tights like Liberians go through rice. My next stop was Old Navy, and that was where the elements of respectability politics reared their ugly heads. As I walked into the store, my family was summarily ignored by the manager and the associate who were discussing a display at its entrance. I didn’t take offense, because I don’t always greet every customer that walks into the retail establishment I work at. No big deal. An associate way in the back was kind enough to point me to the clearance rack where I found a coat for Liya at a great price. The children were wandering the aisles – and not quietly – so I rounded them up and headed for the checkout lane. A woman with stringy brown hair and glasses sternly waved me over.

She looked at my face, looked at my children ooh’ing and aah’ing over the knickknacks at the counter, looked and my left hand, and wordlessly rang me up. I pointed out that jacket she had rung up was $24.00.

“Yes? So?”

“So it’s on sale for $15.99.”

She continued to stare at me blankly.

“Ma’am,” I repeated, “it’s on sale. You rang it up for $24.”

She flipped the tag over and giggled sheepishly, repeating “oh, oh, oh” in mock embarrassment. I smiled as if to pardon her error.

As my children continued to play, she glanced over at them regularly. Again, I did not care. When you’re a Black person living in America, you become accustomed to a certain level of scrutiny and suspicion. This is why I enjoy visiting other countries so much. It was at that point that she called another customer to her counter – before finishing my transaction – as though to hurry me along. I saw the cashier look back at the customer standing behind me. The customer was wearing a khaki jacket and a burgundy infinity scarf. I saw her look at my left hand and smile and strange little smile. She and the customer exchanged knowing looks, at which point I began to stare them both in the face with my eyebrows raised expectantly. Was there a joke I was missing? Could I get in? For 15 seconds I did not break my gaze until the cashier asked for my email address.

“You guys already have it, but I’ll give it to you anyway.”

I finished up my transaction and left.

Some of you reading this who live in other parts of the world may not see the big deal in this encounter. If I was coming straight out of Ghana, I’d tell my present self to “get over it”. After all, it’s not that big a deal in the grand scheme of things, is it? Well no, Ms. Immigrant. In the grand scheme of things, it is actually quite damaging. These microaggressions – acts of unintended discrimination motivated by racism – are problematic and can be injurious to the recipient. After I posted my status, a friend of mine responded with this:

TeBlack

I was thunderstruck by her disclosure, though I should not have been. As someone who has had to be on WIC for a short while, I am very familiar with the looks of disdain that the seller flings at the customer when payment in WIC is processed. Women who are on government assistance these days are “lucky”. In my time, you had to separate your food items on the conveyor belt by those approved by WIC, present a voucher and THEN hand it over to the cashier. These days, it’s all done very inconspicuously on a government issued debit card so that it normalizes the transaction and gives dignity to the impoverished/unfortunate woman. Still, as my friend’s case reveals, that doesn’t stop people from assuming a Black woman with three or more kids must be on government assistance, does it?

The impact of microaggressions can be deadly. As I was contemplating my own brush with the phenomenon, I came across this post on the Humans of New York Facebook page:

hony

In this mother’s desperation not to be seen as a parasite on American society’s benevolence and peculiar standards (which is what single Black motherhood is in this country isn’t it? A scourge.) she kept herself in a potentially deadly scenario for the sake of fulfilling the norms of respectability politics. The messaging women of color, but Black women in particular, receive is “Well, at least you got a man to marry you! That should be good enough. Don’t be ungrateful. ” Meanwhile, a series of microaggressions and the accompanying messaging almost cost this woman her life.

Now, juxtapose my shopping the white woman’s experience. If she walks into Old Navy, it is assumed she has a nice house, a husband with a good job and is a frugal shopper who is doing her bit to save her family some money. No one questions a white woman walking into Old Navy with her kids and without her wedding ring. She may have taken it off while she was doing yoga or gardening. Maybe she’s even divorced and just trying to clothe her kids as fashionably and affordably as she can. Either way, bravo for her! We make assumptions about white woman/motherhood too.

I was humbled – and further troubled – when a friend of mine made this observation about my observation:

nimi

And isn’t that true? The average ‘real American’ would take one look at me while on an excursion with my children and make several assumptions about me, none of which would include a private school education, a bachelors obtained with high honors, or three books published.

Be honest. What do you see when you see a Black woman in public with her kids. What assumptions do you make about her? Do you have your thoughts formed? Okay, now consider your thoughts carefully.

 

I Had to Pull My Son Out of Kindergarten…and I’m Thunderstruck

Out of respect for the institution that my other children have attended over the past 3-4 years, I will not mention its name or put it on blast…but Gawd A’mighty knows I want to!

 

When we took Stone to kindergarten I was ecstatic. Finally, my son was entering the world of elementary education. He could ride the bus. He could wear the same uniform that his older siblings had donned for years and he had so admired. He was ready, and so were we. I was especially ready not to have to deal with the dash of picking Stone up from Pre-K by 2:45 pm and then sitting in carpool until 3:30 pm with a weary toddler in the back seat. Yes, sir! With Stone in KG, it was all a downhill coast from the day he hopped onto the school bus and waved goodbye.

The kids get quarterly report cards, and while I was very critical about the girls’ scores (they are in 3rd and 4th grade), I looked at Stone’s report card with a certain nonchalance. Kindergarteners in our charter are graded on the SNU scale:

S= satisfactory

N = needs improvement

U = Unknown, Underperforming, (U)dunno

None of my kids have ever gotten a ‘U’ in KG. I mean, it’s kindergarten. You play, you count, you learn your vowels and how to sound words out and sing songs, right?

Wrong, wrong, wrong!

Kindergarten for the 21st Century child has turned into some reinterpretation of the plantation experience. I imagine the trepidation that the very first slaves experienced when they finally stretched their limbs after that 3-6 month cruise and were confronted with the sight of a vast forest. The overseer hands them a toothpick and says “Use this to go fell and clear this land. Oh, and when you’re done, plant me some cotton.”

This, my friends, is what kindergarten has become; a bastardization of reality. I don’t know who the dunces are who created these expectations are, but I imagine it’s the same sort of vapid bunch who thought it was a good idea to take music and recess out of public schools. If I sound more incensed than normal, it’s because I am. Perhaps you might empathize with me if I let you into the details of our daily routine. This is what sending my 5 year old kindergartener to school looks like.

  • First, he gets up at 6:10 am (and that’s sleeping in) so that he can groggily submit to my husband dressing him as his sisters help pack his lunch.
  • Second, he wolfs down a waffle and takes a sip of his almond milk so that he can get on the bus by 7:00 am.
  • Next, he sits in assembly before transitioning on to class where he is expected to sit quietly and still until designated bathroom times or snack time. He is expected to sit still and quiet until 3:00pm when he gets out of school.
  • I meet him at the bus stop between 3:45 -3:50pm and at 4:05pm we walk into door. I offer him a snack and let him play until his father gets home around 5:30pm to help him with homework and to study for that week’s sight word test. Marshall wanted to take personal responsibility for his literary acumen and I was happy to let him manage that project. Besides, education is such a female dominated industry (and it is an industry) that it would do the boy good to get some male instruction.
  • From 5:30 until 7:30, the pair of them are working on homework. Part of this is because Stone has to complete assignments he didn’t do in class, and the other reason is because he has – and this is no joke – sixteen pages of homework a week he has to turn in. Oh, and the reading log. He’s expected to find 20 minutes to “enjoy a good book” while he’s at it.

He has repeated this absurd schedule every day since September of last year. At 5, he is already burnt out. He’s antsy and irritable and he dislikes going to school. Stone is my only son, but I have noticed a marked difference in boy energy as it relates to girl energy. Boys, for the most part, need to burn that ish off. They need some sort of outlet for all the guffawing and rough housing that is innate within them. I wouldn’t expect a 5 year old boy to sit quietly for 9 hours any more than I would expect the Man in the Moon to come down and offer me a slice of cheese.

Ahhh…but this is what his teacher wants; and if she doesn’t get it, we hear about it. Day, after day, after bleeding day.

“Stone was talking during transitions.”

“Stone was looking at his friends work instead of doing his own.”

“Stone really needs to get control of his emotions.”

Stone, Stone, Stone! Every day Stone!

The narrative my husband and I were receiving is that our son was/is an unruly illiterate who was incapable of learning. His only task as far as the teacher was concerned was to be silent if he could not refrain from disruption.

I tiya sef. I bore. But that’s not the worst of the matter. What is worse is that my son may not graduate from kindergarten.

Yes! You heard that right. You have to graduate from kindergarten now. You must pass a final, state approved EXAM. If you don’t pass, you will repeat. Who repeats kindergarten?!?! This is how we are making American kids “competitive”? By draining their life force and robbing them of any potential memory of carefree KG days? Kai! I reject it! This coupled with his teacher’s inability to grade his tests or assess him effectively finally broke the camel’s back. She would subtract 15 points from a test and give him a 65%. Multiply that by the number of exams/tests he’s taken, and now we understand why he is a ‘D’ student. Warrenthus? This is nonsense, I say! All this from a woman who demands perfect sentence structure and will deduct marks if she doesn’t get it, but has the audacity to send parents emails thanking them for their “patients”. Do I look like I completed medical school? Patients from the where? Tseewww.

That’s why I pulled Stone out of Kindergarten this week. Thursday was his last day at his charter school. He was tired, my husband was exhausted/exasperated and irritable and I was tired of everyone looking at my face as if I had some sort of solution. My only solution is to go into First Born Mode and fix it myself. I WILL TEACH my child. I graduated bleeding Summa Cum Laude. I can tell someone how to count to 100. It’s not a big deal.

I was dumbstruck when I realized what Stone’s primary goal (and I know my thoughts are disjointed. I apologize) in going to school was…or what he thinks his goal is. I kept him home today and conducted a sight word test. I asked him if he was ready to learn, and he answered with an enthusiastic “Yes, Mommy!” I handed him a pencil and a notebook and told him we were going to spell his words.

“But what about my clip, Mommy?”

“Eh? What clip? We don’t need a clip to spell.”

He shook his head emphatically and said we needed a clip to “show if he has been good or bad.” He needed a clip in case he needed to be on ‘parent contact’ before the day could start.

Aba.

But suddenly, all those afternoons when he hopped off the bus and announced where he was on his behavior chart made sense. Not once has Stone told me what he learned in class for the day. His first announcement is and has always been about his demeanor and what his teacher thought of it.

“Stone. I’m your parent,” I said simply. “If there is a problem, I will address it. It’s just me and you buddy.”

He looked at me skeptically and we sat down to work. However, he was SO obsessed with this bleeding clip that we went to Wal-Mart, picked out some poster paper and some clothes pins and created a makeshift “behavior chart”. I told him our chart was different. I am not monitoring his behavior, but his effort, rather. He helped me do some laundry and in one hour of instruction, I corrected the legibility issues his teacher had been bitching about all year.

All this suffering… for what?

So this is where we are. I have to go through some formal process to take him out of the school and I’m waiting to hear back on what that is. We will spend 3-4 hours every day focused on doing work, and no more than that. We will go on field studies to local establishments. He will be a successful student, and that’s the sum of it.

This morning, Stone climbed into our bed asked me why I was homeschooling him.

“Are you happy at school?” I asked.

He quietly shook his head ‘no’.

“Then that’s why, son. It’s that simple.”

There is enough time in life for sorrow and grief. Kindergarten is supposed to be the one time every student looks back on with fondness. We should all be pining for paper mâche dragons, and songs sung with our KG teacher and graham crackers gone soggy in milk. Kindergarten is not supposed to be child bondage.

 

NB: I have disabled comments on this post because there are really weird people out there who say cruel things about folks who decide to homeschool their kids, and I don’t feel like cussing no one out this week. My friends know where and how to reach me.

My Funny Valentine

Not every couple celebrates Valentine’s Day. In fact, some go to extreme measures NOT to make a fuss over the Hallmark Holiday for personal – and very intense and passionate – reasons: those reasons being a passionate disdain for the commercialization of love.

I used to hate Val’s Day in high school. I went to GIS (Ghana International School) which at the time was Accra’s micro version of Beverly Hills 90210. We had the nerds, the alternative kids, the rich kids, the jocks, the kids who paid their school fees in cedis instead of dollars, each with their own standard of cool. I was kind of a social misfit, so I didn’t belong to a particular clique that was covered by any of these genres. My 4 best friends did, however. They were either rich or brainy (or in Mamissa’s case, both) but they accepted me and saved me from self-destruction for the 3 years I endured GIS.

No, really. You’re talking about a girl who belted a nightgown and strutted around in it after school because the article of clothing came from America. I had long forgotten what a night gown looked like!

As any GIS graduate or current student, I suspect, will tell you, Valentine’s Day is a galactic deal on campus. If you were a girl, the fate and weight of your integrity depended on how many valentines you received on the assigned distribution day. Your boyfriend’s love for you was measured in helium balloons, roses framed with baby’s breaths and cards from this one shop in Osu whose name has long escaped me. Every year, the usual suspects received colossal arrangements. The Baetas, the Olypios, the Ampals…those were the girls who received the best gifts, which included cakes and at one time (gasp!) a bottle of wine, which was duly confiscated. The next tier down was the Kumahors and the Mensa-Bonsus and their ilk. They got cards and/or a rose. Then there was me. In the course of 3 years I had dated 2 guys who went to different schools, and unlike the Baeta girls who had a string of would be paramours off campus and had no qualms about making their affections known, they simply couldn’t be bothered to send anything. So for 3 years, I got nothing on Valentine’s Day.

Actually, that’s not entirely true. While I was kvetching about how much I loathed the day with my boy Percy, I unexpectedly got my period. Bled all over the wooden seat and had to wait for the class to empty out before I could leave. W. Cofie may have forgotten me on Valentine’s Day, but Auntie Flo hadn’t! I can always count on my period for a warm surprise.

I carried a deep dislike for Val’s Day in my chest for a decade more, until I met and married Marshall, who has gone out of his way to make each one special. Now that we have a family, I have gotten over my distrust of the “holiday” and have formed an expanded vision of love as well. There are several types of love, and we’ve discussed them on M.O.M. and in other circles before. There’s brotherly love, romantic love, the love between a parent and their child and love for friends. I have discovered a 5th type of love; that being the love of one’s teacher…or in this case, my daughter’s third grade teacher.

Let me tell you, I love me some Ms. McNeil. I call her K-Mac(!). The woman is just phenomenal. Aya looks up to her with such reverence that it warms my heart. I can tell she genuinely appreciates her teacher, which makes me appreciate her all the more. In the two years that K-Mac has been teaching my daughter, there has never been a day that she has woken up in a bad mood or reluctant to go to school. K-Mac keeps her engaged, encouraged and excited to learn. That is why she is my funny valentine this year.

teacherI have already picked and wrapped Marshall’s gift, but I am fretting over what to get Ms. McNeil. I have gone to extreme lengths to make sure her gift is just so. Yesterday morning, I jumped out of bed and braved the morning frost so that I could rummage through my recycling and retrieve a forgotten coupon for a local gift shop for her. Yes, I dumpster dived for this teacher I love so dearly! Put my dignity on the ground and everything for this woman!

I spent 15 minutes picking out the perfect bag that would serve as the temporary housing space for said gift. I spent half the morning agonizing over what my note in the card I’d picked out for her should say.

I really dig you, Ms. McNeil… Nah. I couldn’t say that. That sounded so creepy; almost grave digger-ish.

You’re the best thing that ever happened to us, Ms McNeil!…. Jeesh! Desperate much, Malaka? Erase that!

Finally I settled on “You are beloved” and sealed the card before I could damage the parchment further.

lopezNow that we have had so many other bad teachers (or teachers who have been bad for my kids, to be fair to these hardworking ladies), I cannot state enough what the value of an educator who keeps your kid inspired and focused is. There is no currency conversion for this. It’s priceless. One has only to look at what has become known as “the Lopez Effect” for proof of this. Passion, dedication and genuine concern for the outcomes of your students is not something they can teach in a course. It’s something that’s either innate in the fiber of an educator, or it’s not; and K-Mac is chockfull of all of those things and this is why I love her.

But what if she doesn’t like my gift? What if she thinks I’m this super weird Black chick with inordinate feelings for her instructional gifts? Gosh, I feel like a hormonal 15 year old boy trying to gather the courage to ask the girl in the cat sweater to the school dance. It’s so unsettling. This sucks! Nevertheless, I will not chicken out, and I will give her my carefully selected gifts. Do you see the difference between true love and obligation to love? True love cares if it gets it right! If the giver of your gift isn’t a bit shaken when they are handing over their gift, they ain’t really care.

Are you giving an unconventional Valentine’s Day gift this year? Why don’t you give a li’l something to the janitor or your bank teller? Valentine’s Day is not just for boyfriend and girlfriends. It’s a day for love of all kinds! Try expanding your scope too. It helps with the nyashing. ;)

Oh, hey! Are you in Accra and still looking for a great last minute gift for Val’s Day? Treat yourself or the one the love to some hot MAKSI fashion and fiction! You can find copies of The Justice (Boakyewaa Glover) and The Daughters of Swallows (Malaka.)

Get some hot “prints” for your body and your eyes! ;)

Maksi

MAKSI is located at Palm Street, East Legon (opposite NVTI)

Tel: 050 4529393

“Should Christian Men Hit it from The Back?” Well, Since You Asked….

This evening I received a very odd, and rather unexpected text from a woman in my church. It was unexpected because I rarely have contact with said woman, and secondly, because of the nature of said text. We do not know each other like that. Like what, you ask. See here:

Maleaka, I have a question about your blog. I am here with [two other high ranking women in the church mentioned by name]. We heard you wrote a blog called “Should Christian Men Hit it From the Back?” Is that true? We’re looking for it…

Ewurade. This my blog. This my church! I never thought the day would come when there would be a coupling between the two. Even though the topic sounds like one I might I have written, I ensured my enquirer -let’s call her Romona- that I am/was not the responsible party. Romona apologized and ceased all electronic communication.

I, however, was ill at ease. I asked my husband what may have prompted Romona’s question. Why would she be asking ME? I went down a series of theories as Marshall shook his head. He assured me there was no mal-intent behind it.

“In fact, she’s asked this question before,” he stated matter-of-factly.

“Ah. Why is she so obsessed about whether or not Christian men hit it from the back?”

“I don’t know,” he answered slowly, “but the subject did come up in early morning prayer.”

Heh? Is this what my church people are praying about at 5am? I should make it a point to show up one of these days!

As I am sure at least one of the trio who initiated this discourse is reading this now, I think we should rephrase the question, since we are talking about heteronormative Judeo-Christian terms. After all, we don’t want people thinking I am here promoting sex out of wedlock. I am a deacon’s wife! The better question would be “Should One’s Christian Husband be Hitting it From the Back?” The short answer to this question is “yes”.

The long answer is: Your Christian husband should be hitting it in as many ways as your combined masses will allow. Marshall and I have a combined weight of 537 lbs. on a California King mattress.  I’m not sure what that is in psi, but I am hoping one of the engineers who is down with the MOM Squad can work that out.

pirateCaptainNeither of has joints that are that malleable, but when it comes to sex, I will rally and force as much flexibility as I can muster. Why? I’ve told you all this before: I am at an age where I only want orgasms. Every Christian woman should want orgasms. If we are not here for orgasms, what are we here for? We have conceived the children we will ever need. I have explained this to my husband in no unquestionable terms, and his understands his duty. The ONLY goal (!) is to have orgasms. Sometimes I like to dress up as a pirate captain and demand my husband join me on a quest for booty, just to make sure there is no confusion.

“Aaarrrr! And don’t come up for air until ye hath found me orgasim!”

No seriously. What kind of class 2 question if this? Should Christian men be hitting it from the back. How? This is why people don’t want to come to church, get married and get saved oooo. They think they will be doing missionary position for the rest of their lives!

Oh! We are so glad you have accepted Jesus into your heart and are now covered by His blood. Now that you have a wife, the two of you must put away your wicked, sinful ways in the bedroom. You must choose this day one sexual position, and one position only! Your wife will lie on her back in submission, and you, my brother, will climb on top and pound her.

Kai! I reject that! So for the next 30-40 years of married life, I can only eat one meal served one way? Is my marriage a sexual prison? No, please. God did not give us imaginations for us to only be doing missionary position. A Christian couple should have 2 things: An exciting prayer life and an exciting sex life. In fact, pray for God to inspire you to have better sex.

Sister, if you are reading this, your husband should be hitting it from the back AND MORE. He should have your legs on his shoulders. You should be riding him reverse cowgirl. Your breasts should be jiggling uncontrollably…and if they are in control, they must sway gracelessly in a pendulum. You and your Christian husband should have as much sex in as many different ways and in as many different situations as your circumstances will allow.

You should do it in a box.

You should do it with a fox.

You should do it on the floor.

Sex should not be dull.

You should want more, more, more!

 

Now, in all seriousness, I understand the genesis of the question. I believe it is because one of our Bishops said at one conference – or during one sermon or another – that he did not do it from the back with his wife because when he was a dog in the street, that’s how he would have sex with random women. He didn’t want to put a face to the vagina, so he would engage in doggy-style sex. (I’m paraphrasing. His rendition was much more eloquent.) Now that he is married to his lovely wife, it is simply his preference that they face each other. I don’t recall him stating that couples should not engage in doggy-style sex.

Mmmmm.

Doggy, doggy, doggy!

Look here. If animal-imitation sex is what it is going to take to get your wife to orgasm, then please advise yourself and do that. After all, the best Kung Fu is inspired by the animal world. Did not the Crane Technique take Daniel Laruso to the championship in Karate Kid? Was his execution not flawless, even though the Cobra Kai kid had broken his hip? Every Christian couple needs to invest time in studying the animal world and apply their characteristics for better and more interesting sex! How do vultures do it? Let’s try that.

Do you know that every day, thousands of married women die without ever having experienced the pleasure and the POWER of an orgasm? This is a human tragedy on par with war and famine. I believe both men and women have discounted the true value of a good, strong, enduring female climax. It is the memory of that sensation that keeps ones wife doing your dookey stained laundry. It is what causes her to greet you with a smile after your hard day at work. It is what makes her rest her head on your shoulder on Sunday mornings during service. If – as a couple – we are not coming, we are going. And we are going in the wrong direction, hurtling towards anger and dissatisfaction. So please, let’s come together, in all senses of the phrase.

Now, if you cannot give your wife orgasms because you are lazy or unskilled, you must at least be able to give her money in compensation for your failure. Your wife is not a saint suffering with and for you just for the fun of it. If, post coitus,  you glance over and your wife is looking at you with this face, just advise yourself. Go into your wallet, and bless her with Calvin Klein spending money for wasting her time.

Really, dude? I coulda had a V8.

Really, dude? I coulda had a V8.

I just can’t believe I got asked this question. A Christian woman is like any other warmblooded woman. She wants her heart to skip a beat. She wants to be surprised in love. Some of us even like to be spanked. I do. Just the other night, I told my husband to spank me as if I had stood in front of the church and told the whole congregation that he spends his spare time rolling in glitter and skipping through dewy meadows in a silver kilt. After he got over the shock and his fit of laughter he delivered a proper, open-palmed blow.

And

I

Liked

It

 

In conclusion, I hope I have made my sentiments on the matter very clear. If hitting it from the back is going to thrill you both between the sheets, then that is what you MUST do. There are no “shoulds” about it. At 37, I am past my self-determined child-bearing age. My uterus’ function is no longer to carry human  life. What I am not, however, is past orgasm achieving age. I don’t think that age will ever come. I want to and plan to have sheet staining climaxes well into my 90’s. I can see my grandkids now.

“Guys! Grandma peed on herself again. Someone come help me change the sheets.”

I will respond with a sly grin, “Oh no. That’s not pee, baby. Heh heh heh… Now give your Granny some water. She’s thirsty.”

*Cackle*

 

What Kind of Kung Fu Did the Ashanti Soldiers Have?

One of the most enlightening trips I have taken was to the Western Region of Ghana, where I visited Princess (or Prince’s, depending on who you ask) Town, Fort St. Anthony and Cape Thee Points. While my group and I were there, we learned about Nana Jonkone and his interactions with the Germans. Like most Afro-European encounters, it began as a relationship built on trade and eventually evolved into one of European dominance and African subjugation. I wrote about our experience in 2013.

Every once in a while, I think about that mini excursion we took. I have looked for more material online since then, and have found none. I am afraid that just like much of Ghana’s proud history and traditions, the story of Nana Jonkone and his gallant resistance to the European (Dutch) invasion will be lost to some patty cake oatmeal version of sanitized events depicting Africans as welcoming, willing participants in their own destruction.

Nana Jonkone was king over a small area at Pokesu. Though his kingdom was not large, it did have an alliance with the mighty Ashanti Kingdom to the north. I haven’t had the opportunity to study up on what the terms of an alliance with the Ashanti would entail in those days (annual tributes, taxes or provision of a percentage of livestock, for example), but I imagine that there was some sort of Mafioso terms and conditions that the Ashantis levied on their lesser partners. Our guide that afternoon gave us a hint at what those may have been.

220px-Prempeh_IWhen the Dutch barbarians attacked Pokesu, Nana Jonkone travelled north to entreat the Asantehene for his help and protection. The Asantehene was happy to oblige and sent mercenaries to protect the coastal town. It would only cost Jonkone a calabash of gold PER mercenary for his help, and for 20 years, these strong men (and possibly some women) frustrated and prevented any Dutch attack or take over. When all seemed settled, the mercenaries left and the Dutch seized their chance, taking over Pokesu, dismantling Nana Jonkone’s seat of power and ultimately sending him into obscurity. Nana Jonkone was never seen or heard from again.

Last night I was watching the 36th Chamber of Shaolin for the first time, where the movie depicts the Manchu takeover of the Hans in China. San Te – the film’s protagonist – felt that if the Hans had kung fu from Shaolin, they would at least be able to protect themselves from the pervasive street harassment and indignity that the Manchus meted out on them on a daily basis. So then that got me thinking:

WHAT KIND OF KUNG FU DID THE ASHANTIS POSSES?!?!

No seriously: Think about it. To stave off the aggression of a Dutch force replete with canons, muskets and bayonets protected by an impregnable wall of stones, they must’ve had some pretty impressive fighting skills. They possibly scaled walls. They may have even floated in the air, just like real kung fu masters!

But why don’t we know this? Surely there were Ghanaian fighting styles that our ancestors had to learn and become proficient at. What made the Ashanti military so unique that they were able to suppress and absorb the clans in their environs? It had to be Ashanti kung fu! The real shame is that we don’t know this. Right now, the old armory in Kumasi sits beneath a market or something. It should have been preserved as a museum.

If you are a historian and have more information on what made the Ashantis such a formidable fighting force, please leave the details in the comments or email me. I’d love to hear more! It’d be something we could all add to our information banks for Black history month. Thank you, and

 

WHoWAAAAA!!!!