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As we celebrate today, International Day of Persons with Disabilities t

here are some things (not an exhaustive list by any means) that I would like some folks to keep in mind.

DISABILITY DAY - Ignorance Read the rest of this entry »

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Light It Up Blue for Autism Awareness Month“Light It Up Blue” is a global campaign that sees thousands of iconic landmarks, cities and towns around the world turn blue on April 2 to recognize World Autism Awareness Day. The campaign highlights the pressing need for greater public education and awareness of autism in our community.  

I’m proud to have initiated Antigua’s participation in this campaign for the first time – BUT – I need your help to make it a success and for us to send a strong message to everyone that the Antiguan community is united in our efforts in supporting and celebrating people with autism and increasing awareness about this disorder. 

Need some inspiration?  Here are a few ways you can ‘Light It Up Blue” on April 2! 

  • Get your school involved: Host a “Blue Day” fundraiser at your school.  Blue cake stalls, wear something blue, blue face painting, blue art day – The ideas are endless! 
  • Get your workplace involved: Ask clients and colleagues to take part in a “Wear Blue” fundraiser for World Autism Awareness Day.  Get creative and have some fun!
  • Promote this “Light It Up Blue” campaign via your social media!  Share stories (news or personal ones).
  • Light up your Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, BBM profile: Change your profile photo to the “Light It Up Blue” logo or any other Autism Awareness graphic – Check out Google Images, there are tons!
  • Take lots of photos of any awareness activities/events you host: Share photos on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. Would so love if you could tag me (@sackr) in them! You can also email your photos to salma.crump@gmail.com.
  • Purchase autism awareness merchandise and wear/use it proudly! A great range of products available online.
  • Contact your MP or anyone running for office and tell them all about World Autism Awareness Day/Month and why it’s so important to you! 

See… It’s so easy to get involved. 

It’s not only awareness that is being raised when our FB profiles are lit up. We are also helping build understanding of what it means to be affected by autism and building compassion for those with autism and their loved ones. 

On Wednesday, April 2, 2014 (and throughout the month) together – we can unite the world in their honor and for their benefit.  

NOTE: Any funds you raise can go towards an organization of your choice that supports the advancement of kids/adults with autism or help start a program in your neighborhood school, a more inclusive kiddies program in your church… It’s totally up to you!

I’ve been to the Ministry before and nothing has become of it. The promises which were made in 2011, 2012, and 2013 are still the same promises made in 2014. Has the Minister forgotten that she’s a public servant – working on behalf of the people? What misguided boldness! Such utter nonsense being publicly aired by a Minister of Government! That I, as a parent, knows where the Ministry is. Clearly suggesting that if I have any issues I should take my concerns there! Honorable Minister, I think it’s important that you understand that in government, there are going to be decisions you make (or actions you take) whose effects are likely to outlast the government of the day – And those, in my humble opinion are worthy of being addressed in public. Also, please tell the good public that I’ve been there (to your office) and done that! Tell them about the emails I’ve sent sharing my views and suggesting ways that the Ministry could possible get things done. Tell them about the discussions I’ve had with you and other members of your team about this very topic. But as Martin Luther King once said…  “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” So, get off your high-horse and stand! This sort of superior attitude is what makes the public despair. There is a huge problem with regards to the provision of special education in this country. These deep systemic problems we’re faced with are not mine alone – And they are bigger than the speeches, the openings and the photo-ops we sometimes clamor for

Regarding the Minister’s comments about my supposed attack on the members who sit on the Special Education Council… For those who missed it, here’s an excerpt of what I said:

“A Special Education Council was put in place… Good move: An advisory council could potentially assist the Ministry with drafting policies/programs/plans/reviewing budgets and giving guidance (relating to special education) on how to put those plans into action. Where I think you went wrong: Instead of looking as far as the eye can see with regards to assembling a diverse group to sit on this council – You, looked outside your office door. That‘s the only conclusion I could arrive at to explain why you would elect a senior executive within the Ministry as the Chair of this council – Added to that the other members (with the exception of one) are all Ministry execs.

By all means, this is not an attack on the competencies of the individuals who sit on the council but they are Ministry staffers and are conflicted, therefore, in providing independent advice to you. The council is unlikely to recommend actions deemed unfavorable by you or criticize any decisions that have been made by the Ministry. Therefore you and your team cannot receive the objective advice needed in order to make intelligent decisions. This clearly demonstrates a lack of understanding of the processes of thoughtful planning which the provision of special education services requires.”

I’m not attacking the competencies of the individuals as you suggest. Actually, it’s your competency I question. You’re the one who has made the people doing the work both the doers and the advisers. How can you expect no one to question this? The actions you take have a direct impact on things and it baffles me that you’re unable to see this conflict. So, please do not confuse my right to be critical publicly with anything else. Don’t make that vulgar mistake that I’m somehow persecuting you or anyone else just because you’re being challenged.

Instead of working with the press to help the public understand what you are doing and why, you chose to defend your lackluster record where special needs education is concerned, on the grounds that you’re standing up for others. Give me a break! Quit trying to rationalize your phoniness into some sort of noble act. You’re not standing up for anyone! You’re using them as a shield! By the way, NO ONE! I repeat… NO ONE! Can be more hurt than the parents of these kids! At the end of the day you switch off your lights and leave your office. This is our ALL DAY EVERYDAY! So if you’re hurt, keep it to yourself! Use that energy to put the proper programs and policies in place to make the education system better for our children. It’s so ironic that it suits you now to say that every criticism is a broad-brush approach. In a quote from an article posted on Caribbean News Now in 2013, you said: “This particular area of education has not been done justice over the years”. Were we to believe then, that the same folks you accuse me of disregarding now were being disregarded by you when you made those comments? Come on Minister… Give us all some more credit than that. No right-thinking person would assume that’s what you meant. Also, we agree with you! That’s what this public conversation is about! Plus, at the end of the day, don’t you think those same people want better, more meaningful change too?

Here’s some advice… Don’t campaign on an issue, make empty promises, and take the job of Minister of Education, if you don’t want to be held accountable for it. We’re not accountable to you; it’s the other way around. This is our tax dollars you’re spending! It’s not only at election time you have to come to us – But you have to come to us every time! Get it right! I do not profess to have all the answers, after all, like you said I’m a “just come”. But I would love if at least once, after giving your excuses, you could tell the public what your plans really are and explain to us why the promises you’ve made have not been kept.

When the 2014 Education Week launched with a call for greater commitment – Again, what are you asking us to commit to? Can’t be blind commitment? Which, as far as I’m concerned is intellectual suicide – And I cherish my independence too much to allow that. But you know, I once came across a quote which said: “The trouble with most of us is that we’d rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.” So from me to you…

I will continue to be critical, because no government gets it right all the time. So stop treading on dangerous ground with your archaic views – This notion some politicians have where they want you to come to their office to bare your soul. So sing to the media and cry inside these walls. Perhaps it’s because of how I was raised and the fact that I probably watch too much MSNBC, that I find it difficult to accept that crap.

As I’ve said before, I’m an ordinary mom. The only special interest I have is for my son and others like him to have equal access to an appropriate and adequate education. I’m proud to be able to speak up and out for them and even more determined not to stop. So you see… Honorable Minister; I’m not asking for anything that you yourself haven’t asked for, said we needed. All I’m saying is: Talk is not all that matters…

My open letter to the Hon. Minister of Education, Dr. Jacqui Quinn-Leandro…

I’m saddened and distressed by the state of affairs with regards to special education in this country.

We hear “It’s a priority” so often and still nothing gets done so I’ve now become numb to the promises made. I guess one thing can be said – There’s been some consistency where this issue is concerned and that is, nothing gets done. How tragic.

This year I made a special effort to listen to the Hon. Minister of Education, Jacqui Quinn-Lenadro’s speech regarding the recent budget. At one point, the Minister expressed how painful it was for her to see an unfinished structure at the Antigua State College campus for such an extended period. Painful! It pains her to see an unfinished building – that I may add – she’s right, it should be finished – BUT – perhaps I missed this, but I’ve never heard the Minister sounding this pained when she talks about special need children and how they continue to be shortchanged by the education system. Children! Not blocks! People! Or is it just the parents who should feel this pain? Newsflash! We’re feeling it! Newsflash! We can’t take it anymore!

So, since we’re on the subject of pain. Here’s what pains me…

The way the authorities run to their back-up responses of arts and crafts, vocational when the subject of special education comes up. Arts and crafts/vocational, though good is not the be-all and end-all of our children. Are we as parents to assume that that’s what it means to you – And – that is the breadth of the experience they will have in the system?

I am saddened that you and too many others continue to apologize and make excuses for the lack of any real, and thoughtful plans to address the needs of these students – actions that continue to be disastrous for so many. Quit holding out the “Coming Soon” carrot stick! We’re not rabbits! After all, at what point should we get fed-up of hearing “We’re working on something” or “We’re looking at it”. So you’re looking at it, we’re looking for it and our children get absolutely nothing from it. Just great! Words don’t help our children. Good programs/policies that are enforced do.

Here is your record…

You started out by saying the Ministry of Education will be making special education a priority. Every time I think of this I remember a quote from Mahatma Gandhi which says; “Actions expresses priorities”. My interpretation of this is that people take action on the things they deem important. I guess in a sense the Ministry’s inaction has pushed me to keep fighting for my child’s (and others like him) educational rights. So I’m going to keep demanding, over and over and over again for better more meaningful change. “We don’t have enough money” is no longer acceptable or defensible for bad education policies and programs.

You then said that you will be setting up a diagnostic center: We’re still waiting for this to even start. By the way, should we be concerned by the track record of the new public library? In a Daily Observer article on November 19th, 2011 the Minister stated: “Our fine team at the Board of Education has just completed an estimate of the cost of converting the building (referring to a building on Nugent Ave.) into a functional child-friendly centre, and we have included this expenditure into the 2012 budget,” – What happened Minister? Ok… You missed the ball in 2012 and again in 2013 – But… Believe me folks it will happen in 2014! Give me a minute please because I’m gagging on this giant-sized pill I’m being fed now. I’ve said this before – But – year after year we hear of an education budget but it’s difficult to say whether there is any correlation between the amount spent on the education system and its ability to be effective in responding to diversity. So you don’t have enough? Let us see what you’re doing with what you have. It’s your responsibility to tell us.

A Special Education Council was put in place… Good move: An advisory council could potentially assist the Ministry with drafting policies/programs/plans/reviewing budgets and giving guidance (relating to special education) on how to put those plans into action. Where I think you went wrong: Instead of looking as far as the eye can see with regards to assembling a diverse group to sit on this council – You, looked outside your office door. That‘s the only conclusion I could arrive at to explain why you would elect a senior executive within the Ministry as the Chair of this council – Added to that the other members (with the exception of one) are all Ministry execs.

By all means, this is not an attack on the competencies of the individuals who sit on the council but they are Ministry staffers and are conflicted, therefore, in providing independent advice to you. The council is unlikely to recommend actions deemed unfavorable by you or criticize any decisions that have been made by the Ministry. Therefore you and your team cannot receive the objective advice needed in order to make intelligent decisions. This clearly demonstrates a lack of understanding of the processes of thoughtful planning which the provision of special education services require.

More teachers have been trained in Special Education: This is absolutely great! But Minister, please explain why this benefit hasn’t trickled down to the point of making more of a difference for our children who are in the classrooms now. How do these new specialist teachers entering the system fit into the overall plan? What is the big picture? Is there a big picture?

The ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: The new political ping-pong – Politicians climbing over each other to see who can be the most politically correct and use the most buzz-words. To that I say; “How convenient.” We don’t address it for years then all of a sudden it shows up in a budget speech. Did we just find the conscience we lost? When Antigua signed on to this convention in 2007, put in place by the United Nations, were we doing it for the betterment of our citizens or was it just for show?

The Ministry has managed to do very little because many parents/advocates either can’t, won’t or don’t know how to challenge them. I have to be honest though, sometimes I feel like I’m being ignored to the point of exhaustion (didn’t know this was possible) within a system that is so inherently flawed that the authorities think nothing about being satisfied with the status quo. It’s embarrassing, the awful reputation our public schools have when it comes to special education. How can we change that?

These children may have a disability and they may need accommodations to access the educational curriculum but they are worthy of the same high expectations that is placed on our typical children. So hopefully you agree that we must have high expectations of education authorities. After all it’s the high expectations that we have today which will prepare them for a life of independence in the future. I refuse to raise a child for a life of dependence on social programs and dollars! Or worse! I very much doubt you, or any other Member of Parliament, would be happy with that situation for your own children, yet so many in government are complicit by their silence on the issue. I’m not wishing for any MP to have to raise a child with special needs but perhaps you would all feel somewhat differently about the matter if you had to.

Here we are, celebrating Education Week under the theme “Every Learner Achieves: A Call for Greater Commitment” but from where I sit it does not appear as if we truly believe in that theme. That every learner can achieve – And when the authorities call for greater commitment. Who is this call going out to? Commitment is not a one-way street. Education officials are always quick to tout the importance of the involvement of parents as stakeholders in the education of their child but when parents do get involved it appears as if your involvement is only wanted on their terms. So we’re “good” once we’re singing from the same hymn-sheet but once I challenge you… Now, I know there are some who have no tolerance for this sort of emotional honesty in communication – But I refuse to give unthinking respect to anyone/group/thing. It’s not happening!

So, no more phony consultations to provide window-dressing for progress. We don’t want that! We want real dialogue that asks all partners to help define the barriers and consider how they can contribute to solving them. I’m ready to do whatever it takes. What about you?

For the past week Kuba has been pretending to arrest me. He’ll walk up behind me and say; “Turn around. Put your hands behind your back. You’re under arrest woman!” Then he would proceed to put on the handcuffs – And as he’s “pretend hand-cuffing me) he’s saying to me; “What are you going to do now… Huh?” Almost every night we go through this. Fast forward to just the other day…

And so it goes (as told by his dad).

Charlton and Kuba are on their way into the city. They get stopped by cops during a random police check-point. Charlton gets out; Kuba stays behind in the car. He’s driving my car and the tint is DARK for days! SIDE NOTE: In case you’re wondering how I get away with such dark tint. Your guess is as good as mine. I went from one day not having any tint – drove like that for over a year – to next day Charlton saying that my seats are going to get sun-damage and I need to  put on some tint. I went from sunlight to blackout in one fell swoop.

Anyway, Charlton is outside talking to the cop. I guess answering the usual questions. Then one of them noticed some movement in the car and asked if there was someone still in there. He told them yes, his son was. So the officer says:

Officer: Ask your son the exit the car

Charlton (opening car door): Kuba, come out of the car

Now; take a guess at what “star-boy” aka Kuba did…

Nope. Not that.

Kuba exited the car with his two hands up in the air.

All professionalism went out the door after that because everyone was laughing out so loud.

Now tell me…

SIDE NOTE: Perhaps we watched too much of the Trayvon Martin coverage. We haven’t even had “the talk” with him.

In the movie The Lion King, Simba goes back to fight Scar for his rightful place in the Pride Lands. It’s one of Kuba’s favorite movies – And if it’s only one thing that he learns from that movie… My hope is that it’s the lesson of courage.

Courage to do what’s right and to stand-up for himself and others.

It’s also something that I hope time will tell that we did a good job in shaping in him. And I think a lot of it will come from us modeling that behavior ourselves.

Before autism, and everything that comes along with it, came into my life I didn’t consider myself to be a courageous person. I really didn’t. Actually, I’m not sure if I now do. Add to that, my private life back then was just that… Private!

Then I became mom to an autist and things changed. I realized very quickly that I had two choices; I could do nothing or I could do something. I chose to do something. Anything! Anything that I thought would help him overcome any challenges he had. I never saw it as a courageous act. I didn’t think I was doing no more than any parent of a “typical” kid would do for them. I was speaking out, I was advocating, I was demanding more for my son and for others like him. From time to time I get parents who would say to me; “I read your blog and I think you’re so brave for speaking out and advocating for your son. Where do you get the courage from?”

I say to them; because I owe it to him.

I remember when Kuba was initially diagnosed, we met with a psychiatrist and he asked what did we want for Kuba – And his dad responded and said that we wanted him to be the best he could be, whatever his best was. I couldn’t have said it better because nothing – ABSOLUTELY NOTHING – in this world is more important to me than knowing that Kuba will be ok on his own when we’re no longer around. It is what keeps us up at night – It’s this fear that drives me. The fear that sometimes fills my mind with thoughts of perpetual unemployment, homelessness, drug-addiction and prison – And I was going to do everything in my power to give my child a shot at a better future than that. After all isn’t that the dream of every parent, to have an independent, happy, adult child who’s capable of living on their own. My dreams are no different for my child with autism. But the attitude here is that they will continue to live with us (parents) until one of us dies. After that it’s “Good Luck Chuck”.

To date no government agency has been able to tell us how education will be provided to our kids once they enter the school system much less what happens to them once they reach adulthood. What we know now is purely anecdotal; and the picture is bleak. There’s very little opportunity for them to fully explore their full learning potential or career capabilities. And just for the record… For those of you who, sometimes with the best of intentions, when autism is mentioned, go to your only source of reference and that is the character, Raymond Babbitt, played by Dustin Hoffman in the movie Rain Man and offer a compliment alluding to the myth that we have nothing to worry about because our kids are smart… Thanks but no thanks. What I want you to do; before you think our situation is not so bad and that we all have little Einsteins and Mozarts who will have us rolling in a pile-of-dough soon enough and then we can do whatever we want. Think again. This is a spectrum of disorders all different to varying degrees… No two are the same and no two have the same differences.

In the process of writing this article I decided to do a bit of research to see what other people had to say about courage. How did they define it? I came across a site that described it this way: Courage: the emotional strengths that involve the exercise of will to accomplish goals in the face of opposition, internal or external.

I like the fact that they highlight that the opposition could be either internal or external. There’s still many of us who have not accepted that our ideas of perfection have not been realized in our child. “If only she would just…” or “Why can’t he just…” When you really stop to think about this, and I hope you do. Ask yourself if you have fulfilled all the expectations your parents had for you – And not that this is right or wrong either. It’s just that sometimes; our expectations are just that; our expectations.

You see, I think that Simba was courageous all along. He just didn’t know it. He initially told Nala when she found him; “They don’t need me!” But when she told him about what his uncle Scar had done to the pride lands, he had to go back to save his people. In his eyes that was the only choice for him. I call this “courage that knows” – Knows the risks that lies ahead but still takes action anyway because the consequences of taking no action or lesser action are unacceptable.

I sometimes end up having very intimate conversation with some moms and dads who I’m meeting for the first time and I’m sure it took quite some courage for them to talk to me about certain issues. Perhaps I would have never found my courage if it hadn’t been for son. Perhaps I would have kept on thinking that courage is something only the people who risk their lives have.

So, I still don’t quite see myself as being courageous – But there is something there, whatever it is, that makes me get out of bed each day, no matter how much I sometimes want to give up and… make another call, send another email, write another letter, reach out to someone who I think can help us move forward. Because like I said; there’s nothing – NOTHING – I will not do for my kid. After all, I owe him at least that.

I have a contagious jungle fever. Some call it courage. Don’t worry though; it’s the one you want to get.

I know it’s been a while and everyone has been asking what’s going on with the blog so since we already know each other I’ll skip the formalities.

So… What does it say about a person who still has underwear from 1996. Still in good condition though. This means that I would be kinda ok with the ER situation I spoke about before – You know – Where they cut your clothes off of you. The only thing though is; the panties are kinda sorta… Ahhh… Above my belly button… Annnd… Covers my entire ass… I mean… ENTIRE A-S-S!

Anyway… The hot doc cutting my clothes off – Sees my panties… I don’t want the first thing that comes to their mind to be “What a *Bingo-Bag!” (Translation: Grandma Panties… I think). I mean… Can you imagine?

Plus Charlton loves cheeks… Yes, those ones too. (LOL)

In my defense though, I had just started working back then and could afford to buy my own Vickies (Victoria Secret) – And those were totally the “it” panties then – You know what I’m talking about. So Don’t Even Pretend…

As a matter of fact, I still sometimes wear some of them. They’re still a part of my tier system. Yes; I totally have a tier system. Tier one is for new ones. Tier two is for anything going on 8 months or so to a year but still in pristine condition. And tier three is for the older stuff like my period, non date-night and it’s-so-not-happening-tonight-panties. There’s one rule I have about tier three though – And that is not to leave the house in them. I would just die, if God forbid I got in a traffic accident or something and a police officer or EMT saw me in one of them. I would just die. Mind you if it’s a tier one I’m going to be upset if they cut it off – And I have already discussed this with Charlton and there are certain instances in which he would be ok with another person taking off my panties and this is one of them. Actually, I think he would want it to be a tier one too :). I wonder if this is something you can put in a will. Hmmm… Oh wait, I can’t, because I’ll be dead before the read it. Hmmm…

1, 2, 3… Let me count the ways one man can *rample-up wan bed aff a wan ly-dung. (Translation: mess-up a bed by just lying on it once). I can lie on the bed and just get up and run my hands over the top to smooth it out and you can never tell I was in it. With Charlton… Noooo – The comforter will be hanging off to one side, a pillowcase may be half way off the pillow, he wants like 4 pillows under his head at once. It’s awful. I want to ban him from the bed sometimes but… Think about it… Can’t be so cruel to myself

Ok… I have a confession to make…

Ten years ago while we were in New York I gave Charlton cabbage sautéed in pork fat – He’s a vegetarian. He ate it all and thought it was sooooo good… Like the best cabbage he’s ever had – And I never told him the truth.

Whew! There. I got it out. I feel better now. That shit has been weighing me down for some strange reason lately. I’ll tell him though; eventually. This will be one of my “old-and-grey” conversations

I swear, it wasn’t intentional. It was my dad’s wife who cooked it. She’s from down South and she cooks like Paula Deen – With butter and butter. I took the food back to the apartment. It was meant for ME but he tasted it and ended up eating all of it. I saw him eating it but it wasn’t registering at the time that it was cooked with pork fat. By the time that dawned on me it was too late. I couldn’t stop him then – He was enjoying it too much. I told myself that I would tell him later that night but I guess I forgot and I’m only now remembering. You believe me right?

A conversation that begins with…

Charlton: I’m going to cut off my balls

Never ends well…

Me: (I’m speechless) – I give him my best “Say what!” look

SIDE NOTE: We’re in the kitchen so he comes to the sink where I’m standing and gives me the; “I just told you that I was going to cut my balls out please say something.”

Me: Why would you want to do that?

Charlton: I was listening to something on the news and they were talking about the life expectancy for men verses women. Long story short… I may just live a little longer without my balls.

Me: What about me?

Charlton: What do you mean – What about you? How is this about you?

Me: What about sex?

Charlton: I’m not talking about sex. When did this conversation turn to sex?

SIDE NOTE: Ladies and gentlemen and the few pets who read this blog… He’s kidding right?

Me: Any conversation with balls has to involve sex

Charlton (He’s giving me the evil-eye): Says who Spin Doctor?

SIDE NOTE: In case you’re wondering who’s Spin Doctor. It’s yours truly – Picked up a few other nicknames since my last post. Spin Doctor is one and the other is Hitler. By the way, when I’m called Hitler, I’m given a salute. I know… I couldn’t make this up if I wanted to.

Me: What am I spinning? No balls mean no sex. It will affect the men on the battle-field. You know that right?

Charlton: Huh? What men? Oh my! I’m just trying to make a point with you – And you’ve gone down a totally different road

SIDE NOTE: By this time we’re out of the kitchen and in bed. Not like that you perv. We’re just talking – But you can’t say that that’s not some totally awesome irony there.

Me: I’m, not going down a different road. I’m still right by the balls where you are

Charlton: *Me tap tark to you buddy(Translation: I’m no longer talking to you)

Me: But you agree that this has a lot to do with sex right?

Charlton: (No response)

Me: That’s it?

Charlton: (Turns his back to me)

Me: Ok, that’s how it is?

Charlton: Yes. Stop talking now

To be continued… 🙂

Moving right along…

If your kid has no filter, don’t take them to the bathroom with you.

Kuba and I go to the movies. About a quarter of the way into the movie I begin to feel the urge… I want to pee. I didn’t want to get up because the cinema was packed and I did not want to lose our seats, plus didn’t want to leave Kuba there alone. Anyway, I sat through it. But everyone knows what happens when you hold it for an extended period. Yep. That… The gentle breeze. LOL

I knew there was going to be a rush to the bathrooms after the movie so I waited for that to pass before going in. When we got in there it was empty. I took Kuba with me.

SIDE NOTE: Is Kuba to old now (he’s 10) for me to take into the ladies room with me?

Anyway I’m in the stall doing my business and it’s one of those flows where you’re thinking; “This is Guinness World Records material”. Or is that just me – Am I the only one who thinks like that? By the way, sorry for the visual (whatever you’re getting) that I just gave you.

Anyway, I’m praying to God no one comes in. I know a fart is on the horizon and it’s one of those ones whose full potential should only be released in private. Or in my case, in the company of my kid who is right outside leaning against the door. As soon as I was done I heard the clicking of a stall door – There was an intruder but it was too late to stop the raging bull about to escape my body. Folks, believe me when I tell you that I was doing all I could to stop it – So much for all those kegel exercises. It was failing me big time. It started coming out in short bursts. And that’s where Kuba comes in. I swear to God he must have Superman hearing.

Kuba: Hey… What’s going on in there?

Me: I’m not answering him. Actually I can’t answer him. I can concentrate on nothing else but trying to keep the lid on this monster – And God help us all if I attempt to utter a word.

Kuba (He’s whispering now and speaking in slow motion for some reason): Moooom, arrre yooou ooook?

I’m trying to hold it in but I’m leaking fast like a used tire. Then it was out. LOUD! REALLY LOUD! I think my knees buckled.

I want to die. Just kill me now.

Kuba (laughing and speaking at the top of his voice): Oh My Gosh! Mom, are you ok?

Me (thinking): No one can identify a fart – But – If I speak, whoever is in here might recognize my voice. So I keep quiet and have evil thoughts of my kid – And pray to God no one else smells this – Dead Dog Alert! Damn! It was fierce! OMG! I’m gonna die from involuntarily ingesting my own fart.

Kuba: Mom, did you fart?

Me (evil woman tone – under my breath): Kuba!

Kuba (laughing): Ewww… Yuck! That’s disgusting!

Me (evil woman tone – under my breath): Kuba!

Then I hear what sounds like the beginning of laughter in another stall – Like the person is trying not to laugh but can’t help themselves. Then I guess they couldn’t hold it in anymore – anywhere else I think they would have been rolling on the floor.  Kuba joins in on the laughter. Then he says…

Kuba: It’s not funny! It’s inappropriate

SIDE NOTE: I usually tell him this because he loves to laugh after he farts – thinks it the funniest thing. So what he’s saying now is from some scripting we’ve done.

This makes the lady in the other stall laugh even more

I’m beginning to stifle a laugh too but I still wish that my kid would just shut up.

I hear the sink running so I assume that the person is now washing their hands. Their phone rings…

Victim: You’re outside? *Bwoy me ha wan juak fuh ghe you see. Yuh guh ded wid laugh*(Translation: Boy, I have a joke to share with you. You’re going to die laughing)

The person eventually leaves. Thank God! I’m finally able to make my exit but not before dousing the place with my Victoria Secret body mist.

I finally exit my safety net and the traitor (aka Kuba) comes up to me and says; “Mom, you made it.”

By the way, I would have died laughing too. I think farts are God’s gift of laughter to the world.

So… What else has been going on with us?

Charlton and I have come up with a secret handshake. We’re still trying to figure out in what scenarios we will use it though.

I was addicted the US Presidential elections. Actually I started tuning in since the Republican primaries but got really into it during the summer. Meaning all politics all the time – Every TV in the house – So I did not miss anything. Kuba would lay in my bed some nights and watch Hardball (Chris Matthews) with me. I’m sure he’s quite the pundit now.

I no longer dream of giving up my career and clipping coupons. I now want to be a medium! Looking for some people to practice on though. So if you’re interested hurry up because Charlton is considering an intervention. Says he’s worried about me. I don’t know what for.

News flash! Any day now I’m going to be thirty-six, which means that I’ll officially be off the calendar. Don’t stop. You read right. Keep reading.

Never walk into a pizza shop for the first time and the cashier has their back turned to you. Let someone else take your spot so you have some time to get used to their face. I recently walked into a pizza shop and the cashier’s back was turned to me – She was talking to one of the chefs. When she turned around to take my order I gripped the counter and said; “Oh my God!” The thing is I didn’t mean for her to hear it. Really… I’m not like that at all. I usually have my shit together. I get shocked like that I usually can scream and do all my facial expressions in my mind. But something happened that day – My brain did not have enough time to compute the shock. If it’s any consolation I felt really bad that she heard. But damn! The man who continues to sell her bleaching cream should be jailed and her eyelash lady should be doing some significant community service.

This is the last year that I will hide in my house from the Jehovah’s Witness people. I mean it! This is it! Come 2014 it is not happening! I will send Kuba out to them instead – LOL. Two of them came by our house and this is how it went down…

I see them coming into my yard so I run to my bedroom to hide. Kuba’s in another room watching TV – It’s too late for me to call him now – I can’t shout, they’re going to hear me and know someone’s home. I hear a knock on the door…

JW: *Inside! Inside! (Translation: It’s a Caribbean thing. I think it means “hello, anyone inside” all wrapped up in one. I never really got it but whatever)

Me: I’m praying Kuba does not betray me

JW: (Knocks on the door again)

SIDE NOTE: I’m crouching down looking out the window (I can see the front of the yard). I’m thinking I’m safe – Kuba can’t hear the knocking. He’s busy watching TV. Unbeknownst to me Kuba was already headed for the door. I hear the door open…

JW: Hi, is your mommy home?

Me (thinking): Just say no. Please Kuba. Do this one for mom

Kuba: My name is Kuba. Nice to meet you

SIDE NOTE: Ahhh… He gets it right on cue. Scripting working well. So proud.

JW: Nice to meet you too. Is your mommy inside?

Kuba: There

SIDE NOTE: I’m sure he’s pointing in the direction of my room.

JW: Can you go and call your mommy for us please?

SIDE NOTE: I’m thinking; “Evil thoughts go away. I love my son. I love my son.”

If he was at least twenty I believe I would have punched him in the face when he opened my door.

Kuba: Mom, come here please

Me (whispering): Not now Kuba

Kuba: Come. Here. Please

SIDE NOTE: Obviously what I’m saying does not please him so he’s sounding urgent.

Me (whispering): Go and close the door

SIDE NOTE: I know, it’s awful and I feel so bad about it – But I didn’t want to send him out there to… What is it called these days? LIE! To my horror Kuba starts pulling me and…

Kuba (pulling me out the room): Moooom. Cooome. Heeere. Pleeease

I’m pulling away from him now. Why is my kid doing this to me!

SIDE NOTE: You would think they would just leave and let me wallow in my shame. By now they must know I’m in the house. My son has obviously made that known with is insistence.

Kuba stops pulling me and walks out the room and I whisper to him; “Not now honey.” I swear to you – That is all I said. Kuba goes out and says to the folks, very politely if that’s possible…

Kuba: Go away

I stare at the bedroom floor looking for the hole for me to jump into hell.

What lesson have I taught my son?

DISCLAIMER: Evil thoughts were real but no one was hurt though. Love my kid too much 🙂 

P.S. I guess things may look bad if I don’t say Happy New Year so… Happy New Year! From my heart of course 🙂


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