Tag Archives: children

Growing up too fast

growing up too fast

The other day when I was coming from church I saw this notice on our court’s gate; that all ladies from our court were supposed to meet later in the evening. I was tired already because of waking up early and the fact that lately I barely have enough time for anything other than school work (that’s the reason I seem so scarce on this vast blogosphere). For a few seconds I wondered why they would precisely ask for ladies to meet, given that normally all meetings are attended by both men and women.

In my rush to get home however, I forgot all about the notice.Later, at dusk, I realized I needed airtime so I grabbed a hoodie and left for the shop. The instant I stepped out I saw a group of women gathered from a far and that’s when it hit me; the meeting!

Confused, I went up the few steps and back to the house to regroup. I figured it was already too late to attend the meeting and since I needed the airtime urgently, I couldn’t just pass by them without stopping by, even if only to say hi. My big sister advised me to go find out what they were discussing, so I grabbed my phone, which I hadn’t cared to carry previously and left.

While I was going down the steps, I saw them start to walk away and immediately I knew the meeting had ended. Luckily, I bumped into mom, who had just come from the meeting. Boy was I relieved! I didn’t know she was there.

I said hi to the two women I know, and went ahead to help mom with the shopping bags. When I was going back to the house I heard the women discussing one of the issues they had discussed at the meeting and since they’re older than me, I left them to it as mom caught up with them. From what I gathered, it was about a Pastor’s daughter and from the tone of their voice, she had done something appalling.

I do not know any pastor in our court (I barely know my neighbours) nor do I know his daughter, so the discussion felt somewhat ‘alien’ to me. About fifteen minutes later mom walked into the house and curiously, we told her to share with us what had been discussed at the meeting.

“It was about how young kids are behaving. Nowadays, because they can easily access the web they download very X-rated stuff and now their parents are starting to find out. Our next door neighbour’s son for instance. He has a girlfriend. The other day his dad found out and when asked about it he just told his dad they hug.”

My jaw hit the ground when I heard that. The kid is around four years old, so I wondered what he could possibly be doing with a girlfriend.

“Mom, what is sex?” The young boy had asked innocently. The woman was shocked, to say the least.

What, in my opinion, parents fail to realize is that thanks to technology, nowadays babies – the operative word being ‘babies’ – know more than we would imagine on this taboo subject. Now what I keep repeating is, we can choose to bury our heads in the sand and pretend these kids are as naïve as they come on all matters sex, or we can grab that stubborn bull by the horn and tell them the age–appropriate issues pertaining to the matter.

Failure to do that will see children gathering all the wrong information from all the wrong sources and unfortunately, as it is turning out lately, they will grow into irresponsible young adults; my neighbours, who I mentioned in a previous post, for instance. Word had it that the two siblings had been engaging in sex, with each other.

Who’s to blame for such moral decay in the society? A society, where even four year olds – babies who have barely left the cradle – are only too eager to know about sex. It’s a fact; there’s very little we could do to erase all the information found online about sex, or even barring children from getting access to it; but I believe we can determine what sticks in their mind as ‘the truth’; and this can only be achieved by parents having healthy conversations with their children from as early as possible.

The unavoidable truth is kids are growing up too fast, and evading this topic will only have them get their infantile minds corrupted by other kids/adults. I don’t know much about kids really, but I’m of the opinion parents can start off by trying to gauge how much/little their kids know about it. From there they can set the record straight, if need be…and the earlier, the better.

And the curse lives on…

unruly kids

I was watching this youtube video-sleep deprived parent parodies classic Carmina Burana song. The ode to sleep deprived parents and terrorizing toddlers song was written by Matthew Hodge, an Australian father of three who was inspired by his one-year old son, who he hopes to show the video when he turns 21. The revamped song was performed by Sydney’s Philharmonic choir.

The musical was just amazing, with all the different voices co-ordinating beautifully. Other than that, it was also very hilarious, as it is the cry of an exasperated parent, who feels their toddler is driving them up the wall. Here are the lyrics:

O’ you terror!

Get down from there!

Mummy’s getting cranky…

Put my phone down.

Where are your pants?

What have you done with my purse?

Don’t throw those blocks.

What is that smell?

Why do you look so happy?

What’s in your mouth?

Who ripped that book?

Why won’t you just stop moving?

He’s on the chair!

Just standing there!

Wobbling like a drunk man.

Where is my mug?

What was that crash?

Who let you in the kitchen?

You’ve got a knife!

Put it down now!

Don’t wave it near your sister!

Put my phone down!

Where are my apps!

Who dialled triple zero?

Why won’t you sleep?

Is it your teeth?

I need another coffee!

My head’s so sore!

Look at the floor!

Cleaning will take forever.

What’s wrong with you?

What did I do?

Why do you do this to me?

I hope when you…

Have some kids too…

They drive you crazy!

I don’t have kids yet, but as I listened to the song some things felt familiar as I have babysat some friends’ babies. Even so, the lyrics had me in stitches. Towards the end of the song, the last few words caught my attention:

What did I do?

Why do you do this to me?

I hope when you…

Have some kids too…

They drive you crazy!

I have heard them so many times before; from my own mom. She’s said them to my sisters, and to me on so many occasions, when she’s pissed. Nowadays she doesn’t say them much though. I guess it’s due to the fact that nowadays we’re trying to respect and understand each other.

Those last words got me thinking; ‘what did I do?’ Nothing actually. I guess the writer’s parent(s) told them the same thing when they were young, ‘I hope when you have some kids too they drive you crazy!’ I’m imagining at least every parent has said that to their kid(s) at one point in their lives.

So in my opinion, parents pass down the ‘curse’ from generation to generation, and that is why anyone who has a toddler, or a child for that matter feels so exasperated as those kids grow. Obviously toddlers are difficult to handle, given that they think everything within their reach is a play toy. But, what if parents were like, “I hope your kids, don’t do this to you.” That would be a really nice thing.

Maybe then those little people wouldn’t be so unruly. And to think they do most of this exasperating stuff with angelic smiles on their little faces… Kids!

 

 

Should children have a say in who their parents date?

broken family 2

Relationships are really complicated, and even more for those with children, who tend to react negatively towards their parents’ new partners. I was watching this show about a guy whose wife died about three months later he found new love. However, his nine year old daughter, having heard a lot of negative experiences about step mothers from her friend, whose parents had already split up, hated his dad’s new girlfriend before she even met her.

Her friend’s experiences, plus incitement from her aunt-her mom’s cousin, who killed her hoping to get her husband-ruined the relationship between the young girl and her dad’s girlfriend long before it started.

I know I’ve also heard my fair share of stories-real and fictional-about wicked step mothers, but the man’s girlfriend was a very nice woman. She lost both of her parents when she was young and because of that she tried to be a kind, loving friend to the young girl, so it wouldn’t seem like she was trying to take her mother’s place.

After close to one year of dating the man told his daughter he was going to marry his girlfriend and that announcement worked the girl up into a frenzy. She tried everything; from faking a kidnapping, which was orchestrated by her malicious aunt, just so her dad would break up with his fiancée citing negligence, to ruining her wedding dress on the eve of her wedding.

In my opinion, I felt the girl had no right to meddle in her dad’s love life, but at the same time I felt the man had fallen in love too soon; he hadn’t given his daughter enough time to grieve her mom’s death. He started dating three months after his wife’s death and that didn’t feel like enough time for the girl to be receptive to a woman, who would be practically taking her mom’s place.

As I watched the once sweet girl pulling all sorts of evil pranks to stop the wedding, I found myself wondering: Do children have a right to say who their parents date? And should parents consider their children’s feeling before/when jumping back into the dating arena?

Some months ago, before mom quit her job, she told my sisters and I how their company’s managing director had his daughter shame him at work. The MD’s daughter, a law student at Harvard, had showed up at mom’s workplace, carrying bundles of papers, which she said were concrete evidence of her father’s shoddy deals.

She further said she would sue her father for embezzling company funds, forging his sister’s-her aunt’s-signature so he and another of their brother could steal money from the company, which belongs to the MD’s sister.

In addition to that, she went on to say how her father-the MD- had been having an affair with a girl her age. When mom told us this, she was saying it, in the opinion that the daughter was wrong for shaming her father like that, and in such a place where he’s held in high esteem.

I looked at the picture from two perspectives: one, the daughter was wrong for airing their dirty laundry in public. On the other hand, she could have done that out of anger, and frustration. I’m thinking that maybe she thought she would hit his dad where it hurt most.

Speaking from my own experiences, I’ve seen dad do some despicable things that left me in utter rage. I’ve contemplated doing unimaginable things just so I could get back at him. So from a daughter’s perspective, I do understand her.

To be fair, I’m also trying to understand her dad’s dilemma. What I can’t bring myself to understand is the fact that aside from embezzling funds, her dad had been cheating on her mom with a girl her age. I tried imagining what I would feel if I found out dad was cheating on mom with a girl my age and in a way I felt her anger was justified.

I shouldn’t judge; that much I know. I’m only trying to comprehend what could drive a daughter to such extents.

In a way I feel she sought of went overboard; no daughter should do that to her father. Sometimes family matters are best left within the confinements of a home. Then again, when I try to walk a mile in her shoes I realize chances are I would have done something worse.

It wouldn’t only be about dad cheating on mom; it would mostly be about the other woman’s age. Someone might say I’m being biased against the man… but here’s the thing; if dad did the same thing to mom, I wouldn’t be able to look at him the same way again. Plenty of the respect I have for him would be lost.

At the moment, I’m neither married nor with kids. So I can’t really speak for parents. From a daughter’s perspective though, I know I wouldn’t be okay with any of my parents cheating on the other. If they were divorced-God forbid-that would be a whole different thing but if it’s about doing it behind the other’s back and pretending to be happily married, then that would be unfair, even to my sisters and me.

Relationships are not the easiest thing in the world, and I’m not sure what feasible solutions can be applied to make all parties involved comfortable. All I know is that one should consider how their new relationship affects their children and partner, if they are already committed to someone else. It’s complicated, but with a little empathy and lots of dialogue we can find some middle ground.

Young and heavily laden

Life ain't always beautiful

This past Sunday after mass, instead of going back home I passed by the salon to get my hair done. I found my hairdresser fixing another lady’s hair so I even had time to go to a fast food restaurant for a quick lunch. By the time she started doing my hair it was already getting late. Mom called to ask where I was and later she came so we could go home together. She showed up with a neighbour’s baby, who is only nine months old.

Minutes later, a lady, who I assumed was the hairdresser’s acquaintance-based on how free they seemed with each other-passed by to wish her a good evening. When she saw the baby, she gleefully said she had twins of the same age.

Mom asked her how old her babies were and she said they were slightly over a year. Mom then told her the little girl was only nine months old. The lady nodded understandingly. “She’s younger than mine,” she said.

“It’s not so hard raising twins especially if one has someone to help,” mom said comfortingly. Again, I believe she said this because the lady seemed so young.

“I don’t have a nanny,” she said, seeming completely unperturbed.

“So who did you leave them with?” Mom asked, sounding a bit surprised.

“One is asleep and their older sister is taking care of the other.” The lady looked so young; it was hard to imagine her with an older kid. I’m assuming it’s because of her physical appearance that mom asked her how old her eldest child was and she said she was seven. The lady went on to say she had gone to buy food and needed to get back home soon. “I didn’t feel like going out today, but I had to because if I didn’t my children would suffer as I’m the sole breadwinner.”

“Don’t feel discouraged, babies are a blessing,” mom told her reassuringly.

“I consider them a blessing. It was hard after their dad got locked up but I still think of them as a blessing.”

“Why was he locked up?”

“He wasn’t even guilty of the offense they accused him off,” she explained nonchalantly. “He was arrested for illegal logging and since he could not afford the bail, he was sentenced to six months behind bars. When I went to see him some officer told me to sleep with him in exchange for his release but I refused. I wasn’t going to compromise my dignity for his freedom.”

“Couldn’t his boss bail him out?” Mom asked.

“The licence is too expensive. Since his boss knew that he just hid, letting him take the fall.”

That’s just so unfair. I thought. His boss let him take the blame when he was perfectly aware he was innocent. “You know, women are so bad,” she continued, a far off look in her eyes, as if in retrospect.

“Why do you say that?” Mom asked.

“They keep asking me how I can go for this long without getting laid… if I don’t miss it. But I tell them I’m too busy fending for my kids to even think about it. When my husband comes out I’ll be here waiting.”

“You are a strong woman,” mom applauded her.

“Life has been so difficult, especially after he got arrested. When I was giving birth I temporarily lost my mind.”

“Did you check into a mental facility?” Mom asked, a concerned look on her face.

“No, by the time I left the hospital with my new-borns I had already recovered.”

I was only looking at her through the mirror, but I could clearly see she didn’t seem bogged down by all the misery she had been through. I even thought she was too calm for someone who had three kids, a partner in prison and struggling financially, and with some mental illness.

“How old are you?” Mom asked smiling. I think talking to that lady and listening to her poignant story had her awed, like I was.

“I’m twenty seven.”

“You’re so young,” mom said, completely taken aback. I was shocked too. “And you’ve gone through so much.” The smile on her face faded away, and in its place was a forlorn look. “But don’t worry, life is like that sometimes. We only need to persist. Problems were not meant to last, right?”

“Yeah, it could be overwhelming. But I have my God with me. So I know things will be ok.”

The lady’s attitude really impressed me. She had gone through so many difficulties, yet she still remained optimistic; managing to laugh, even when I thought life had dealt her tremendous blows.”

Her attitude inspired me. When we go through traumatizing situations we become so negative, but this lady wouldn’t let tough moments drag her down. She was resilient, willing to overcome whatever challenges that sprung up in her life, including a mental illness, which I deduced had been triggered by too much stress.

Accepting and loving the disabled

living with disabilities 3

Is a disabled person as important as a person who is not disabled? That’s an odd question, right? But I’ll tell you why I’m asking that. On the news there was this story about a young girl, suffering from a mental illness. They didn’t specify what kind of mental illness the girl suffers from, but from what I gathered, it could be pyromania (a mental illness that causes a strong desire to set fire to things).
Her parents took her to hospital and she was given medication that contains the illness. Regrettably, at some point, her brother hit her on the head and the illness came back stronger than before and since then it has been difficult treating it.

One day her mom went out and when she came back she found her daughter had set all her clothes on fire. Furious, she brutally dragged her to a secluded shed in the compound and tied her up, in an attempt to stop her from destroying more things.

Days later, the girl’s hands started rotting; I’m assuming her mom tightened the ropes so hard, thereby cutting off the blood circulation in her hands. When she was taken to hospital, the doctor said the only way they could save the girl’s life was to amputate her hands. As we speak, the girl who I judged was in her teenage hood is not just mentally impaired, but also physically.

In all sincerity, I respect all the parents whose children suffer from any form of disability; because they require so much love and attention than an average child. If the girl’s mother had been caring enough, she would have sought treatment for her daughter instead of locking her up so inhumanly.

Now the poor girl is physically disabled. That means even if she later gets her mental illness treated, she will need prosthetic arms. She has an extra disability, thanks to her mother. Judging by the fact that her own brother also aggravated her mental illness, one would assume the girl lives in a hostile environment.

If she was a ‘normal’ child, I bet her family would have loved her a little bit more than they do at the moment. That’s why I asked in the beginning if disabled people are as important as those without disabilities, because some people treat them like they have no right to be on this earth; like they don’t have feelings.

What we need to understand is that they did not choose to be disabled; because in all honesty, who would love to be born with a disability, when it makes one require so much attention from their families/caregivers? Who would willingly choose to be a burden to anyone?

Any disabled person needs to be showered with affection, not to be treated like they are lesser human beings. I find empathy a solution to many things. In high school we were taught about this golden rule: to treat others the way we would love to be treated. For instance, that woman tied her daughter up in a secluded shed, instead of trying to understand the girl’s situation was triggered by an overwhelming health condition; would she like to be treated the same way, to an extent of having her arms amputated?

The girl lost her arms. If she was a burden to her family before, now she will be a bigger burden. She will need people to take care of her, more than she did before. I’m thinking, she will need someone to always take her to the bathroom everytime she needs to go, until she can manage to do without her arms. That’s just unfair.

She already had one disability; she didn’t need anyone disabling her more. The mother should have been more understanding, and loving. Sometimes when I fall out with mom, I always wonder, if she can’t understand me and she is my mother, who will understand me then?

Mothers should love their children the most. What’s the point of going through agonizing hours of labour to bring a child into this world then end up treating that same child so unfeelingly? And those things we wouldn’t want anyone doing to us, why do them to others?

living with disabilities
Disabled people require special attention, not to be mistreated. It’s not their fault they have impairments, which may prevent them from performing some activities. If anyone is taking care of a disabled child/person and they just don’t know how to handle their illness, they should seek help/advice from a professional.

Children; who will protect them?

sexually abused

The things people are doing nowadays, just to get laid? People have clearly lost their minds. On the news, there was this story about a man who has been defiling his daughter, for months. When arraigned in court, he said he had heard his daughter was sleeping around and wanted to prove she was still a virgin; how? By having sex with her.

I was about to start laughing at such absurdity, when I figured people have actually lost all their morals. Anything goes. What made the story even worse is that the said daughter got pregnant and her mother, afraid that society would judge her husband took the girl to have an abortion, so there wouldn’t proof of his perversion.

When I hear of such stories, I just feel parents are letting their children down. Parents are failing their own children, the same ones they are supposed to protect. That leaves me wondering, if parents are preying on their own flesh and blood, dirtying them in the most repulsive of ways, how then will strangers treat the same children with love?

I don’t know if it’s the in-thing, but there seems to be so many sexual assault cases, with parents as the main culprits. Like this other story I heard last week; a man had been arraigned in court for defiling his son for years. When questioned, he said the devil led him to do it. They do repugnant things, then give the most preposterous answers. Then again, how does anyone come up with a credible answer to such heinousness? There’s none!

How does one get such a precious gift, a child, then vitiate it in such a manner? I’ve mentioned my own mom in numerous posts, and as I’ve said before, she is not a perfect human being; nonetheless, she has done the best she can to ensure my sisters and I turned out right. She has taught us what it means to make sacrifices for loved ones.

With her marriage for instance; she hasn’t stayed with dad because she wanted to, but simply because she didn’t want us to grow in a broken home. Has she made choices I felt were wrong? Severally. Still, she never forgets how to be a mother. She may not be the strongest person I know, physically speaking, but if she were to take on someone bigger than her, just for my sisters and me, she definitely would. She could stand having someone treat her wrongly, but if it’s us on the receiving end, she opposes it with all her might.

Seeing the things mom has gone through to defend us from harmful situations, leaves me wondering why some parents cause their own children harm when they should be their protectors. How can a father rape the same child he sired, or a woman, the child she birthed? How does a parent kill their own child, just because they feel they can’t provide for them anymore?

Other men, on the other hand, defile their children because their wives denied them their conjugal rights. Seriously? I don’t know what kind of a mother I’ll be, but right now I feel that is wrong. There is no excuse in the world that could make any of the debaucheries sound right.

A father is not supposed to be involved in any sexual relationship with his children, whether it’s consensual or forced. It’s wrong. And neither is a mother. It’s just wrong. It doesn’t matter if one was sexually starved, going through a very painful breakup or did it under the influence; it’s wrong.

Sometimes women are aware of their children’s predicament (being molested by their own fathers) but because they feel they could be worsening the situation if they reported the crime, they become accomplices. It’s not easy revealing such sordid acts to people who might possibly judge, but before one becomes an accessory to their partner’s crimes, they should consider the defenceless victims; the children. Who will defend them?

sexually abused 2

When I look at small children I get the impression they feel their parents are superwomen/men. They feel their parents can protect them from any type of danger, big/small. So what happens when the same ‘supermen’ attack them and the ‘superwomen’ don’t do anything to stop the pain? The children are left scarred for life, unable to trust anyone.

If one can’t stop it, they should consult a friend, or a neighbour, church minister/priest…anyone who can help. It’s better to fail knowing you tried than to look back and realize you didn’t lift a finger.

The woman who had her daughter have an abortion had me wondering, how different is she from the husband, who defiled his own daughter? Their neighbours are the ones who called the authorities after the teenage daughter talked to one of them, when she freaked out on realizing she was pregnant.

In my opinion, it’s a parent’s duty to protect their children; to keep them from harm.

 

Fatherless

fatherless

One of my nieces, now aged four, is asking about her dad’s whereabouts. She was asking her grandmother, my aunt, “Do I have a dad?”

Her grandmother replied, “Yes, he came to see you when you were slightly younger. Don’t you remember?”

Obstinately she asked, “That far back? I don’t remember him.” I understand her. She’s only four; how much could she possibly remember from her past?

A few months after she was born I met her dad. He’d accompanied me and her mom to the clinic for her monthly post-natal check-up. At the time he seemed like just a teenager, and judging by the daughter’s queries, I’m assuming he’s joined the league of absentee dads.

My niece is currently in kindergarten. She’s starting to ask questions that all kids in her situation are bound to ask at some point. Sometimes single parents hope their kids will skip that phase because it poses many challenges in terms of what answers should be given and it’s difficult to ascertain if the answers given are age-appropriate. With my niece for instance, how does one begin to tell her that her parents conceived her when they were themselves very young so it would have been almost impossible for them to end up together then?

When I saw the guy who was said to have fathered her, I couldn’t believe it. He was so young; one could tell he wasn’t fully grown yet. I didn’t ask, but I presumed he was still in his teens. I commended him at the time for standing by his baby mama because many guys his age would just have ‘hit and run’. I don’t know when he started drifting away but nowadays it turns out he’s a complete no-show.

Now the girl is at that stage where she’s starting to realize that children should have a father and a mother and unfortunately her dad’s missing in the picture. Plus there’s that awful possibility that sometimes kids make fun of each other and she might not be an exception to the ridicule. Those little people could be nasty at times… but we love them still. One could hope that their kids wouldn’t have to ask those questions, but how does someone hope for such when in school one of the primary things children learn is about the family.

When I was still a small child, in my first year of primary school, I remember being asked by my teacher to draw and name the members of my family. I had an amazing time drawing and colouring them. With that in mind, I find myself lost when I try to think what a child in my niece’s situation would do. She would probably draw herself, her mom, her grandmother and her nanny; because those are the people she’s grown around. And I’m assuming there would atleast be one of her classmates who, in her innocence, would ask, “Where is your dad?”

I empathize with my niece; she’s only four. At what age will her mother or grandmother feel confident she’s old enough to learn the truth? And until that time comes, what is she supposed to tell other kids her age? Those kids who don’t understand that sometimes it’s impossible to have both parents around. How will she handle the vicious remarks other kids utter sometimes? I don’t know really if it’s possible to tell children not to worry or give much thought to such brutality, all I know is that for them, before it gets better, it will get worse.

 

Kids have never failed to imitate.

Kids have never failed to imitate

Kids might not be so good at following instructions, but they have- for ages- been good at copy pasting what they hear or see. The other day, some kids were discussing one of their friends’ houses that they had recently visited, and one asked, “Have you been to their house? It’s so empty; you could play football in it”. Now any adult will tell you that not even the darkest kid will independently conceive such a statement in their minds; and if they did, it would mostly be based on something they had previously overheard.

One might try to argue that nowadays kids are so ‘digital’; they seem to know everything, thanks to technology.  That to some extent would be correct, but of importance here is the fact that when a baby is growing up, one of the major factors that shape them into who/what they grow into would be the environment they’re brought up in. The age of the kids on focus here would also be of massive importance; based on my sheer knowledge, none of them was above six.

With that in mind, how would one expect a kid to grow up if s/he often hears his parents/grownups around  him criticizing other people, what they have and what not…? To some, this concept might seem alien, but not to me. I’ve been un/lucky enough (depending on how you choose to look at it) to be caught in an extremely uncomfortable moment where I, or my family rather, was the topic of such a distasteful conversation…

A few years ago, my family was to meet up with my extended (paternal) kin at one of my uncles’ place since we all lived in different parts of the city so we could travel together to the countryside to visit my paternal grandma. At the time there was some sought of tension between my mom and her in-laws; the beef runs way back, before I was even conceived but I don’t wanna delve into that at the moment. It’s for that precise reason that my mom had opted to sit out of any family get-togethers, to avoid any altercations that could inflict more wounds on the already existing ones.

My dad, the gentleman he is (when he wants to be…) couldn’t leave mom alone; he also chose to remain behind, to keep her company when my sisters and I were gone. Ergo, we made arrangements to have our uncle (the host) pick us up because we were not so familiar with the place; we had only been there once before.

My uncle, whom we’re not so close with, came to pick us up. He was alone. He came into our house, which he’d never been into before, to help us carry our luggage. In case you’re wondering, we have a very strained relationship with our paternal relatives. I’ve mentioned that in some previous posts. In my own understanding, I have over time attributed it to the fact that dad married mom against his family’s wishes; apparently dad’s family is affluent, whereas mom’s family isn’t so endowed.

In all honesty I thought that kind of prejudice only happens in telenovelas: rich hunk falls head over heels in love with a beautiful girl from a very humble background; his family objects vehemently, branding the innocent girl a social climber, and subsequently they all conspire to make the girl’s life a living nightmare…Smh!

A few minutes later we were on the road, headed to my uncle’s. On the way we stopped at a mall, where his wife had been shopping, to pick her up. Under different circumstances, we would have jumped at the idea of meeting our aunt especially after such a long time, but at that moment it only meant we would have a pretty hellish ride.

As we had envisaged, the ride was quite unpleasant; and it had nothing to do with the car’s upholstery or bumpy roads. It was all my aunt’s doing. See, in a nutshell, she’s very outspoken and if you ask me, she doesn’t really give a rat’s ass whose toes she steps on. I remember her asking my uncle in hushed murmurs, how our house looked. That didn’t catch me off guard because I knew she was capable of that and more but I was disappointed because I thought she would have the decency to ask that discretely, preferably in our absence. Then again, maybe she thought we didn’t hear.

“It’s big,” my uncle replied reluctantly. I bet he too felt uneasy about his wife’s indiscretion.

Hungry for information, she went ahead to ask- in her own words- what the house was ‘filled’ with since it was really big. The blatant derision in her voice irked me. At that time, I didn’t know how to react; I was torn between bursting into a fit of laughter at such barbarism, and cutting in the conversation just to express my outrage; but I knew better. I don’t recall my uncle answering her; I guessed he didn’t want to partake in such unmitigated savagery. I respected him for that.

Now in reference to James A. Baldwin’s quote, I try to imagine what would have happened had my sisters and I been at an impressionable age? If we weren’t the ones on the receiving end. We would have possibly repeated my aunt’s scathing words later, when mingling with other kids, just like my neighbours’ kids had.

In my opinion, if you want to know how people refer to others behind closed doors, just listen to their kids or see how they act while in the midst of other kids… They’ve never failed to imitate. My take here may be deemed uninformed, but if my cousins (my aunt’s children) are anything to go by, then I know I’m right…