Tag: life lessons

What Gymnastics has taught my daughter

Little T started gymnastics last year when she was four.  She didn’t cry the first time she went, but her sleeve was so wet, you see, she likes to chew on her sleeve when she’s nervous.

It’s been over a year now since she started.  Some of her friends from her school joined her last year, but even though they seemed to enjoy it, they found it a little bit too much for them.  Which I found a bit baffling.  I don’t want to sound as if I’m undermining my child, but I know my own daughter.  She is a lot like me – shy and not very forwarding.  At first glance, you’d think she doesn’t have much confidence, unlike her friends.  But it turned out her friends who seemingly are more confident than T, didn’t last at her gymnastics class.  They just couldn’t handle it.  When they quit, I was worried that T would too.  But she persevered.

Before we went on our summer holiday last year, one of the senior coaches approached us and she said that they wanted to start training T for competitions when she turns six, but she’d have to do two hours of training.  We said we’d ask T and see what she thought of it.  To our surprise, T seemed keen to start training.  But we decided that she’d start the two hours after the summer break.

I’ll be honest, six months on after starting with two hours of gymnastics every Friday, I don’t see much change in T.  She still doesn’t have the strength in her legs and arms unlike the other girls who can do multiple, cartwheels, backflips and somersaults.  T still looks a bit clumsy and frail compared to them.  To be fair though, she is the youngest in her group.

I spoke to her coach about this last week and I told her that I think the group is much too advanced for her age and capabilities as a beginner.  Her coach agreed with me, but she said the thing with T is that she is hanging on, doing what she’s told, as much as she can.  I asked her if it would be better for T to go back to just doing one hour.  She said it was up to us.

Again, we talked to T about it and to my surprise she was adamant that she wanted to stay in her group.  I was immensely proud of my little girl but at the same time I wanted to cuddle and protect her and try to convince her to just do the one hour.  But we never go against what our little girl wants, especially when it comes to her own choices of activities to do.

At this point though, I don’t really care if she’s going to be a top gymnast and win medals and do cross-country competitions.  At the moment, what’s important to me is that she’s having fun and most especially she’s learning major life skills at such an early age – discipline and sticking to something in spite whatever fears she has in her little heart.  You don’t just quit and give up because you’re afraid of something, you persevere.  And that to me is more important than winning competitions or doing multiple cartwheels.

What about you?

Did you ever excel at any sport?

I was never good at any sport.  My husband though played football, cricket and fencing at university.


Four Lessons I want my daughter to learn from the Tooth Fairy

First off, I’m hoping that she won’t get to meet the tooth fairy just yet.  She’s barely three and I’m happy to share that she’s got into the habit of brushing her teeth really well.  I asked her what she knew about the Tooth Fairy, expecting her to look at me with a blank expression on her face.  Surprisingly, she knew who she was!  She said “When my tooth falls, I’ll put it under my pillow and the tooth fairy will come!”  

I have absolutely no idea who told her about the tooth fairy, nor does my husband. I’m wondering if she’s seen something on TV about it?  Anyway, here’s what I hope she would learn from the Tooth Fairy:

1.   If the tooth is loose, don’t force it.

Just because your tooth is wobbly, doesn’t mean it is ready to fall-out.  Stop touching and wriggling it, hoping that it would pop-out just because you so want the Tooth Fairy to visit and leave something under your pillow.

It applies to life too.  Don’t force things to happen, just because you’re too impatient to let things happen in a natural flow.  There are no shortcuts in life.  Sometimes, it may seem that you’ve found an easier route in the end though, it might just turn out to be a longer and arduous one.

So my dearest T, just be patient.  Life will happen, there’s no point in rushing it.  And please don’t be in a hurry to grow up.  You’ll soon learn that tea or coffee isn’t really delicious at all.  I have no idea why we grown-ups like to drink it.  Trust me, being a grown-up isn’t fun at all.  Enjoy your life as a child, because as much as I would love for it to last, sadly, it won’t.  I’m still grieving over the loss of your toddlerhood.

2. If you lose it, it’s not the end of the world.

When I was really young (about six I think), I lost my front tooth and yes, my older brother and other cousins used to tease me a lot about it and sing …

All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth, my tooth front teeth, oh my two front teeth.

Gee, if I could only have my two front teeth, then I could wish you Merry Christmas!

To make things worse, we even had a record of that darned song!  So yes, when I lost my tooth, I absolutely hated it!  What I want to say to you little sweetie, is that you will still look pretty even with a little gap in your teeth – not that I ever wish that it would happen to you!  And guess what, if it does …

3. Something really good might just come out of it.

Yes, you might just find something hidden under your pillow.  So you see, my little one, if something not so-nice happens to you, something good is also bound to happen and if it doesn’t, you must always remember to focus on the small joys.  You’ll soon learn that it’s the small joys that really matter in life.

4.  And lastly, just because you have it, doesn’t mean you have to spend it NOW.

Remember when you saved your money in your little money-box and it amounted to about £30?  You were so happy that day as you went shopping in Toys R Us and you also bought yourself a brand new PINK scooter, complete with a tooter and a basket?  Yes, you bought all that from your own money and guess what?  You can do it again, and again and again – as long as you save up your money.

T’s little money-box shaped like a shoe, given to her by her lovely godmother J when she was only a few weeks old.

So when the tooth fairy comes (and I actually wish she wouldn’t!), whatever she puts under your pillow, you can put back in your money box!

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February Chat with a Mom: Mariah Mambo

There are some people you meet in life and you know right away that they will always be your friend, no matter the distance or the lack of communication.  Mariah is one of them.  We met in Ghana, West Africa, where we both worked as volunteers and instantly hit it off.

Six years later, we are both mothers and despite the distance our friendship still thrives.

Tell us something about yourself, your little ones (age & sex).

I am a lawyer by profession, a mother by choice, a wife through love and divine intervention of course. I live with my husband and two children in Nairobi, Kenya. Apart from these truths my true passion lies in recreating spaces and fictional writing. I intend to pursue the two this year more faithfully.

I have two. Amara my first is a girl four years old, never encountered a more loving, cheeky and smart person. She never ceases to amaze me, she has a great sense of humour, bigger than herself and her age and she always cracks me up. I actually look forward to walks with her and stuff like that when the strangest of things will be uttered and silent moments shared when I know for sure I want to be around her for very long. My son Muriuki is nine months now, speaking of energy ball! He is all over the place at any one given time, never wants to stay still and is generally a very happy person, he is a bit of a mama’s boy but I am not complaining, I love to be needed.

Your child’s birth story(ies): What was it like?

Well, both my babies were born via caesarean section. I was intended to have a normal delivery up till eight months for Amara when I realized reduced foetal movement, I was hospitalised and she was born two weeks before her due date. I remember not being afraid (which is very unlike me considering I have control issues let’s read lightly into this ok?) My options were discussed with me and I opted to have a spinal block (again trying to seize back some of the control I had lost) so I could be awake when I had her. I spoke to my obgyn and anesthesiologist all through the procedure and even managed to crack a few jokes here and there. She never cried when she was delivered and that’s the only point when I really went cold with fear. I remember asking her pediatrician why my baby was silent but she assured me she had it under control. She cried what seemed ages after (could have been not more than 5 minutes, just felt like eons!) and the rest is well a long story.

My OBGYN decided not to allow me to have a normal delivery for my son no matter how much I begged; he presented me with a whole list of medical reasons blah blah blah so I just decided to go with him. I was afraid this time round, I am not sure why honestly. I opted for a spinal block as I did for my daughter; for the same reasons. My husband was with me during this delivery and it really helped calm me done. I will never forget how loud and long Muriuki cried; it was so shocking, just like the movies actually (so much for expecting birth to be close to movies huh, this was as close as it got for me!) He still cries like that sometimes, that piercing wail that brings my heart to a stop sometimes! He really needs to stop that!! His birth was uneventful; we spent a few very long nights at the hospital and we continue to spend long nights together.

What you wish you knew about being a mother before becoming one.

That it would totally change life for me, forever! I knew there would be changes but I did not realize how monumental they would be.

Every possible thing you could think of as a human being changes; say for example sitting through a meal, sleeping seven hours straight, driving in silence, watching a movie to the end in one sitting, listening to the music of your choice whilst driving, some unmentionables, grocery shopping; please don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining it’s just that I never had that ‘aha’ moment until my kids came along (now laughing hysterically) I have embraced my life with all its changes because I cannot envision it without my munchkins!

How do you manage your “me” time?

This I must admit I have not been very good at (blame it on my control issues) It has taken me very long; actually the duration of my daughter’s life to realize that hey, I need to rediscover myself.

I now delegate two days in the week where I consciously drive away from my house and just be me. I have to leave because although my daughter is away at school, my son is always around (hehe). I spend this time doing all sorts of things from just sitting and having a cup of coffee, to meting up with a friend, to window shopping, getting my hair done to even having a solo glass of wine. I have started the year being bolder by even taking a weekend off with my husband, just to reconnect and just be us.

Any favourite anecdote about your child?

My daughter has never had problems with feeding; she does a fantastic job and I know I am truly blessed to have one of those. Well she also believes that the faster she clears all her meals the faster she will grow (she wants to be as big as mama tomorrow please!) so after clearing her breakfast in one fast swoop one Saturday morning she comes to my bedroom and declares ‘Papa, I finished all my food, tomorrow when I am big like mama I will have big boom booms like her’. Safely figure out what big boom booms are…..

What is it about motherhood you simply love about?

Motherhood has changed me for the better. I know what it means to honestly in love and care for someone else regardless of whatever situation I find myself in. It has forced me to slow down and take in life one day at a time, appreciating everything about it. Motherhood has seriously done a number on my spirituality; I witness God and his faithfulness every single day through the lives of my children. I can say that I am a better person because of them.

If there was one thing about motherhood you disliked about, what would it be?

I totally dislike the unsolicited advice! Everyone has a tale; yes a tale on how you should be raising your young ones! ‘If you do this, this is the definite outcome’ ‘It’s too hot for that, too cold for that’: ‘Try this home remedy!’ SO UNSOLICITED!

What’s a typical day like for you and your little one?

Amara is in preschool so our day starts off with breakfast and then a frantic session of getting her into her uniform. She runs around the room, has a story to tell, she can also have a session where she refuses to wear the undies and shoes you picked out for her despite double checking with her the night before. She stays in school until 3.30pm when she returns home. She will often have a play date with my neighbour’s daughter or take a walk to a bridge a few meters away from our house with her nanny and her brother; then it’s time for a shower and dinner and some TV time before bed at 8. Kindly note this is on a good day…things go horribly wrong most of the time! What with tantrums and all!

I have help (thank God) so Muriuki will have his cereal around 8 (he has had a bottle around 6.30) he watches Amara get ready for school; gets kissed goodbye if he is lucky and has a schedule that he mostly adheres to during the day; he takes a nap around 10 for two hours has lunch when he gets up; watches some cartoons or lazes in the garden with toys, takes another nap at around three for 45 min and spends the evening with Amara, myself and his papa until he goes to sleep at 8.

Best advice you’ve ever received about motherhood or mothering.

Was from one of my best friends; considering she knows that I have the urge to be a perfectionist (this will never be a good thing for anyone to suffer from, more so a mother with multiple children) she advised me to just take each day at a time; there are not enough hours in a day to be a mother to two children, a wife to my husband, a great cook, a perfect housekeeper etc, so I have learnt to chill and just go with the flow.

If you could give yourself advice long before you became a mother, what would it be?

I guess I would have to go with Kala on this one. For too long I suffered from this feeling, it never went away and I wish anyone becoming a mother could embrace this FACT and realize it’s ok to feel this way.

How do you manage your time as a freelancer and as a mother?

Sorry to say but I have put too much aside for too long and I am only now seizing back what is rightfully mine, guilt free. I have official assignments on and off and for these I work night and day literally to deliver on deadlines. I am now taking a few hours off each day to start writing again and trying to make a business idea I have a reality. I have realized that I come home; after those hours feeling lighter in the head and heart and ready to deal with ALL the demands that come with being a mama.

Thank you Mariah!