Just the two of them

1
The ride
2
Music and Lyrics
3
While I was planning
4
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?
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More of them
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In September
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Question
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My daughter, my self

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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More of them

The following takes place between July 19th and August 23rd. For national peace, local stability and my personal peace of mind, I usually do not tell T when we’re going visiting or on holidays or if we’re expecting family who are staying for more than a week. She finds out when we arrive at our destination or just before our guests walk through the front door. If not, she’ll relentlessly hound me about the when, who and where until she wears me out. This time was no different; some of her cousins were visiting and she knew nothing about about it. Others were joining in on the holiday fun later on but both of us would know when it became necessary. As always, I knew first then she (who was on a need – to – know basis) became aware much, much, much later. Nevertheless, at any given time between the period stated above, there were at least four children in the house — raising the decibel of noise significantly, testing my  partially horned referee skills (and non – existent UEFA ones) while providing material for this blog. All of T’s cousins arrived at different times of day as though[…]

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In September

Chairman began school today. And like any mother leaving her child in school for the first time, I was slightly worried. Apprehensive. What would his attitude towards this new part of his life be? Would he cry? Cling desperately to me when I turned to leave? Give his teachers cause for concern? By the time July rolled in, I began sounding him out about this impending phase.’You’re going to school in September.’ I’d say. ‘Yesh.’ He’d agree and start undressing, thinking we were going to pick T up from school. Then, whenever he upset me, the statement would come out as a threat. ‘You’re going to school in September!’ ‘Yesh.’ He’d still agree and carry on with his life. By now realizing it meant something else but not exactly sure what. One morning, he was crying as T left for school, asking to go along with her. I comforted him with the same words. ‘Don’t worry, dear. You’re going to school soon.’ ‘Yesh,’ he replied tearfully. ‘In epepmber.’ In September. He clutched his lunch bag tightly and silently stared straight ahead as we neared the school. It was nothing new to him; he had accompanied me time and again to[…]

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My daughter, my self

The introduction was one – sided; she was asleep. There was no chance for first (and lasting) impressions. I did all the talking and staring. Sometimes I smiled but not for long. I didn’t stay long either; I was still in pain. That was six years ago. And I’m almost tempted to say (or write) ‘how fast they grow’/ ‘how time flies’. Soon we’ll be talking heels and weaves. Idolor and daughters. That’s what’s a close cousin of mine called me back then, and I’d encourage him. It was no secret, I wanted daughters. To do girly things with, to be girly with but more importantly ( and a little selfishly too) to have a little ‘me’. I was curious to see what a younger, female, version of me would turn out to be. Would she have sharper or softer features than me? Would she look exactly like me or not? Understandably, I was very excited when T arrived. Finally, my wish was going to come true. How wrong I was. My first sighting of her (during our first introduction) deflated that excitement like a balloon, with a loud pop. A striking resemblance   There was little or nothing in[…]

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