Monopoly Wars

Each holiday we try to get our children unglued from the T.V, Wii, iPad or Nintendo DS. Gosh! So much competition vying for their time.

This time we’ve got them hooked on Monopoly. We’ve had the game for a long time and they’ve played it to varying degrees of enjoyment. However, I guess they are older now and they are gaining an understanding of the value of money.

I observed one of their games and it was a revelation. I saw aspects of their personalities that I was not aware of.

My son, the ever competitive soul who doesn’t put his soul into anything not worth winning, is a ruthless business man. He will get all the title deeds on one or more sides of the board and proceed to deck them out with homes and hotels such that once you pass Go you are filled with dread. Even when you are down and can’t pay income tax, he’ll come knocking on your door for his rent.

My daughter on the other hand, is the trusting individual who spends without thinking and hopes it all works out. She starts the game spending and buying land until she has no more money. She hasn’t quite learnt how to save a little bit for accidentals. She just keeps spending because for her, she wants to acquire those homes and is on a fast track to do so . However, she has progressed a long way from when she refused to spend and wanted to see money pile up and not invest.  Having been on the brink of bankruptcy three times and sent to jail eight times, I tried to get her to quit but daughter refused to be beaten. She remortgaged a couple of her title deeds and miraculously bounces back, repays her debt and ends up owning homes.

There were some very tense moments as both scrambled for success. With each throw of the dice, their decisions become more strategic and focused. It would appear that I don’t have to much more to teach them. Thank God for Monopoly. They have learnt to save, pay off debt, invest and grow their money.

New Year’s Day Tradition

It’s funny how memories are suddenly triggered. I haven’t spent New Year’s Eve (NYE) with my mother in over fifteen years but yesterday I remembered one of her traditions.

Every NYE we would start to say prayers as a family about 11.30pm. After midnight,  we would say Happy New Year, give each other a hug and toast with champagne. My mum would bring out a plate of segmented oranges and pass them round.  And then say in Yoruba, “odun yi a san” meaning this year will be good or better. (I hope no one corrects my translation ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚)

As we drove home from NYE’s service at church, I told my husband this story.  When we got home, he took out some oranges from the fridge and cut them up. And so the tradition is passed on.

Just as oranges bring sweetness and refreshment to the palette, may 2017 be a sweet and refreshing year for you and your loved ones. English doesn’t do justice to what Yoruba could have done but I’m sure you get the sentiment.

Happy New Year!

You Are Doing a Great Job

I wanted you to know that despite your darkest moments and constant doubt, you are doing a great job.

Just by showing up every day and being there for your child, you are doing a great job.

Sure there are things you could do better but always remember that children only care that they are loved unconditionally.

So remember to laugh, remember to live in every precious moment and remember to love unconditionally.

Happy Mother’s Day
๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’‹

Children Can’t Keep Secrets

Never trust children to keep a secret. It’s hopeless. Even if they don’t tell you, tell hint at it.
It’s obvious mine have been making cards or some gifts at school for Mother’s Day. I’ve actually been the one telling them not to tell me any more, particularly my daughter- she can’t help herself.

I guess it’s the excitement.

    “Mummy, you are NOT allowed to open my book bag this week”
    “Mummy, I’ve been writing a poem but I’m not going to tell you what it’s about.”
    “Mummy, there is a bag in the living room, and you are not allowed to look into it.”
    “Mummy, I’ve moved the stuff into the cabinet with the CDs so DON’T go there.”

All the while I can feel my husband on the verge of saying something before she spills the beans. Giving her the side eye.

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It’s hilarious because I’m the one having to preserve the secret otherwise she would have told me what they’ve done at school ages ago. Only one more sleep! Let’s hope she survives the wait.

Confessions of a Struggling Parent

It would really easy to tell you all the great things my children do and they really do some amazing things. It would be easy to go on about how they are changing and challenging themselves to be good humans beings. It would be easy – particularly on social media.

You can’t see me so I can spin all the good and true stories about them. But that’s not what Redefining Wonder Woman is about. It’s about taking the good and the bad and still taking a shot at life without condemning yourself. It’s about not making others feel lousy about themselves by exhibiting only your good side.

I hope that’s not what I do? I hope you get a bit of my struggles and my triumphs.

So today, I am struggling and I might elaborate on that in another post but today is just about acknowledging that I am struggling. Tomorrow will be different but this is today.

I am struggling to remember that they are only children and will act as children.
I am struggling to understand why everyday can’t be like the smooth sailing days.
I am struggling to understand why I need to repeat myself over and over and over again.
I am struggling to accept that children are primarily takers not givers.
I am struggling to accept that this is motherhood.
I am struggling to accept how after a session of me telling them off, they immediately turn round and say ,”mummy may I have a brioche?” ๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿ˜ณ

So today I’m going to be kind to myself because they love me no matter what and tomorrow they’ll do it all again. I will simply remind myself that this is the reality of motherhood. Now where’s that latte?

Everyone Needs Friends

I got a cold just before Christmas! Passed it on to my husband and daughter and they graciously passed it right back to me. Happy New Year to me. -|)

Having pushed myself through the first week back at work, by the end of the week I just couldn’t cope anymore and had to take the day off. I knew the only solution was to sleep it off but there was the issue of the school pick up which would undoubtedly break into the sleep. You know when you’re asleep but awake at the same time because you know you have to be up for something? So I sent a text to a friend and asked if she would take my children home with her and I would pick them up about four-ish. That would give me about three hours sleep. And then she replied to say I could leave then till later. I could have kissed her. It was so nice to know I could really rest. I felt blessed, really blessed.

One of the questions people often asked me when we were moving to Cambridge was, “do you have friends or family there?” No was always my answer.

I’d lived in London for seventeen years and had a few friends but never friends from my immediate community. I hardly ever saw my neighbours talk less of hanging out with them. A couple of years before we moved, a group of American students rented a flat on the ground floor of our building. Of course being American, they had a different concept of neighbourhood and it wasn’t nod and smile at each other in the lift.

Within a couple of months of moving in, they started to run monthly bring and share events which were just for people to get to know each other. I never had the opportunity to go to one as with two children under five, it was frankly the last thing I wanted to do. However, I often chatted to them in the hallway or when they knocked on the door inviting residents to the party. I regret not going to one because they seemed so nice. As I got my groove in parenting, it was time to leave so that opportunity passed me by but I admired those guys.

However I’m talking about friends not knowing people. I’m talking about people who share your life; people you can run to when you need help; people who will comfort you, strengthen you, listen to you; people who won’t judge you for your failings; people who are supportive; people who put a smile on your face; people who tell you the truth and don’t mind that you tell them the same. People you can be yourself with – friends. Not acquaintances, not the crowd – friends.

They are rare, they don’t often hang out in the crowd and I suppose to an extent that’s why people asked me if I had friends or family in Cambridge. Perhaps deep down they knew that friends were not easy to come by. Perhaps they weren’t ready to build a new network of friends. Whatever their reasons, I think the question was justified because we needs friends.

I had thought my friends in Cambridge would be church members or fellow students and partners from my husband’s college. Surprisingly, they are parents from my children’s school. You never know what surprises new friendships can bring. Whether they are your family or strangers who become family, we need them. Without them life would be dreary.

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Photo credit: Warner Bros

That’s a Lot of Money

I think every parent prays earnestly for the day their child (or children) utters these words. Like most parents, I sometimes, foolishly I’ll admit, take my children along with me shopping. This is nothing more than utter foolishness but you can’t help it sometimes. Short of leaving them in the car unattended, there are sometimes no option.

I have always found it amazing that children don’t have any concept of costs or more importantly, mounting costs. This alone, is the sole reason why I back the government’s drive to introduce mathematics earlier in pre-school education.

I’ll never understand how we can spend an entire day out, have bought some things for them along the way, but still at every successive stop, they still ask for something. The have absolutely no concept of the value of money – it just doesn’t seem to mean anything. One of the funniest comments they’ve made when I say no, is “just put your card in the machine and it’ll give you more money”. If only! I would love to find that cash machine as well. โ€‹

I don’t want to keep using the words “because we can’t afford it or I don’t have the money” all the time and leave an imprint of perpetual lack in their childhood. ๐Ÿ™‚ I definitely say no, but it’s getting them to appreciate why they can’t have everything they want that’s the key.

To help with this, I’ve decided that it’s time to start giving them some nominal amount of pocket money so we can teach them about the concepts of cost, savings, choice and the value of a limited budget. It’s vital, especially if they are going to grow up and make wise decisions about money.

So it was with great delight when the other day I was looking at Take That concert tickets for three which cost circa ยฃ283. When I told them, they both screamed, “that’s a lot of money. Why would anyone pay that?”
We are indeed making progress. Off to buy piggy banks now.

Non-Speaking Part

Those are two words that no parent wants to see when parts are being given out for the Christmas Play.

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You want to see Mary, Joseph, a Wise man or woman,ย Kingย or even the donkey – but a non-speaking part? No!

This is what happens when children do not listen to parents. I told my daughter to sing out loud during music lesson so the teacher would hear her voice and select her for a choice part. I even said she should break into song and dance, ‘Let it Go’ would work just fine.ย But nooooooooooo she had to be miss-know-it-all and even dare to suggest that Iย was beingย silly. And now we have it! A NON-SPEAKING PART.

I suppose I am still expected to go along and clap like she had the part of Mary. Such is life!

Little Charmer

I was just in the process of telling son to sit with me as he was being too rowdy. It was meant to be punishment and as I was doing it he said ‘I love you’. What am I meant to do with that now?!!!! Knowing fully well I was being ambushed, he then proceeded to hug me and then say I’m beautiful. Sigh! I’ve forgotten why I was about to punish him now.

Truly a soft reply turns away wrath. Little Charmer! ๐Ÿ™‚

Little Chef

My daughter has taken to writing a lot. Her latest sample is a recipe for ‘pretend’ soup.

    1. Onions
    2. Carrot
    3. Garlic
    4. Hot Water
    5. Tomato Purรฉe
    6. Tomato
    7. Prawns
    8. Potato
    9. Banana

It’s not a bad recipe for a six year old and I could possibly make something out of it. However, not sure about the banana. I cannot imagine where she got that from.

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