Questioning my Blackness

I love me!

The child looked at me, pointed in my face and asked why are you so black? He kept pointing in my face!

It was almost as if he was accusing me of something. It wasn’t the first time a child was curious about my skin colour. It was the first time though that a child asked that way. I was shocked. I usually have responses for children but this shocked me to my roots. He was only about 4 and I didn’t quite know how to handle it immediately. I needed a minute to get myself together and process the reality of what had just happened. I needed to process my thoughts so I wouldn’t react in an inappropriate manner.

I called out to my mentor; at this time l, I was still an Early Childhood Education student in my second semester. I mentioned what had happened to her and we talked about what to do. Together, we went back to him and talked about people having different colours. I asked him if he was the same colour as the friend who was standing beside him and he said no. I realised it was a teachable moment and anything I did at the time might impact his opinion for several years to come.

I decided to make a teaching plan out of this. I was going to show the classroom of preschoolers the different kinds of skin tones that might exist. I went ahead to find books in the library and in the room that were suitable for this lesson plan. Examples of such books are:

It’s Ok to be Different
We’re Different, We’re the Same
Skin Like Mine
And many more…

One of the educators in the room also made home made items in different colours for us to connect to the message from the books. We had nutmeg, coffee, honey, dark chocolate and a few other items in jars to show the children different colours that exist.

I made sure that I called this particular child to have a close look at all these colours while I left the book open for him to look at. One can only hope that this made a huge impact on him. A few days later, he asked me the same question but in a different time. When I was away, I was told he said “black is bad” to a new child. There were conversations around speaking to his parent. I never had an encounter with him anymore till I left the center though.

It made me wonder how I would react if this was an adult. Would I speak up? Would I be able to educate them? Would I defend myself? What would I do differently? I’m aware I might not be able to change everyone, especially adults but one child at a time, we can educate about inclusion and diversity.

It’s ok for children to be curious about what they don’t know or understand. I had another child ask me why my skin was different from hers and we had such a nice conversation about it. We spoke about colours and how no two people might be the exact same colour. I asked if she has a sibling and if they looked the exact same way and she said no. She told me she liked that I looked different than her and she particularly loved my braids. She told me my hair is beautiful and she would like to have hers look like that and I told her hers was beautiful just the way it was. It makes me smile still.

We need to be prepared for situations like this. It’s sad that radial prejudice exists in the world and that children get to imbibe some of these values from the adults in their lives but we do need to be prepared and we also need to prepare our children for such situations.

I have conversations with my children and let them know that the problem is not on their side if someone thinks they are superior because of skin colour. The problem is on the side of the other person and it doesn’t diminish them or their value. It does say a lot about the values of the other person though. Different does not mean less or better. Different is just different.

How lovely would it be if we lived in a world that had everyone getting along with no racial prejudice! I’m not even black by the way, I’m brown skinned and proud of it.

As my wise daughter once said,what’s all the fuss? We all bleed red anyway…think about it, that’s a very eye opening sentence.

Have you and any such experiences? Care to share?

The Holocaust Did Happen

Yes, the Holocaust happened and the children are talking about it in school today…
🌸
I’ve never talked to my children about it but we are going to do that today. Our children are citizens of the world and we should be having these conversations with them.
🌸
“The Holocaust, also known as the Shoah, was the World War II genocide of the European Jews. Between 1941 and 1945, across German-occupied Europe, Nazi Germany and its collaborators systematically murdered some six million Jews, around two-thirds of Europe’s Jewish population”
🌸
Here are a few books you can read with your children that have information about the Holocaust:
🌸
The Key from Spain

Maurice and His Dictionary

Anna’s Suitcase

Who Was the Woman Who Wore the Hat?

All these books and more are available on Epic.

History of Canada and the Holocaust
“While Canada did not directly experience the Holocaust, it was impacted in many ways by the tragedy. Canada’s restrictive immigration policies at the time largely closed the door on Jews seeking to flee Europe. This included 937 Jewish passengers of the M.S. St. Louis, who were refused entry into Canada, and many subsequently died in the Holocaust.

As a result of Canada’s wartime policies, nearly 2,300 men were interned as “enemy aliens” in camps across Canada between 1940 and 1943. These were mostly Jewish refugees from Austria and Germany.

The Canadian experience of the Holocaust was also one of resilience and hope. In April 1945, Canadian forces liberated the Westerbork Transit Camp in the Netherlands, including 900 Dutch Jews who were still interned there.

As a nation, Canada has also been profoundly shaped by approximately 40,000 Holocaust survivors, who resettled across the country after the war. Today, Canadians remember the Holocaust, commemorate its victims, and renew the commitment to fight against racism, discrimination and anti-Semitism.

In 2010, Canada led the development of the Ottawa Protocol on Combating Antisemitism. This international action plan will help nations measure their progress in the fight against antisemitism. In 2011, Canada became the first country to sign the Protocol.” (From Canada.ca)

I hope your week has been great.

Sending you love and light 💕

Find Your Village

I bet you’ve seen a lot of plaques that say “they say it takes a village to raise a child….I’m not talking about raising children right now though…”

You need your own village mama.  You need some people who are committed to your welfare and vice versa.

When we were moving to Canada and we decided to move to the city we live in, a number of people asked me if I had family there and I said, no, I don’t really know anyone there and I don’t have family in Canada.

What I did get to find is a community of people who are genuinely interested in my welfare and that of my family. We have become support systems for each other.

Every mom needs that one friend or two they can call at 2am who will pick their call as I sometime had to do last year. We all need that person who will say, I haven’t heard from you today, is everything ok? Or that friend who sends you flowers to chat you up and the one who says it’s ok, I can stay on the phone even if you don’t want to talk.

I had a medical emergency that required me going into hospital at 2am while my husband was away and a friend picked me up, another friend watched the kids while I was in hospital and so on. Another friend picked my children from school when I couldn’t’t. A friend brought me trays of food when I could hardly get up from the bed..and the list goes on.

You need people who are in your corner, who are committed to your welfare as you are to theirs. I find that a major thing especially if you don’t have family around you. Create your own family.

Have you found a village?

Please leave me a comment in the comment section. I love to hear from you.

Love and light coming your way 💞❤️❤️

What to pack in your kids lunch bag

It’s back to school season so let’s talk about school lunch! This school year, I know things are a little bit different so it would be helpful to pack easy lunches that children can get access to easily.

A couple of people have asked me about what to pack in their children’s lunch bags or what I pack in mine, so I’m going to share a few ideas in this post. I hope you find them helpful.

My children are in a Catholic school so they get three breaks; two snack breaks and one lunch break. I know some schools in the public board get two breaks in total. I don’t know if this is general.

I pack a combination of fruits, vegetables, yogurt or cheese (could be cheese strings or cheese blocks) , snacks and then lunch. Lunch could be cold or hot lunch. I pack the hot lunches in Thermoses that are easy to reach and wide enough to eat from.

Yogurt in a cup or bottle, cheese; cheese strings, cheese blocks or laughing cow wraps. I sometimes do milk or soy milk in a bottle also. My daughter prefers to drink vanilla flavoured soy milk

Snacks
Oats and banana muffins
Oatmeal cookies
Cheese, cucumber, carrots, grapes
Cheese and cucumber
Rice cakes
Crackers
Granola bars
Cheerios and raisins
Pretzels
Wafers
Muffins.

Vegetables:
Sliced cucumbers
Carrots or baby carrots (I usually get baby carrots from Superstore)
Boiled corn
Broccoli

Here are some lunchh ideas: Chicken wraps
Meatball wraps
Tuna with lettuce and sweetcorn wrap
Carrot and ham wraps
Tuna and sweetcorn baguette
Cheese panini
Egg, mayo and bacon sandwich
Ham and cucumber/lettuce and cheese sandwiches
Grilled turkey and mayo sandwich
Beef/chicken burger
Lasagna
Tuna with lettuce and sweetcorn wrap
Carrot and ham wraps
Tuna and sweetcorn baguette
Cheese panini
Egg, mayo and bacon sandwich
Ham and cucumber sandwiches
Grilled turkey and mayo sandwich
Pizza and hotdogs occasionally

Hot lunches: Seafood pasta with sweetcorn
Veggie minced meat with rice
Plantain sticks
Macaroni and cheese
Lasagne
Plantain sticks with roasted chicken and ketchup
Jollof/fried rice and chicken
Fries (air fried) and chicken

I started adding little notes into my children’s boxes like the one in the picture below. It’s just a little extra something to show them their mama cares about them. My children loved finding the notes in their bags on the first day so it’s going to be a regular.

You can get lunch boxes like the Bento boxes that are already partitioned to make your packing easier. For water bottles, we use the Contigo ones. My children are a bit older and if yours are younger, you might want to try the Thermos funtainers.

I hope this post has been helpful. Let me know if you try any of these and please do share pictures with me and tag me on Instagram @lagoscanadamom.

Your Child Is Not Rude!

RAISING KIDS WHO CAN THINK

Yes, read that again! Let it sink.
Your brain is probably rejecting that sentence….why should my child challenge my opinion? I’m the boss of him or her.

Think about it though, if you accepted every single thing thrown at you without thinking it over or making up your own mind, what does that make you?

We’ve got to accept that it’s ok for our children to say no to us, it’s ok for them to ask why, it’s ok for them to say ‘but I don’t understand’

Those opportunities give room for conversation and if we are trying to pass on some values for instance, those challenging moments are teaching opportunities

If you resolve every challenging moment with an ‘I’m the boss’ around here response though, you lose opportunities to build lasting impact and teach lasting lessons. You’re probably setting yourself up for rebellion when your child is no longer little and can no longer be controlled.

Accepting that your child will challenge you and you will have discussions that might not always be ‘your way’ gives opportunities for your child to develop independence and have a mind of their own.

I also have to not that we need to find a balance between correcting our children, being authoritarian and being permissive. Some things are not ok and should be dealt with once they show up. Hopefully we are able to differentiate between rudeness and curiosity. God help us be able to balance things and deal with them appropriately.

Seriously, who wants a child who says yes to everything thrown at them? Not me!
.
#parenting #parentingtips #beingmom #momlife #independentchildren #peacefulparenting #canadianmom #lagoscanadamom

Making Lemonades

I started a post and lost it…I’m not very happy about that….I don’t remember what I was writing about 😦

It’s now about 5 weeks of lockdown, if my calculation is correct and the third week of online learning for  the children. We’ve formed our routine and it doesn’t involve us waking up at 7am, no, we sleep in and then start our day easy. Nothing is cast in stone, we just know there are things we get to do in the course of the day. We’re making lemonades out of our Covid 19 lemons, making lots of family memories along the way.

We are spending all our time indoors, moving between living room, kitchen, bedrooms, the basement and loft…thankfully, we have some space to move around. I wonder what being cooped up in an apartment would be like now..🤔. I think years down the line when our children get asked about the worldwide lockdown, they might be talking about things they did with us or what memories were made..

Making Forts is becoming a thing in our home and if you visit us, you might find one in the middle of our living room where the children might be sleeping for days 😁. When they made the first one, we had it for a whole week and they camped there for that whole week 😄

We are doing a lot of baking in our home..we’ve always cooked and baked but I think all the time we are spending together as a family is giving us more ideas of things to make 🙂 We’ve made banana bread, scotch eggs, milk bread and meatpies. We are also using the opportunity to teach our children some cooking and basic skills…those are life skills after all. Peep some of the things we’ve baked below:

Milk bread
Hot cross buns
Flat bean cakes
Scotch eggs
Meatpies ready to go in the oven

We aren’t only cooking and baking. We are also exercising together as a family and it’s a lot of fun when we do. My daughter and I have also found our love for dance exercises and sometimes Zumba. Keira Leshae and Mo Diakite on Youtube are our coaches 😅. The boys find our dancing a bit too goofy though my son joins in sometimes and it’s fun. We give lots of high fives and laugh a lot while doing them.

We recently acquired a basketball net, thanks to some nice neighbours who put one outside and left a note asking anyone to take for free. That was such a great and huge gift and the children are enjoying playing outdoors with it when the weather is good. We are also playing soccer outdoors in the yard.

We adopted a squirrel! Her name is Kiki and we feed her some cereals when she comes into the yard. She had been coming and leaving but on this day, the children decided to take their relationship further 😅

Kiki eating her snack 😆

A major thing happened! I finished my early childhood diploma, that’s it; 4 semesters done. I am now able to apply as a Registered early childhood educator. This feat deserves its own post…I will hopefully do one about it. I am super proud of myself!

I have to go now; we are going outdoors to do a soil test as part of my son’s school work 🙂

I love to hear from you. How have you been keeping and what memories are you building with your family? Please send me a comment. I would also be happy to answer any questions if you have any.

3 Weeks of Covid Holiday

The whole Covid pandemic has made the government of Ontario extend children’s March break two more weeks, which means children now have three weeks at home.
.
A lot of public places have also been closed indefinitely. It’s a pandemic as it’s been named and it’s an anxious time for a lot of people. Parents are also worried about what to do with their children for three whole weeks especially now that all after school and camp programmes are closed. .
If you have to go to work at this time, that’s an added stress and I hope you find a solution that works for you珞珞. If you can stay at home though, I will share some helpful tips as we enjoy our time together
.
I would advise that we try to remain calm and if you are a Christian, Psalm 91 is a good portion of the bible to take comfort in. There is so much noise on the media and everywhere that we might not be able to focus on anything else if we don’t make deliberate efforts.
.
As parents, I would also like us to see these 3 weeks as an opportunity to bond with our children and to have a great time as a family. I know someone is like, how? That will be so tough… I have a few tips below:


1. Set up a routine, don’t just leave things to chance. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Draw a timetable of activities for everyday from wake up to sundown.

2. What do your children like to do? Find out and make sure you include these in their routines. It’s not a time to punish them with things.

3. Limit screen time and know what your children are up to online this period.

4. Find age appropriate activities for your children. The internet is full of things you can do. I will mention some below:
a. Invest in art and craft items; cardboards, colouring books, drawing sheets, markets, crayons, pencils.
b. Make playdough for younger children and give them cutters to work with. There are lots of playdough recipes online and there is nothing like homemade playgdough; all you need is flour, oil, cream of tartar, hot water and food colouring.
c. Good old sheets of paper with pencil is sometimes a great idea. Have older children write about different ideas

or come up with stories of their own. If they like to draw, tell them to illustrate their stories.
d. Research people making difference in their communities online and discuss them.
e. Go on Pinterest and search activities that are age appropriate for your children, you will never lack ideas on Pinterest.
f. Do some science experiments with regular home materials such as baking soda, vinegar, bottles and balloons. There is so much you can do with these items. Check out @thedadlab for science experiment ideas. He has loads of ideas with everyday items.
g. Reading is a great idea. The libraries in every community have digital libraries if you don’t have a pile of books at home and your local library is closed.
h. Play board games such as Scrabble, Snakes and ladders, Monopoly and so on.
i. Make sure your children are getting regular and everyday physical activity. If you have a yard, now is the time to open the door in the morning and in the afternoon to give them time outdoors. Canada.ca recommends that children should have at least 60 minutes of physical activity outdoors everyday.
j. There are websites where you can find educational activities to do. Scholastic has been generous enough to open up their platform for free. All you need to do is to choose your child’s grade level. Here is the link: https://classroommagazines.scholastic.com/support/learnathome.html
k. Read with young children daily.

  1. If you need time out, take it and leave them to watch some TV or anything else they can do without your input until you feel ready to join them again.
  2. Enjoy your time together and resist the temptation to yell or be angry.

I hope these ideas are helpful. If you have any ideas, please share with us in the comment section. I love to hear from you.

Our Medieval Times Experience

Hello friends, been a minute away…let’s make school and all the sudden deadlines my excuse for not writing a post. Whether that is true or not, will be left to your imagination 😅 but my life does get really really busy.

Tonight was great at Medievaltimestoronto but it didn’t start out great…A friend had invited our family to go celebrate her birthday with her. I looked up the show and I wasn’t so sure if it was the right fit for us. Knights and horses and sword fights are not my exact idea of fun but you never know what you would enjoy until you go.


I was also worried that our son might not be able to tolerate it. He has an autism diagnosis and sometimes noise, too many people might be too much. We do try to give him as much exposure as possible though; opportunities to self regulate. I had shown him the video, tried to talk him through the show, as much as I knew and then I was like WTH, let’s try it.
We arrived at the show and he decided he didn’t want to go in.  He was scared and decided we should stay at the door. I tried to get him in but all my efforts were proving to be useless. Our friends came out to support and got him halfway and then he didn’t want to go anymore. I knew if we persisted, we would eventually make it, how long it would take, was what I didn’t know. I am super grateful for friends who try and go all out to help.

My son was mainly concerned that someone would get hurt and actually thought it was a real fight that would be going on. He takes things literally sometimes. His concern was palpable and at some point, he burst into tears.

My daughter went in with friends and I stayed outside trying to calm him. I felt guilty leaving her but what was a mum to do? I realised she gave the waiters some good conversation though. That child is older than her 7 years! She had also tried her best on the train to explain what to expect to her brother, bless her soul. I tried to make it up to her and explain what had happened. She said she was scared in the beginning but that she was ok. I’m grateful for a mature and happy daughter who I don’t take for granted though and I pray God continues to help me to be there for her and ‘see’ her always.

What was amazing was the manager who was called to help us. She was beyond amazing. She spent a lot of time reassuring him, she talked him through the whole show, told him there was no blood and she just stayed right there until eventually, we were able to go in. She was so patient and calm, offering us different options

I am absolutely impressed in places where we find compassion, empathy and inclusion and this show totally won my heart. That lady tonight touched the depth of my soul. When I almost gave up and felt too stressed, she took over and helped me to go on.

And oh, my son ended up enjoying every minute of sitting down to watch the show. Now, he can’t stop talking about it. This lady made sure we got to our seats before she left and she came back twice to check that we were ok and he was having fun. I was deeply touched to be honest. It’s also a lesson not to give up, keep trying, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel.
.
Thank you so much to Medieval times
for giving us a great night and to the manager who stayed through, you’re a superstar. She will probably not read this post BUT dear readers, please pray for this lady if you do pray. She was our angel.

Sometimes we worry what will happen, how things will turn out. We get stressed BUT there is one who neither sleeps nor slumbers and He keeps a constant watch. He is very interested in the very details of our lives.

My weekend ended up being a good one, although a very busy one also. How was your weekend?

You know I love to hear from you, please leave a comment. Let me run off to prepare for the new week and nurse my aching back from snow shoveling.

I have a New Best Friend

Guys, I recently acquired a new best friend and I’ve been so excited, I decided to share my news with you all. And guess who introduced my new best friend, my husband! That guy is the best, I tell you 🥰

You know how you stay up late on Friday night to clean the house or wake up on Saturday morning to clean? Well, my best friend saves me a lot of that time! It’s a Roomba!!!

So I was thinking of buying a Vacuum cleaner and kept waiting for a sale on a particular brand I had been eyeing because I wanted one on a particular budget. Dysons are wonderful machines but I wasn’t ready to spend that much money on a Vacuum. I can be a cheap skate…or Ijebu as we will say back in Nigeria.😅

I kept hoping this Vacuum would go back to the same price it sold for on Amazon on black Friday but it just wouldn’t. If anyone were to review my search history, you would wonder if I wanted to open a Vacuum cleaner shop. I did all sorts of analysis and comparison and price checks. Then, I told myself if the price didn’t drop by a certain date, I would suck it up and tell Mr A we should just buy one.

Then we went out and Mr A told me how he saw a Roomba on a budget and was going to buy it but unfortunately it was out of stock in store and online. He had just given me my new life’s work. I started comparing and contrasting and searching all the websites I could think of. Anyone who knows me well, knows I’m the queen of researching products and sales online. If there’s anything like online window shopping, that’s what I do. All you ladies who spend time going to malls and checking items out, the www is the best place for that!!! 🤣

After a couple of days of searching online, I realised costco.ca had something within our budget. I read reviews, they were mixed mostly about it bumping into stuff, I was like, I can deal with that. I called the store and the cheapest they bad in store was at least double that price. I knew I had to take action quickly before they said ‘sold out” like the jacket I eyed forever. I showed it to Mr A and I guess he was even tired of me talking about it at this point so he said, “you know where the card is”…Guys, this was music to my ears! I quickly got to work! Some days later, my new best friend arrived.

I was excited, it was like buying a new car. And oh, my children were all over the Robot, they’re still all over it. I set it up and imagine my joy when it cleaned for the first time and I just watched it. Like, something cleaned while I was watching!!! Why did I not buy one eons ago? I know there are more advanced ones with better features and bla bla but right now, who cares? This robot is saving me time and energy 💃🏾. You should watch my son following it round the house. I’m changing the cleaning time I set up to when they’ve gone to bed though. The excitement is too much. I’ve refused to connect it to Alexa. All I will hear will be “Alexa, start the Roomba” if they ever find out we can do that.

Honestly, if you can, get yourself a cleaning Robot and save some time and energy. I wish it mopped too…I know, I’m just lazy now 😅 and I know there are mopping ones but it’s not in the budget for now.

Well, that’s the story of my new best friend and I. I’m back to school, back to my real life. The holiday was my fake one😁. You guys take care, and you know I love to hear from you.

My 2019 in view

Reflecting on my 2019…

Counting my blessings, naming them one by one…
2019 has been a really busy and stretching year and I’m thankful for what I’ve achieved.

January this year, I decided it was time to study again, despite circumstances telling me otherwise; I was in a new city, I was busy with my family and business and a lot of other things. Then, I got crazy and said, I was going to study😆, not part time, full time! My darling husband was super encouraging. When I say I’d like to jump, he always says yep, how high, you can scale up a bit 😂.

I had moments of “are you sure you need this?” “Should you be doing this?”, “you don’t have the time”. I remember a chat with a friend who said, look, for 3 years, I’ve made the same excuses and I have achieved nothing! That was a wake up call for me! I had deferred my admission once and wasn’t going to do it again.

So, January this year, I enrolled in the Early Childhood Education diploma and started studying full time again for the first time since 2002. You know how you feel like the mum of the class? That’s me and some of my friends 😂. Everyone who knows me a little bit, knows I’m passionate about early childhood. I have always researched information in that area which gave birth to my business; kiddiestreasures.com. We’re not talking about that today though :-).

I found a way to do school work with the children, my own school work, extra curricular activities for the children, we even squeezed in loads of fun😄. I even managed to gain some pounds😄. Who would have thought? 😅. You never know what you’re capable of till you try.
.
It’s been busy, so so busy. I’ve written essays, written exams, done work placements while holding it down at home and in my business. Thanks to my husband who just naturally fills in. I remember in my first semester, how we researched together for some tough courses, even while in different places and time zones. It was fun 😃.

One time, my daughter said ‘mummy if it’s so hard, why don’t you quit?’ I took that as a teaching moment and explained to her we don’t quit when it’s tough, instead we get encouraged and keep going. I made sure she understood and it deepened my resolve not to only finish but to finish excellently. So far, so good…


Somewhere in the middle of all this, I volunteered at church to work with kids in the children’s church department that was just being set up. It’s been a lot of work but very rewarding.

So 3 semesters done, the last one starts in January and by April, I would be a certified Early childhood educator…whoop whoop! No excuses here! Nope, it’s not been easy but I’m doing it with God’s help and yes I’m going to do more, be more!

I don’t know what’s next thought 😅…I wonder if I’ll study more! 🤪