There is a learning game I used to play with my daughter…
Okay, edit “used to” to “played twice” because my daughter is a very fast learner. We needed only two sessions for the lesson to stick.
Anyway, the game is called “mother knows best”.
And this is how the two classes went: my daughter got up one Sunday morning when she was like five years old, and decided she was going to dress herself for church. All attempts by myself, nanny and her grandma to assist her, fell on deaf ears so I asked everyone to stand back and let her be.
We got to church and the first person that met her at the door, was the pastor. He took one look at her and went, “o ga o! Sister Valerie, this one you are dressed like this, is today rag day? Mummy Valerie, what sort of dressing is this?”
To which I threw both hands in the air, shrugged in a shaggilistic “it wasn’t me” style and pointed at the little (non)fashionista.
“I have no hand in it o, it is her choice to dress like this today”.
“Hah. Why didn’t you try to stop her? Are you not her mother, the adult?”
“I am, sir, but life is all about learning and some of us learn earlier and faster than others. I advised and she refused, so perhaps she is trying to learn that mother knows best.”
Everyone she encountered that day, did a double take and tried to find a non abrasive way to let her know that her dress sense had taken a flight to the Bermuda triangle. Of course her age mates were not as kind and openly laughed to her face and my daughter, always a good sport, took it in her stride.
Long story short, she had put on a mishmash of all her favourite items, without a consideration for colour combinations, style adherences and stuff like that and this is what she ended up wearing to church that day:
Pyjama bottoms on hot pink platform slippers; a multicoloured button down shirt with a hot pink, bedazzled belt cutting across her middle; and a bandana on top of which she had perched her mickey mouse ears hairband.
Seriously, wetin concern me? If she wanted to look like a pirate, I was in! Provided she didn’t come to me when the laughter pass her power.
That was the last day she dressed under her own fire power, without coming out of the room to ask for opinions and accepting them in good faith.
We always joked about it when I suggested a change: mother knows best!
A couple of years later, when she had started cooking small meals for herself and discovered seasoning cubes, we had the second part of this lecture.
It would be her first day frying eggs solo, and I had as usual while standing by, advised her to crush in just a little bit of the seasoning cube in her hand.
She looked at me, shrugged, and crushed it all in.
Wetin concern me?
Mesef shrug, tanda nearby dey wait for the food to call result by itself.
She took one bite from the eggs and from the corner of my eyes, I saw her flinch. She took another bite of the eggs, then turned to me.
– I don’t want eggs again.
– Na lie, eat your eggs.
– Help me finish it.
– Please, the eggs taste funny and I did everything you asked me to.
– Are you sure you did everything I asked you to THE WAY I ASKED YOU TO?
– But it was only the maggi that…
And she went silent.
Oho, if you like go and learn your cooking from the Michelin man himself so that he can award you all the stars known to man, one wrong move, and your food is destined for the dustbin.
Which is where that egg ended.
Who wan make over-maggi cut him tongue because of pikin wey no want let him mama sleep?
I was having an interesting discussion the other day with a friend, and I said to her that aside from their discipline tactics which, however, much you want to sensationalise, our parents got all wrong (evident in the way they will not let you “correct” their grandchildren the way they corrected you and will keep asking you “do you want to kill her”, as if their intention back then was to secretly kill you too under the guise of spare the rod nonsense), they mostly got a lot of things right.
For instance: Don’t allow a man touch you, if not you will get pregnant.
You think your mother was wrong? Ngwa tell me, which pregnancy did not start from one single innocent “touch”?
So yes, not every man who touches you is likely to get down and dirty with you but have you ever heard of the word hormones before?
Nice one there.
And do you think konji is the only bastard in town? Konji is a twin and the twin brother, is known as “hormones”.
When you talk to your pre-pubescent/adolescent children (and this is me hoping that you do and are not just allowing them get their education off the internet), do you speak to them about hormones?
Those little treacherous enemies from the village that make you feel a spark when a member of the opposite sex touches you – sometimes even when you DO NOT FEEL AN IOTA OF ATTRACTION TOWARDS THEM?
Sorry that I had to shout that, today’s children seem very hard of hearing.
I will not ask for open confessions here, but I can tell you stories of a lot of people who found themselves post coitus, wondering “what the heck did I just do? Did I just dance the surugede with him/her? Tufiakwa.”
And if you ask everyone who ever had this “buyer’s remorse”, it was a combination of ignoring all those advice our mothers gave us, and being in a situation where konji and his twin brother hormones, used you to play “the more you look the less you see”.
Mama said: Don’t be alone in a room with a man, you will get pregnant.
You sneer: old school.
Until konji and hormones use you to play UEFA championship.
Mama said: If a man says, come and let me tell you something in my room, don’t agree o. Run, run as far as you can.
You say: Ahn ahn, not all men are bad na. Old school, besides “no means no”.
Until you go and come; and come and go and start regaling us with your stories that touch.
Until your story starts with: he just touched me a little.
Yes our mothers went over board with all their “words of wisdom” and subscribed heavily to drama and suspense, but I guess the bottom line beneath all their admonitions were: be careful not to find yourself in an uncompromising situation, because of stories that touch.
But we discountenance all that advice and sneer at it and discard it totally for this new found style of living free and taking risks, then turn around to wail when our risk taking boomerangs on us?
You don’t argue, sometimes, with raging hormones.
It would take a lot of willpower to resist when the twin demons of konji and hormones have taken a firm seat in your life; the only thing we plead with you is: when your eyes finally clear and you come down from the hormone high, please do not attempt to misuse the word “rape”.
Do one of the following:
1. Chalk it down to “experience is the best teacher.” Now, you know better. Your body gave you away and you had consensual sex with someone you ordinarily wouldn’t have.
2. Avoid such situations in the future. Come on, be wiser. We have all fallen victim to konji and hormones at some time in our past and if we see the “eembesaid” that was our companion coming and smiling like he/she won the jackpot, we quietly cross the road.
Why did the chicken cross the road? Now you know, don’t you?
3. Be a real “bigz gyal” and say to your partner: you know what, I still can’t explain what happened the other day. It must have been a combination of the drinks, my raging hormones and perhaps being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but I feel no sexual attraction to you. I do not plan on having a relationship with you. That was a one off, it would NEVER happen again. Thanks for the good time though.
There are a lot of ways you could tackle the situation, just remember while you are going about it, to never think of using the word “rape”.
Do not water down the attempts to track down and bring genuine rapists to book, because your hormones let you down when you least expected them to and you now experience buyer’s remorse.
Do not ruin your (need I mention “eager”) accomplice’s life because he was in the right place at the right time but you need to save face.
Do not attempt to trend for the wrong reasons – some of us won’t allow you to.
Whatever else you do, rewind back to those nuggets of wisdom your mother dropped to your teenaged self, don’t sneer at it all. They may have been over dramatic yes, but at the core of it all lies the need to teach you the common sense principle of self preservation.
Weighing situations and taking a decision that would favour YOU all the time; deciding what situations you want to walk into eyes wide open and deciding to live with the consequences; taking responsibilities for YOUR actions; having a little bit of caution is good for the soul – be vigilant.
Above all, stay true to your social media pseudo feministic impressions of wokeness. Stop confusing us when you sound woke one minute, then like the world’s biggest “Emm You Squared” the next.
Whatever else you do, just remember that: mother knows best.
Now if only my daughter can be as fast to learn how to tidy up after her without my nagging the very life out of her, wouldn’t this world be an infinitely better place?
For me at least?