What would your Mother say?

What would your Mother say?

Gayle Cunningham is a Trinidadian living in Jamaica trying to keep sane with twin girls and their brother and sister. kidfriendlyja.wordpress.com

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AAfter the fifteenth time asking one, or all of my four children to “Stop
fidgeting”, “Don’t climb there!”, “What are you doing?”, “Please stand up now”, “Please stop talking its prayer time…” it flashed across my mind and not for the first time either, that if this were my mother, or any of her sisters there would be no need for talking. One icy cold glance would have been sufficient to silence any restless foot that dared to wiggle. I probably wouldn’t have the disagreement that I had with my ten-year-old daughter about appropriate church-wear either, which she won by the way. There would have been no room for discussion; simply, “put on that dress and make it quick!” I tried that, it didn’t work, so we ended up with jeans and a top to keep the
peace. Am I a pushover? Hmmm. There are quite a few things I believe that would cause my mother to frown big time at me, and possibly have some choice words for me if she saw me letting my children get away with it. (My mother lives just over 1000 miles away).
My children jump on the bed, there I said it! They also practice their tumbles, rolls and twists on there. They all started off being a bit afraid of heights the freedom to use the bed as a trampoline has helped ease that fear. There has been many a rousing football match in my living room. (Although now that the son is big and strong those matches have been relegated to the yard.) And even though I ‘grump’ about it, I do allow them all
to bounce balls off the living room wall. And I know this is not very Caribbean-mother of me, and that my mother – and quite a few other mothers as well – would definitely shriek at me, but I have been known to give each child a different meal. In my defence I really would rather have children with full tummies than grumpy miserable hungry children who
wish to be defiant with me. Things I would not do that I suspect were acceptable
back in the day:

1.Give any of my ‘hard-to-go-to-sleep’ children
a little touch of brandy, white rum or anything
like that to help them go to sleep. I am afraid of
alcohol poisoning. I know I am being dramatic,
but I am sure the little one’s digestive system
can’t manage alcohol, no matter how small the
amount.
2. Leave my ten–year-old in charge of her siblings
with strict instructions to ‘not open the door to
anyone’. Did anyone ever notice that in the Cat
In the Hat, the children were home alone with
that naughty cat for an entire day!!

3. Say to the kiddies: “Okay, you all go play in the
neighbourhood, just please be back in time for
dinner.” Hah! It is a different time now, and
we are more aware of what dangers are lurking
about.

4. The children would never be sent to go pick
their own switch from the yard. And though
my mother never made me do this, my paternal
grandmother surely made my cousins go looking
for their switch whenever they were deserving of
punishment as perceived by her.
All that being said while I may not subscribe to the
thinking that children should be seen not heard, there
are still many things that my mother instilled in me and
my sisters, that I work daily to instil in my children.

And I know this is not very Caribbean-mother of me,and that my mother – and quite a few other mothers as well – would definitely shriek at me, but I have been
known to give each child a different meal.

Never enter a room or building without greeting the person or adult appropriately. That is ‘Good Morning’ or ‘Good Afternoon’ Miss, Mrs., Mr. or Auntie. I remember my mother use to get so heated around the collar if we were to tell grown people ‘Hi!’. I do allow
Hi. Simply easier. ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ are a must. I am also a stickler for how you ask for something. Good manners are a must! From early they learn how to pick up after themselves. Putting away their toys helps foster responsibility and care for their things. This is one of my mother’s favourites to this day. Parenting styles may be a little different now from when my mother was raising me, but it works for me. And even though I may have fidgety children, I have mastered the icy cold glance which always makes my
children giggle but stop whatever it is that they are doing. And that works for us all.

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