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Memoir | Short Stories

The Innocence in the Mind of A Child!

I always wonder how it must feel to think, act and be a child…

My 4yr old son comes back from school, drops his Spider Man’s backpack on the foyer, flips his shoes, socks & jacket, and heads to the kitchen then, into the pantry, for a snack. He eats too much of it while watching “Tom & Jerry.” I take the McVities Digestive Cookies from him. He cries, runs to the pantry, spreading his arms exhibiting his 1.5 almost 6-pack, spreading his legs to wedge the door. Am thinking he assumes he sees himself as “Tom” trying to outsmart “Jerry.” He sees I am stronger; he grabs my legs & cries for a second. I bend down to look at his adorable face, he holds me & kisses me then says, “Soyee mommy…” Well, the heart of a child, I love; manipulative sometimes yet, so pure.

The temperature is 34 +- degrees F, my almost 8year son decides to walk home each day from the bus stop (3 houses away) without wearing his jacket. He sees me on the front porch and hurriedly trying to put on his jacket. He comes into his warm home and says, “Thank you mommy for keeping the house warm.” I scold him and emphasize on the effects for/from not wearing his jacket. He tells me, “But, I am not cold,” when it is obvious he is shaking and his fingers as cold as one can imagine. I tell him how the whole of America is COLD this season and my 6yr old jumps into the conversation to ask, “For real, even Obama?” Imagine how amazed she feels to also know that the President of United States is also cold at the same time she is.

My 9 year old little Missy asked me if she could get a dog when she turns 18 years old. I said, “Of course Sweetie. You will be old enough to make that decision.” And she said, “But, I want you to tell me. Is it okay mommy?” And, my not-so-cold son asked me if he could” see Lady Gaga” when he is older.

TIPS: When a child refuses to brush his teeth properly, go on to Google to show the child pictures of gingivitis. I do not know about your children, but, it scares my children. It is draining when you have to consistently tell them to be patient while brushing their teeth. For teen-aged kids or young adults, show them photos of damaged internal body organs from smoking and excessive drinking. Sometimes, children know the right thing to do but, they choose the other route of behavior to most times see an adult’s reaction. Never be a “nag,” make your point/decision and stick to it. Kids remember and follow suit, eventually.

Anyway, during our nightly family prayer, we each take turns to pray and share our thoughts. One evening, it was my 6 year old daughter’s turn to pray. We sang then she started to pray: “In the name of the Father… Thank you God for today, for my family, for me, and for making mommy to take care of us. Please make the pimples on mommy’s face to go away. Please make mommy’s hair to grow. Thank you for the aunty that did mommy’s hair the other day. Please make me, Nelo, Dumdum & Chima to keep being good and doing well in school. Thank you for my teacher and my friends. Make Dumdum to stop punching me. Make Dumdum to stopping coming into my room. Make Dumdum to stop looking at me when I am eating and make faces so that I will get into trouble…” Before she ended her prayer, Chinedum aka Dumdum jumped in and said, “No, that’s a lie. I didn’t do all that. Mommy, she is lying.” It was not funny at the time because we had to continue praying. It was hilarious listening to her intensely having this conversation with God. Her eyes were closed and she meant every word of it!!! I always end each prayer with, “From your mouth to God’s ears, may your prayers be pleasing to God’s ears.” Dumdum still would say, “When it’s my turn, I am going to ask God not to listen to KeleChi.” Very interesting, indeed.

While in the Bay area of California, Grandma Vee had a strategy to get my 2+ year old nephew, Nnamdi,  to eat his dinner. She would fake crying. He would come to her and say, “Stop crwying granma. I eat.” Grandma came to Houston and tried same trick with my 4 year old son who was almost 3 years old at the time. She started to cry, covering her face with her palms. He came closer, pulled her palms away from her face, rubbed his little fingers on her eyes and saw no tear. He gently covered back her face with her palms and walked away. Obviously, I imagine he was thinking, “Grandma, I may be a child but I am no fool.”

Being a parent is tasking but, it is a beautiful task therefore, a blessing. It gets overwhelming sometimes even more for single parents. I always say to parents to remember that “we” are the parents, the responsible/wiser ones. So, create a healthy environment/routine for kids. Routines like having a set time for bedtime, healthy eating habits, distinguishing for daughters, uncles from “uncles,” making childhood memories simply; happy ones and more…

TIP: I remind my kids that mommy is not a machine because machines get exhausted sometimes and will break down if and when not properly maintained. “Mommy needs mommy time just like you have your playtime and stuff.”

I ask my kids sometimes, “Do your teachers repeat or teach same topic every single day, so why do you have to make me repeat myself every single day?” Of course, they look at me pretending to be confused, with their eyes wide open worried if going on a “Time-out” is the next action.

In the meantime, every morning, when the alarm goes off, my kids wake up, pray, make their beds (Most times) and start to get ready for school. Every morning, they drag on who is meant to go take a shower first, though it has been decided how it is routinely done every day/week. Every morning, I resolve same issue. So, last night I had a thought, same thought I had the day before and the day before that day. I decided to put this thought to test this morning!!!

I told my kids, “When the alarm goes off, decide on the right thing to do. The bottom-line is to make sure everyone is downstairs, fully dressed and be ready for breakfast at 7:30. It is okay to stay upstairs until the bus comes; your choice. I will stay in my bedroom till 7:30 then I will fix breakfast (Meanwhile, they each order different menus as if they are over at Le Peep’s, IHOP or Denny’s for breakfast) for whoever that is ready to go to school. But, note that if you miss the bus, you are not going to be a “Car Rider” but, the “Neighborhood Watch” member. I am not taking you to school and you are not staying home either.” I kissed everyone goodnight and went to bed. While doing the dishes, I heard my daughters having a conversation about my conversation or rather, instruction (Or threat) to them. Meanwhile, my four year old son was busy throwing stuffed animals at his brother.

At exactly 7:37 the next morning, three of them (Meanwhile, my four year old son was already downstairs in his PJ and of course, in the pantry trying to reach for Hawaiian rolls without permission) came to my bedroom and said, “Good morning mommy. How was your sleep?” They were all fully dressed and ready for school. I gave each of them a big hug and commended them for an excellent effort.

During tonight’s family prayer, my 6 year old daughter added to her prayers with her eyes closed, “Thank you God for making us listen to mommy. She was happy when she saw us in the morning. God, make Dumdum to stop making fun of my hair. Mommy, Dumdum said, my hair is too long and I am tiny…” Then, she started crying. Meanwhile, Dumdum jumped right in to of course, defend himself.

QUESTION: When you pick your nose without using a tissue paper or use the toilet without washing your hands, or when you fight with or hit your spouse in front of the children… what do you think goes on in the mind of a child that sees more than you think he/she sees? TIP: Be a good role model to every child, starting with yourself.

Kids will always be kids. It could be hard sometimes to be not so tolerant when they behave in not so seemingly pleasing ways. They are one of the reasons we struggle, our parents struggled, to achieve our goals and dreams. Create a healthy loving environment for every child no matter what. Give them memories to last them a lifetime so that when they are adults, they will remember and could or maybe would try to emulate the good lessons learned growing up.

One of my simple pleasures is to love from and with all my heart and that, I also teach my kids. I look at every child and I see the reason God decided that the world should go on. Still, I imagine what could be going on in their minds/hearts most of the time. Sometimes, I watch my kids while they sleep. They smile or not. I heard one of them say the other day, “Dumdum, I got it first.” Guess who did? Even while sleeping, they worry about childish things while we worry about this and that; what life throws at us or not (Awake or not) but, being thankful while doing it, hopefully.

How you raise a child matters because childhood plays a major part in the latter years. I always hear; “kids raised in Nigeria behave better that Nigerian-American kids being raised in America.” It really depends on every child’s orientation and personality. Where you raise a child matters considering if the environment is healthy or unhealthy. How you raise a child matters. Bottom-line: Raising a child is a BIG task that needs the grace of God. As a parent or guardian, it is our responsibility to guide the steps and nurture the mindset of every child, positively.

TIP: Make your native language your child’s first language because the English language, they will eventually learn. Have conversations with your child teaching them about their heritage. Teach every child to be proud of who he or she is and not who they hope or imagine to be.

Remember, in the midst of every child’s toughness, manipulations, calmness, tantrums or whatever a child has in his/her mind/heart, is an absolute love, just like God intended.

9 comments to The Innocence in the Mind of A Child!

  • WOW! Nkem, this was really awesome. I really miss those days of innocence and no cares; how did we ever lose that?….I guess the scorching light of maturity is very necessary.


    Like or Dislike: 1  0

  • I couldn’t stop laughing… U had it all in this piece, well done!!!


    Like or Dislike: 1  0

  • Nkem, I have 4 kids (4,7,9,11) and this is right on target!I felt like I was reading about my kids ;0).I agree with you in that kids will copy what they see and if you want them to act a certain way,you have to give them the example first.Some days are frustrating, especially with the repetition for homework and showers and also for the bickering between them but I would not trade it for anything in the world.I do watch them sleep sometimes and I am thankful for the love they bring me.
    PS: for brushing their teeth,I have been telling them that they will fall off if they don’t but google seems like a good idea! ;0)


    Like or Dislike: 1  0

  • Nice write-up Nkem, the innocence of a child is too beautiful and sweet. Enjoyed the article and hope to use some of the tips you outlined. Thanks for sharing ok.


    Like or Dislike: 1  0

  • I love U for this….This is so……I can’t explain it. Seriously. Now I am even more excited to bring up my kids, cos I’m a bit of one myself, hehehe. I know, I know, adulthodd n stuff. However, I can’t let the kid in me die, else the world will lose most of it’s charm for me….I’m sharing this!!!


    Like or Dislike: 1  0

  • Awww…This is so good.


    Like or Dislike: 1  0

  • this is a bombshell…its sound is still ringing in my ears…its quite well carved…well done….the typos crept in though


    Like or Dislike: 1  0

  • Really awesome!! nice work.


    Like or Dislike: 1  0

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