Just the two of them

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Sand, Sun & (loads of) Fun – Part II
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Sand, Sun & (loads of) Fun – Part I
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Booking a place in the world
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Age is just…a stage
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The ride
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Music and Lyrics
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While I was planning
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Why baking during the weekend is a no, no for me.
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Red Sand: Reporting Live from Grandma’s House.
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Red Sand: Are We There Yet?

Sand, Sun & (loads of) Fun – Part II

I am still half – asleep when we land in wherever. I become fully awake when the heat introduced itself to me at the exit of the airplane. Thank God for the waiting bus and its cool interior. ‘This must be the land of three Suns, shinning all at once,’I hear mummy mutter, not stating exactly where we are. It is Uncle Jnr who is more specific about our location. ‘This is where Garfield always parcels Nermal to,’ he says,followed by low chuckles from daddy and some uncles nearby. So that’s where we are! Wicked, wicked Garfield. The heat will roast the cutest cat alive while simultaneously frying his brain. The short bus ride ends in another very cool destination – the airport building. As we queue to be checked by customs officials, little brother and I indulge in a stand – up breakfast. Hot, delicious chicken rolls ( I ask for seconds), biscuits, apple juice and cool, refreshing water. Now I know why mummy carries that black, monstrous bag of hers around; it contains a microwave, a pantry and a fridge. By the time everyone in our entourage gets their luggage, mummy, little brother & I have taken a[…]

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Sand, Sun & (loads of) Fun – Part I

We’re sorry. Mummy hasn’t posted in a while. Life happened and she’s yet to recover from it. So I’m writing this on her behalf. I thought no trips were taking place this year. Then one Sunday morning, late in August, mummy assembled matching suitcases in our room. For the next three days, she neatly arranged all our stuff into both of them. Toiletries, shoes, lotions, sponges, books went into one suitcase. Clothes – day, night, outing, church, swimwear – went into the other. When I asked if we were going to see grandma, she answered ‘Yes’ but also said we were going to see Uncle Tg and something else I didn’t understand until later. Uncle Tg is mum’s younger brother. He lives with us (or used to) until very recently when we’d see him once or twice a week. He’s one very tall, very fair – skinned, very fine, very bearded man who is not only a lot of fun but always buys us very, very cool stuff — books and toys. He’s also mummy’s unpaid and unofficial driver whenever he’s around. I’m still trying to figure out how he’s connected to this trip. Grandma, Uncle Jnr and another uncle[…]

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Booking a place in the world

‘The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page.’ – St. Augustine I didn’t introduce T to the world of books early but when I did, we more than made up for whatever lost time. I added her brother into that world last year. Fortunately both children love books, reading, writing and all that jazz. Every opportunity to indulge in these activities means quiet and peace in my world, and I’m their biggest cheerleader. ‘No entertainment is so cheap as reading nor any pleasure so lasting.’ – Lady M.W. Montagu I must mention here that T loves, loves books ( a tad more than her brother) and takes every chance she gets to attempt to read and sound out familiar and new words, and sentences. It is only natural that one of her favourite moments is bedtime reading. She chooses the book, the story and reads what she can, displaying her reading prowess, learning new words and testing her memory. She also points out corresponding photos and asks questions when something is unclear. Before now, I’d read the story for her brother and her while they both listened attentively. Not anymore. In the last[…]

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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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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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Music and Lyrics

Rastamouse and Scratchy and Zuma Also known as da easy crew Crime fighters and very special agents Playing reggae when the work is through   Rastamouse is one of the children’s frequently watched cartoons; the soundtrack is one of my favourites. Yeah, I know. I can’t believe it too. But it wasn’t always like this. I had my suspicions when I first clapped eyes on it. The name told me it was Jamaican-themed and I should expect all the characteristics of the reggae- playing, patois – speaking, dreadlock – wearing island country. Fair enough but I wasn’t prepared to read this sentence in the synopsis of an episode: Someone has teefed all the cheese in the mouseland… What were they trying to teach children? To further my chagrin was the mice characters sounding off words or phrases I wasn’t sure I wanted T and her brother to repeat. Laters. Likkle ones. Man, that is dread. Whatta gwan? Irie man. Me love that. Maybe after they have displayed a firm grasp of the English, Yoruba, Urhobo, Spanish and French Languages. Blame it on my training and proper English Language trait. Then there was Bagga T, a character, who looked and sounded like[…]

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While I was planning

For one day only, T becomes a Hausa girl, looking adorable in the traditional attire, accessories and a calabash in her arms. She’s wearing a pair of ballerina pumps to complete the look; I didn’t get her Hausa slippers. Her brother’s roots remain unchanged though; just slightly modified. He moves from a Yoruba boy to a rather dignified – looking Yoruba hunter with his purple dashiki and fila tilted at an angle. Today is world cultural day and the children’s school are not only celebrating it verbally but also visually. The children have been put into groups of different tribes and told to dress accordingly. For five years on this particular day, T has worn outfits sewn from Ankara fabrics. I just couldn’t be bothered into dressing her up like a typical Yoruba girl. I felt this was yet another minor annoyance from the school (as though I needed one!) that involved money, time, thought and resources; all of which I wasn’t quite willing to part with without a compelling reason. Especially when the chances of repeating the outfit for a different occasion is nil. It is the same feeling I had towards other days the school pulled out of[…]

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Why baking during the weekend is a no, no for me.

  …because the children are around!   Chairman wants to know what everything! His little yellow fingers hover over the cup of desiccated coconut as he asks: ‘Mummy, what is this?’ I remove it from his reach just in time. Unfazed, he moves onto the raisins resting in a plate nearby. T wants to lend a hand! ‘Mummy, let me do it.’ She helps whisk the eggs while I pray she doesn’t spill them and, with me supporting her, sifts the flour. They taste most of my fruit and leave me short! More often than not, there’s always fresh fruit going into the cakes I bake except raisins and desiccated coconut. It’s while I’m dicing the apples that the children want some or when I’m about to mash the bananas that they appear with outstretched hands and toothy smiles. I don’t mind giving out my oranges because it’s usually the zest I need but would out rightly refuse to share the lime because I use both the zest and the juice. Nevertheless, they still get some of the fruit in sight. Energy which was supposed to be channeled towards the task at hand is expended being a drill sergeant! ‘Don’t[…]

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Red Sand: Reporting Live from Grandma’s House.

‘Laolu’s not sitting down.’ Ebru’s voice reached me from behind as I did the dishes. ‘Yoma’s eating her meat before finishing her food!’ Lily bellowed from the dinning table. ‘Annie fell down.’ T informed me. Yes. They were all there…well, almost all of them. emo committee. Representing their families, gathering for the holidays. While still single, living away from home and by some unspoken code, every year end saw my siblings and me converge at my mum’s for the Christmas and New Year celebrations, armed with gifts for everyone. By the time we all got married, the number of houseguests swelled with spouses and offspring, and has continued to swell. At first, the presents increased to encompass everyone but in recent years, only the children get to unwrap shiny Christmasy parcels and given by an in – house Santa Claus too! From Iceland, Norway and, three years ago when my family was absent, Agbarho. Yeah, right. Santa Claus is actually one of my elder brothers dressed in the red and white outfit, and loads of cotton wool stuck on his fair face for beard. The focus has shifted to the children. There is more emphasis on their excitement, enjoyment and[…]

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Red Sand: Are We There Yet?

I stank. Of vomit. Thankfully not the sort that contained oil and spices. Rather dried fruit and wheat. But I stank all the same. My attempts at cleaning up with moist wipes allowed me breathe in some version of clean air for a while until the Harmattan wind dried up my clothing, leaving pale brown streaks of Chairman’s breakfast behind. Then the smell re – introduced itself to me. We met an amazing traffic jam on our way out and spent two and a half hours getting out of Lagos. In that traffic was when T uttered suddenly: ‘Mummy, I want to throw up.’ I was holding up a ziploc bag for her as she emptied her bowels into it when Chairman (who was sitting on my lap) thought vomiting was trending and, without warning, released his breakfast on both of us. Now I was worried. The air conditioner went off and the windows came down. Cleaning up, at the time, was the least thing on my mind as I checked both of them for fever but found none. Emmanuel, the man in the driver’s seat, asked if I wanted to continue the journey. By now, we were out of[…]

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