ARE YOU AN ONLY CHILD?

Last night, as we snuggled up to read your bedtime story, you asked me the question Daddy and I have been half expecting. With a slight ripple across your brow and your blue eyes wide, you said: ‘Mummy, why don’t I have a brother or sister?’

Are you an only child and did you know why you became one literally? Perhaps it is a health or a financial circumstance beyond parent’s control or unfortunate situation of loss of parent making it not possible to have siblings. The parents of an only son have written a letter to him explaining their choice and decision to him alone. The letter stated that mother found out ‘last night, as we snuggled up to read your bedtime story, you asked a question Daddy and was half expecting. With slight ripple across your brow and your blue eyes wide, you said: ‘Mummy, why don’t I have a brother or sister?’ I kissed the top of your head, squeezed you closer and momentarily panicked about how on earth to answer. At four years and four months, you are clearly starting to notice many of friends at nursery talk of siblings or babies. And thankfully this time, you gave me a reprieve turning your attention straight to dinosaur story read to you.’ Last night, as we snuggled up to read your bedtime story, you asked me the question Daddy and I half expected. With a slight ripple across your brow and blue eyes wide, you said: ‘Mummy, why don’t I have a brother or sister? But I know one day the ‘why’ will become more persistent. Daddy and I are far from alone in deciding to stop at one child. Apparently by 7years, half of all families in this country will only have one offspring. Not that it stops me from feeling occasional pang of guilt. I know there will be many positives to decision like our undivided attention for starters so you never know a prickly adjustment period when a new baby arrives. How about sibling rough and tumble you’ll miss out on? A constant companionship for better or worse? I cannot pretend it hasn’t been a real dilemma. Yes, there have been moments when my resolve wobbled particularly as you get closer to starting school so baby no more. Who doesn’t get broody when they see a tiny newborn enfolded in a mother’s arms. But deep down, I know we’ve made the most responsible choice. I just hope, as you grow older, you agree. The truth is Daddy and I would loved another child but quite simply are too old. We liked the idea of two or maybe more, Daddy even hoped for twins! We imagined you all together and nobody ever short of a playmate, bundling you all into the bath after a day at the beach or the park. Sometimes I do wonder if we left it too late to start our little family. After all, we’ve been together for 19 years. Will you wonder what we were doing all that time? know many positives to our decision of undivided attention, helps you thrive. But I turned 44 last year, a day you and Daddy helped me devour the birthday cake I’d made. ‘That’s REALLY old!’ you exclaimed. In terms of having another baby, you were right. More women are have babies well into 40s and beyond but risks proven to be grater for mum and baby not least Down’s Syndrome or other birth defects. I wonder if we left it too late to start family. After all, we’ve been together for 19 years so wondering what we were doing all this time? We met through mutual friends in our mid-20s, drawn together by similarities: we’re both driven, determined, sociable and aspire to wring the most from life. But like many of our generation, chose naively it turned out to let time slip by. Distracted by careers, Daddy as a chartered surveyor and board director, and me as a journalist, we saved like mad for our future, bought property, played hard and enjoyed exciting holidays all over the world. Sometimes I do wonder if we left it too late to start our little family. For 19 years prepared in advance for your arrival. Family and friends badgered us about settling down but we felt buying a home together was the greatest commitment. I know there will be many positives to our decision — all that undivided attention, for starters, and you’ll never know that prickly adjustment period when a new baby arrives There were the more important things paying off a mortgage, for example than a wedding to spend money on. As for having a family, conscious of getting older, of course, honestly didn’t think leaving it to late 30s was a problem. After all, many friends in a similar situation. And in February 2011 of 12 years together, finally married at a beautiful country house in North Yorkshire. By then we were financially secure, happy, had bought a spacious barn conversion and wanted nothing more than to have a little family. But three months after our wedding, early one cool, grey May morning, my own beautiful, adoring mummy your granny died. She’d had cancer for four agonising years, and in the end the doctors and nurses couldn’t do anything more to save her. If I had just one wish in life it was that Granny had lived to meet you. She would have been besotted by your mischievousness, love of being silly and making people smile traits you share with her. Losing her made me all the more desperate to become a mum. I wanted to love and nurture another little person the way she’d always loved my brother and me. I longed to watch her warmth, wisdom and trademark cheerfulness live on in her grandchild. Grief stricken, I barely ate or slept for months.Grief stricken, I barely ate or slept for months. I ran for miles at a time as a coping mechanism and lost a lot of weight despite being slim anyway 

I ran for miles at a time as a coping mechanism and lost a lot of weight despite being slim anyway. Perhaps we shouldn’t have been surprised when, after almost two years of trying to have a baby, doctors confirmed that the shock of losing Granny had caused my body to shut down. I was almost 40 by so we referred for IVF. That’s when something magical happened against all the odds. In late January 2013, I went to fertility clinic in outskirt of Nottingham for some initial scans before starting a treatment. After minutes, sonographer took off her glasses, wiped a tear from her eye and said: ‘You’re not going to believe this you are already pregnant!’ I was around five weeks, but there you were on the sonographer’s screen, a microscopic dot. I cried, and couldn’t wait to tell Daddy. We were elated you arrived in September that year by a planned Caesarean section. I adored you in an instant with your cute little face and love of a cuddle. When I delve into my handbag for a lipstick and instead pull out a toy car or a dirty twig from the park that you’ve put there, it makes me smile 

But I admit I struggled emotionally for a long time. Within a space of under two and a half years went through the two significant events in a woman’s life losing my mum and having a baby of my own. Not having Granny around at that time was heart-wrenching. During the three days that you and I were in hospital, I longed for my mum to walk in, beaming and saying: ‘Aren’t you a clever girl? He’s absolutely gorgeous!’ When Gramps came alone to meet you for the first time, he hadn’t seemed more solitary since Granny’s death. In the months that followed, I’d take you for seven-mile walks in pram along the canal paths and country trails close to our home and tears would roll down my cheeks as I daydreamed about Mum walking by my side. When I delve into my handbag for a lipstick and instead pull out a toy car or a dirty twig from the park that you’ve put there, it makes me smile  What I’d give to have just one photograph of her cuddled up cheek-to-cheek with you. Daddy was wonderfully sensitive and supportive. But at times I felt very alone, as many women do after having a baby. The impossible sadness was juxtaposed by the unrivalled joy you brought to Daddy and me.I know that watching you with a little brother or sister would be a delight. But another baby now? I was 40 by the time I had you. We quickly decided it was more important to enjoy you, rather than focus on trying for another simply because the clock was ticking 

You make us laugh uncontrollably often every day with your funny little ways and your constant chatter and wonder at the world around us. I was 40 by the time I had you. You’re as affectionate and loving as you are boisterous and wilful, destined to be strong-willed given our own personalities! And even when you’re throwing a tantrum we wouldn’t want it any other way. I know watching you with a little brother or sister would be a delight. But another baby now? I was 40 by the time I had you. We quickly decided it was more important to enjoy you, rather than focus on trying for another simply because the clock was ticking. After all, there are so many couples who’d give anything to have just one child. And who’s to say it would have happened a second time, given how long it took us to have you? Plus, at what point do you draw a line under the disappointment of trying and failing? Besides, we’d found being a family of three suits all of us. I am still able to do a job I love while you’re at nursery three days a week. More importantly, Daddy and I are able to focus our attention on you rather than feeling torn between more than one child. Your energy knows no bounds and I have to run you like a dog every day to expend it. I’m not sure I could cope with another little one fizzing with such effervescence. You have always loved your sleep, too: And imagine if you had a sibling who wailed all night for months. That said, I can’t deny the occasional well of sadness: the ‘what ifs’ and fear you’ll miss out on the fun of having a sibling. If I had just one wish in life it would be that Granny had lived to meet you. She would have been besotted by your mischievousness, love of being silly and making people smile — traits you share with her Since I’ve always been so close to my own little brother your uncle Robbie, 42, who loves to tickle and dangle you upside down. Daddy and I have often looked wistfully at our friends with four kids: they’re never without a ready-made playmate. On the other hand, we know siblings who fought terribly as children and barely speak as adults. We know lots of gloriously happy, and well grounded, sociable, selfless children including your brilliant cousin, Saffron, who’s five years older than you. It was adorable watching you playing together on the beach and in the pool on a recent family holiday in Spain. How I chuckled listening to the two of you animatedly discussing favourite or not vegetables in back of car. Nobody ever questioned our decision although there are friends who still tell us: ‘Go on, have another!’ Some people assume things of an only child that they are spoilt because they don’t learn to share. Or they miss out on so much. But Daddy and I will ensure you never feel isolated or become spoilt. Bracing ourselves to hosting lots of play dates sleepovers. We’ll do everything to encourage you to continue to be sociable caring confident little boy you already are. What I’ve realised more than anything is there is actuala much shorter answer to your question. Quite simply, Daddy and I feel enormously fortunate to have one healthy, happy, hilarious little boy who fills our lives with magic every day. We have never been left wanting more.

 

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TO EAT IS A GIFT FROM GOD

 The youngster from Missouri is a keen footballerThe Bible says in Ecclesiastes 3:13 that the ability to eat and drink with joy and satisfaction is everyone’s gift from God. So people should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their work this is God’s gift to man. Moreover be grateful and thankful to God and enjoy this gift from God by sharing your food with family and friends. So when a teenager was unable to swallow food he became ill not able to teenager was left fighting for his life after his esophagus was torn by a ham and cheese sandwich he ate. Alec Hebblethwaite, 14, spent 106 days in hospital diagnosed with chronic immune system disease eosinophilic esophagitis. Alec Hebblethwaite, 14, in the hospital after terrifying injury. The schoolboy’s mum Kasey Hunter, 35, first noticed something was out of ordinary last April when he ate a cracker during football practice and threw up blood. She took him to the ER where medics said he had scratched his esophagus and told him to stick to soft foods to give it the chance to heal. But the following month, Kasey took Alec to Walmart between football games to grab a snack and he choked on a ham and cheese sandwich. He was rushed to hospital with chest pain and doctors discovered his esophagus was RIPPED but when they tried to fix it with surgery found the wound had become infected. He later ate a sandwich after playing football which ripped his throatHe ended up spending the summer in intensive care, fighting deadly sepsis and having several operations where doctors warned his mom he might not make it. In November seven months after Alec’s first trip to the ER – doctors determined his extreme reaction caused by eosinophilic esophagitis. The rare condition causes white blood cells to build up in lining of tube connecting the mouth and stomach, which can lead to tearing and choking. Alec has to stick to soft foods and cut out rough foods and bread is believed to trigger previous flare-up because it can expand and cause irritation. Alec Hebblethwaite, 14, in hospital following the terrifying injuryHe later ate a sandwich after playing football which ripped his throat. His mum first noticed something wrong when he started coughing up blood after eating a crackerThe youngster from Missouri is a keen footballer. The Mum-of-three Kasey, of Kaiser, Missouri, said: “They said that if we had waited 12 more hours before taking him to the hospital he would have died. “We thought it was just chest pain he was complaining about but the doctors did a swallow study and found out there was a hole. “The doctors said they had never seen it in a kid before. It was very scary. “To stand there and look at your kid and there is nothing you can do for them… You just want to take it all away but you’re not able to. “I had no idea that this could happen. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that crackers and sandwiches would be able to do this.” He medical condition worsened after it was discovered he was suffering from an infectionHis medical condition worsened after it was discovered he was suffering from an infection After choking on sandwich on May 21, Alec, who lives with Kasey and her husband, construction worker Matthew, 36, was admitted to Mercy Hospital in Springfield, Missouri. There doctors tried to perform surgery to repair esophagus but were forced to delay it after opening his chest to find suffering from infection. Alec was transferred to Children’s Mercy in Kansas City, Missouri, where he was admitted to Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. He had a chest tube and drain inserted to help get rid of infection and later surgery to remove his gallbladder infected. Alec, discharged on September 3 and was diagnosed with the rare condition until two months later. He said: “At first I didn’t know anything was wrong at all I just felt like a bit of sandwich stuck in my throat. “But after I found it really hard to get up and my throat hurt. I was in a lot of pain. “I don’t remember most of my time in hospital but there was a time when I wasn’t able to walk, which was very scary. “I knew things like this could happen but I didn’t ever think it would happen to me.” Alec still goes to hospital every few weeks for dilation, where a balloon is inserted into the esophagus to stretch it, to make it easier for him to breathe. Help family with medical and travel costs donate: YouCaring site: https://www.youcaring.com/alechebblethwaite-830977


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REBUILDING RELATIONSHIPS

Family gatherings stressful?

Sadly, according to a new study, many families the first argument starts just after 10.13 on Christmas morning – with four or five more before the day is over! This can happen in families who don’t see each other very often and are then all together at Christmas. Christmas is a big focus, but other times like Easter or weddings, funerals and other family get-togethers can bring about pressure points erupt into family arguments. And the little things that trigger rows can be simple perhaps even the preparation of lunch, when a cook is trying to prepare a delicious meal and resents doing all the work or the other family members interfering too much. Couples often get into arguments because one or both has had too much to drink. Its particularly difficult where there are stepchildren. A couple may have different ideas about how to bring them up, and big decisions of how much to spend on the Christmas presents can cause disagreements.Six ways to stay close when your children leave home

Blended Family Matters

Blended families with step children can be part of the challenges faced during a Christmas festivity. If you have children from a previous relationship and your partner does not, you might disagree over the children’s behaviour. Or, if your partner does have children who are with the other parent for a big occasion like Christmas or a holiday, the presence of your children can cause resentment. The disciplinary lifestyles can be different and each parent may be softer in dealing with own child. It is good to be self conscious and aware of a child’s needs to treat them equally well.

Repairing family relationships

In the cold light of January try to make up with the family members you have fallen out with, even if you think it’s not your fault or that they might not react well. Pluck up courage and talk to them, face to face if possible, or by telephone or letter. Here are a few tips.My secret to feeling great at 56? Just do it!

  • Don’t restart the argument, wait until the person you need to talk to is in a good mood and then tell them that it is so nice when you do get on together that you would like it to be like that more of the time.
  • Tell them how much you regret the argument, that you are sorry if you upset them and that you love or care about them. It takes courage to say you are sorry.
  • Tread sensitively, no angry voices or unkind words, and make the person feel listened to and hopefully they might respond in a similar manner.
  • Ask what they need from you and say what you need from them.
  • If they don’t feel the same way, avoid another row and say, ‘I just wanted you to know that I am sorry we argued.’
  • Don’t be afraid to go to counselling if things seem really bad, it could make you happier in the long run.
  • Finally, make it your January resolution to think about how you would like life to be different, whether that includes drinking or spending a little less, or to have better relationships with the ones you love.”
  • DIY hair care tips for when you’re starting to go grey
  • Share the work

    babyhk20/11/2016

    Some people like cooking but if all avalanche on you over Xmas I have had to be honest so.I keep Xmas day for my husband and children as I explain i can only cook and cope with so many .Boxing Day is a running buffet which I top up with mainly cold food or things I can cook in 20 mins that just need throwing in the oven. I get decorations together and others sort out the tree . If anyone wants special food or find them something missing ot can shop for it.

    Be Close to kids who left home

    Yes it’s the end of an era, but your children moving out can sometimes bring you closer than ever. Keep in touch with each other daily. It easy if you know how. Meet up regularly if possible and Skype, telephone, visit.

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GIRL’S PUBERTY & PERIODS

maximum-win-when-puberty-goes-right_o_4965805Girls of puberty age face discrimination in society so says the news again. Some banned from crossing river because of monthly periods. Interestingly, God put period in girls for reproductive cycle to be fruitful, multiply to replenish earth according to Bible. Functions of human body are God’s creation so people need proper education to learn to understand these female conditions. Modern times show deataile scientific knowledge on menstruation. So schoolchildren learn biology so know scientific explanation of periods. Period means a girl’s womb is prepared for child-birth each month. The girl’s body waits through ovulation cycle when egg is released to receive the seed/s to become pregnant and to have children. But since girls are too young to bear children and still in education they are not ready to give birth yet. So each month the egg from the fallopian tube is released waiting for conception in the womb. Since no pregnancy takes place, egg and womb linings are shed as the ‘period’ in preparation for repeat of this cycle each month. After birth a womb is still busy continuing monthly cycle until menopause when period stop. A natural of fertility cycle of girls is being used as religious discrimination against young innocent girls. The tradition of outhouse for periods exists in cultures all over the world to keep girls in a special hut.

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The concept of sacred ground of homes and rivers is used to put girls in special huts for exclusively the periods. Elderly women train girls in personal hygiene and after periods they go back to family compounds. The idea is found in Bible too so women are considered “unclean” from sacred spaces during periods. And must have purification baths and must abstain from intimacy during periods. In some places menstrual cups, pads or special cloth is used by women during periods. For those not going through the periods they are allowed to cook, clean and do chores. Those in periods cannot enter the family compounds until after periods. In places where a girl is safe, warm and nearby home period is time of “break and rest” for the girls. Those isolated in places exposed to elements is unsafe, cold, some are at risk from the elements and animals roaming around. Girl’s education is interrupted so do not go to school. If they to ask teachers to be excused from classroom to change in school toilet, i can be embarrassing to tell male teachers such details by girls. So it was concluded by some societies to exclude them during periods. Education is not continued and so school work lags behind when in the hut. No lessons or homework given for missed classes and some it is assumed must not touch other things to ‘contaminate’ it. This why girls in periods are banned from the homes and school still an issue in some places. Other issues of sanitation or washing of cloth or disposing of used pads in home is of concern too. Often a sight of blood is considered sacred to must not touch or taint home or certain holy places. It is necessary to educate people periods are like any normal health experience. Talking-To-Boys-About-Puberty-Periods-And-Girls

Homeschooling during period if this is possible can be set up by the schools to ensure education of these girls are not compromised. Homework can be given but this idea is not popular so girls are affected. The elders making laws need to understand value of a girl’s education often misconstrued as waste of time or money. They say, after all girl’s just end up in kitchen so less education thought as easy way to control girls. This issue has several underlying causes needing to be addressed for the human rights of girls to have periods without attack on their education. In addition the societies can learn from others in other parts of the world on how a girls’ periods does not interrupt education. To some extent social stigma is attached to periods so a natural mood swings and mood changes or pain responded to as ‘oh it’s that time again.’ On other occasions, even if girl is not in their periods is assumed they are always daily going through the periodic cycle. Girls not allowed to touch certain objects in extreme cases even the Bible considered too Holy if in period. Periods-in-Developing-Countries-Header-1Period matters need to be dealt with very carefully in harmony with views of community which associated, interprets lack of rain or good harvests as results of human actions and behaviours. The people who are aware notice changes in the girls during periods so may feel it is inappropriate to socialize in that state. It is awkward for some men unaware of real meaning of a girl’s monthly cycles. Whatever methods girls choose or are available to that society, the well-being of girls must be ensured. Organisations can support by donating their essential personal hygiene items too expensive to buy in some places. The disposal must be done discreetly so the used pads not dragged by dogs from local damp sites. These needs are beyond young girls to meet by own efforts. So discrimination against girls must be reconsidered to stop ‘gods’ harrassing girls to realise God  ALMIGHTY created girls in HIS IMAGE to reproduce on earth.

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Psalm 115:5 says gods have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes but not see so are just man-made idols in Habakkuk 2:18, 1 Kings 18 :26. God ALMIGHTY in the heavens demands veneration by people. Psalm 135:16 says gods have mouths but cannot speak, eyes but not see. A born again Christian believer in Christ is to practice WORSHIP of God only. Christ Shed His precious Blood to cleanse all people including girls in their periods. Believers cannot partake in any idolatry of gods or heathen practice if they claim to be saved. In the 21 century education available to bring an awareness and the relevant knowledge. This issue must be resolved properly to stop picking on the girls going through periods. It is not the fault of girls to put up with natural cycle tolerated monthly with no choice or any control over natural period issues.2-infographic-education God’s plans and purpose for girls is for birth of mankind so must be celebrated not punish girls for being in periods. In addition, a community’s actions are also known and seen by God who will hold decision makers accountable. So read Revelations 19:15 about God’s dealings with leaders in society. Isaiah 44:18 says gods know nothing, understand nothing their eyes do not see. They do not know or understand anything. God shuts their eyes so they cannot see; and so have no knowledge. Those who carry about their idols or pray to gods are like them. The Bible in Psalm 115:5 says those who are praying or praising gods of silver, gold, bronze, iron, wood, stone do not know Jehovah God. Children’s rights activists hit out at traditional leaders banning girls from crossing river while they are menstruating from going to school._99558170_b239af05-8ed2-4257-8153-64b56e998a53Yet Krobo girls in Somanya Ghana are dressed and taken to the riverside for Dipo bath rites. Any girl who dresses in this way is identified as ‘dipo-yo.’ On the Saturday morning the girls have ritual bath (aya-pa) at the riverside. The girl’s calabash contain sponge so proceeds to Srendor (stream) for spiritual bath. The chief priest is told when girl has period for the first time and grouped together with other girls. They are checked to be ensure they are virgins. After that they have a ritual bath in the river and are dressed beautifully in expensive kente, beads on head and around body. The point here is the Dipo god seems to not mind puberty girls in river they literally are bathed in. Later paraded in town to celebrate them by the whole town. This great source of tourism and hospitality attracts people from all over the world. Books are written about this practice. kroboIMG_20180112_103548But in the central region Ghana girls have been banned from crossing the River Ofin by traditional leaders, who say they are enforcing what they call a “directive” from a river-god. Children have to cross the river to get to school in Kyekyewere, in Upper Denkyira East district in the Central Region of Ghana. This means girls cannot attend school while they are on their periods. It is not on period days: a second order from the river gods bans all girls from crossing river on Tuesdays.  Remember Jehovah created rivers and oceans so all are free to cross it. Unicef’s menstrual hygiene ambassador Shamima Muslim Alhassan told BBC directive violates girl’s right to education and freedom of movement.

It seems the gods are really powerful aren’t they? Sometimes I think that we need to ask for some form of accountability from these gods who continue to bar a lot of things from happening, to account for how they have used the tremendous power that we have given them.”

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PeriodTalk-Cloud-600River Ofin serves as boundary between Ashanti and Central Region. Central Regional Minister Kwamena Duncan given indications to coordinate with Ashanti regional minister to find solution. In Madagascar some females are told not to wash during periods and in Nepal some women are forced to sleep in huts away from the rest of the family. Girls in other cultures face this problem since education is becoming compulsory in many countries. Many cultures have myths and taboos around menstruation globally. This must be demystified and debunked to intervene on behalf of young girls to benefit from education. Kweggir Aggrey said if you educate a boy or man you educate an individual but if you educate a girl or woman, YOU EDUCATE A NATION. And behind every successful man is woman so men must listen to women at home, community or in corporate boardrooms for the greater good of society and girls. Stop harrassing young girls all over the world and study reproduction biology. Elijah told people to follow God only not any idols in the Mount Carmel contest by calling fire down to burn sacrifice of Yahweh the real true God. God proved to the people HE has greater power than the idols. Again Gideon was also told to cut down idol shrine grove to build new altar for God and sacrifice cow to God on the new altar. Almighty God does not share His Glory with idols so demands a complete total loyalty because HE IS A JEALOUS GOD. He wants to be the only one people worship not a bit of God and a bit of idols. So school girls must attend school daily in their period, given pads, personal hygiene kit, discreet changing rooms facilities and water to wash with.  

 

EXPRESS MARRIAGE TRENDS

Sophy on her wedding day in traditional attireWith Valentine day approaching people are looking for love and romance for a form relationships. So couples celebrate established meaningful, love fulfilling a family bond. Others also ready to settle down prepare and advertise for love in new ways using social media, Facebook post and was married six days later. The marriage took place quite quickly than the normal traditional longer process of a family searching and taking years for the marriage to be finalised. CHIDIMMA AMEDU, did exactly that advertising for love and marriage on Facebook. He found a beautiful wife who said, ‘he is the most handsome man I’ve ever met and I liked him instantly.” Those who use Facebook come across pretty strange posts in their time. But this time however the random friends requests, being added to groups you did not ask to join, and tags allows “friends” to marry. Others clog up timeline with posts or photos you don’t necessarily want. But a Nigerian man took it to a whole new level posted unusual advert. Chidimma Amedu put up a post on 30 December, asking women interested in being his wife to reply, he told the BBC.Chidimma Amedu on his wedding day

The proposal

“Am of age to and I am ready to say I do and am wasting no time. “Send in your applications – the most qualified will be married on January 6, 2018. Application closes 12 midnight 31/12/2017 he posted. He followed up with subsequent posts. ‘Am serious about this oh and don’t say you did not see it on time Good luck.’ He received a couple of responses, but one from Sophy Ijeoma is someone special who caught his attention. She wrote in her reply “Am interested, just DM me… lols,” her post read. At first, she thought it was a joke and she simply replied to keep thread flowing. A direct message from him to her inbox, followed by a Facebook call, would change her life’s trajectory. Chidimma placed the advert initially as a joke but became optimistic when Sophy said she was interested. So two days after their first conversation, he travelled some 500km (300 miles) from his home in the northern city of Abuja, to Enugu in the east where she lived. She had been waiting for him outside a retail store and in true fairy-tale style, “it was love at first sight”, she recalled. “He is the most handsome man I’ve ever met and I liked him instantly.”The couple on their wedding day in Igbo attire

After 2 hours of awkward conversation, he asked her to go to meet an uncle who incidentally is also resident in Enugu. So he asked what was going through her mind at the time, she said she thought it was all a bit of a joke but was excited about it and thought Chidimma was also quite an interesting character. “We got to the uncle’s house and he said: ‘Uncle, meet the woman I want to marry.'” Like Chidimma his family don’t seem to hang about when it comes to getting things done because uncle gave his approval. The couple are friends on Facebook for over a year but never spoken to each other before the advert. Getting family backing for your choice of spouse is an essential part of Igbo culture. Whereas picking your future wife from dozens of respondents to a Facebook marriage advert and marrying her in six days is decidedly not. At this point in their day-old relationship, it was beginning to dawn on Sophy that this fellow was not playing, but how do you commit to marrying someone you only just me. She would not comment on whether they had even shared as much as a kiss at that point, but maintained she was captivated by how focused, determined her new fiancé was. “When I saw him for the first time, I definitely found him attractive, but what I didn’t know was how serious he was about marrying me. “It was after we met the uncle and his wife, I realised that this could actually happen and I wanted it.”A family member felicitate with the couple

The engagement

It was now her turn to worry about how she was going to get the approval of her family to marry a guy she had just met on Facebook. But they had momentum going for them. Having met and fallen in love at first sight, or first message, if you like, and getting Chidimma’s uncle’s approval, couple decided to complete the cycle by visiting Sophy’s family the same day. Approval from the family is essential in Igbo tradition and Sophy recounted how she relayed information to her mother. Her dad passed away, and her mum said she did not have a final word in terms of giving approval for her to be married, so up to Sophy’s elder brother to give his blessings. It appears the odds firmly in their favour as Sophy’s brother gave his blessings too. So after a few questions from her brother it became official. Chidimma and Sophy were engaged to be married in six days.The happy couple cutting their cake

On the rebound?

Last year Chidimma was engaged to another woman and the wedding was scheduled for December, but then that relationship fell apart in March leaving him dejected. As December approached, the disappointment of not being able to fulfil his dream of getting married made him put up the post, he said. In wedding it was a blend of old and new “I had the desire to get married, had date in mind, but no bride, decided to place an advert as a joke, but I was open and up for it.”  Asked whether she knew about earlier engagement and her thoughts on how this seemingly rushed marriage might be seen as a rebound, Sophy dismissed any suggestions that her relationship was not well thought through. “I don’t care about that when you see what you want, you go for it.” They are friends on Facebook for more than a year, but had never met or spoken to each other until the advert. Am interested just DM me… lols” was all it took for the union to be formed. Sophy admitted her friends were sceptical about the whole thing, while some are still in disbelief, but as she said: “When you see the one, you will know he is the one.” And they got married on 6 January in a traditional Igbo ceremony, and posted photos of wedding day on Facebook of course to the amusement of the social media community. Chidimma put up a post saying people may have thought he had been joking but clearly wasn’t. And as expected there was mixed reactions, but mainly a lot of support for the couple. They hope to have a church wedding in April and honeymoon somewhere nice.

ENDURANCE & FORTITUDE

Wang, a left-behind migrant childChinese boy with frozen hair reignites poverty debate. Pictures of eight-year-old Little Wang were shared tens of thousands of times. An eight-year-old Chinese pupil, dubbed “Ice Boy” by social media users after the images emerged of him arriving at school with swollen hands and frost on his hair and eyebrows, has sparked renewed discussion online about child poverty. Many users say the pictures of “Little Wang”, who went viral on Monday, highlight that not enough is being done to help children from poor, rural families in China. They sympathise with the harsh journeys that Little Wang endures in order to get to his school in Ludian County, south-west Yunnan province. State-run China News Service agency says the boy walks 4.5 km (2.8 miles) to get to school, a journey that takes him an hour. On the day the picture was taken, the temperature was -9C, the agency says.Swollen hands of a migrant childOne picture that circulated thousands of times shows Wang received 99 out of 100 on a test, despite swollen hands. A photo of the boy, which has been shared by tens of thousands of people, shows him with swollen red cheeks dressed in thin jacket laughed at by classmates. It is seen in another image the boy’s dirty and swollen hands, next to the near-perfect work in his school exercise book. Wang’s teacher took the pictures on 8 January and sent to headmaster and a few other individuals, according to reports in state media. But they soon came to the attention of local and then national media, and the images went viral online. Thousands of users of the popular Sina Weibo microblog shared the pictures, using the hashtag #IceBoy. One post by People’s Daily received more than 277,000 likes. Many Weibo users posted messages praising Wang’s fortitude and perseverance. “This child knows that knowledge can change his fate,” says one. But others voiced their concern, saying that their hearts ached for him, especially seeing his swollen hands and threadbare clothes.Wang, a left-behind migrant childSwollen hands of a migrant child

“His frozen little red face and he’s wearing so little, he really looks pitiful,” another user commented. Some have responded by posting angry comments targeted at the government. “What is the local Yunnan government doing about this?” one asked. Others urged fellow users for their help in contacting the boy so they could donate money and clothes. ‘His home is made of mud and brick’ Journalists from the popular Pear Video website visited Little Wang to see how he lives. “His home is made of mud and brick and is very dilapidated,” Pear Video said. The site found that the boy is a “left-behind child” – one of tens of millions of Chinese children who rarely see their parents, who have moved to the cities to find work to support them. Little Wang lives with his grandmother and sister. He rarely sees his father, a migrant worker who is able to return home only every four or five months. The boy tells Pear Video that his mother left him when he was very young.Boxes of aid arriving at Little Wang's schoolThe Communist Youth League donated clothing and improved heating system to Little Wang’s school. Wang’s story has prompted an outcry in Chinese media for more to be done to help left-behind children. Some local companies have already responded. State-run CCTV says the provincial Communist Youth League has donated 100,000 yuan (about $15,350: £11,350) so that each child at the school can have better clothing, and for the school to improve its heating system. Influential news website The Paper shares the contact details of the Zhaotong City Youth Development Foundation, a charity that supports children in north-east Yunnan. Many social media users say they hope Wang’s story helps raise issues of social awareness of the poverty facing other children in poorer, rural regions. But some note poignantly that Little Wang’s case is synonymous with many other children’s. ‘SurblueDu’, received 2,000 likes for their comment: “No-one knows how many poor children there are, helping one is only helping one.”A poster of President Xi Jinping visiting people living in poverty

President Xi Jinping vowed to eradicate rural poverty in China by 2020

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. You can follow BBC Monitoring on TwitterandFacebook.

GUILTFREE WAYS TO SAY NO

Saying No for the Sake of Your Wallet

Request: A friend in need asks for loan.
What you should say: “I wish I can but as a rule, I don’t lend money to friends.”
Why it works: So its clear you did not single out this person as untrustworthy.

You shouldn’t feel guilty: Lending any amount of money can cause problems, says the communications trainer Don Gabor. It changes nature of relationship if the person doesn’t pay you back.”
Avoid the situation in the future: Never lend money to friends, you won’t get reputation as a Mobile Bank ATM. 9f8eab4c34bbdd4065c5809378443d16

Request: A coworker wants you to chip in $25 for gift for colleague you would not recognize at the watercooler.

You should say: “Oh, I’ve never really had a conversation with Ian. I think I’ll wish him a happy birthday in person.”
Why it works: Chances are, the person taking donations has no idea how close you are (or are not) with the intended recipient. By clarifying nature of your relationship emphasises intention to get to know the person better. So you come across as thoughtful rather than cheap.
Why you shouldn’t feel guilty: A gift is not a gift if an obligation, says etiquette writers Kim Izzo and Ceri Marsh.
Avoid the situation in the future: If workplace gift giving is getting out of hand, take the lead in restoring sanity by circulating a card before someone can break out the gift-donation plate. Make sure others know you don’t expect anything on your birthday.How-to-say-no-to-your-boss-politelyRequest: Your third cousin asks to bring her boyfriend-of-the-month to your $150-a-plate wedding reception.

What you should say: “We’ve already had to make so many tough decisions to get the guest list down to size. We really can’t squeeze in/afford another guest. But I would love to have you two over for drinks sometime so I can meet him.”
Why it works: If you illuminate some of behind-the-scenes planning, cousin may get clue of inappropriateness of request.
Why you shouldn’t feel guilty: It’s your party and your pocketbook, says author Patti Breitman.
Avoid the situation in the future: Make calls before you put together the guest list to see the new additions you should consider as you plan.sayno

Saying No for the Sake of Your Time

Request: You are offered a promotion that you don’t want. Though it means more money, it demands more hours or more of what boss calls responsibility and you call tedium.
What you should say: “I’m flattered that you want me, but for personal reasons I’m not in a situation where I can take this on. Perhaps in a year from now things will be different. Can we talk again if my circumstances change?”
Why it works: If in enviable dilemma boss will understand you have personal priorities that take precedence.
Why you shouldn’t feel guilty: By saying no to more time at the office, you’re saying yes to other things you cherish, long walks alone at sunset or evening time with your children.
Avoid the situation in the future: “If a position opens up at your workplace, you could let it be known that you are not in the running,” Breitman suggests. Being forthright saves your manager the trouble of pursuing a candidate who isn’t interested.maxresdefault (4)

Request: You are asked to coordinate bake sale again at your child’s school.
What you should say: “I know I am going to disappoint you, but I’ve decided not to volunteer this year, because I will feel stressed. Is there any way to get some of the other parents to step up?”
Why it works: People feel manipulated into doing something like The ice cream social won’t happen without your help! If address the problematic pattern of one person’s doing all the work, you sidestep manipulation. If you say no, it force others never get asked to say yes.
You shouldn’t feel guilty: “You’ve done your fair share, and now others can do this job,” says Robinson.
Avoid the situation in the future: Encourage school leaders to present the problem to all parents,” says Robinson. “If people know an important program may fail, usually remedy situation.maxresdefault (3)Request: If invited to distant relative’s annual Lobster Lua, 14th year in row.

You should say: “I’ve really had fun in the past, but I can’t make it this year. That week is already packed for me.”
Why it works: “You’ve explained it in a way that doesn’t sound like a personal rejection,” says Robinson. “And you’ve asked for understanding, based on your need to take stress out of your schedule. Everyone can identify with that.”
Why you shouldn’t feel guilty: You have only so much free time―and so much tolerance for flying lobster goo. “Don’t R.S.V.P. yes, then back out at the last minute or, worse, not show up at all,” say Izzo and Marsh. “That is the least decorous way of handling invite.”
Avoid the situation in the future: In a note, thank the relative for thinking of you and explain that because you tend to be busy at this time of year, he should feel free to take you off his invite list.maxresdefault (2)

Request: Boss asks you to supervise this season’s intern last seen with feet up on a desk, iPod on, Gameboy in hand.
What you should say: “Wow, that’s an interesting project. I’m really busy with the ABC assignment right now, so let me know if you want me to re-prioritize.”
Why it works: “Asking boss to prioritize tasks for you means so do not have to actually say “no,” Breitman says. If told to just squeeze the new task in, then do it. But keep a list of all the extra work you’ve done for your next review.
You shouldn’t feel guilty: You really do have enough work to do as it is.
Avoid the situation in the future: If extra tasks keep getting dumped on your desk, ask your boss for a meeting. Explain that the added assignments are making it hard to do your primary job properly. Ask if she wants to review your job description and renegotiate your salary while she’s at it.  AAEAAQAAAAAAAANxAAAAJDczZjg2NDEyLTE1Y2QtNDllNi1hNjIwLWY2MzgyYzc0YTA2Mg

Say No for the Sake of Your Sanity

Request: A friend asks to borrow car because own in shop to repair dent got while driving, talking on phone, and unwrapping juice-box straw.
What you should say: “I do not lend anything worth more than $1,000.” Try to avoid “I don’t have insurance for a non-family member, insurance policies cover the car, not specific drivers. If friend got into accident, it could make your premium go up. If you have time, offer her a ride instead.
Why it works: “Avoid blame on you,” explains author Patti Breitman. “Don’t indicate you don’t trust the friend.”
Why you shouldn’t feel guilty: “Your car is probably the first or second most valuable thing you own,” says Breitman. “You’re protecting a big financial asset.” Plus, if friend gets accident relationship might be totalled, too.
Avoid the situation in the future: Let your friends know that while you’re typically a generous lender (“Of course you can borrow my snorkeling gear!”), your car is off-limits. Say-NO-pic

Request: A guest offers to bring seven-layer dip to party. But doesn’t really go with Greek theme you planned.
What you should say: “What a kind offer thank you. I have already planned the menu, but do you have any dietary restrictions I should know about? Be nice and ask to bringing something, like bottle of wine or a loaf of bread.
Why it works: Acknowledging the offer of generosity let person know did all they could. If the person has dietary restrictions so cooking difficult for you, relent and let bring a dish to eat.
Why you shouldn’t feel guilty: Person offered to be courteous. Saying no, you gives license to relax, enjoy hospitality.
Avoid the situation in the future: When you invite people, ask if there is anything they don’t eat, because you want to make sure your menu works for everyone. Emphasize the word menu, so people know that you have a plan or a theme for the meal (and so they won’t try to upset it).thumbs-down

Request: Future sister-in-law wants to throw baby shower you don’t want fuss.
What you should say: “I really don’t want a party, but thank you so much for offering. Why don’t we splurge on visit to a day spa instead?”
Why it works: “Not everyone likes a party in honour or wants to be center of attention with a paper plate of bows on her head,” says etiquette writers Kim Izzo and Ceri Marsh. Unless she has her own agenda, she should understand.
Why you shouldn’t feel guilty: “If you decline, you are taking away pleasure from the people who care about you, but it is occasion to shout about or be quiet about,” say Izzo and Marsh.
Avoid the situation in the future: Announce what you would prefer to do instead of a shower before anyone offers to throw one.