Just the two of them

1
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
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An ‘Amen’ Moment
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Baby Walakolombo
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The Introduction

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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An ‘Amen’ Moment

Though barely two years old, Chairman is already displaying smile – worthy intelligence. He sees steam emitting from a hot plate, pot or bucket and goes ‘e ot’. It’s hot. His hands are always clasped together as soon as he walks into the bathroom with an accompanying ‘and’ pronouncement because he has witnessed his sister washing hers countless times before. He says ‘poo poo’, goes ahead and does the deed, then returns, reeking, to repeat ‘poo poo’ signifying his accomplishment. Displaying the beginnings of a gentleman, he utters an endearing, baby ‘na nu ’,thank you, (my beau says it sounds more like ‘daalu’) when given anything. To his dad’s chagrin, Chairman calls him by his first name or the endearment I use for him. However, it is his perception of some prayer times in the house that strikes a chord with me. He says ‘amen’ when food, in a plate, appears in front of anyone because he knows that there will be praying before eating. He does the same when he notices, at night, I’m done making beds and sleep is next on the agenda for his sister and him.  The only difference here is that he also attempts to[…]

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Baby Walakolombo

In the middle of the night after feeding Chairman, if I thought he was going to go right back to sleep, I was so wrong. He burps, waits for me to lay him down on the bed before saying ‘Baby, baby.’ That’s when I know it might be a looong, middle of the night. The hook of Alex Zitto’s Baby Walakolombo became his soothing song while he was still less than a year old. It popped out of my mouth the day before his naming ceremony, and has since been a hit with him as well as all family members – nuclear and extended. For T, the following words – Toluwani o/ I beg you, don’t cry o/ Toluwani, wani/… — sang to the tune of Olufunmi by Styl – plus got her attention. Until my beau stopped me from singing it, saying he didn’t quite like the original words of Olufunmi which were what he heard every time I rendered T’s version.  I replaced it with Chris Mba’s Baby Don’t cry as imported from my elder brother’s house. Imagine his two year old singing it to her baby sibling! Now that I think of it, why didn’t I ever[…]

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The Introduction

Tinsel is in a few minutes, and I am just about settling down into my favourite part of the settee when I notice there are hands on the curtains, pulling them. No, yanking and tugging at them to see if they’d give. As I change direction and attempt a rescue, a yellow, plastic chair slides on the floor (barely missing my legs) and past the curtains on its way to a space behind the standing fan in the corner. It stops and a pair of small, skinny, slightly long legs jumps on the settee to celebrate a well – executed move. Ah, there’s something more exciting going on there, thinks the curtains strainer who promptly abandons ship and joins the jumping fun on the settee. Now, there are two sets of small legs on the settee, testing their durability. Firmly and a little loudly, my voice breaks up the party. ‘Stop jumping and come down,’ I instruct, and as if on cue, the Tinsel soundtrack fills the air. Immediately, the little girl of the pair jumps onto the floor and starts displaying dance moves her father claims have my influence all over them: I’m yet to see the similarity. Her[…]

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