Do Over

Inconvenient Truth #5762: “Your Kids don’t care if you’re a single parent, neither does dinner”

Inconvenient Tr…

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Inconvenient Truth #1455: Thou Cannot Parent in skinny jeans.

Prove me wrong. Try peeling your kid off the floor in the toy aisle after they slither out of your arms using the evasive demon noodle boneless slump trick.

Inconvenient Tr…

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I So Purple

Survival Kit

Survival Kit

Or Isopropyl if you insist. Earlier while wickedly enjoying pouring half a cap of peroxide on my sons cut foot (it burns so good) I began to think back to all the times I was in the same exact position as a kid having banged myself up in some way or another and being forced to sit on the toilet seat whilst my gradmother either poured alcohol or peroxide over my latest boo boo then perfunctorily painted it purple. Did you guys ever get the purple treatment? To this day I have no idea what the purpose of that was, and I doubt I’ll Google it. I’m going to just take it in faith that my grandma knew what she was doing…and do the same thing with my youngin, which brings me to my other ponderance; am I  grandma worthy?, is the generation beneath mine grandma worthy? My grandma taught me a lot about home remedies and “making do” to the extent that I feel confident enough in my spice rack, pantry, and medicine cabinet that my family will neither go hungry, nor lose a limb if push comes to shove. How about you guys? I think about the younger generations and how they need more grandmas, real gangsta ones that’ll give you a whoopin and bake you an apple pie all in one Sunday afternoon. I think about my grandma often, she raised me and next month is the anniversary of her passing. You guys will get to know her too through 30and11, Grandma Dot was a key character in  some of my most triumphant and EMBARRASSING coming of age stories and of course it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t share the best of them with all of you! Stay Tuned!!

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Letter to Me from My 9 year old self. Don’t Judge Me

me in the window

Yes, I did actually break down and do the “write a letter to yourself” thing. I usually think those types of exercises are a little sappy, but I did it anyway – it was a low moment in my life.   The way I did mine was to write a letter from my 9 year old self to my 30 year old self, does that make sense? Here goes… (note* my first name is Rakiyt, aka Raki, but growing up most people called me Shakira, my middle name)

My 9 year old self to me at 30:

Hey Raki it’s Shakira. I’m here in Norfolk. I can’t wait to be you. I want you to know I’ve watched everything you’ve been doing for the past 21 years and I want you to know I’m not ashamed of you.  I think you’re doing great now. I never thought we’d have a son but I’m happy he’s here.  I forgive you for your mistakes. I forgive you for making our path to greatness so hard. It’s okay. I love you anyway. I’m so happy we still have our sense of humor. You know we’ve always been a tomboy. I’m writing to you now from our “thinking tree”! Remember the big tree in the front yard? Well I climbed up here today and I see that you’re struggling. I saw what happened to us this week. I can’t believe someone would treat us this way. I’m just a little girl and I don’t really understand too much but I know I wish we had someone to stand up for you and It’s really scary knowing that I’m going to be in your position one day, but we’re fearless. You know we are. It’s going to be better. Please make it better for me. It’s lonely here and I see the path I’m going to take and I just need to know that at the end of it we’ll be happy. 

 

 

 

I wrote this on May 1st 2012 and just found it while going through old files on my computer…and you know what? I don’t think it’s too lame, I actually am happy that I found it. At almost 2 years later, it reminds me of where I was mentally at that time and how OUTRAGEOUSLY WACKO DIFFICULT CRAZE BALLS INSANE things got just one month later…and how the Crazy Train just steam rolled right on through to 2013. I promise I’ll write more about 2013 soon, …. matter fact I promise I’ll write more period. I miss you guys 🙂

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Is This The Little Boy I Carried?

A Cake fit for a Being

A Cake fit for a Being

Well, this is what happens when you let him decide what goes on the cake. *sigh

In a few short hours I will be mother to a teenager. Y.I.K.E.S. We held his birthday party yesterday, saturday because Monday would have been too hectic.  There will never be another moment like this, literally, he’s 13, and I’m the converse: 31… and it’s 2013.  It’s just a cool little coincidence, and if I played the numbers I’d play 13,31,13 in that order. I still can’t believe my kid is a teen, and I feel like he’ll probably go to sleep, and out of spite grow an inch tonight so that he can be taller than me in the morning just to prove a point. The past year was pretty tough, this time last year I was in the midst of trying to abate a nervous breakdown and losing the battle.  I’ll tell you guys more about that later, but now I’d like to take a few moments to extoll the awesomeness that is David.

David rides around the neighborhood in snow boots and shorts, on a vintage BMX Mongoose bike with a bow and arrow strapped to his back wielding a 2 ft long Nerf sword. I love that about him because he really is a kid who does what he wants and doesn’t let pretense keep him from enjoying himself.  He still gets excited about stuff, he’s not “over it” as so many teens and preteens are these days. There’s an awesome sense of wonderment that I wish I could preserve in him forever although I know that, along with his estimation of my coolness, that too will begin to fade in the years to come. I just pray that he knows that no matter what, I love him with a vulnerability that’s hard for me to comprehend. That’s what parenting really is, it’s vulnerability, it means loving another person so much that self becomes secondary.  I’ve learned a lot about the resiliency of this kid, he’s surprised me with his maturity and tenacity even as I sit here watching him repeatedly stick his finger into a container of slime making it expel pitch perfect fart noises (the sloppy kind).  I took for granted the roundness of his face, and almost missed the sharpness of his mind. A fact I should have noticed years ago when at an early age, drawing on his superior sense of reasoning and observation: Dave posed the question:  “Mom, do I have utters?”

I could really go on and on about the joy my boy brings me. He makes me happy though not in a dependent way that can be sappy and is sometimes an unfortunate consequence of single parenthood. Yeah, he can get on my nerves and frustrate me to the point where I need to take a time out, but thankfully, those times are rare.  I delight in him and enjoy being his mom and wouldn’t want him to be any other way.

Happy Birthday Dave!

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Happy Mother’s Day

The Day That Started It all! It was one year ago on mothers day that 30 and 11 was born! It’s been a great journey and I hope to share even more (consistently) with you guys in the year to come. In honor of this momentous occasion I’m being lazy, um I meant to say I’m reposting “Happy Mother’s Day”!!

30and11

I’m in the closet drinking juice and reading books. IT.IS.ME.TIME! It’s my day dangit!! This morning at 12:07am my boy gave me this lovely card:

Mothers Day Card 2012

and at 12:17am after I told him how much I loved it and would love it even more if he added an L to the word “world”, he asked me “Okay so what do you have for me?” He was serious. Fast forward to “for real morning time”. I’m in the bathroom with my vibrating footbath (with heat); he walks in and sticks his foot right in with mine. I’m like “Umm, Ok BYE!” He leaves. About 15 minutes later I smell breakfast food.  Could it be?! Nah, he can’t be doing what I think he’s doing? I’m actually scared to get my hopes up. I hear the clatter of plates through the bathroom door and imagine him scurrying around with excitement about surprising me…

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Passive Resistance

Dave’s not happy. He’s making a stand against going to his Dad’s house for spring break. His silent resistance has been going on for an hour now, it’s almost 4pm. He’s not being rude or obnoxious, just quietly obstinate. I told him to get into the shower and put on some clothes so that we can get going, and he did just that. I was waiting for him when he stepped out of the hallway and into the living room wearing the most obscenely tight ANGRY BIRDS pajamas ever known to MAN!! DUDE! I really want to respect his display of emotion because it’s important for him to know his opinion matters…but really dude. I’m going to need you to be a little more hard core in your effrontery. Anyway y’all, Dave’s not happy, he’s angry, he’s an angry bird.

DYNOMITE

DYNOMITE

just for laughs.

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The Fellowship of The Nigerians: By J.R.R. Tosin

(Tosin is a Nigerian name meaning God is worthy to be served)

I’m going to let you all into the truly fantastical and imaginative way that I experience the world and the unconventional scenarios in which I more than often find myself. I don’t know if this story will translate exactly how I experienced it but if I somehow manage to communicate this without completely going down the rabbit hole, I will count it as a resounding success!!

I’m a nerd, I read too many books The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit are some of my favorites.  So it should be no surprise that the following events played out the way they did in my mind.  So I got pregnant with no plan B (lol), pretty much all I knew was that I was having a baby. My kid’s dad is Nigerian, born and raised.  I’m half Nigerian also.  The Nigerian side of my family actually lives in Nigeria (my father included). I was born and raised on the good ol African American southeastern coast of VA. At 18 my experience with my African roots was more embarrassment than cultural awareness. Imagine growing up with cousins taunting you in feigned staccato African accents saying  “YOUR DADDY LIVES IN A HUT AND PLAYS WID DE LIONS” … yeah they were the worst.

I had never met my kid’s Dad’s family. The Dad and I weren’t exactly an item when we decided to procreate and there was so much turmoil going on throughout those 9 months, being introduced to the family never seemed to be on his to-do list. So finally it was D-Day and after 22 hours of labor and temporary paralysis from a misfire with the epidural needle, little D had made his way into the world.  The next day I found myself by myself in my room. Baby was with me and I was just kind of worn out. I was still in very much pain from the delivery and had managed to sit gingerly, when just as if Ricki Lake her self had given an invisible off camera cue,  the doorbell rang…

I hoisted myself up and was managing to make my way to the door by doing this kind of shuffle stiff legged walk not unlike Fred G Sanford.  There was more impatient knocking adding to my apprehension, because I was NOT expecting any visitors.

Finally I opened the door and there they all were. Standing there. Stuffed in the door like the dwarves in The Hobbit when “They all fell in “

 

I refer you to this passage from the Hobbit

“Someone at the door!” He (Bilbo) said blinking

“Some four I should say by the sound,” said Fili. “Besides, we saw them coming along behind us in the distance.”

            The poor little hobbit sat down in the hall and put his head in his hands, and wondered what had happened, and what was going to happen, and whether they would all stay to supper.  Then the bell rang again louder than ever, and he had to run to the door. It was not four after all, it was FIVE.  Another dwarf had come along while he was wondering in the hall.  He had hardly turned the knob, before they were all inside, bowing and saying “at your service” one after another. Dori, Nori, Ori, Oin, and Gloin were their names; and very soon two purple hoods, a grey hood, a brown hood, and a white hood were hanging on the pegs, and off they marched with their broad hands stuck in their gold and silver belts to join the others.

 

It was the dad’s family!!! They had shown up at the hospital unannounced. I had never met these people before. He didn’t tell me they were coming I was overwhelmed by people I didn’t know, speaking in languages I’d never heard before. HE. HAD. SET. ME. UP BIG TIME!! I was by myself with no warning AND wearing a rear vented hospital gown!! NOTHING in this world makes you feel more vulnerable than having on mismatched ankle socks and an open back hospital gown.  Forget being swollen and unable to move around (and 8 months shy of my last perm #blackgirlproblems). This whole scene reminded me of when the dwarves came to Bilbo’s house in The Hobbit especially because Nigerian Yoruba names sound a lot like hobbit/dwarf names.)  I hope that the following visuals will aid in my attempt to help you envision my predicament…

Caught Unawares

Caught Unawares

The Gathering

The Gathering

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Curated Cartoonage because Saturdays Suck

Let’s face it, saturday mornings suck for kids. I think all 80s babies will agree, we had THE BEST cartoons EVER! It’s pathetic how much joy I get out of lauding this over my son. I’ve come to realize that those of us lucky enough to have really grown up in the 80s cherish our childhood like no other generation. It’s like a badge of honor, Fiercely defended! I’m sorry, if you were born in 1983 you can’t really claim this distinction unless you had a bunch of older brothers and sisters or cousins…because you really didn’t start forming lasting memories until around 1989. (I’m sure there are some exceptions). I’ll give you guys my entire theory on 80s childhood soon, but not just yet, that’ll come in another post. Anywho, It’s saturday morning, and what’s on tv? TRASH! As I flip through the channels with my requisite bowl of Cap’n Crunch (berries on the side, cuz I’m grown) I see hmm, spikey haired kids throwing dragon balls and cards at each other, I guess they’re battling, singing vegetables, and dancing dragons! WHAT IN THE HANNA BARBERA IS THIS MESS!  Thankfully there’s youtube. I’ve put my son on to some of my favorites, and I must say he’s all the better for it. Here’s this morning’s line up, in no particular order.

Remember:

 I lied, there is a particular order that only applies to Fraggle Rock. Fraggle Rock will ALWAYS be first (and Batman The Animated series will always be second). Fraggle Rock is my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE show ( It’s not a cartoon but whatev). I’m not going to expound upon my love of Jim Henson here…because I’ve already done it HERE on my tumblr. 

Fraggle Rock

Duck Tales

Jem

Gummi Bears

Kidd Video

I’m going to attempt to curate a saturday morning cartoon playlist every saturday because it’s important that I do this for the greater good!  To all my fellow parents, and future parents please share your childhood with you kids, believe me they’ll love you for it.

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apparently my heated blanket is made out of boyfriend material

-raki

apparently my h…

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Playing the Dozens

Oh, You Got Jokes?!

HE GOT JOKES Y’ALL!! What started off as an innocent question quickly turned into a rapid fire battle of Wit and Foolery. Last night my son and I were hanging out it in my room. My mom, who’s visiting was there too. He asked me about what appeared to be a speck glitter on my face and the following is what ensued:

DAVE: Why is there glitter on your face?

ME: It’s because I’m a rainbow inside.

DAVE: No, You’re a THUNDER STORM!! (cackle, cackle)

ME: You’re a Monsoon!

DAVE: You’re a Typhoon!!

ME: WHAT? You’re a mudslide!

DAVE: YOU’RE AN AVALANCHE

ME: AND YOU’RE A DROUGHT, NOW GO PUT ON SOME LOTION! #POW

iWin

My mom who’d watched this exchange in awe was laughing so hard. She’s like there’s no way I could have kept up with you guys with those comebacks. I must say I’m quite proud of the kid for his speed and agility. My cousins and I used to joke each other ALL the time. You had to have thick skin to roll with the best. Playing the dozens is an art form, especially in the black community. Welcome to the family son, you did good!

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In Honor of Michael Jordan turning the big 5-0 today, this Seemed like an appropriate time to reblog “Fake Jordans and That’s What You Get” enjoy and comment! Have you ever had to learn/teach a lesson the hard way?

30and11

Let’s just file this one under “Trying to be slick”. So my son decided he wanted some Jordans. Every time we went to the mall he wanted to take a look at the shoes, he’d point them out on other people’s feet, he’d even print pictures of them.  Subtlety is not his strong suit. So finally he asked me to by him these kicks. They’re not cheap and since I KNOW my son really isn’t the kind of kid that’s pressed to have the latest sneakers, I knew it had to be a couple of other driving forces behind his request. 1. Some kid in school must be stuntin (styling) on the rest of the kids with a fresh pair of J’s or 2. Dave just really likes these and thinks they will help increase his cool factor on the playground. I told him I’d get him the shoes if…

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Crying in the Car is For Wusses

cryoutside

I went outside. I went even further than outside, I went outside and got into my car and cried my eyes out. Crying sucks big time especially when you’ve been trying to hold it in. Crying sucks even more when you do it in the car while it’s snowing outside. Why was I crying?  It was out of sheer exhaustion with life. I’m trying to hold a lot together, my business, my home, my son, my sanity. I feel like i’m failing at all of those things.  I had a meeting with a well respected veteran in the fashion industry today and he reviewed my brand and gave me his very direct opinion of my work. It made me want to give up. Half way through our meeting I wanted to pack up and leave but stuck it out because I needed to hear these things. I asked for this but that didn’t mean I had to like it. My skin is no where near tough, let’s just get that straight. I’m extremely sensitive on the inside, I try not to let it show but today was just too much. I didn’t just cry, I wept.  I had come face to face with the reality of my circumstances. You ever look around one day and notice that the carpet is threadbare, your sweaters are moth eaten, and the paint around the windows is peeling, when only just the day before everything seemed alright? That’s the feeling that over took me today as I sat in my car with my disconnected phone, and the last $3.00 I have to my name.  I wondered what am I doing?  What have I done? This is not the life I signed up for and why have I pushed and worked so hard to be in this place? I want to write more about this but right now I just can’t because my head hurts from crying like a sissy in my car.

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