Editor’s Note: A version of this post was shared in ConnectVille (Connected’s family group) and many of us thought it should be converted to a post on Breakpoint. Insightful!
My two cents on lessons I have learned on discipline while parenting so far celebrating 10years of motherhood – Idara Akpan
On using the cane, we discuss common offences and how to deal with it so it doesn’t reoccur. We start with, 2strokes for whatever offence is tagged. But negotiations come in when there are repetitions. It just means 2strokes didn’t just cut it. And they have the opportunity to explain why it should remain 2. Canes really came in handy when mean words invaded our house. We had a season where words like “idiot”, “stupid”, etc got picked up from school and we had to drop them with Dr Do Good. I never use the words and I don’t want them to learn to, would be harder to drop them, later. (I am also raising future wives and mothers, you know).
He looked up from his phone at the yellow dress with multi-coloured stones on the neck line.
“This shade matches my complexion better and I just love how it flows easily without too much drama, simple and elegant!” Mrs. AJ was saying.
She made a half turn and smoothed her hands over her hips, arching her neck to see the back. He opened his mouth and then shut it again, wondering if he was actually expected to give an answer. Truth be told, he couldn’t see how this shade of yellow was different from the last one she’d tried on.
“What do you think?” she asked again, still inspecting herself.
He didn’t mind going shopping with the Mrs (well not too much) as long as he wasn’t expected to know the entire colour spectrum or which style fit which body shape or any of the other weird things women worried about.
“Err…well, I think it’s okay.” He replied.
She paused her inspection to stare at him.
“Just okay?” she asked, arms now akimbo.
“Well…it’s okay…I mean it’s good!” he floundered.
What was he supposed to say, that it wasn’t an okay dress?!
She shook her head at him, giving him her signature look and went back into the changing room.
What did I do now!
“Never ever describe a woman as okay.”
“You’ll never live that mistake down.”
He vaguely recognized the guy who’d spoken to him. He’d seen him around earlier that day at Ikeja City Mall, first at Mango and probably at MRP as well. The guy seemed to be in the same shoes as he was, tagging along with a woman on a shopping spree. Unlike him though, the guy looked unruffled and had the sort of confident poise that could only come from several years of experience.
“But I said it looked good!” Mr. AJ replied defensively and his new friend tsked.
“That’s even worse.” He said, juggling several carrier bags from one hand to the other. “Common rookie mistake.”
“But it was a nice dress!” Mr. AJ spluttered.
“Another forbidden word.” He said with a shake of his head. “I have a twelve year old so I’ve been in this business long enough!”
Mr AJ raised an eyebrow. How can he possibly compare shopping with a twelve year old to shopping with a grown woman!
“As a rule, everything is beautiful or stunning or dashing or amazing.” He said. “Sometimes, they’ll take pretty but that one is a bit dicey. You should read the situation before dishing that one out.”
“If you’re ever caught off guards and can’t think of an appropriate word quick enough, just go for ‘Wow’”
“Trust me on this one.”
“But what if the dress looks hideous on her!”
“Diplomacy, my friend. You think the politicians are the ones with the tough jobs?”
“Rule number two: it’s always the fault of the dress. The colour doesn’t flatter her eyes. Who made that dress, a carpenter? That dress isn’t doing your amazing figure enough justice. Catch my drift?”
“How do you even wrap your head around all that colour shade and style nonsense?!” Mr. AJ asked in exasperation.
“Take it from the man who had to hunt down a Barbie Pink Mac Book Air, you learn!”
Just then, the door to one of the dressing rooms banged open and a girl who could have easily passed for sixteen flounced out, clad in a pair of pencil jeans, a silk shirt and Louboutin’s.
“Daddy, how about this?” she asked, arms on her hips.
“Wow, look at my little Princess! I think it’s perfect!”
“Really?” the girl asked uncertainly. “I’m not so sure of the shirt. I think peach will go better with my new purse.” She said pulling at the shirt at the edges as if that would miraculously change its colour.
“Peach? But this one…”
“I just knew beige would be too far off. I’ll go ask them if they have this style in Peach. If they don’t, we’ll have to go somewhere else.” She said going back into the dressing room.
“Rule number three: sometimes, even saying the right things doesn’t work.” Simon said on a resigned sigh.
“You could say that again!” Mr. AJ replied. “By the way, I’m Mayowa.” He said closing the distance between them and proffering his hand.
“I’m Simon, but everyone calls me SB.” Simon said juggling the shopping bags again to shake his hand.
“SB?” Moyowa asked.
“Oh yeah, my initials. I can’t really remember how it started but at some point, even my little girl called me that.”
“Oh well, SB it is then!” Mayowa said smiling.
“Nice meeting you.” Simon said returning his smile.
“Pleasure’s all mine!”
“Mr. AJ, what of this one?” the Mrs said, coming out of the dressing room again. This time, she was wearing an A-cut midnight blue dress with a high neck which stopped just above the knees.
“Oh wow!” Mayowa gasped. “It’s….wow!”
The Mrs beamed from ear to ear and Simon turned away to hide his smile.
Boys be laughing at me- I can feel it. But I wont be deterred- I’ll tell my story.
Life is just full of ironies sha. Our pre- marital counselor had assured us that we were going to fight during the honeymoon. Told us not to worry, it would pass.
Me, I had sat there listening politely, thinking ‘Is it by force?’ And I had mentally drawn up the commonest reasons for the post wedding fight- it had to be the wedding of course. That’s why I had carefully distanced myself from all the wedding preparation drama. Anything wifey wanted, I wasn’t going to be the reason she didn’t get it.
I had no idea, that in 48 hours of marriage, I would be boasting of not one, but two fights. And 1 fleeting first base experience.
Anyway, back to our fight. Wifey wasn’t crying this time around- she was mad and insisting that I was deliberating twisting her words, being condescending and being very cavalier when talking about our ‘parents in the Lord’
Me too, I wasn’t backing down. No begging anyone this time. I was very eloquent on how I had pastors- not parents in the Lord. And I was sick of their names/roles being bandied around in my very early marriage.
‘We were kissing… And you stopped that to tell me what Mrs P had told you on the phone. Abeg, wetin be the problem? Who does that?’
This of course led to the fact that my apologies after fight 1 were very insincere.
Lets just say by the time our food came- with the force with which I yanked open the door and my livid face, the waiter had to ask
‘Sorry- is this the honeymoon couple room?’ Confusion was written all over his face.
I calmed myself immediately, told him to put the food in and I stepped out unto the corridor.
When he was done he whispered to me “Dont argue. Rookie mistake. Just say ‘Yes dear'”
You see what my life has become?
When I got back into the room- wifey had disappeared into the bathroom. I was so sure she was with her phone.
How come we had missed this fundamental difference between us during our courtship?And counselling.
I decided that getting angrier wasn’t going to make me feel any better. But eating was. So i dug in on the food. Wifey emerged from the bathroom. She looked subdued but she didn’t say anything. Maybe her parents in the Lord had told her off. I decided that thought didn’t make me feel any better.
We had both agreed during courtship that we were not going to go to bed without settling our fights.So mehn, I fought that sleep off because I didn’t want to be the one to raise up this gunpowder and explosion topic. Pretty childish abi? Well, the last one or two hours have not been my finest so why start being all noble and mature now?
Wifey was plenty steps ahead of me. After changing into some flimsy something, she mumbled a very faint ‘I’m sorry’ before she dove under the covers.
Ehen? So that counts as settling fight? Interesting.
The next morning, I woke up first- I’m not sure why. That’s a lie, I know why. Anyway in those quiet moments, without that angry edge, I could think fairly objectively about my 72 hour plus marriage.
One, wifey was annoying the hell out of me. But she was still wifey. And we had a pretty long time to spend together. And I loved her. And we had to just squash this, somehow.
Two, I had still not managed to execute any of my real honeymoon plans. One way or the other, that streak was ending today. This morning. I don’t even want to hear.
Wifey woke up later. I greeted her first and suggested that we should pray.
During our prayer, I plainly asked God to allow me reach third base today. That broke the ice and she started laughing. Good sign. By the time I started seriously rebuking all the demons warring against this prayer and desire, still laughing, she moved closer to assist God and the angels.
Somehow, that whole day passed and she managed not to bring up the P word up even once. And not to slip into the bathroom to make any calls. And to focus on only me. And us.
Ehen. This is what I’m talking about.
The next day, we did the Big Bus Tour Dubai. Somewhere on that open roof, during a particularly long stretch of journeying. I brought up the topic.
She tensed once I mentioned the subject. But I was determined it was a subject we were only going to visit when we were in public. She insisted that she still thought I was disrespectful and a bit irrational when it came to such a treasured relationship. I insisted that, while I didn’t agree with anything she had said- I wasn’t going to try to change her.
‘In this matter, I think we should both respect each others’ convictions. If we want peace’ I said resolutely
Wifey was almost in tears
‘But all they’ve ever done is show us so much love. I dont just understand your coldness to them’
I wasnt going to be baited. Or moved. ‘I love them, in my own way. You love them in yours. I’ve agreed to respect the way you’ve chosen to love them. Can you do the same for me? Or should we continue to fight and argue about it?’
She nodded sadly. But I needed more than a nod- if possible, I wanted a written agreement. But we stopped short at spelling out a few details
No more bringing up our pastors when we were in the bedroom. She laughed at how ridiculous it sounded. But I have been burnt twice. I insisted on this one point.
They were NOT my Parents in the Lord. They were my pastors. No more ‘Our’ parents in the Lord. She looked at me, probably wondering how she ended up with someone so fundamentally flawed.
She was allowed to call them as often as she wished and I was not to comment on whether it was too long or late or unnecessary.
She was allowed to do her Pastor and Mrs P ‘PDAs’. She should just leave me out of her plans.
I didn’t push my luck by demanding more. Number 4 annoyed her and I decided we had talked about the topic probably longer than the pastors themselves expected we would mention their names during our honeymoon.
The rest of the honeymoon went on okay. Just kidding, it was great.
We’ve now been married 4 months. I have learnt to ignore the bathroom calls heavily laced with ‘Yes, mummy’. And she has greatly managed to call them Pastor and Mrs P when referring to them to me.
She has not strictly kept to number 1 rule though- but at least she did not interrupt anything to tell me ‘Mummy says…’. But very importantly, when she was on the committee planning Pastor’s surprise birthday- I appreciated her effort not to tell me too much about it. May God bless her for that one.
Once in a while, I give that inward pained sigh when she does something I consider ‘really weird’. But that cannot be helped, i suppose. It is well.
If this is the major bleep in this fantastic woman I have married- I’ll take it. I’ll take her over and over again.
At least now, I’m a happily married orphan-in-the-Lord.
I’ll not bore you with details about the rest of the reception.
All I want to say is this new fad of the bride and her train doing choreography- me I don’t know about it. But of course my opinion doesn’t count. If they are happy to do it, they should by all means.
I also wont mention the little money-spraying scuffle that happened on our way out of the reception. It upset wifey then and I’m sure bringing it up now will only cause trouble.
Thankfully, we were soon sent on our merry way unto the rest of our lives. Starting at the hotel where we had booked 2 nights, before we were going to travel to Dubai for the honeymoon. Finally, I had my bride all to myself. And me… I had plans.
Me, I grew up in a conservative orthodox church. My parents were Baptists and somewhere in the pews of the church, I learnt to love God. My born again experience was later down the line, but that is not what this write up is about.
Fast forward many, many years, and about 6 churches later (only 2 were actually personal long term decisions, the other 4 had ‘external influences’) I met the woman who would later become my wife.
‘Bros, smile now. Must Jesus beg you before you smile at Him in church?’ were the first words she spoke to me, complete with an impish smile.
She worked as a greeter in our common church and somehow, my normal serious look was interpreted as ‘frowning’. I chuckled though and I confess, that impish smile was all I thought about all through the service. After service, I went looking for her. The rest as they say was history.
Our courtship took less than one year- we both knew what we wanted, were in our thirties and ready to commit to building our lives together. We were already doing the family rounds barely five months after that fateful day.
The rounds took us to our pastors’ house. Not office, like for the pre wedding counselling. Their names were on the ‘relatives to visit’ list.
‘They are our Parents in the Lord’ she had explained.
Don’t get me wrong, I had heard the term used before- but not in any church I had been to and certainly not in reference to myself. At our present church, the pastor was called Pastor and the pastor’s wife; Mrs P. The five other churches I had attended? They had been youth fellowships and youth churches. The term had never been used.
So maybe that’s why I was surprised to be informed I had Parents in the Lord.
That asides, I was pretty stoked to be going to Pastor’s house. Wifey was really at home there, when we got there. They clearly knew her much better than I had known and they greeted me like they had been hearing about me. Mrs P asked me a few questions and Pastor had some deep advice for me.
‘I didnt know you were close to Pastor and Mrs P like that’ I remarked on our drive home.
She laughed ‘Everyone should be close to their parents in the Lord’
2nd mention. Ok o.
The wedding was a big one- my iyawo knew almost everyone at our about 2000 people strong congregation by name. Then she also knew most of her second cousins by name and number. Pastor and Mrs P officiated the church service. It was a honor really.
Left to me, wedding receptions should be scrapped. I had never been to a wedding reception where I didn’t wonder why a wedding shouldn’t just end after the church ceremony. The least important part of the whole wedding thing was the subject of so much planning and attention. And headache.
I mentioned this twice to wifey during the planning but she had just laughed and tweaked my cheek. Both times. Compromise was that I didn’t want any part of the planning process. She, my mom and her mom were delighted with my announcement. So I had nothing to do but to hope I wasnt a grouch during the inevitable, all important wedding reception.
The reception was nice, I guess. Wifey was definitely part woman, part fish the way she was able to contort her body in the name of dancing. She was definitely very happy about the ceremony (and me, hopefully). Okay, not so bad, I thought to myself, fighting the temptation to look at my wristwatch ever so often. Not so bad.
We had just taken our seats after dance in when wifey leaned over and whispered that we should go and serve ‘Mummy and Daddy’ with the wine from our table.
Uhm, I know I’d avoided wedding receptions like a plague but I was sure this wasn;t routine. We? Serve the wine from our table? Why? There was wine on every table and we could always tell the ushers to help out if needed.
‘As a sign of respect. it’ll be a nice gesture’
Before I could say ‘Absolutely not’, she had gotten up already and grabbed the bottle of wine, smiling at me like we were both in on a conspiracy. I forced a fake smile to cover my perplexity and followed her, ignoring the suggestions the emcee felt it was his duty to make. The crowd laughed.
Halfway to the guests, I realised I didnt know which of our parents she was planning to serve. If we served one pair, the other would definitely be slighted
‘Wifey…’I whispered through clenched teeth, but she was waving away and smiling at everyone. Prom queen mode. She really loved this thing.
When we strolled past our parents’ tables, my fake smile slipped a little But wifey kept going. Just as I reached out to grasp her elbow, tired of the ‘idiot’ feeling I had going on, she stopped.
Pastor and Mrs P’s table.
They seemed amused. Surprised too. Mrs P got up to hug her. The church members in nearby tables whooped. With a flourish, she held out the wine bottle to me, to open of course, while she basked in their praises. She then collected it from me and filled their glasses.
Now, we were free to go back to the couples spot. Amidst comments from the emcee who was starting to get on my nerves.
Was I the only one that thought what just happened was a tad bit weird?
‘What was that?’ I asked her through my fake smile
She just laughed and planted a peck on my cheek, much to the delight of the crowd.
I just should have known this was not going to be the end of it…
No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no! This can’t possibly be happening!
I was having a heart attack, cross my heart and hope to die. Really. I refreshed the Internet Explorer window again and tried to open the word document. I got the same error message that the file I was trying to open was corrupt and could not be opened. I ejected the flash drive and tried it on another laptop. Same results.
Kai! T’emi bami!
That wretched stick of a thing had somehow gobbled up my project and I was due to show it to my Supervisor. Unfortunately for me, my supervisor is stationed at Idi-Araba, not Akoka, so I always have to make the dreaded weekly visits there to meet with him. And if you had a sadistic supervisor like mine, you would realize that you didn’t even need a ‘world-people’ flash drive for him to do you ‘strong thing’.
In fact, my predicament would have him doing cartwheels in glee.
There was only one person that came to mind in that instant and I called her up immediately, knowing she would have a solution sha.
“Hey what’s up!”
“I need your help.”
“What’s the matter?”
“Please tell me you’re still at home.”
“Why, what’s wrong?”
“My stupid flash is corrupted! And I have to show Ajayi my Chapter six today!”
“Everything is on my desktop at home. I just need someone to send it to me.”
“Okay, let me see…”
“You’ve left already abi?”
“Yeah but don’t worry about it.”
“Ah, how will you do it now?”
“Shebi you can access your emails from Idi-Araba now?”
“Yes but I don’t want to put you out like that oh, I’ll just rush back and pray that there’s no traffic.”
And Dr. Ajayi will gladly kick me out of his office for being late.
“Don’t worry, I’ll email it to you.”
“Are you sure?”
“Of course! Don’t worry about it.”
“You’re simply the best!” I gushed, relief washing over me.
“Haha, and I know it!”
“Thanks a million, I owe you big time!”
“Yup you do! Give me like twenty minutes.”
“Okay, oshey ore mi!”
What ever would I do without that girl?
Bimpe is simply the best friend and sister anyone could ask for. She is the Martha to my Mary in the practical sense of it. She is as organized as I’m scatter-brained and the thing with my project is just one of many instances where she’s come in and saved the day.
Who went to face off my Landlord when he suddenly decided to disconnect me from power supply? Who plans our shopping and cooks for the week on weekends? Who helped me pick out the dress to wear to my class Dinner? Who helped me sort things out when my junk-heap of a car was burgled and my laptop and handbag stolen? Me, I just had a total meltdown. Who was there to kick my butt through second semester exams last year when I lost my mum?
Now you’re starting to get the gist.
We had been roommates in Moremi in year three and we got along so well even though we were in different faculties. We decided to step up to the Big Girls level in our final year, so we got BQs in Ozolua and stayed just around the corner from each other.
We were more than Besties, she was more like the sister I always wished I had. I had even introduced her to the Connected Family and she had been a big hit. She had dazzled at the cookout and when the, ahem, Landlord put her on the hot seat, I was beaming with pride as I read the chat. She got the keys to her mansion straight off. That was why I was doubly excited when Capt’n Zii gave me gist of this road trip to Ghana. When I got back home that day, I was bursting to tell her the news.
“Connected is organizing a road trip to – wait for it!!” I started dramatically and she laughed. I started to make dramatic drumming sounds.
“Hope everything went well with your supervisor?” she asked and I ignored her. That one was past tense joor. I was talking legendary stuffz here and she’s bringing up Mr. Ogre.
“Gee, can I come?”
“Of course! Why do you think I’m telling you? Zii has warned me not to show my face if you’re not there too!”
“I’ve thought the whole thing through.” I said and she gave me a dubious look. Everyone knows I’m soooooo not the planner. “We have to go by air, but we can save cost if we share a room. We can also save on feeding by taking some edibles along. Then we can…”
“Really? We’ll share a room?” she interrupted. “The both of us?”
“Yeah. We could save more money if we got a bigger room and shared with two other people but I guess it’ll be better if it’s just two of us. The cost shouldn’t be too bad and I’m sure we’ll be fine. Worst case, I’ll pull the Baby-Sis-card with my Brother and get some money off him.”
“You’re willing to do that for me?!” She asked getting all mushy. Bless her, she was such a sentimental wuss.
“Of course! It’s going to be such an amazing trip, we’re going to have such fun!” I said literally bouncing off the walls in excitement. I gave a silly little laugh and she laughed too, getting infected with my excitement. Then she threw her arms around me and kissed me smack on the lips.
“I love you Boo, I’m so glad I found you.” She said earnestly.
I pulled back from her, totally lost for what to do or say!
There i said it- being single, when you dont want to be, can be hard.
I mean, i appreciate being able to come home tired and decide all i will do before going to bed is watch Gilmore girls for like the 4th time. And I appreciate that I have a lot of ‘Me’ time that I can dedicate to the things that are truly important to me. And yes, I really, really appreciate being able to call my family and saying’Hey guys, I got this 10 month opportunity in Tanzania which I really want to explore so… adios amigos’
2 good people are better than one (Bible; 1 chases 1000, 2 chases 10000).
Plus… (I was just about to quote this really great line from ‘Shall We Dance’ but I’ll save it for when I use the quote as the title of one of my writeups- its that awesome)
Plusss. That romance part- i want, i want, i want.
Plussss. I want to be building my life with someone special. Even if its hard.
Anyway, I’m going to put down the top ten things I hate about being single.
No, I am not trying to trick you into reading some motivational speech, hidden under some inflammatory topic.
I really want to share the top ten tips to wasting your life.
I mean there are 6 billion lives on this one planet alone- why does everyone have to be reaching for a higher purpose? What does is matter if like 1 million are simply here to take up space and use up oxygen?
Anyway, hope you have your pen and paper ready. Or not.
Dr Reuben wasn’t a man given to starting his day with a preface, at least not before his colleagues. In the lab, he would simply start off from where his last activity was paused. Lately, he had been more preoccupied than distracted, as he rather put it, with admin work, given the fact that his boss, Head of DiVivo was retiring in a matter of days, and Dr. Reuben assumed he should be next in the line to take the venerated position. Fifty seven more days, to be exact. Anyone could have easily mentioned that it was only two months away, but to Dr. Lucman Reuben, it was a countdown.
If only anyone had the effrontery to ask him, he would have unmasked the boyish thoughts under this tough half Jewish half Lebanese skin, and told them it was fifty seven days, eighteen hours, forty-four minutes… and thirty two… one… thirty seconds to the end of Prof. Usu’s tenure, and then the beginning of his. Continue reading Two Lives and a Soul by Ojay Aito #23→