Musings of a happy Feminist by Abisola Agboluaje

My name is Ajike and I am a happy feminist. My friends can’t wrap their head around my seeming obsession with what they regard as a foreign and impracticable ideology that sets women on a revenge mission. You see, society has defined the place of a woman from the start of time and every woman who has dared challenge these limitations has been repeatedly tagged rebellious, purposeless, unworthy of emulation. The tremor that accompanies the word ‘feminist’ is caused by an imagery of retribution; a woman who wants to defy society and subsequently pay back every man she comes in touch with in the coin her predecessors were paid.

So like the rest of my kind, I am not interested in relegating the man-folk neither am I on a mission to prove the supremacy of my sex. The basic most guiding principle of my life is balance which is why I can absorb the message of equilibrium that feminism propagates and the sensitizing doze of harmony that accompanies it. With religious justifications such as ‘woman was created from the rib bone of man’ and cultural ones like ‘the place of woman is in the kitchen’, it is easy to settle into a role of conformity and act the script out. But while society might define roles, it is absolutely incapable of structuring a being; fierceness, the desire to be oneself, choosing a path to travel. The underlying distinction between the act of doing and the art of being is the route of escape for those who are called feminists, whether by admission or by action. This includes men who watch their women become tomboys and guys who don’t force their girlfriends to pound yam.

A popular social media personality was entangled in a web of dilemma over the weekend. First, her husband of just over a year was reported to have impregnated his ex. Second, she was abused and chastised by several members of the public for being less of a woman and causing her husband to mess up. Interesting, you would agree.

Let me state here that each relationship possesses peculiarities that are exclusive to the parties involved and as logical as a speculation may be, the reality of a relationship is totally subjective.

But for the sake of this discourse, let’s revisit the topic of infidelity and the place of a woman in it.

At a surprise lunch party organized to celebrate my birthday some weeks ago, a young woman made a statement that interested me and doused my spirit simultaneously. In her words, ‘men would always cheat’. This led to a heated debate that left some parties unconvinced and insulted while the feminists among us resigned to what seemed like fate. The lady who made the statement attended the event with her partner who did not attempt to refute her stance or corroborate it. He assumed an aura of indifference and disinterest to the debate that had the lady’s friend supporting his partner. Whether he had in anyway contributed to his partner’s position on the debate was unclear. His vibe was impermeable and for the sake of peace, nobody dared ask him what his thoughts were.

I am familiar with hearing men say ‘iran okunrin lo n she agbere’, a Yoruba phrase for ‘men have always cheated’ but to hear it from a woman who argued that it was better to accept this ‘fact’ and avert an incident of heartbreak, was a decline in whatever progress I thought I had made in selling feminism.

Yes, men cheat. But what about women? As painful as cheating may be and as much as it has contributed to breaking several homes and relationships, it is really just a potential flaw that manifests in human beings, men and women alike. Men cheat and it is declared a public phenomenon, but what about women? With the hostility that encounters homosexuality in this part of the world, the odds that men cheat with their kind are very low. I know a man who is an open cheat but swears that the day he catches his wife cheating shall mark the end of their marriage. If it is ok for men to cheat, why is the rule different for women?

Typical of many Nigerian homes is a scenario where the wife of a cheating man threatens to park her things out of the house. Usually, her mother-in law would sit her down to advise her to shut her eyes to her husband’s infidelity and concentrate on her kids. After all, that was the method she deployed. This same woman would be the first to throw her daughter-in law’s things out of her son’s house if she ever did as much as hug another man. What’s more ridiculous is that the wife’s family members would visit their house and tell the husband, ‘daddy Sola, eyin naa la ma be’ meaning ‘Daddy Sola, it is you we shall beg’. Putting it clearly, it is the sole responsibility of a woman to hold the forefront of the home together.

If a cheating man is indifferent to the collapse of his marriage, why should a woman care?

So yes, a faction in this debate is quick to point an accusing finger at the woman for her man’s ‘slip’. The list is endless. ‘If you don’t take care of your looks, your husband will look outside.’ ‘No man wants a woman that is too dependent on him, get a job.’ ‘Never say no to a man when he asks for sex.’ ‘Make your marriage priority, your career should be secondary.’ And for the men folk, you hear ‘a man is never ugly’.

Mothers discourage their girl children from breaking up with abusive and cheating boyfriends and teach them to learn the art of forgiveness. Their logic is that all men are structured that way and it pays to stick to one cheat than experience life through several cheats. LOL. Natural biologists. They ask boys to wash the cars while girls cook meals. They forget that girls can own cars too.

My friend made a point yesterday that stuck to me. He asked if I understood the potency of music. How it can rejuvenate a worn mind or annihilate a budding psyche. He doubted if feminism could make headway with mere speeches and write-ups in the face of vulgar music that ridicules womanhood and continually ascribes more importance to ‘bootays’ and ‘boobies’.

We may boast of more seasoned women surgeons than we had in the past, vibrant female politicians who are making headlines, a list of senior pastors who wear skirts and a Chimamanda Adichie who is a global pioneer of feminism. But is that really enough? Have we accomplished anything if it doesn’t reflect in the homefront?

Don’t they say charity begins at home? What is true equality if it’s not between a man and his woman or putting it differently, a woman and her man?

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2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 37,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 14 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

The Lone Bat

Greg Davis shifted impatiently. The plane had arrived for some minutes now, “What’s keeping him?” he wondered. He checked the printed photo again, no there was no way he would miss Philip.

Philip, a stranger he had lately began to see as a best friend. With him, he felt a closeness he had never felt with anybody. Every time he remembered he always felt grateful he had logged on to his Twitter account that day. He had been quite broke and so was cranky that evening and had been looking for a fight he could join in or someone he could attack. He had been pleased to stumble on a hash tag #doctorsovernurses; it was a good excuse to vent his frustration with his profession; the bad pay and a government that allowed Nurses to think they could compete with Doctors.

He hadn’t been able to control himself, he had jumped on it venting and even getting abusive with anyone who had contrary opinions, there had been a particular handle that was trying to be Impartial, he wasn’t for the Doctors neither was he in support of the Nurses, Greg had gotten furious when the individual behind it tweeted that he was a Doctor but he practised in America. His response to the tweet had been unlike him and even some of his friends on Twitter had been shocked.

“Shut up there fool, idiot, mad man. You probably make hundreds of thousands of dollars every year whereas I have to go on strike before I can be paid some change here.”

He had felt sorry about it afterwards and had been surprised to get a notification that the handle was now following him. He had followed back and proceeded to send a direct message where he apologized for his behaviour.

A sudden scream knocked him out of his reverie. “Daddy, daddy” a child called jumping excitedly. The passengers were finally out, Greg tucked the print out into his pocket; I don’t need this to recognise Philip. he decided. His heart raced in excitement, “my life is about to change for the better.” He scanned the faces of the passengers as they walked into the arrival lounge and it didn’t take him long to spot Philip. His smile got wider as Philip spotted him.

“Welcome to Nigeria brother.” he said ignoring the hand Philip offered and giving him a hug instead.

******

The three men; The Orator, Vector and the Profiler were at the meeting place, at the stroke of midnight as they had been several times during the past five years.

This was going to be their final meeting. Five years it had been, five years of patience during which they had developed a product several companies had simply considered too arduous and unprofitable to embark upon. But they had been sure it could be done, the plan had been perfect and the determination strong. Develop the product, test its efficacy and in the absence of one, create a market for it.

The Orator, so named because he was the talker of the three, the one who handled the recruitment angle of the project had a self satisfied grin on his face. He was as usual dressed in a four piece suit. He was so used to wearing them that an employee had once said that one could assume he slept in one of such suites considering he was always seen in them.

He glanced at his colleagues, saw the excitement on their faces and checked his wristwatch. He allowed his smile to grow wider. Soon everyone would know about their firm, soon their names would be mentioned alongside that of the giants in the industry. They will be known as the guys who saved the world from doom.

He saw their cause as good, he liked to think of the last five years as a sacrifice for humanity, yes there were costs but the world would thank them in the long run, of that he was sure.

As a matter of necessity, their meetings were secret and known to the three of them alone. The project was big, capable of making them rich for the rest of their lives, yet it was sensitive and their intentions were bound to be misunderstood by a lot of people. They saw themselves as intellectuals, howbeit underrated ones. They had set out to embark on the project and put into action ideas that only brilliant intellectuals like them could appreciate.

The project was now complete and this meeting was in essence to celebrate their success but the Orator knew his colleagues had concerns and so he planned to address them.

For five years they had met in the basement of a Church, it was a church the vector had funded and which he regularly made financial contributions to. It didn’t matter that he wasn’t a follower of Christianity or any other religion, he had felt it necessary to invest in a Church and the priest had asked no questions. Later, it had been easy to approach the priest and let him know he would need the basement of the church from time to time for meetings with his fellow academic researchers. The priest had again asked no questions only begging him to be discreet.

“The Orator”, Vector, began. “This individual, the one we have chosen as the Bat, can he be trusted?”

“Yes Vector, I would like you both to know that the Bat has flown already.” The Orator replied. He had a lot of respect for the Vector. The orator had wooed him over from a much bigger and rival company Six years earlier when the idea had blossomed in the mind of the Profiler and he had shared it with him.

“I want you both to look at this”. The orator said passing across to them a file each.

He saw that the third man in the room eyed the file with wariness. He was a man who didn’t trust easily but yet was one of the best minds in the industry. A lot of people in the industry still didn’t understand what a man of his standing was doing in the Orator’s company when he could be with the best. But the Profiler as he was called was a man with dreams and visions of his own. A man who although appeared frail and harmless had some of the most extreme ideas the Orator had ever heard.

******

The Bat peered at his face in the bathroom mirror. “So dark”. He muttered. He thought of his quarry and smiled. He was going to do a perfect job. This was nothing like the jobs he had done before but it was by far the easiest. In fact, to him it had sounded too easy and enjoyable to resist and so far everything had gone better than he planned.

The one thing he had hated most about his life from childhood was his skin, he hated that he was black and couldn’t understand why his skin couldn’t be White and his hair soft and wavy. He had been unable to stand his family and their obsession with staying true to their African roots, the son of West African immigrants, he had grown up in a household where the parents spoke their African dialect to each other and then English to the children. His parents had even tried forcing them to eat their local food, something indigenous to a tribe in Nigeria. He hadn’t cared to know what tribe it was, he just had never been interested, he had hated his parents, blamed them for not working hard enough to be able to afford a house in a neighbourhood that had more white faces and every time he was taunted for being Black, he hated his parents more.

The moment he entered into college, he had broken off contact with everyone. He had simply disappeared and watched with amusement as his parents declared him missing, Crime channel had even done an episode about him, he had watched his mom cry on television asking anyone who knows her son’s whereabouts to give information and vowing not to stop looking for her son. He had felt nothing seeing their grief. He was just glad he could live as a ghost without the stress of having a family who watched and criticized his every action.

He dropped out of College, moved to a different state and entrenched himself into crime. He determined he was better off without friends, at least permanent ones. He had quickly gotten a reputation as a hit man of repute and before long he was carrying out international operations and had even been employed by a few top politicians.

This job however was going to be the one he will enjoy most. He wasn’t a fool; He might have dropped out of college but he was smart enough to realize whatever was in the canister he had been given had to be deadly.  He had been contacted by an individual who had simply introduced himself as the Orator about Six months earlier. By mutual agreement they never had any meetings; their discussions had been via DMs exchanged through anonymous Twitter handles. Although his customer had been tight lipped about the operation and the reason behind it, he had been able to make some deductions of his own. Seeing the container the Orator had said contained the item he was to use for his mission, he had been awed. It looked like something out of a Science fiction movie, it was cylindrical, made of stainless steel and he hadn’t believed it was possible to get something into or out of it until the Orator had explained how he was to use it. He knew he was about to be part of something big and exciting and he had been even more excited when he learned of his target.

If what he thought was what was about to happen, he could even do the job free.

******

The Orator scanned his partners’ faces as they went through the file. He expected them to be impressed. “The Bat will be transporting the item in the latest RTP Bio Hazard transport technology so the item’s containment during transport and transfer is assured. Going through the file, you will also see he is a professional and as such I am positive we won’t have any problems.”

“This is quite impressive.” Vector said. “I was at first sceptical you recruited a Black for this job but going through this, I don’t think we have a problem.”

“Congressman Darlington, Anatoi Kalakov, Saif Khan, Ju wang Huo the Billonaire?” The profiler asked.

“Yes, he did all four jobs. He is quite in high demand.”

“I think he would do”, the profiler said. “But please we have to be extremely careful. This cannot be traced to us in any way.”

“I assure you of that”. The Orator said. “He has been paid an advance of 500,000USD and the balance will be paid after the job is complete.”

He caught the question in the profiler’s eyes and answered it. “It’s all very safe. Our contact in the Cayman Islands arranged it. So gentlemen, there is nothing to fear.”

******

Greg had been flattered that an American Doctor would take a great interest in him. After he apologised, they had chatted severally in DMs and had later taken to becoming friends on black berry messenger. He would tell Philip about his frustrations as a medical Doctor in Nigeria while Philip would tell him how hectic but rewarding his own life as a Doctor in Washington D.C was.

And now three months after they met Philip Bender was in Nigeria just to meet him. He had told him he was on leave and would want to know Nigeria and Greg had even joked that perhaps he will meet descendants of his ancestors and wouldn’t even know it.

He was so excited; he had told his friends during their Friday night out about his American Doctor friend who was travelling all the way to Nigeria just to meet him.

A lady? They had all asked and he had told them it was a guy to which they had given him odd looks that seemed to say “Please don’t tell me you have suddenly discovered you prefer guys”. He had assured them there was nothing of such and promised to bring him to their Friday outing.

His friends would warm up to Philip so easily, he was so charming, intelligent and had genuine interest in Nigeria. He couldn’t wait to show him off.

Philip had told him he wanted to have a firsthand experience of how the Nigerian healthcare worked but Greg couldn’t take him to his place of work. So instead he had offered to take him to a private hospital where he worked whenever he was free. The owner was a businessman so Greg was basically the chief medical practitioner there, the staff respected and deferred to him as though he were their boss. He knew he could get away with taking Philip there.

***

The Bat opened the false bottom of his suitcase, picked the small container and caressed it. “You are the Bat, you give this to people, but it doesn’t kill you so you have to handle with care”, the Orator had said, “This little thing is going to change the world, but that change will start from Africa, from Nigeria.” He was to ensure he didn’t tamper with it until it was time to use it. It was that deadly.

He placed the container, the water resistant gown, mask, goggles and the special Gloves that came with them in his messenger bag. It was time to perform his task. He heard his new friend call out to him that it was time to go. “Africans.” he muttered, “eternally trusting and hopeful”. Greg had hinted that he would like to discuss his promise about helping him secure a job in America that night but the Bat planned to be long gone by then. He picked up the bag and went to meet his friend.

*****

That afternoon Greg wanted to impress his friend; he had a strange desire to show him that Nigeria wasn’t as backward as the West thought it was. He drove through Lekki, showed Philip the beautiful roads and buildings. He told Philip that Nigeria produced some of the best doctors in the world.

Philip had sounded interested, so he had added;

“Do you know, Philip, that there are over 2000 Nigerian Doctors in the state of New York alone?”

“Hmmm, yeah,yeah. That’s true.” Philip had agreed.  “Of course you are right, I know quite a few.”

They were on their way to the private Clinic, Greg had gotten a call about a seven year old boy who had symptoms similar to that of Malaria, and he had made Philip promise to help review the patient.

*****

The Bat’s heart beat in anticipation, he was going to complete his mission soon and then he could leave, collect his balance and as usual disappear into thin air. He allowed himself to wonder what the contents of his quarry could be. Poison? No it had to be something deadlier. It would change the world, the Orator had said. So it had to be something more considering the target he had been given.

He had entered the consulting room with Greg and had made a show of being a Doctor. He must have excelled at it because Greg had seemed impressed. He listened as Greg told the Nurses to admit the patient and set up a drip for him. He had waited till the Nurse was back at her station before telling Greg he wanted to check on the patient. Greg had been too happy to allow him.

“By all means, that’s how we Doctors are, always committed to the wellbeing of our patients, please do and let me know if you have any other recommendations. I need to see some other patients.”

Too easy, the Bat chuckled. He walked into the room and gazed at the young boy’s face. He was sleeping, they must have administered a sedative, he thought.

The boy was younger than anyone he had ever killed but that wasn’t going to stop him.

He wore the gown, mask, googles and gloves, brought out the container and carefully, he unlocked the lid, still being careful, he took the cylinder, opened the cover of the boy’s infusion giving set and placed the tip against it as he had been taught. “Five seconds” the Orator had said. When he was done, he covered the set, relocked the canister, returned it to his bag and discarded the protective clothing in the trash. He walked to the sink in the room and washed his hands as he had been instructed.

*****

Greg was upset.

“I am so sorry man, was she sick?” He asked.

“No, she wasn’t, I just hate myself so much right now, I should have been at her side, It’s what she would have wanted.”

“Don’t beat yourself up Philip, I understand how you feel. I was in school when my Mom died and no one contacted me because they didn’t want it to affect my exams. Of course I didn’t appreciate that especially since they buried her before I got back.”

“That’s horrible man, sorry about that.”

“Oh, I am fine, that was a long time ago. I should be the one consoling you. So what are you going to do now?”

I have to leave immediately. I have to be on the next flight. But I will be back, you can be sure of that.

“Wow, this is really painful o, there was so much we still had to discuss and you know I even promised my friends you will come along with me to our outing tomorrow”

“There will be time for that. I will be back.” Philip assured him.

****

The Bat brought out his phone as he took brisk steps towards the departure lounge. He logged on into the twitter account he had used to communicate with Greg, went to account settings and deleted it. Next he logged on to the account he used for the orator, sent a message that read. “Task complete” and deleted that too. Putting the phone inside his pocket, he dropped the messenger bag inside a trashcan ensuring no one saw him.

****

The three men monitored news out of Nigeria over the weeks that followed. After three weeks of waiting, the news came. CNN reported that a Seven old boy who had hitherto been thought to have died of Malaria fever was actually a victim of the deadly Ebola virus. The boy was said to be the index case in the country. The Doctor and two nurses who had attended to him were also said to be critically ill from what was suspected to be the same Ebola virus.

It was the good news they had been waiting for. All that remained was to wait for the virus to spread to the rest of Africa and for the death toll to reach several thousands of people. They would wait for the right time; just when the world was desperate enough for anything that could cure it, real or imagined and then they would present the cure they had developed to the world. They were going to be the saviours of the world.

*****

Another person who was monitoring the news was the Bat. He wanted to know what his quarry had been. There must have been a reason he was paid 1million USD just to travel down to any country in Africa and inject anyone with a serum that had been sealed in a bio weapon canister.  He had felt no pain or regret when he read that a young boy had died of a deadly virus named Ebola and that the Doctor who had treated him Dr. Greg Desi had also contracted the disease and died alongside two Nurses.

What had interested him instead was learning that Ebola was a virus carried by Bats, that the death toll could enter into thousands and that Africans might have themselves to blame for their consumption of the winged animals.

Bat. He chuckled, now he knew why the Orator had given him the hideous code name. He felt no pity for Africa; he was only slightly disappointed that the death toll was expected to be only in thousands and not at least millions. The whole continent was over populated anyway. Someone had to check that.

He has a Side Chick……

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Side Chick, Mistress, The other woman; She is that girl who shares your man or worse enjoys your man more than you do. . She is the one your man pings early in the morning just to tell her “Good Morning Beautiful”. When he is with her, he is this cool guy who knows all the cool joints in town, they both sing along to Dorobucci on the radio. She is the one he takes along when he goes on business trips. It is just more convenient, she doesn’t have to think of who to leave her children with, besides she is more fun, she is the one he does acrobatic sex with, the girl who has enough time and energy to match his libido. You on the other hand are the wife, the one he has “married sex” with – the ” flam-bam-bam-yawn-are we done yet” type.

Yes he comes home to you every night but how is that going? Does he still hold you close to him every night, do you guys still play and fight under covers or does he turn his back to you and acts like he is too deep asleep to notice you have been tapping him. Yes he still buys you stuff, bags, perfumes, dresses and stuff, that’s if you are lucky though but then he buys them to ease his conscience after he and the side chick has spent a whole day shopping or worse. If the side chick is the “nice” type, she makes him buy them for you. She goes “Baby, This perfume is nice, your wife will like it”, “She doesn’t need it.” he responds frowning because he is a bit uncomfortable his mistress is picking a gift for his wife but she prevails on him.

But then I have news for you, this side chick, she usually doesn’t want to take your place, She has a boyfriend or even a fiance and so has no desire to chase you away. No, it’s only learners that operate that way. The wise side chicks are comfortable being just that, they even add you as a friend on Facebook, and they follow you on Twitter (Trust me, you most of the time don’t know they are your rival). They like the pictures of your cherub faced children, when you post your hubby’s photo captioning it as world’s best husband and gushing about how you love him to bits. They comment on it, they go “Awww, I covet”. (Yes they really covet and errr, they are already getting the better deal).

Some will even buy presents for your kids on their birthdays. You may or may not know the gifts are from them, it all depends on how far gone your husband is in this game. He could act like he got the gift himself or tell you its from this friend or colleague of his; Mrs Lagbaja  she really likes the child as he is her son’s birthday mate. You even tell him to call so you can say thanks. Of course the Mrs Lagbaja or Mummy Tamedun is to make you not suspect. Saying Lara or Jennifer my friend wouldn’t have sounded so good.

It’s not like you are totally clueless, some days you ask yourself how come he no longer comments on your hairdo, other days you wonder why he seemed to be impatient or downright mean. It’s Saturday you need to cook three different soups so you could stock the freezer for the week, the floors need to be mopped, the bathrooms cleaned and yes you need to get to the market, not forgetting that you have to take Sisi to her ballet class and Bobo to his Violin lessons. Come evening, you are dog tired and depressed that you have just one more day in the weekend. You smell of Onion, Garlic, Breast milk and baby reflux. You need a hug, you go to dear husband in the Bedroom.

“I am so tired” you say. That’s an opening. You expect to hear “pele baby, why don’t you come lie down here for a while” Instead you hear “What’s that smell?” It’s so horrible, can’t you use a glove or something if you need to cut Garlic or Onions? jeez you can be so annoying.” You have an angry retort on your lips and if you are the no nonsense type, you let off, you give him a piece of your mind, “yada, yada yada”.

Finally your suspicions get the better of you. “I need to know”, you say, so you wait till he is fast asleep and pick his phone to check through (Meanwhile women who want to keep their sanity will not do this no matter the temptation). Your heart rate is 360 beats per minute, yet you can’t stop yourself. You go ahead and boom you get more than you bargained for. Not only is there a side chick, but they are so damn close, he discusses everything with her, he even tells her how much he hates seeing fishnet on your head, he tells her when your six month old had her first teeth, you wince when you read how he tells her he is preparing for work and she goes “Baby be careful o, don’t injure Big Joe with your zipper again, ayam not ready to starve for a week again o”.

You almost had a heart attack. Big Joe? That has to be his ….. “OMG, starve for a week, how often do they do it?” you thought fighting a sudden desire to go stab him to death. But wait oooo, when did he injure Big Joe that you his wife did not know? You check the date of the chat, it was about a week ago and that was when it dawned on you, “won ti gba oko mi” you murmur. “Yeh. I am a housekeeper and mother of his children. This lady is the wife.” Suddenly, it’s clear, you run your fingers through your hair trying to remember the last time you made love or the last time you even had a glimpse of his equipment – “Big Joe”. “O ti pe mehn!” You mumble. You had not made love in over 8 weeks and neither of you had missed it. As for Big Joe, it must be close to a year you saw it last. Lovemaking sorry “meeting your husband” became a middle of the night thing after your second child, no foreplay (ki lonjebe), he just runs his hand over your breasts and you get the message, you spread your legs , he climbs on you and it starts, you feel nothing abi small sha, you are just too fagged out.

It hurts but what can be done? You think of giving him a giving him a big slap on the back to rouse him and demand explanations, but you realize you don’t want that confrontation. Tell Mama? Oh no, you don’t want to do that. No third parties remember. Then you remember someone who wouldn’t tell anybody else; Google! You open the Google search and type “He is cheating, what to do”. There is so much information. Wow!” You say feeling some relief that it’s not just you. Millions of women are in your shoes, there is so much advice to choose from but in the end, it is you who decide on what to do.

First you reply the last message she sent to your husband. It came in after he slept so unread. She tells him to dream of her as she will of him. She says she would be expecting him by 11.am the next day. You reply her “He sure would dream of you darling. However please don’t expect him by 11 tomorrow, he might be late. He has an errand to run for his wife at that same time. Have a nice night dearie.” Your teeth is clenched as you type, yet you derive some satisfaction. This way he will know you know.

So what next? Its morning and you wait for him to say something, you wait to see if he will confront you, but he says nothing. You watch out of the corner of your eyes as he watches you when he thinks you are too preoccupied to notice. Its 10 a.m and he is yet to yake his bath.10.30 am and still he is on the bed. You don’t offer him food even though you made his own portion. You wait till 11 am and tells him you need to talk to him. He doesn’t respond so you start anyway. You talk about how things had to change, that you need to shed and or share some responsibilities. Henceforth, ballet practice and Violin practice will be his call. Yes, he thought house helps were unnecessary but you need one and intend to get right away, this person will resume at 7am everyday and close at 7pm.  Friday nights would be date nights, you two alone anywhere but the house. You intend to go on summer vacation, Seychelles to be precise and he would be coming along. He listens to everything you say and at the end he says. “I am ready to do all you want”. I am sorry Babe”. But you say nothing.

Baby Poop, Perineum and other Motherhood Things

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Motherhood is work and errrr fun. I have had ssome really cool experiences and I have learnt more than I imagined I would. Will like to share some.

Enjoy.

 

It’s not always malaria when it feels like Malaria. I remember being quite sure I had malaria, getting an anti malaria drug and then quite characteristic of me developing cold feet about using the drug. I also remember Hubby diagnosing every ailment possible except for pregnancy. A week later, I was glad I didn’t use the drug.

 

The mirror can actually be your best friend or your worst enemy. Second trimester I was glowing, loving my skin and full hair and enjoying the comments of “pregnancy suits you”. Too late I realized I should have done a pregnancy photo shoot then because fast forward to third trimester I was looking like a Whale, carrying an extra 16kg around, a face that could scare children and discovering that getting out of bed or off a chair can be an event. And of course I avoided anything that could show my reflection.
Interesting thing is most of the weight is gone now, it went so fast it felt like I slept one night and woke up the next morning several kilograms lighter.

 

That my shoe size will increase from 37 to 39!! How come nobody ever mentioned that? Thankfully though I have my feet back.

 

That Pregnancy adds some weird words to your vocabulary. I now know some interesting words. Words I never imagined existed. Stuff like; Meconium which by the way is a fancy name for baby’s first poop (that black gelly stuff that looks like tar), Lanugo,Lochia,LineaNigra,Striae,Apgar,Apnea,Eclampsia,Episiotomy,Perineum,Vernix,Fundus and other really outlandish words.

 

Nollywood’s motto should be “mis informing the public since 19 gbogboro while that of Google should be “Best friend ever”. We all know that in Nigerian movies, the sign someone is about to give birth is the person suddenly doubles over in pain screaming about how her back and limbs no longer belong to her. Trust me reality is not that sudden, chances are you would mistake the initial pain for something else.

 

Love at first hearing is also real. I always imagined my baby would be placed in my arms immediately after birth and looking at him we would have this moment of “my sweetie, my love” with tears dripping down my eyes. In reality though, it went like this; I was lying there knowing my baby was out and wondering why I couldn’t hear him crying. I started asking why he wasn’t crying and everyone burst into laughter wondering how I couldn’t hear his cries which was threatening to bring the roof down. And then I heard it as soon as they said it. What I felt at the sound of his voice cannot be described, all I know was I was murmuring “My baby, My Love, please let me see him”

 

That the protective instinct would be immediate.
Seeing my baby placed beside me, the only thing I could think of apart from how beautiful he looked was how risky it was to place an infant on a bed which had no railings, beside a mother who couldn’t stand up to save herself. I placed an arm around my baby and ignored the nurses trying to tell me that “Newborns don’t move”

I was vindicated when I woke up to find my baby had somehow managed to curl himself up into a ball and moved his head to place his cheeks on my shoulders, I wanted to scream “Where is that shediot who said newborns don’t move”? but instead tears welled in my eyes at the sweetness of it.

 

That my breasts are actually connected to my brain.
I mean who knew? That seeing my baby burrowing his cheeks against my chest or hearing him cry will make breast milk to start dripping all over my dress.

 

That someone could give you sleepless nights and you would still think they are the best ever. Since my baby arrived I have hardly slept a cumulative of three hours a night. But I found it easy to look on the bright side and have found delight in maximising our Dstv subscription. Who knew they showed really cool movies between 1 a.m and 5 a.m.

 

That I could compose songs; My list of composed songs grow every day, everything from turning my baby’s names into a rhyme to making a song about an event as gross as my baby doing the poop.

That it would be so easy to forget the pain, it’s barely six weeks after and I can’t remember how the different kinds of pain felt like. Looking back, it looks like it wasn’t all that bad.

And then these two really weird things;
1. That I will be such an expert on baby poop. I actually Googled and committed to memory the different colours, textures and look of baby poop for every stage of development in the first year. Each diaper change sees me examining my baby poop to ascertain everything is fine. Gross shey?

2. Baby can somehow tell when Mama is eating. Every time I eat my baby cries for food, he even wakes up if he is sleeping. It sounds farfetched but it has happened too often to be just a coincidence.

Baby Simone……by Anjola Olukoga

 

 

maternity-photographs1

This was written by a friend who claims not to be a writer but was inspired by the life growing inside her.

I hope this makes you go “Awwwww”….as it made me.

 

 

………Baby Simone

Science calls you a foetus but I call you “my baby”. I call you Simone.

You are no foetus,you are a human being but they don’t know.

How can they? When they don’t feel what I feel.

 

………Baby Simone

A rumbling in my tummy……not hunger,not worms its Simone playing in her Duplex.

I lift my dress for a view when no one is looking and my face beam with joy at the sight of my stomach making waves like the Ocean.

I look around for who to share this awesome wonder with and realize its our secret. Baby Simone’s and mine.

The only other person who gets a sneak peek to our world is daddy but even he does not know the half of it. Only what Simone chooses to reveal when daddy is rubbing mummy’s tummy.

 

………..Baby Simone

A push against my stomach wall after hours of calm,a sight of one part of my stomach suddenly engorged than the others….
And I smile realizing Simone is awake and ready to play.
Its amazing how even in the womb, I know her waking and sleeping hours.
A wonder that my sleeping and resting time is Simone’s favorite playing time.
Her movements are rattling and beautiful at the same time and I wonder how much longer before I can hold this lithe being in my arms.
Its a privilege, a blessing to house this growing wonder in my body.
A beautiful privilege.
I am truly wonderfully and fearfully made.

 

……..Baby Simone
Why can I tell that you are so beautiful?

Perhaps because your movements are so graceful,firm,purposeful and yet strong.

My baby,you have a way of telling me

“mummy slow down I want us to rest”

You just start tapping my cervix with your legs or do you use your head?
I know you are beautiful ‘cos I dream of you all the time and ‘cos you have also made me beautiful.
I have never looked better;
A Ripe body,glowing skin,fuller breasts,bigger backside,fuller hair,a massive stomach that keeps everyone guessing whether I am carrying two or three.
But I know its just you Simone.

Simone……
I don’t know the day, but I know someday soon you will be in my arms.

That day I will cover your cute face with kisses and release you only so daddy could hold his darling.

From that day;
I promise to be your angel here on earth.
I promise to teach you the way of God.
I promise to love you with all of me.
My beautiful baby. You are a masterpiece,fashioned by the greatest sculptor of all times.
And my body was chosen to house you!
What a wonder.
I am indeed fearfully and wonderfully made and so is my baby Simone.

It’s Not Important….

This was originally posted on my former blog: toyinfab.blog.com

In case you missed it: enjoy.

imagesCAFHZEN01

I looked at him and wished I could rest my head on his shoulders, the urge was so strong and I was having a hard time controlling it, I thought of what he would think if I did it, I wondered if he would be appalled or just enjoy an opportunity to give comfort to a beautiful girl in need. Looking around, I imagined what the other occupants of the bus would think too. His face was handsome and clean shaved with no stubble in sight, a smooth face; just what I needed to run my palms over, I thought sighing. I thought of saying hello but decided against it.

I needed comfort badly, a massive headache was just reaching its peak, my heart too was aching from hurt and my eyes from the sleepless night. The last time I closed my eyes was 2.00 am when I saw the message, I silently rebuked myself for giving in to the temptation to read Juwon’s messages, I should have gone back to sleep after using the bathroom which was what woke me in the first place, but I had seen my Blackberry beaming its red light, checked it and saw I had a message on my Blackberry Messenger, I should have known that whatever Juwon wrote will only make me depressed.

***

It was the usual topic that causes all our flights, the question of when I would join him in the states,I sent him a message on BBM telling him how I thought the ring he placed on my finger for three years now was a sort of a bondage and not really signifying any intention for marriage. I told him I was going to ship his ring back to him unless he comes around to see my people and choose a day for our wedding, I was annoyed and I conveyed it in my chats, I was sick of telling every man that comes my way off just because I have a ring on my finger,I told him of the days when I feel the need for a man to hold me, I told him of the lonely nights I spend in my flat, shivering from the cold and on hot nights wishing I had a man to stand up from the bed and put on my big generator, I told him how at my 30th birthday the previous month my mum had almost broken my finger trying to wrench off the useless (her words) ring on my fourth finger. I told him I didn’t understand how his wanting to concentrate on his PhD program affected our getting married, I reminded him that we still had a long way to go in preparing for marriage, I reminded him about how our bid to get a residency visa for me would only be possible after marriage and how that might also take a considerable amount of time, I ended my talk by telling him how much I love him and how much I hated to bug him.

Juwon was online throughout my ranting, I kept seeing the telltale ‘r” on BBM that signified he was reading, I waited for a response but I never got any, I was upset that he didn’t respond, I dialed his number but he didn’t pick, after like an hour of tossing,turning and hissing I went back to sleep only to wake up at 2.00am and see his response, the one that kept me awake for the rest of the night.

*****

The bus was stuck in the usual traffic, I checked the time and I saw I still had at least an hour to get to work before I could be considered as late, that meant I could relax and take my mind off the traffic, I checked out his shoulders again, strong I thought once again pushing away the desire to rest my head on it. I imagined how it will feel if he wrapped me in his arms and pushed the thoughts away. I looked at the messages, went back to the response and my heart ached yet again as I read it;

“I can’t sleep……”

“I keep thinking of why you disturb me about these things every time”

“I am wondering what it is that is chasing you and putting you in such a rush”

“please I need peace of mind to face my studies here…..stop pestering me with things that are not important.”

“However, if you are so much in a hurry then……..”

If there was a suggestion I could give RIM it will be that they should make the BBM application such that you could underline some words in messages for posterity sake. In my mind I underlined the “pestering”, ‘‘unimportant things” and the “if you are so in a hurry….” part. To Juwon, my desire to be his wife was not important, my burning desire to get married at thirty was also not important and of course if I was in a hurry I could go to hell or whatever it was he meant by the uncompleted sentence.

******

I sighed and decided it really shouldn’t be important if I placed my head on the stranger’s shoulder so I placed it gently, he froze and then adjusted so I can place it well, I could feel the eyes of the other occupants of the bus boring holes into my back, but also shrugged it off as unimportant, they couldn’t be sure we were not lovers anyway and I quickly hid my ring finger. I saw it as unimportant when he asked for my name, phone number, Blackberry pin and office address. It didn’t really seem like a big deal when we met for dinner that very evening, neither was it a big issue when I spent a night in his house a week later.

****

“Hi baby, I am at the airport”

“You are traveling?” “To where? “

“I’m not traveling, I just arrived”

“You just did?” “Arrived where?”

“MMIA of course, I need you to come pick me”

“You didn’t say you were coming”

“Yeah, I didn’t…..it was meant to be a surprise but you don’t seem excited, I thought you would be.”

“I don’t?” “Oh, I am glad, just shocked. I will leave the house now” I said dropping the call before he could say another word.

My forehead broke out in perspiration immediately, I thought of the things I had done in the past one month and was filled with sudden shame.

I picked my phone hurriedly and began the necessary weeding of text messages and call history.

I stepped into the sunshine and flagged a cab, I told the driver to head for the airport and sat quietly at the back, my heart thumping with dread, I felt like my guilt was written all over me and tried to force excitement into my heart. It didn’t work so I started psyching myself up chanting ”the things I have done, Juwon must not know” all the way to the airport….

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Author: Toyinfab

Young, beautiful…..allergic to nonsense

Toyinfab has written 16 articles for us.

11 Responses

ololade 04/12/2012 9:01 pm

Nice one,keep it up

onceuponafatum 04/12/2012 9:43 pm

OMG! she better not tell him cos he will definitely use it against her to break-up with her. Great story …. I totally relate

Olasheni 04/12/2012 11:05 pm

Pls I need the tail end pls

9jaBloke 04/12/2012 11:55 pm

We uncannily provide the leverage for fate to throw the kitchen sink at us…………..sometimes! Quite an intriguing short story, one that holds so much lessons in that oft mouthed cliche: Had l known! Nice one Tosin.

ololade 05/12/2012 1:18 am

I totally agree wit u on dis one.

Mag Fawibe 05/12/2012 7:32 am

Nice piece Toyenyen!! Keep it up darling sister, I see you winning an award so day!

Somi 05/12/2012 9:42 am

Ha han… She should have told the Juwon guy that it was over na. Before moving on to the next one. After underlining all those key phrases in his chat, I thought she would give him marching orders, if she had then anything she does with the new one would be perfectly acceptable. Anyway sha…. Good work. Would love to read the next chapter.

Anonymous 05/12/2012 10:01 am

Nice one………

egbeyemi omorilewa 05/12/2012 11:20 am

ahh! aunty toyin dis one superb gani o!

zebbook 05/12/2012 7:32 pm

Wowza!!! Tuale mama, this is BEAUTIFUL!!! Kai, I love it mehn.

Bukola oyat 06/12/2012 5:47 pm

Wooh that’s great story can’t wait for d conclusion.

 

 

 

 

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