Tag - Children

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The good, the loud, and the questions…of the holidays
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No eraser
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A conversation I might never have
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A December to Remember
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How many do you (want to) have?
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The ride
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Music and Lyrics
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Red Sand: Reporting Live from Grandma’s House.
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In September
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Question

The good, the loud, and the questions…of the holidays

  By now, I’d have gone off the rails. Screaming every other five minutes. Disciplining for the next five. A threat hanging dangerously on the tip of my tongue or silencing with a look that shouted volumes. But no, I still have my wits around me; my sanity’s intact too. Except for bone – tiredness at the end of each day, all is going swimmingly in my world. Stick with me, please. There’s a method to my scribbling madness. Or is it a message? A moral? Perhaps, just a plain ol’ rant. Whatever. There’s something to be said (or rather written) here, and I’d make it crystal in a minute or two…   Arm cardio Back in the university, a friend of mine, Biggie, could churn out (quite effortlessly) food enough for eight of us in our cramped hostel room. She never broke a sweat while at it and even had leftovers for later. I’d stare at her in awe. Cooking like this in school? In less than ideal kitchen conditions? For more than two people no less? She was my culinary hero then. Biggie was the first girl in six children. Catering for eight people was routine – a[…]

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No eraser

            The last post for this month has to be centred on my children. At least I would have kept 75% of my intention to write only about them in the month of May. That’s not a bad score now, is it? So here goes. Doing homework with the children has never been a time I look forward to and this feeling only developed recently. Say, a year after Chairman started going to school. Initially with just T, it was manageable. I just went through the motions and indulged some of her excesses (like pointing out her teacher’s way of doing things as opposed to my own way).  Having two of them doing homework , most times at the same time, is pure drudgery and I have to grin (sometimes, bite my lip, keep my anger in check) and bear it. I did say I wanted children, didn’t I? Well, mummy, children and homework go together. Deal with it! That’s exactly what I do every week day for about an hour and a half or more. Dealing with T’s increasing wisdom as she grows older (as she emphatically still insists on her teacher’s method and[…]

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A conversation I might never have

Last week I overheard my younger sister, Pru, on a telephone call. She is in town for a while and staying with us. ‘Good evening. How are you?’ … ‘What’s your name?’ … ‘Ok. Have you done this work before?’ … ‘How old were the children?’ … ‘Ok, Abigail. As you can see my children are younger, so you have to be patient with them. Once they get used to you, it will, hopefully, become easier to take of and manage them. You can always ask the other girls in the house for help until you find your feet. Ok? All right. I’ll speak to you tomorrow. Goodnight.’ Pru is in town without her children. She just finished talking to the new domestic help hired to take care of her children with her husband and mother – in- law closely monitoring. She’d call in often to check with them and the help for updates. I suppose she’d have preferred to interview the new hire face –to – face as well as approve of her but…here she is hoping this five – minute cell phone conversation and subsequent ones will prove that the hire was a good one and give her[…]

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A December to Remember

‘I’m Annie’, Chairman declares loudly. ‘My name is Gabby,’ T states just as loudly, not to be out done by her brother. For the past couple of days, the children have been saying these statements often. Annie and Gabby are two of their cousins whom they met at their grandma’s and spent the recently concluded holidays with amongst seven other adrenaline – filled, very active children. It is nine days today since we returned to Lagos, and back to our lives but apparently the memories of the holidays are still playing back constantly in the minds of my children. And who can blame them? They had a whale of a time with their cousins! There was Santa Claus with four presents each per child, their favourite cartoon characters featuring prominently. Barney. Mickey Mouse. Ben 10.      They played games and had competitions – artwork (creating a Christmas card) competition, dancing chairs and fashion parade. Of course, this meant more presents. Yay! They had more ice – cream and sweets during the two – week period than I would normally allow in two months.  Yum, yum. Everyday was Christmas day at grandma’s! Or how else would they describe going to[…]

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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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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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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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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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