Friday, June 21, 2013

Hailey by any other name…

Mama Hailey, my other name, threatened to change one afternoon when Hailey got back from school and told me she had decided that she does not want to be called Hailey anymore. I know, unbelievable!

“What? Why mum. What’s wrong with your name?” was my reaction. I was shocked of course because I have always believed (conceitedly perhaps?) that I named my children well. I call both my kids ‘Mum’ on a regular basis when we are on good terms, best buds and stuff. Then they do something wrong and I yell out all their three names:


Yeah, I like the effect this has on them. They kinda freeze and look around as if to think “Ooops! She saw that? Does this woman have eyes on her back?” or “Damn, here comes another lecture!” or “Wha….what did I do now?” I can only imagine what goes through their minds when I do that.

Being a mum is fun. Only until your kids turn into teenagers, then you start pulling out your hair, strand after strand. After snakes, teenagers scare me.  

“I want to change my name” Hailey said

“What do you want to be called instead?” I prodded

“I want to be called Jane” she replied matter-of-factly 

I expected some phenomenal name, you know. You don’t pass off a name like Hailey only to choose a name like Jane (no offense Jane) but Jane is just… ‘Plain Jane’, you know? Please tell me I am not alone on this one. I expected a name like Felicity, Gwendolyne, Gwyneth, Aurora…ok, I’m pushing it. But you catch my drift? 

“Jane? Why Jane, baby girl?”

She was quiet.

“Mum, Hailey is a very good name, let nobody lie to you. Don’t change your name. It’s a very good name” I stressed the VERY. GOOD. Just for emphasis.

“OK” she agreed.

Alrighty then! That was easy?

PHEW! She is still Hailey. And I am still mama Hailey. God knows where that was coming from. I am guessing she likes someone in school called Jane. Or maybe her teacher made a remark in passing, like “Hailey? Why weren’t you given an easy name like Jane?” Or she heard someone telling Jane that she has a good name? Or some braggart called Jane kept telling her that the name Jane is better than Hailey? Seriously Jane? No offense sweetheart but your name ain’t all that.

I don’t know what brought this on but am glad we put it to rest and she never pursued it anymore. In your face, JANE! Oh, you wanna cry now Jane? 

If I were Hailey, I would be on my knees right about now, thanking God that she does not bear a ridiculous name the likes of ‘North West’. Kim Kardashian’s newborn daughter has every right to demand a name change when she is older. If she ever does, I will completely have her back. North West. Tsk! Not Hailey though. No. I love Hailey. And I love mama Hailey too…

What’s in a name anyway? The other day, Hailey and her sister were playing house then Hailey kept calling “Elkana! Elkana! Elkana!”

We got confused and asked her who Elkana was.

She pointed at Heidi who seemed not to be getting with the program.

“She is not called Heidi, she is Elkana” Hailey verbally ‘baptized’ her sister.

I then noticed that Heidi had Hailey’s school bag strapped on her back, and it dawned on me that she was supposed to be Hailey’s school-going daughter. On many occasions I have heard Heidi calling “Mum” and when I responded, she would shoo me away and tell me that she was in fact not calling me but Hailey, her “mother” in the game.

Elkana? Really? Of all the names she could think of…? My Hailey is something else.

Mama Jane, Mama Elkana or Mama Hailey? I pick mama Hailey any day of the week.

Back to Elkana. Isn’t Elkana a boy’s name anyway?

Sunday, June 16, 2013

To the Fathers who know

If you have children, you want nothing but the best for them. The best for them includes having the man who made those children with you playing a part in their lives and helping in raising them. You want him to help in providing their financial, emotional and psychological needs. Every child needs their father. And yes, every mother knows that.

Unfortunately, not every woman can guarantee their children that their father will always be there because well, some men are cut out to be fathers others are just not. Yet they all get the ability to procreate. How I wish Mother Nature could sift through the grain and separate these chaff by tagging them so that women would know what they are getting themselves into!

Some men know what it means to be a father – the impact you will have on your offspring’s lives, the lessons you will instill in them and your ability to protect them and guide them through life is what matters more than anything else. It all boils down to being there when your children need you. Once you are a father, your biggest and most important responsibility is to your children.

Other men on the other hand, have no clue what it means to be a father. They seem to think that all it takes to be a father is make a woman pregnant. They could care less what their children eat, wear or where they get life lessons from.

As we celebrate Father’s Day this year, my joy is that the clueless fathers seem to be decreasing by the number and we are seeing more men taking the fatherhood responsibility seriously. I see more men today raising their children regardless of the relationship with the children’s mother. I see fathers dropping their children off to school, tying their shoe laces and even carrying their infants in their arms, diaper bags hanging from their shoulders, to clinic appointments.

More men are changing diapers, cooking and getting their children ready for school. I can only pray and hope that the women in their lives are not using this very positive transition to take a back seat.

Besides my father who I waxed lyrical about during last year's Father's Day (how a year flies!) I choose to also give accolades to the father of my two beautiful daughters who, truth be told, knows what it means to be a father.

A father who knows that regardless of where we are at in our lives, the one thing that will never change is that he has two daughters who need him. That he has a responsibility to take care of them, school them and guide them so that they do not stray.

He is a father who teaches his daughters about kindness and gratitude. He encourages them to take their plates to the kitchen once they are done eating –help mummy, he says. He teaches them how to put their room in order, even though all they get right is how to arrange their shoes in a beeline while the bed remains a mess. When they proudly come to fetch him from the sitting room to go and inspect their room, both holding each of his hands, he indulges them and heads to inspect the ‘neat’ room with nothing but praise for the two. He claps with enthusiasm and as if by prompting the girls put their hands on their waist, swaying from side to side as he sings: “Well done well done, try again another day, very good girls! Wonderful girls!”

He insists that they say thank you when they are given anything and that they apologize to each other, and to others, when they do wrong.

A man who hustles so that his daughters can have the best.  Who knows his daughters’ needs without prompting. A man who has made it his responsibility to clip his children’s finger nails, wipe their noses when they have a cold and who whips up a good meal for them from time to time. 

A man who never misses a chance to tell his daughters that he loves them.

A man who knows what it means to be a father. A fantastic father.

Happy father’s day to the father of my children and to all the fathers who know.