Silly Means Stupid…

…to a chunk of Nigerians and according to its official dictionary definition. The other day, someone referred to my kids as silly. Was meant to be a compliment but I was a tad conflicted. Had to clarify it was innocuous and tell them it usually has a negative connotation in Nigeria… Didn’t mention the official dictionary meaning though.

That got me thinking of a story a lady proudly shared about a caucasian woman telling her son, when he was goofing off at a kids party, that he’s ‘so silly’. And the son promptly responding, “I am not silly, I am blessed” or something along those lines. The caucasian turned red, the boys mum loudly applauded him and, well I wasn’t there but, I imagine the awkwardness that ensued especially if there was no one available to bridge the cultural gap.

Silly:

Adjective Having or showing a lack of common sense or judgment; Absurd and foolish.

Noun A foolish person (often used as a form of address).

Somewhere along the line, silly has come to mean being playful, goofy and clownish – in the western world. Parents sweetly refer to their kids and/or their behavior as ‘silly’. Couples call themselves silly. Friends playfully say “you’re so silly” to one another. Dogs call cats silly. OK, you get the gist.

Well, not in Nigeria. If you’re called silly, best believe it’s the true dictionary meaning of the word or worse. ‘Don’t be silly’ is synonymous with ‘you’re stupid’. No jokes.

This is just a minute example of cultural barriers those of us in diaspora face in everyday encounters. A lot of times it blows over but there are times when it affects vital relationships like business, career, education, and most importantly our children.

How we translate cultural awareness to our children is vital and would set them up for mature global interactions. For the most part we (most earthlings) tend to jump to conclusions and assume the worse… Especially if the ‘offender’ is from another race, tribe, etc. Reaction becomes either explosive or internalized. Our children observe it, hear our rants/complaints and naturally adapt the vibes…

My key thoughts are to first teach our children to approach such situations with neutrality. Encourage them to ask for clarifications while pointing out offensive aspects of the interaction. A lot of times, huge issues are diffused this way. Everyone learns something and life goes on… Till the next. Haha. OK, not funny but it’s quite frequent for some.

Sometimes, the opposite occurs. If the offence was indeed intended, hmmm. Adviced reaction should then be dependent on location, offender, and authority in the vicinity. Children do need the confidence to identify, report and react to such occurrences.

Needless to say, we also need to teach them how to react if they are the ‘offender’. They should be able to clarify their thought process and apologize is they did offend. Hopefully they are not picking up racial/tribal slurs from us and innocently repeating. We should also teach them to not deliberately set out to offend others.

Back to the silly example, my kids interpret it positively… Hubby and I have had to intervene when they use it. They are now encouraged to say ‘funny’ instead of ‘silly’.

PS: I sometimes had to bridge the ‘cultural’ gap as my kids played with others in Nigeria and the UK just last December. Was amongst family and friends so mostly positive and enlightening for us all.

Have you had to deal with this? Any advice for us all?

 

Chimmie Gbugu is the author of two children’s color boardbooks in the Igbo language (Ndu Anyi: Okigbo na Adanze and ABChD Igbo ) and informal teacher on the ‘Akwukwo LLC’ Igbo teaching YouTube Channel. She mothers’ her two active kids plus her newborn baby diligently non-stop; Engineers during the day; Travels far and wide; Bakes & cooks concoctions or rather innovatively; Teaches Sunday school; and is just dabbling into blogging

Beyond our Language

Language, language, language. We have been focusing mostly on language as it’s a key aspect of our heritage. Our kids are being taught and exposed to the Igbo language, Nigerian English (lol), Engil-Igbo (haha), and very tiny Pidgin English. The need to get them to not only understand Igbo but to speak as well led to the creation of my company: Akwukwo LLC. I have put in quite some effort and our personal funds to develop top-notch relatable tools for my children, your children, all Igbo, half-Igbo and language loving children to learn Igbo globally… Today, I was just reflecting on Nigeria as our children will know it. Not the Nigeria I know. But Naija through their eyes and minds.

A few incidents that happened in Nigeria of recent, CC: the Tanker Explosion in Lagos, have reinforced some facts our generation already know about the country. Countless lives were lost. Multiple systems failed or were never in place to prevent such a calamity. Still, there is no indication that a root cause analysis is being conducted to understand what happened, know which company is responsible, prevent such in the future by enforcing minimum rules, compensate affected families although it will in no way bring their loved ones back, etc. All this sounds like wishful thinking and is unfortunately laughable. Sadly, people will laugh if you hint at root cause analysis for such an incident in Nigeria!

Even the idea that ‘affected’ families can be ‘compensated’ is a whole other can of worms… There is no clear record of who might have been in that explosion as, to my knowledge, there is no comprehensive database that could be used to run the plate numbers of affected vehicles. There is also NO record of folks in the public busses hence, will take a while to realize the true body count. Another angle is the fact that quite a few dishonest folks will come forward to claim being affected should compensation be offered… This explosion incident could have happened in western countries as well. Key difference is that someone/company will be held accountable; policies would be updated or enacted as a result; most victims would be identified; all affected families will be compensated; there will be a level of visibility to the public; etc.

The nation has apparently moved on from this incident and a few other ‘breaking news’  occurrences that constantly affect the citizens. This is something I still struggle to understand even though I was born and raised in Nigeria. How then am I able to explain these to my children as they grow? They are becoming more inquisitive by the hour and deserve an unbiased knowledge of the world they’re in. Now, I can’t promise a totally unbiased account from yours truly! Hahahaha! However, I do intend to be as fair as possible in my accounts of Nigeria to them as I do want them to associate with Nigeria but with caution. Same for the US by the way… yep, we are aware of and will be addressing racism, police brutality et al. with our kids. So, yes. Caution all round!

My children are learning Igbo, their native language. They are speaking and improving constantly. They do eat traditional Igbo/Nigerian food. Wear traditional clothing. Listen to some Igbo/Nigerian music. So, we are trying to ensure they learn beyond the language. That they understand not only Igbo but their heritage to some extent even though we’re in diaspora. It sure is a delicate balance as there are several aspects of tradition that I personally do NOT and have NEVER subscribed to. There are some specific NIGERIAN mentality that I just shudder at. There are also LOADS of traditions and NIGERIAN specific behaviors that I do love…. the trick and struggle for me is the ability to get all these across to my children so they have a realistic understanding of their heritage as they grow. Cause at the end of the day, language is an important aspect of heritage and so is tradition, behaviors, plus national attitude.

Hope this made some sense? How are you handling teaching your kids language? And beyond your native language? Have you even considered it? Hear, hear…

 

Chimmie Gbugu is the author of two children’s color boardbooks in the Igbo language (Ndu Anyi: Okigbo na Adanze and ABChD Igbo ) and informal teacher on the ‘Akwukwo LLC’ Igbo teaching YouTube Channel. She mothers’ her two active kids plus her newborn baby diligently non-stop; Engineers during the day; Travels far and wide; Bakes & cooks concoctions or rather innovatively; Teaches Sunday school; and is just dabbling into blogging.

Marriage is ‘the’ Eye Opener

Dear single lady,

This letter is for you. If you are desirous for marriage, then keep reading. There was a Contemporary African Women (CAW) discussion thread on Facebook asking how single women are preparing for marriage, and I found an array of interesting perspectives and thought I might extend my thoughts via a CAW article instead. A male friend of mine told me the other day, that per his experiences, more women nowadays seem to be delaying marriage. He is still on the quest for Mrs. Right, in case you’re wondering.

Anywho, allow me to offer some tips on how to prepare yourself for marriage. I’m in my tenth year of marriage, and I think I’ve earned some stripes in this area to offer what I’ve learned so far. So here it goes, and in no particular order:

Tip 1 – Marriage is NOT a holiday.

In the first year or two of marriage you will experience the ever euphoric honeymoon stage. Ahhh, the birds are chirping and all is sublime…sigh…then life, children, extended family, a mortgage, bills and career all compete for you and your spouse, and the real work starts to set in. Marriage is work. It takes effort and motivation to keep working together as a couple. If only one person is carrying the load spiritually, financially, intellectually, emotionally, and/or physically, the risk of marriage dropout is high. When you said I DO, remember, this was stated in present tense (for all you English aficionados). It’s not about what you will (I PLAN TO), or have done (I DID) in marriage, it’s about remaining in presently (I DO) committed mindset. So, there you have it. Try to maintain an I DO state of mind as much as possible.

Tip 2 – Marriage is about relationship, and not just sex.

If you are solely fixated on sexual attraction or a person’s looks, and have no substantive, non-physical interactions in commonality of ideas, interests, dreams, family/life planning, and hanging out with each other, then the risk of marriage dropout is quite possible, and you will morph into two people just living under a roof, like roommates. Even while you’re dating a potential spouse, it’s important to like the one you’re with. As my Mom would always tell me, “Like comes before love.” My husband and I both enjoy travel, discussing international and humanitarian issues, and trying new foods. We engage in such activities we have in common to help bring us closer together.

Tip 3 – Marriage is about compromise and overall respect.

It is possible to be too strong willed to a point where it becomes a detriment. If you only focus on your point of view, your marriage won’t last. We’ve all heard the term “irreconcilable differences” when couples choose to “amicably” divorce. In a nutshell, it just means that there was something so heavy between the two that neither could come to agreement. The whole two become one outlook in the Bible is an important aspect of marriage. When both parties learn the art of effective compromise, then it invites a more harmonious tone to the marriage.

Tip 4 – Marriage is about you and your one and only FIRST.

In the extended family culture of Nigerian marriages, there is the notion of this “our husband” or “our wife.” Well, that outlook should change. When you marry, your FIRST and PRIMARY focus should always be toward the overall well-being of your spouse. If you are in a non-marital relationship now, and your boyfriend/girlfriend is consumed with supplying the ever present (and sometimes never ending) needs of extended family members, I can heartily guarantee that your potential risk for marriage dropout is high, because that dynamic will not change even after you get married.

Before I get virtual rotten tomatoes thrown at me for this outlook, hear me out. It is admirable when an individual is looked to as some semblance of support for the family, but when you get married your SPOUSE should always come FIRST! Equilibrium in your household should always be the prime goal, because if the core of your relationship is insidiously invaded by the constant needs/wants of extended family (or even non-family), it will put wear and tear on a marriage. Married couples should try be on a united front to decide TOGETHER who, when and to what frequency they should help extended family or non-family.

Tip 5 – Marriage does not mean you should lose your individual identities.

I have interests in things that my husband isn’t into. For example, I have a love for cardio kickboxing, planning dinner parties, sewing and writing. He respects my interests and does not make a fuss when I want to engage in those things. He enjoys every realm of politics, military history, African history, tech stuff, and talking with his friends. We know when we need to give each other space to explore our individual interests. Give your spouse some space in this regard.

Tip 6 – Prayer

Aside from sexual intimacy, prayer with your spouse can be a special time. It is a way to bond as you both come before the Lord in prayer. If you are not in a praying relationship with your spouse, then your marriage dropout rate is high. Prayer is something that the devil detests because it is an ultimate act of unity and he hates unity the most when it is between a husband and wife, as this is the first form of corporate worship God designed. Sometimes when you have no words to say during a difficult time in marriage, the best thing you can do before relaying problems to a trusted person is to at least first pray together.

Okay, this article is getting a bit longer than I envisioned, but I hope I’ve offered some good, initial insight for you, single lady. I will write more specific topics later that center on one unique area of marriage (i.e. finances, sex, raising children, inlaws, spousal habits). Let’s save that for a rainy day, shall we? Just feast and ponder over what I’ve shared thus far and I’ll touch base with you again. The saga continues.

Signed Ten Years in Marriage and Counting,

by Chisom Unegbu

….

Dr. Unegbu enjoys writing, cooking, travel, and reading. She lives by the motto, “Feed your faith and your fears will starve. She has also worked in the radio industry (89.5 FM KVNE & Radio Disney) and previously hosted her own internet radio show, Plan B with Chisom for NaijaRadio234. To learn more about Dr. Unegbu, please visit her blog www.chisomthewriter.com

Drowning Awareness

Summer is almost here. Pools are soon to be officially opened, if they aren’t already. Children running and playing in the mid summer heat, and of course, swimming. As a medical professional when I hear of summer, I cannot help but bring awareness to the entity that is the swimming pool. They are the leading cause of death in children under 5 years of age. And it happens in what feels to be less than a second to most parents.

A father leaves for work in the morning and does not lock the apartment door behind him. His three year old wanders out of the apartment while his mother and siblings are asleep. He finds himself at the pool and though there are gates, those are unlocked too. He is found facedown in the pool hours later. A family visits a friend that owns a pool. The mother is helping take out the trash with their two year old tagging along. The mother turns away from the child and dumps the trash and when she turns around the child is missing. She searches the house first, then goes around the backyard and finds her child in the pool. A celebratory party is being held with the adults inside and all kids poolside with the grandmother watching the kids. When one child who cannot swim falls in, the grandmother is too slow to notice, and slower react.

These stories are few of the many true stories I have witnessed, all different beginnings but similar endings. It appears to me almost like a caricature of life, a mockery on life, a testament of how easily something beautiful ends. To the parents, it must appear as a dream, a torture scene from a horror movie. It is preventable, yet it is the most common cause of death in children less than 5 years of age. And I guarantee you no matter this fact, as summer approaches I will see more children admitted to the critical care unit for drowning. I always wonder why more has not been done to make parents better aware of the danger that lurks in a simple pool.

On the one hand, I wonder why children are not supervised more closely? Why are you not placing gates with locks that actually work around your pools? But on the other hand, it does not mean we need to fear the swimming pool. But it does mean we have a responsibility to our little ones. It involves teaching children early on how to swim. We must be attentive to our surroundings, and we must ask those questions to the apartment complex or a friends place about preventing easy access to their pools. Because even if it does not affect you or if these scenarios would never occur based on where you are in life, it can happen to others. And awareness is not just about you preventing it from happening to your children, it is also you helping prevent it from happening to other children too. Knowledge is key!

Dr O is a pediatric intensivist in the process of completing her specialization. She wrote a couple of books at the ripe age of 16. She loves to read fantasy and dystopian books. She is a foodie and enjoys Houston’s assortment of restaurants after which she then enjoys high intensity work out.

Exposure to TTC (Trying to Conceive)

I have worked in a fertility clinic for almost 4 years now and because I’m in charge of administration, at first I really didn’t get involved with the affairs of the clinical team so much.  Guess my background in medicine and the fact that I had to perform a lot of presentations made me get involved in the clinical affairs aspect and then start to really get to know the patients. I tired to empathize and put myself in our ‘patients’ shoes but truth is you can only imagine.

Towards the end of last year, I made up my mind that I was ready to have baby number 3. It took a while because I’m over extended as it is but I figured there are women who have no help, have kids, are working while going to school, and get pregnant. They are still alive so, I will not die.

I already have 2 girls hence, decided that I was going to be very scientific with the next baby. I want a boy and since pre-implantation genetic screening for me was out, I decided to try to predict ovulation as close as I could and use the Chinese calendar to figure out which month conceiving a boy would be optimal.

So, I enlisted the help of my work colleagues and we tracked my follicular growth until we felt this was as close as we could get. In fact for good measure, I had to wait till I thought ovulation had already taken place before I could do the deed. I kept all this from my husband so the poor guy wouldn’t be freaked out.

Anyways, after about a week I really didn’t have any symptoms. I  found that strange because for both of my kids, I knew within a week that I was pregnant. That bothered me. I waited and waited. Still nothing. Then after 10 days of my so called ovulation I did a urine test because I had read it can be positive. And it wasn’t!!!! I couldn’t believe it. You see, I had never had to try more than once to conceive my other two kids. I started to panic. Maybe I had left baby number 3 too long. I was much younger when I conceived my girls and now maybe it’s not so simple anymore.

Still in denial I went for a blood test the next day. Notice I still hadn’t missed my period but I was already too anxious to wait. Still negative! I can’t really describe how I felt after that. It was like my ears were ringing, my heart was beating fast, I couldn’t catch my breath. I was at work but I couldn’t even see my computer screen anymore. And then it hit me! Some women have felt like this every month for 5 years! Every single month they get disappointed this way. And they keep trying. They are the real MVPs!

I can still never fully understand what couples trying to conceive feel but if it felt anything like that, I do not want any couple to feel that way again. Well, at that point I told myself, no need to be angry, you will try again. And I felt better. So I planned that as soon as I saw my period, I would start the tracking again. I’m pretty regular and when I didn’t see my period 2 days after I expected it, I was concerned but too scared to do another test and risk disappointment.

I finally summoned up courage to do it again and voila I’m pregnant. I’m currently 7 weeks and having the nausea to end all nauseas and most of the time I’m too tired to even look presentable but this is what I wanted right? As to whether, it’s a boy or not, I guess I will know in about 11 weeks or so.

I don’t think I will ever fully understand what it’s like but I am willing to listen, to offer support and to pray. I know God hears and answers.

Baby dust!!!

 

Dr Fab

Dr Fab is a trained medical doctor who has decided to make a career of managing other doctors. She has two daughters, speaks English fluently, Igbo courageously and likes to think she can still speak French. She loves to read, dance and at some point thought she could design a clothing line! Her husband has to say she’s an amazing cook or risk starvation…

Igborize: Just like a Marathon

So, a couple Sundays ago was the 2018 Houston marathon race and coincidentally, I had worn my 2014 marathon finisher shirt for some in-home workout. Got me thinking about training for a full marathon and how I was able to cross the finish line of ‘no return’. Yeah, no return cause no more marathons for this Igbo chic… I mean, running is a major part of my life now however, that 26.2 mile run has been scratched off my bucket list for good. Hahaha.

I actually went from avoiding running at all costs throughout my teenage years to becoming an instant avid runner in my early 20’s. Gave it a first try in 2005 after being bugged down with conflicting tennis partner schedules. I was also tired of having to deal with my hair post each swim (my then second favorite sport). A jam-packed college schedule dictated that I find a low maintenance and less people dependent sport… The perfect option that came to mind was running hence, I registered for my very first 5k!

At the time, I could NOT run for 10 minutes straight without passing out! Thanks to my earlier naïve believe that ‘yams’ aka killer toned calves was caused by running! Obviously my teenage self refused to taint our fine legs for some sweat. LOL! Needless to say, my running stamina needed a major boost which ofcourse meant training , training and more training for the 5k.

In hindsight, running has truly proven to be the best independent sport in my opinion… just wear clothes, lace up, and go! Can be done indoors or outdoors. In cold or hot weather. On flat land or in elevated areas. You get the picture rigut? All you need, is YOURSELF to run! I sure am so thankful for that non-refundable paid first 5k race cause it forced me to follow through. Ain’t nobody got money to waste in college… that and the fact that I rarely quit anything.

Fast forward to 2014 with quite a few 5Ks, multiple 10K’s, 2 half-marathons, and the birth of my first baby (a self-imposed pre-requisite) under my belt. I finally ran a FULL marathon! 26.2 miles of serious effort. Yippee… the training process was more about the mind than the body for me. Knew my body could do it… the question was: will my mind allow us be great? Cause frankly, completing a marathon wasn’t something I needed to accomplish. My mind knew that and always pointed it out each time I trained for the longer runs. Like, who sent you? Will you get paid?

As I reflected on that Sunday, couldn’t help but notice the parallel between training for my marathon and starting this igborizing mission. Just like running, my mission was born out of a necessity. For running, I needed an uncomplicated sport to stay active. For Akwukwo LLC, I NEED to get my children fluent in the Igbo language. There was a serious need for high-quality Igbo learning material to maintain my munchkins interest in Igbo especially after realizing they ‘hear’ aka understand but were struggling to respond back. Observing their preference for boards books in any language (English, French, Spanish. etc.), instilled the strong urge to create something similar in Igbo.

My conviction on their need for more relatable  Igbo learning materials was confirmed by their excitement upon the very first sighting of my vibrant Igbo children’s board books (each page is sturdy and tear-free)! The board books legitimized Igbo in their eyes… As in, the Igbo cool factor shot up from a 2ish to a SOLID 10! No jokes. They no longer see Igbo as some old school/sub-quality language being forced upon them… No sir, my children are quite excited to select our books from their rather extensive library as they are comparable to AND even better than most!

Completing and launching my self-published children’s board books was much more exciting than finishing my very 5k race! The experiences are somewhat comparable as the board books were the first step to this igborizing mission just like my 5k was a first step.

The need for deliberate focused Igbo learning time to read the books and discuss with my kiddos in Igbo led me to start our Oge Akwukwo Igbo learning and speaking sessions. Here, we (my children and I) explore the building blocks of our language and also converse in Igbo. This is actually how our ‘Akwukwo LLC’ YouTube channel originated. I realized kids everywhere will benefit from our focused sessions and so, started recording…

On our YouTube Channel, we utilize a few focal words/actions/sentences to learn and speak Igbo. If you have been watching, you will notice Kehz and Azah have been improving… From feedback, our subscribers are also improving (both children and adults). You should subscribe HERE and learn with us! I should mention that we have always utilized that learning board for sporadic lessons in English and Igbo… started this when Kehz was like 18 months or earlier because he loves to learn! 😊

The addition of the focused Igbo learning time is not only maintaining their interest. It actually has boosted their love and awareness of the Igbo language! They actually initiate conversations with me AND sometimes, one another in Igbo! Like, really? I didn’t *hessperrit*!

My children’s interest is just the genesis for Akwukwo LLC… The same way I had to train for each race leading to the marathon is the same way I intend to keep reaching out to the world so that more parents/guardians decide to igborize with us. That way, my kids will have loads of their mates to speak Igbo with! No fun in speaking alone… The same mind that asked who sent me to run marathon and who marathon ‘epp’? Is asking who sent me to put in efforts and invest personal funds to igborize? Who igbo language ‘epp’? Haha. The good news however, is that the mind is mine. I do constantly and consciously control it to drown the negative thoughts while moving forward. 🤣🤣

It has been a year and I am happy to report that we’re almost at the 10k training stage… meaning? My kids are speaking Igbo. Some of their learning friends especially the ones that regularly attend our in-person story time sessions AND watch our videos are also able to respond to basic questions in Igbo. The goal is to keep training and hitting milestones until we get to that marathon level… don’t worry, unlike my running fate, this won’t be a one-time marathon!!! 🤣

Please join us in our mission and spread the word. Though igborizing your children will require some effort from you, we have provided great prompts to make it easier 😉. Your efforts could start from 5 – 10 minutes a day of watching our YouTube videos and reading our books while speaking Igbo continuously at all opportunities. Your children will appreciate it when they grow as they will be able to identify with their culture…

Chimmie Gbugu is the author of two children’s color board books in the Igbo language (Ndu Anyi: Okigbo na Adanze and ABChD Igbo ) and informal teacher on the ‘Akwukwo LLC’ Igbo teaching YouTube Channel. She mothers’ her two active kids plus her newborn baby diligently non-stop; Engineers during the day; Travels far and wide; Bakes & cooks concoctions or rather innovatively; Teaches Sunday school; and is just dabbling into blogging.

Santa or You?

Happy New Year fam! Hope the year is treating you great already… Are you having a great holiday season and enjoying having your kids home? 😊 Or are you already back to the grind? If you are back to work, ndo (sorry). We’re still in holiday mode over here although my kiddos sort of started school today (hence my ability to finally finish this blog).

Thing is, I started writing this a couple days before Christmas but never had enough time to actually pen down or rather type my thoughts… Having my kids home throughout the holiday season was a great blessing! They definitely got the better end of the deal as it was FUN all the way for them. Ask for me, feelings fluctuated from love to irritation a number of times. Haha! Wouldn’t trade the memories for anything though.

Christmas holidays is truly the key period we get to bond with and igborize our umuaka (children) while creating lasting memories. For a lot of North Americans, Santa Claus plays a huge role in kids Christmas experiences. From visiting him to ‘request a gift’ to leaving out milk and cookies for his ‘break in’ respite. Sorry, I couldn’t resist calling his chimney entrance a ‘break in’! Even songs are centered around Santa leaving gifts under the tree!

So, out of curiosity, my question is this: do your children believe Santa had something to do with their Christmas gifts? Did he get the credit for your ‘hard work’? By ‘hard work’ I mean, the thought process, energy and finances spent sourcing the perfect onyinye (gifts). Or did you stake your rightful claim as the gifter*?

I have encountered strong opinions on this and am fascinated at how serious people take it. For our home, it seems the kids will determine if Santa eventually plays a role in our Christmas traditions since this is one of those topics neither the hubby nor I feel strongly about. So far, none of my two oldest have shown much interest in Santa. Granted they were excited to go visit him, at the mall. Though my 4+ year old son originally assumed we were airport bound to catch a flight to the Northpole after I announced we were going to see Santa.

Our 2017 Santa visit was our worst experience ever… In summary we didn’t get great pictures after waiting in line for like ever. Santa himself was a little grumpy. He must have had a very long day or something. I digress.

My kids didn’t ask Santa for anything. Actually, do kids still do that? Ask Santa for a specific gift that is. I guess my children didn’t ask cause they either don’t fully understand the process OR they just don’t get that the requested gift is supposed to show up under our Christmas tree. My vote is on the latter cause my freshly turned three year old daughter asked for cereal in response to my enquiry on what she wants for Christmas. Her brother requested lollipop! A step up from everyday food 😊 I guess. Neither of them mentioned Santa on Christmas eve OR while they ripped open their gifts on Christmas day. Let’s see how 2018 holiday season goes…

Oh well, it’s a New Year and I do not intend to drag you back to last year… however, please do answer me 😁. Do you tell your kids their gifts are from Santa or do they know it’s from you? Do you care if Santa takes the credit?

 

Chimmie Gbugu is the author of two children’s color boardbooks in the Igbo language (Ndu Anyi: Okigbo na Adanze and ABChD Igbo ) and informal teacher on the ‘Akwukwo LLC’ Igbo teaching YouTube Channel. She mothers’ her two active kids plus her newborn baby diligently non-stop; Engineers during the day; Travels far and wide; Bakes & cooks concoctions or rather innovatively; Teaches Sunday school; and is just dabbling into blogging.

Is Overfeeding Child Abuse?

The kids requested peanut butter and jelly (PB&J) sandwich for dinner the other evening… I obliged with generous heaping of peanut butter and jelly spread meticulously on their lightly toasted slices of honey-wheat bread. My 4 year old son, Kehz, usually eats 2+ slices while his 2 year old sister, Azah, barely finishes 2 hence, 4 slices is usually enough for both to share. This time though, Kehz finished his 2 slices faster than usual and requested more. Noticed Azah was eating hers with gusto so didn’t bother taking a bit from hers as usual. Instead I toasted just one slice and split the PB&J on it. He finished it in no short time and asked for more.

I encouraged him to drink his tea (milo & milk) aka hot chocolate – for the non-Nigerians – while I made yet another 1 slice of PB&J sandwich to total his share to 4 slices. Whaddaya know? He gobbled that one too and yep, asked for MORE. At this stage, I had to relook at his adorable growing self and wonder if 4 slices of bread with condiments (PB&J) and a full cup of creamy tea is overfeeding? He is asking for more so apparently, he wasn’t satisfied/full. My decision was to hand him a banana which both pleased him and satisfied his hunger. Pheew!  Azah also ate a banana after her 2 slices mostly because her brother was eating one…

 This encounter amongst a few others at our kitchen table and beyond has made me more conscious of my kids food portions. I mean, even I wouldn’t eat more than 4 slices of bread in one sitting today. So, giving a 4 year old more than that doesn’t sit well with me at all. They truly are growing kids and need enough food to fuel their ever active bodies… but what balance is ideal? How do you ensure they get enough food but not overextend their tummies and leave them prone to childhood obesity, diabetes and the likes? I worry about these because it is common knowledge that a lot of kids in the US lean towards obesity. Also read that most obese kids grow to be overweight/obese adults and are prone to quite a few ailments. Now, when he is close to teenage age, I imagine he will probably eat 7 loaves of bread and 2 jars of peanut butter in one sitting. Haha. Heard teenage boys eat up a storm AND burn it all up with their super metabolism… but teenager food consumption is a totally different discussion.

 My basic knowledge on obesity made me conclude that over feeding young children is child abuse. As their parents/guardians, it’s our responsibility to set them up for a healthy life to the best of our ability. Their diet is one thing within our control and starting them on balanced eating early on in life can help them make better decisions as they grow… There is no guarantee they will stick to it. However, the knowledge will be inherent to them if/when they do need it.

 How about you? Do you think overfeeding is a form of child abuse? Any addition to this? Would love to hear your thoughts.

 

Chimmie Gbugu is the author of two children’s color boardbooks in the Igbo language (Ndu Anyi: Okigbo na Adanze and ABChD Igbo ) and informal teacher on the ‘Akwukwo LLC’ Igbo teaching YouTube Channel. She mothers’ her two active kids plus her newborn baby diligently non-stop; Engineers during the day; Travels far and wide; Bakes & cooks concoctions or rather innovatively; Teaches Sunday school; and is just dabbling into blogging.