Wednesday, February 23, 2011

And There was Light...

Its 4pm and good ol PHCN pulls down the great bog lever or maybe its the huge red power button and there we have it...Electricity. I think its going to be the same as the day before and we'll have power till about 12 midnight and then none till 4pm again.

That's what we Nigerians begin to do...getting to know the pattern in power generation. So its a good evening when suddenly its at 9pm and I think...*there we go another change*  5 mins later its restored and I can only be thankful.

12am I'm awake to look in on the girls and we still have light. Its 3am I wake up again because my son's asking for water and amazingly we STILL have Light. I go back to sleep thinking this is just a fluke and they're most likely making up for the 5 min break *yeah right* or maybe the technician was just too tired to pull the lever or press the button. Either way we still has light.

Its 5am and I'm awake again this time my day is about to begin and there's still LIGHT...Ha at this point wonders shall never end Bills were brought the day before so its not the *We Give, We Bring and Take Again Routine*. We've hit 12 hours and counting now something is definitely fishy, it might go at any moment.

So I hurriedly try to get things done while its still on. I boil the first 2 kettles of water for the children's bath and there's still light. I put their oats to boil and there's still light, I boil a 3rd kettle for the younger daughter while reaching out for the flask thinking to lighten her oat gets it broken...*that flask was older than she is and she'll be 6. I boil a 4th kettle to steep 2 bags of Green Tea, I top it up and a 5th is boiled for the back of flask *which is even older than the first*.

All through this power is still on. Then it suddenly hits me I could take a risk...wash my hair and get it dried...I do that in 5mins thinking it would go off at any moment. The hair dryer is set to the highest my scalp tingles as the heat hair is getting dry and there is still light. Its virtually dry and then I think to take another risk...having the girls hair oiled and dried too. I proceed quickly and I'm done in about 10mins and....Yes there's still light.

Then I think to my self...not what a wonderful world...but I could actually dry out the little drops still left in my hair. I get away with that too. Then I begin to feel uncomfortable...well i'd been uncomfortable long since 16 hours of electricity...PHCN had broken a record but then I think of what else to do...and just when I do get disappears without a warning *like it ever does*.

Now I'm wondering what we'll have to pay in exchange for such generosity

Saturday, February 12, 2011

At Long Last...

Today my older daughter who is 8 finally finished reading her first book, titled Ellie and the Cat by Malorie Blackman. It was celebrated with such pomp and pageantry, anybody would think I had won the lottery the way I whooped when she was done.

Core reason, it had taken her 365 days and counting, many threats, wicked stares, several speeches on the downside of becoming a BLOND to finish reading a 93 page book.

A prayer was said at the end of the celebration one that hopefully expressed that this would be the beginning of her reading more books in shorter time and the fervent desire that she would choose books over television at all times just like me.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Tooth Fairies and the Tradition continues

2 decades have gone by and I now have children of my own, the world has changed since I was 10 and my children are not exactly like I was at their age. Sadly they are more open eyed and are intuned to fact from fiction and things that just don’t add up.

It started with me trying to keep tradition; Santa sneaking in gifts through the door instead of the chimney and the tooth fairy leaving her monetary gifts behind too. Santa was debunked by the time they were 4. He came to be known by different names—all of the members of my family. By the time the eldest child was 8, they had learnt to gather their meagre savings, send a verbal list of things they wanted to their aunt. Of course, savings and gifts wanted never added up, but did they care, they knew Santa came in different shades and sizes with different pocket sizes to go with it.

Before I totally loose track, lets go back to the very beginning. The children were introduced to tooth fairies immediately they lost their first tooth and tradition continued. Of course this process started with the first child who strengthened the belief with the 2nd child who should do the same for the 3rd and so on. But the first at 5 believes tooth fairies should be introduced to all children and so when a friend of hers in school looses her tooth, even though it was a day late before she knew about it, she told her friend about the tooth fairy. The girl of course deciding that if my daughter got monetary gifts for losing her tooth then she could too puts her tooth under the pillow.  Next day the report was tooth still there, then the questions begin to trickle in.

At that point damage control wasn’t so difficult, the tooth fairy had rules and if there were not followed through, nothing came forth. There was this one time the tooth fairy almost became broke, 3 teeth popped out 3 days in a row and unlike when I was young and we got N1 notes for this generation of children it was N50. On the 3rd day, the tooth fairy weary from flying out to the same home, to the same pillow for 2 consecutive days overslept. A tear storm soon ensued since it was a model tooth too and quickly damage control took over. Immediately she left the room, the tooth fairy flew in and threw what she could find under the pillow quickly. Then it was loudly announced the tooth fairy was sure to have come around breaking her rule of coming around at night, but it was possible it could have happened. To our surprise, she did come around but left only N20...totally unbelievable but maybe she was broke. That explanation didn’t settle in exactly the way it should have.

My second daughter was even more difficult her first tooth and the usual visit from the tooth fairy went well, but the 2nd tooth was sigh such an adventure. Her tooth didn’t exactly pop you see it came out when she fell although it was loose already but alas we weren’t sure if the tooth fairy would come to visit or not and this got her worried.

So as usual, under the pillow it went or so I thought. That night the tooth fairy must have either over slept again or was extremely busy since nothing was left behind...but there was a twist, the tooth was held tightly in her fist all night because she wanted to see the fairy when she came. Ah children!!! Well the fairy obviously must have visited but saw what the little girl did and decided to come back later.

To break the camels back,  this must have been done to put me in a tight spot, the girls tell their lesson teacher about the tooth fairy and he in turn asks me in front of them if it was true or a story I made up. I look at him in disbelief wondering what he expected I should say, so I defend tradition and say...Yes the tooth fairy exists and she always will till the kids are old enough to let her go.

Tooth Fairies

When I was 10, I still believed in tooth fairies who like Fairy God Mothers, were the kindest and sweetest little winged creatures, who left gifts behind when a tooth was lost.
At 10 though this belief was becoming slightly jaded because the tooth fairies were becoming wiser than I thought they should be. It always happened like this; a loose tooth finally popped out and it was put under the child’s pillow at night or immediately the tooth was lost and it had been shown to both parents.

Then comes the euphoria of being congratulated again and again on the tooth you had just lost, how the feel of your tongue through the hole just created was an open window to let in air, and the speculation of just how much the tooth fairy would leave behind. At this point its important to explain that the tooth fairy unlike Santa or Father Christmas never left behind a gift based on a wish list but a monetary contribution towards the child’s piggy bank.

The child who would look forward to going to bed early that night also knew there were rules the tooth fairies abided by. First rule was; you got more if your tooth was flawless; white, and with no holes. Rule 2: your tooth had to have popped out on its own with absolutely no measure of force and finally rule 3: no child ever saw the tooth fairy, she came, picked up your tooth and left your monetary gift behind.
So when I was 10 and so had gone through a decade of knowing the kind hearted tooth fairy, the unthinkable happened, I lost a tooth and didn’t find anything under my pillow the next morning. Aghast I ran to inform my parents about this dad who always had an answer for everything suggested I shake out my pillow, shake out my beddings, and lift my mattress if I had to since he knew the tooth fairy simply NEVER FAILED.

I went back to my room and vigorously shook everything he asked me to...but no gift, then I lifted up my mattress and viola there were 5 crisp N1 notes. I immediately whooped with joy before it suddenly occurred to me that small, petite, almost invincible tooth fairies as described by Enid Blyton couldn’t possibly have done this on their own, unless the tooth fairy had help from my one or both of my parents.

Dad finally owned up to taking over from where the tooth fairy left off when I was 8 since from then on I had become too big for her to visit, so they had to wait 2 extra years till I realised she was no longer around.