Picture this: I’m now living in Los Angeles with my biological mom, who’s the complete opposite of my step-mother. My step-mom is more like “words, words, annoying words.” But my mom is more of : “ACTIONS speak louder than words,” type of a person.” I really think my mom missed her calling. In my opinion, she should have been a professional pitcher. You know the guy who throws the balls in the baseball game? Don’t’ get me wrong; ok. The woman sacrificed her life for her children, and did a great job doing so. But she also has the instinct of cat, so you can never lie to her. She has a way she looks at you, as if she’s reading your soul, without saying one word, and whenever you see that look, you better start RUNNING as fast as you can. And, while in the process of running for your life, it would be wise, if you could grab anything you spot at her reach; then take off as if you were running in a track race aiming for the gold medal.
Although there are times, she’ll surprise us, when we won’t see it coming, but she will always say the following words first: “M’ta gadé’w, ou, m’ta pan!” A creole expression which I think originated with her. With Haitian parents even if they spoke fluent French or English all day and night, don’t expect them to discipline their children in English. They whoop your butt in creole, slap in you creole, pull your hair in creole, and then force you to eat, after they just whoop your but in creole. But after their anger cools off, they reason with you in French. Well, really! If this works for other children, it did not work for me. The honest true is, most often I did not deserve the whooping I got. And believe me, I was a fair judge of myself. I knew when I was wrong, so I would humbly take a slash of belt or two, although with my mother it was more like…………… But, when I didn’t feel she or anyone else, had just cause to hit me; oh boy! “Woman, you better take your French and get out of my face!!” Well! I never said that, but I had a box full of anger expressions. Yes, you can tell I had a fresh mouth. So much so, all the mint in Haiti, whether in liquid, gum, herb forms, could not compete with my mouth. In fact, they pledge allegiance to me, and gave me the Medal of Honor.
I know by now you probably want to know what this creole expression: “m’ta gadé’w, m’ta pan!” Means. Pretty much to sums up: So if you were still standing in front of her, by the time she said the last word“Pan,” chances are, the cooking pot, vase, cup, plate, or her shoes already bouncing back in your head. Believe me, she never missed a throw. I have to say this technic was mostly used on the boys. So my older brother became a pro with the baseball bat, so he never got hit.
For me it was her long nails on my skin or the belt. So, after the first whooping, I would say something like: “I wish you would go to hell, where God will condemn you FOREVER!” So the title of this whooping would normally be: “Where? Where? Where? “Where- do- you- want- me- to- go?” Each word usually count for one belt slash. And my answer would be:” “You know where!” “You know where!”…””…” “…”
Then if the beating was very harsh, after the last slash; the moment she starts walking away, I would say: “Yououououou-” Then she would turn, and wait for me to finish my sentence. But I was smart enough to hold it in, until she started walking away again. Then I screamed from the top of my lungs:
“Are not niiiiiiiiiice !!!” More likely the title of this beating would be: “Let me show you then. –Let me show you then. Let-me-show-you-how-nice-I-AM-NOT!!!” So you draw the conclusion how many belts in total; by the way the UPPERCASE letters count for two belts each.
Then, if I still didn’t win the case, I would try my last attempt by saying: “God is going to JUDGE You! Or something like: “I can’t wait for God to come and get YOU!” I think that one was always the winner, because the title of that whooping would be: “Who? Who? Who?” And I kept on answering her: “You know who!” “You know who! “You know whoooooo!” Then on the last belt, I would tell her “Not God, but the devil will get you instead!” By then, I would usually win the case. She would leave me alone.
Yes. I must admit, I was quite a case, but not without a cause. Back then, the majority of Haitian parents rule their household like the “Tonton Makout” on Duvalier’s regime. But I was the child sent from hell to plead my case. Either with my mouth, or my drawings. Besides, someone had to defend the other children! lol