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10 Things My Kids Know That Other Kids Might Not

I was raised in a Caribbean home in the States, and I have passed on a few “tings” to my own children that their friends may not know, because much of it is only relevant to their upbringing.  Here are 10 things that my kids know, that other kids may not…

1. “Fresh” smelling or tasting is usually not good.

If I make a dish, and my cousin or my mom says, “You know, dis food tasin’ fresh nuh!” That is a BAD thing.  That means it isn’t seasoned properly, and that it tastes like it hasn’t been properly cleaned, especially if it is chicken.

2. Wining your waist in public is totally unacceptable.

Once you reach 3 years old, wining is for at home only, until you are 18 and out of the house.  At West Indian house parties, the young people party with the older people.  I could have easily been at the same house party with my mother when I was 16 or 17.  Could I wine on a man up in there? Er. No.

3. Most of the questions I ask are not meant to be answered.

I don’t ask questions that I don’t know the answer to already.  Questions like, “Ya mad or what?” are not questions at all.  They are statements.  That is me letting them know that whatever they did was crazy and totally unacceptable.

4. They have choices.

They have choices between what I want them to do, and the other thing I want them to do.  For example, at dinner, I ask if they want broccoli or spinach.  Those are the choices.  I do not offer the option of no vegetable at all, because that choice is unavailable.

5. Anything can be curried.

Curry is a familiar taste to them, and they expect that it could be in just about anything from fried fish to fruit, and they are okay with it.

6. Doing most anything in public while barefoot is not allowed.

You must have shoes and socks on.  Even babies whose feet never touch the ground aren’t barefoot in public.  My children know that their feet have to be covered.  Sometimes when we go out to play soccer, I will let them take off their shoes and socks, so that they can feel the grass under their feet, but that’s about it.

7. Making chicken takes a long time. (See #1)

So many things have to be done to chicken to get it clean and get the “fresh tase” out of it.  You need lime, salt, onions, garlic, green onion, pepper, and more to get it exactly how it needs to be, AND you have to clean your kitchen counters as you go.  My husband usually takes the kids to run errands while I do all that.

8. Mops are for cleaning showers. Sponges are for cleaning floors.

Floors are meant to be cleaned on your hands and knees.  I am not 100% sure why, but that is how it is done in our house.

9. School doesn’t have to be fun.

West Indian parents don’t really care too much about you having friends.  You are friends with your cousins, and if you don’t have friends at school, oh well.  You aren’t there to make friends anyway, you are there to “get your books”.  That is all.

10. Even if you know my first name, don’t say it unless the police have to ask you for it.

I am grown, and I still wince every time I have to say my mother’s name.  We had an exchange student with the same name as my mother, and I rarely called her by her name – at least not when my mom was around.

Are you or your parents from the Caribbean? How many things in this list apply to your family?

Author Profile: Eva Wilson  - Website

Eva the author of Anancy's Family Reunion, and the winner of the 2012 Black Weblog Awards for Best Parenting Blog and Best New Blog. Find her on Twitter at @socamomdc.

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