Archive - July 2014

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Age is just…a stage
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How many do you (want to) have?
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The ride

Age is just…a stage

First, they are little and cuddly. A mouth full of spit and adoring, toothless smiles. Then they crawl and learn to walk. One wobbly step after another until they find their balance and you’re rapidly moving items out of their way as they prance around confidently. Their first spoken word (da-da, ma –ma, whichever) just melts your heart: ‘Oh, my baby!’ By 2 – 3 years, they have a great (amazingly so!) grasp of the negative ‘no’ and how to use it appropriately. A close cousin to this is the tantrums they display. This is what experts call the ‘terrible twos’ and, if I may add, the ‘tantrumic’ threes. And this is where Chairman is presently at: throwing tantrums when he doesn’t get his way while throwing himself on the floor, sometimes. It’s a stage; it’s a stage, I tell myself silently, and this is the accompanying, unfolding drama. Sometimes I allow him release the full range of his three year old angst, then tell him quietly, calmly (and in his ears so that he doesn’t miss a word) what to expect when he re – enacts the act again. Other times, I truncate the display with stern, firm words[…]

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How many do you (want to) have?

I wanted five…or so I thought. Until that fateful long weekend I spent with my dad and two younger siblings sans my mum. After five days of cooking, cleaning and catering to everyone’s need (but mine), the number dropped to four. Until my neighbour’s three children spent 15 minutes with us. At the end of which my beau pulled me aside and asked: ‘How many did we say we’d have again?’ It became 3.5, if that number was possible to achieve. I was experiencing the law of diminishing parenthood. Until I finally had my first and, in the words of a close friend, couldn’t quite see clearly for months to come. When the second arrived, I could safely say I had gotten a hang of my role and responsibilities. Or had I? I don’t know. I learn, every day, on the job. Apparently, the unofficial number to have in Nigeria seems to be three for my generation. I cannot count how many times I have heard friends, family or acquaintances say: ‘I’m ready for my third child.’ ‘It’s time to have the third one.’ ‘This is the third and last one.’ Then again, I know couples whose third child was[…]

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The ride

Though Chairman is old enough to sit by himself (with a seatbelt on) in the car, he’d rather perch on my laps whenever we go out. Doing so means he has a clearer and better view of the passing scenery. That’s why he wants the human elevation. As the car moves along, he’d read out the numbers on the buildings, colours of cars, comment on the traffic lights, which car was horning the loudest, the different road signs, the school bus filled with cute, little faces… At first, I refused him weighing down on my legs for this regular ritual as it encroached into the things I wanted to do during the ride, especially if the destination was school. I always used the time as my checklist. Children’s’ mouths devoid of telltale signs of breakfast? Check! Hair, clothes, shoes and socks look neat with no speck of food or stain? Check! Snacks and drinks in their bags? Double check! But this is not to be as Chairman’s yellow body partially blocks my view and compels me to participate in his activity. The entire trip is a whole process for him, one in which he is completely involved. From opening and[…]

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