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SPAMGUARD

A few mornings ago, I heard a sound alert on my phone that indicated that I had an email but I ignored it. After a while, I heard another alert, indicating that another email had just come in so I picked my phone and saw that the emails were notifications of comments on two articles on this blog. One of them was by an anonymous person and I already suspected what it would be.
I was right. The anonymous comment was a spam comment, one of which I've been getting somewhat frequently, lately. Usually, links leading to phishing sites are embedded in them. Luckily, blogger recognizes them and moves them to the spam folder. Unfortunately, other times, anonymous comments that are 'clean' get moved to the same folder and I would have to move them out of that folder before they can appear on the post.

CAGED

Some weeks ago, I went to a circus with my family. It promised to be an interesting experience so we all looked forward to a fun evening. By the time we got there, a few animal right activists were already stationed around the parking lots with placards that denounced ill treatment of animals. I wasn't bothered by that, really, because I’m not wired that way.
Anyway, we took our seats and after we settled down, one of us went to get popcorn and drinks for the rest of us. One thing was certain, we couldn't wait for the show to start and we were not the only ones. The mood in that large tent was anticipatory as all around us, people settled in. There was a huge elephant on the stage, giving rides to kids and my adventurous Nwando wasn't to be left out. She asked if she could go on a ride and was thrilled when she got a ‘yes’. Off she went with her cousin while the Mister tagged along as the paparazzo.

GOING DEAF?

A little over a month ago, I went on a trip with my family that involved flying for over ten hours at a stretch. Besides the fact that the flight was long, it was uneventful. Since it was already late by the time the disembarked, we spent the night in that city.
Early the next morning, we had to take a flight out to get another city, where we took yet another flight to our final destination. Exhausted, I fell asleep almost immediately we boarded the last plane but was awakened, after a while, by sharp pain in my ears. This wasn't the usual strange sensation I get sometimes in my ears in airplanes and which cleared up with ear-pops when I swallowed or yawned.
This felt more like there was intense pressure in ears that were blocked and that hurt a lot. As if the pain wasn't enough, my hearing started to go gradually. That was very scary. Initially, I could hear muted sounds of people chatting in the airplane but even that gradually faded till I could barely hear a thing.

A CORD OF THREE: IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER

“She’s so cute,” Adaora said, after cooing to the baby who nursed contentedly in her mother’s arms. She was kneeling beside Mina, who rocked on a chair as she fed her five-month old daughter. Azuka lay on her side on the king-sized bed in the middle of the nursery.
Abeg, ‘cute’ is not a word that describes my god daughter accurately,” Azuka said, rubbing her belly. “She’s absolutely gorgeous! I can’t tell who she looks like just yet, though.”
Ah ah. Why you dey talk like that?Look well, jor; Sotonye looks just like me,” Mina said.
Laughing, Adaora said, “That’s exactly what Baridi says. I think she’s a perfect blend of the both of you, jare.” She stood and walked across the carpeted floor to join Azuka on the bed. She sat cross-legged, placing both hands on the leg that was on in the front. “Whoever she looks like doesn’t matter. She’s a beauty and she’s all mine,” Azuka said. “You keep rubbing in the fact that she’s your god daughter, this woman,” Adaora said. “My Soprinye’s a fine boy …

I CAN!

Whenever I send Nwando on an errand that I’m sure she can handle, and she quickly comes back to say that she couldn’t do it, I always tell her to go back to the chore and complete it. Each time that happens, she returns to the task, puts her back to it and is usually successful in the end. That always thrills her to bits. So, some time ago, I taught her to always pump a fist and say “I can!” when faced with any challenge. On rare occasions, I show her how she can effectively take care of whatever it is I have asked of her. At those times too, I get a fist pump and a victory shout from her.


That means that these days, when she tells me she’s not able to do a particular thing, all I need to ask is, “Do you remember?” before her face lights up. Then, she gives a fist pump and says, “I can!” and runs off to do what I asked her to do. Yesterday, when we had such a moment, I remembered a Bible verse that had served me well on various occasions and shared it with her. Phillipians 4:13 (NIV) – …

WAITING (im)PATIENTLY

About a week ago, I noticed Ikem in their room trying to scribble on a book. He was having a hard time with it because as I quickly noticed, the lead at the tip of his pencil had broken off. I took the pencil away from him to sharpen it for him.
He quickly came after me and started throwing the kind of tantrum only an almost-two-year old can pull off. Crying and stamping his feet, he insisted that I give it back. I didn't say a word to him as I continued sharpening the pencil. As soon as I was done, I gave it back to him and the crying ceased immediately. Looking at the pencil, he quickly noticed the difference, rewarded me with "tan tan" and went back to his book.


There are a number of things that I am waiting for. Some of them are dreams which are really important to me so I'm excitedly looking forward to them coming to life. Others are little irritations that I can't wait to do away with.
This morning, I had a reason to think about one of those important dreams…

LEARNING FROM THEM

Two days ago, Ikem poured a lot of baby powder all over the floor of the room I share with the Mister. Now, the floor of that room is made of shiny wood so the mess made by that was very visible. When I gave Ikem 'the eye', he gave me the cutest smile. I was having none of that so with those eyes still trained on him, I said, "Ikemsinachi, come here." Meanwhile, what is it with mothers saying a child's full name when he's in trouble? I still shudder at the memory of my mum calling out my full name. Anyway, I digress :)
He ran to where I was sitting on the bed and quickly threw his arms around my waist. Next thing I heard him say was, "I wov you." Even as I was struggling not to crack a smile, Ikem started singing Barney's "I love you". I started laughing and forgave him immediately, just like I'm sure he expected me to.
I was impressed as I thought of how my twenty one-month old son completely turned things around in his favour. Then…

A CORD OF THREE

"I'm so mad at him right now!" Mina exclaimed, with a quick shake of her head. "When I came home from work yesterday evening, I spent a long time in the kitchen making his favourite meal and then cleaned up real nice just to get his attention. He didn't get home early and by the time he managed to, he had the nerve to tell me that he wasn't hungry without even thinking of the amount of work I had done. I didn't even know what to say to him, really. To make matters worse, he just took a shower, turned out the lights and slept off immediately without a glance in my direction; So much for buying new lingerie to spice things up.” Rolling her eyes, she added, “Sometimes, I think that man was put on this earth just to annoy me." Azuka started laughing and at the look of irritation Mina flashed her, she raised both hands and said, "Please don't kill me with your eyes, madam. I wasn't laughing at you." Mina rolled her eyes now and Azuka laugh…

AND SHE CRIED SOME MORE

The alarm startled Adaugo awake. She didn't want to wake up just yet so she burrowed deeper under the duvet and let it ring. When it kept ringing, she groggily opened her eyes. "I don't know how Obiora is able to sleep through his noisy alarm even when it's right beside him," she muttered to herself. The lights in the room were all off but Adaugo could see the offending phone because its screen was lit as the alarm blared. She got down from the bed and slowly made her way across the room to shut off the alarm. She always hated waking up this early but she knew that, for her, the day had begun. So, Adaugo went into the bathroom to ease herself and after she was done, she turned on the water heater. When she came back into the room, she realized that Obiora was still asleep and she decided not to wake him yet. He really needs to rest more. He works too hard Last night, Obiora had come home late because he had been in a meeting that had gone on for a long time. He had …

ANOTHER SHOT AT LIFE

She was running very fast to catch up with his car. For some strange reason, her legs couldn't move as fast as she wanted them to and soon, he drove out of the compound. She didn't give up hope, even then, because she knew that she just had to stop him. She lengthened her strides and ran as fast as she could, to keep him in sight.
Soon, he made a stop to pick up someone, who had obviously been waiting for him. She thought she could catch up with him then, but just as she was getting close to his car, he drove off again.
She was frustrated and was very tired because she had run for a very long time but she knew how important it was to get him to stop.
The traffic light changed to red just before he crossed an intersection, so his car came to a halt again. With a renewed sense of hope, she ran faster till, panting, she pulled to a stop beside his car. She took a look at his passenger and quickly looked away as those haunted eyes stared back. She quickly went round to his side and r…

DEAR DIARY

Dear diary,

I'm sorry I haven't written in you in a long while.
Our nanny, Jumoke, was sent away by mummy last week. Yesterday, I overheard mummy telling Aunty Adaku that she found out that Jumoke is pregnant. I'm a bit confused, diary because Jumoke is not married. Can people who are not married get pregnant? I'm afraid to ask mummy because she might scold me for evedropping. Diary, I'm not sure that was the correct spelling but you know what I mean, right?

She said that to me two weeks ago when I asked her what trybalizym was.
Daddy had said that Aunty Adaku couldn't marry Uncle Tunde because she wasn't supposed to marry one of 'those people'. Mummy had said that was trybalizym and that daddy was wrong to think that way. I had been watching a cartoon and hadn't been listening to them but they had been really loud. I don't know why they have to yell at each other or at us. It's so scary whenever that happens.
Anyway, I like Uncle Tunde…

GONE FROM SIGHT

Ten days ago, a friend of mine died, having her third child. I cried for her because she had been young. I thought about the fact that for her, eternity had begun and I wondered if she had been ready to stand before God. That made me wonder about my readiness to meet the Lord and I wept some more.


I thought of the fact that there had been quite a number of things we had in common. We hadn't been separated by distance but, for some reason, we had not been as close as we could have been. I asked myself if I could have done more and I got a resounding 'Yes!' Chisom had been on my mind, a lot, for about a week before she passed on. I just put it down to her time of delivery being close. Then, one morning, I heard that she was gone forever.


I thought of her very young babies who were going to grow up without their mother. That brought more than a few tears to my eyes. I thought of my own babies and I just couldn't imagine them going through life without me.


I see her husband oft…

THAT THIN LINE

I had a lot of conflict in my heart about posting a horrible video I saw last night. This conflict stemmed from the fact that each time I write, it’s not about sensationalizing a subject but about creating awareness. I also know that this video might actually give some sick people out there a high.
However, I know that watching this video would stir up the right emotions in a lot of hearts and just maybe, this madness would be curbed. Shame on anyone who watches this video and feels anything but horror and may God punish anyone who watches it and gets even the least bit of pleasure from it.

I was minding my business last night when I got this video. It elicited in me a whole lot of emotions. I was horrified. I was very angry. I was very sad. I shed tears about it and I hurt for that poor little child.
For goodness sake, what sort of a human being does that to a child?!
That baby certainly couldn’t have been more than six months. She could barely crawl.
Who but a deranged monster does…

WHEN THE ENEMY COMES HOME

Oh my, what a day, Bola thought as she drove home. I need to see my children before they go to bed. Can you all just move out of my way so that I see my babies before they sleep?
Shoulders slumped, she sighed sadly. Traffic on the bridge was very heavy and she was yet to get to the middle of the bridge. The clock on her dashboard read 8:30. She realized that this night, she was surely not going to be home in time for her children's bedtime. They had been asleep when she left home this morning too. She truly was fed up neither seeing her children often nor spending quality time with her husband but she didn't know what she could do about that. I can't resign from my job just yet, Bola thought, miserably. I haven't saved enough money to start a business with and to maintain the lifestyle we're used to, we do need the income that comes in from my job. I just don't like knowing that my family suffers as a result.
She thought now of her thirteen-year old daughter, Jumo…

LOVE'S MANY LANGUAGES

On Sunday night, about past 10pm, I suddenly got an itch to remove the hair extensions I had on. I mentioned this to my husband whom I had been chatting with. He reminded me that it would soon be morning and suggested that I wait till the next day to go to the salon.
I had been home all day but the thought of a new hairdo had not crossed my mind. Suddenly, by 10pm, it became a do-or-die affair. I just had to get that hair off my head. For some reason, anytime I get tired of hair extensions or braids of any sort, I'm usually very impatient to remove them. This time was no different.

So, I whined and cajoled.... I was very hot, I had a case of dandruff so my scalp was itchy and I wanted to wash it that night, I wanted my own hair... Every excuse, I gave it till I wore the Mister down.
Now, the poor guy had never removed hair extensions before. So, he didn't know how to. I re-assured him that it was easy and proceeded to teach him how to do it without me loosing all of my own ha…

UZUMMA: THE HARVEST

Agunwa knew his wife had always been very beautiful but he found out now that she was more so. Pregnancy suited Uzumma, so she glowed. She only got mildly nauseous in the mornings and the nausea always quickly passed, as soon as she ate something light. She didn't look pregnant, though, because her belly was still very flat.
Besides them, her parents, Emenike, Mama Nnukwu and Ugboaku were the only ones who knew about the baby. It was Agunwa’s decision, not to let anyone else know, till her belly showed. He loved knowing that only a few of them shared that lovely secret.
He now returned from his farms very early, everyday, to spend time with his wife. Uzumma had insisted on continuing with supervising the workers who took care of the goats and after a lot of arguments about that, he had finally agreed. Anytime he wanted to fuss over her, she would say, “Agu m, I’m only pregnant. I’m not sick with some ailment, biko.” She was always careful not to get exhausted and as soon as she got ti…

UZUMMA: WAITING

“How is Uzondu?” Uzumma asked.
“My husband is fine, my sister,” Ugboaku replied. She had laid emphasis on ‘my husband’ so both of them started laughing.
“You know, I still can’t believe my good fortune in marrying such a wonderful man. He’s everything I ever wanted and more, my sister,” she continued, still smiling. "He's so caring and the best part is that he lets me be myself, without ever trying to change me or put restrictions on my behaviour. As a result of that, I always want to do things that I know will please him. Nne, I thank my chi everyday for him o!" Uzumma nodded. "I understand what you mean, my dear. Agunwa completes me in a way I could never explain. He's a good man, that's the only way to put it.” Her eyes turned dreamy. “When he looks at me with those eyes that seem to see into my soul and reassures me, in that calm manner of his, that all would be well, my worries about anything fade. Then, the way he holds me when we're alone..." As h…

UZUMMA: AFTER THE CEREMONY

Facing the wall, Uzumma woke up and stretched luxuriously. When her back made contact with Agunwa's chest, she stilled. Slowly, she turned on her side, to look at him and smiled gently.
She still wasn't used to sharing a bed with a man, but she found that she didn't mind.
How can I mind that? I love it!
She giggled now and Agunwa stirred. Remembering that he slept very lightly, she tried to stop the giggling, but it was already too late. His eyes snapped open to look at her. She still got shy when he looked at her the way he did now, so she averted her eyes and adjusted the top of her wrapper, which had come undone while she slept. "Good morning, Agu m." She had called him that since the morning she had become his wife twenty market days ago. He loved it, not just because it was a play on his name, but also because it meant 'my lion'. He loved knowing that his wife was growing to care deeply for him, because he truly loved and cherished her.
"Good morning…

UZUMMA

They all gathered in a circle round a fire with Mama Nnukwu. She had nineteen grandchildren and they all loved her very much because she was always quick to give a hug or a cuddle.
The roasted melon cake she usually gave them always drew them to her hut at different times of the day. Mama Nnukwu always enjoyed the company of her sons’ children and now, she was telling them a story, as was usual every night.
The fire supplied light for them and as the firewood burnt, the smell of smoke filled the air. Crickets let out chirps now and then.
Mama Nnukwu’s grandchildren were silent and attentive as she told them a story. Today’s was about the stubborn princess who had refused the hand of many suitors and had, instead, married a ghost. Her beautiful voice started a song which had been sung by the warrior sent in search of her.
Uzumma had heard this story before, so she tuned out Mama Nnukwu’s voice. She looked around her. Though it was dark, she could see her father sitting in front of his hut …

SISTER, SISTER

One night a little over two weeks ago, when my husband came home from work, I met him at the door with our daughter. I put my arms around him and hugged him and quickly noticed that Nwando was jostling for space too. This was very funny as she was trying to get me out of the way so that she could hug her daddy too.
While the Mister and I laughed, I held on even tighter and she struggled even harder. After a short while, I moved aside so she could give him her own share of the hugs. She quickly clambered up his body (an advantage she has over me seeing as I'm a lot heavier than she is) and wrapped her arms and legs around him. As soon as she had secured her position, she said, "This mummy took all the space."
Her father and I burst into laughter at that.

Very quickly, I realized that what had just happened was very similar to what happens when two women fight over a man. They expend all their energy while, in most cases, he sits back, puts his feet up and laps up all the att…

FOLDED HANDS AND BENDED KNEES

I really love cooking but there are times when I just don't want to bother with all of that. One night, a few nights ago was one of such times. All day, I had been extremely busy and by evening, all I could think of as dinner, for the Mister, was something simple that didn't need a whole lot of work. I finally settled on boiling some slices of yam for him to be eaten with egg stew.... Very easy meal.
A short while later, I realized that for some reason, the yam was ready but had black marks on them. Of course, black marks don't change the taste of yam nor have they ever killed anybody but, I didn't like how those slices of yam looked after all, eye must chop first.
However, while my husband is a man's man and as rugged as they come :), sometimes, he's a baby about certain things. (Babe, you know I love you still, right?)

Anyone who's married, for any length of time, knows that sometimes,  teeny weeny things become really big issues, if not handled tactfully…

THE DARK GLASSES : BEHIND CLOSED DOORS

"Benjamin, stop staring out of the window during lessons," the teacher said, "Pay attention to me."
Ben turned his face from the window and looked at his teacher. However, his mind wasn't on her nor was it on what she was saying. He was re-living last night.
The image of daddy and mummy fighting couldn't leave his mind. He had heard them last night. Unlike other times, this time, they had been really loud. His brother and sister were also awake. They were twins and shared a bed. They had been whimpering in it. He had whispered to them to stop crying.
"I'll be right back, okay?" he had said reassuringly. He had been very scared but, had tiptoed out of the room. Luckily, the door had not squeaked the way it had the day mummy had caught him going outside to play instead of taking a nap. She had scolded him then, for being naughty and had sent him back to their room.
His parents had been in the living room. He had walked very softly, along the co…

SURVIVING

Fresh from the shower, Tina hummed to herself as she stood in front of the mirror. She placed her hands on her waist and looked herself over. She raised her hands now and turned to one side, then to the other. She still scrutinized her body carefully. She had done this every month, since she turned twenty. So, she knew what she was looking out for. Since that scare when she was twenty-three, she had never again found anything to worry about.
Now, she placed her right arm behind her head. Going in small circles, she examined her right breast and armpit with her left arm. Still humming, she repeated the entire exercise on her left side.
Tina suddenly stopped humming. With her heart thudding in her chest, she checked the area around her armpit again. Sure enough, they were still there, unmoving and hard. There were three of them and each was small in size. She might have missed them if she hadn't been careful.
"I bet they are harmless," she told herself. "After all, I&#…

BLUER??...... GREENER??

Yesterday morning, I was watching a programme on Disney Junior channel with my twenty-month old son, Ikem, when the theme song came on during a break. I sang along with them while Ikem danced. (Yes, I'm a mother so I watch that channel and I know all the songs too. Well, when I don't exactly know the words, I act as back-up singer to my three-year old daughter, Nwando.)
At a point, though, the words of the first line suddenly struck me as ridiculous. I found it really amusing too.

I'm going where the sky is bluer

I understood perfectly, how beautifully that line fits in the song.  It's a part of a lovely song that highlights all the beautiful things about the channel. It is also, very perfect and appropriate for their target audience... Individuals a LOT younger than me :)

However, I thought it was ridiculous for an adult to hold on to the belief that the sky is bluer in some places, since it's the same sky everywhere after all.
Then, I remembered that sometimes, th…

TILL DEATH DO US PART??

In the latest season of Desperate Housewives, Tom and Lynette Scavo made a decision to seperate for a while. Anyone who has followed the series avidly over the years wouldn't be too surprised that, FINALLY, the cracks in their seemingly great relationship would become obvious to them.

While they generally run a tight ship, Lynette's need for complete control and Tom's unwillingness to step up to the plate and handle certain responsibilities was bound to cause problems someday.

As this season plays out, Tom starts dating someone else and eventually, Lynette does too. They even get physically intimate with their new partners. In episode sixteen, the subject of Tom taking the next step in his new relationship comes up. He had made the decision to move in with his new girlfriend of barely three months.

Watching that particular episode, I was sitting on my couch and thinking, "This can't be happening! They are still married to each other." It was clear to me that the…

TO ALL THE LADIES

Today is Mother's Day and I'd love to use the opportunity to tell all the wonderful women in my life just how much they mean to me.

To my wonderful-beyond-words mother: You are an amazing woman. You gave five children all the love in the world and against all the odds, too. We had a great life and we knew no lack. 
How did you do it?
It certainly wasn't easy to be alone, was it? I'm a woman and a mother now so, I know most of those smiles happened even when your heart was breaking. You taught us that the love we had for each other was the best thing that could unify us.
You made our house a home.
When I'm exhausted and grumpy, I think I've made a lot of sacrifices but when I am sane again, I realize that I've got nothing on you. There was nothing you wouldn't, happily and selflessly, give us, as long as you could afford to. I thank God I lived in your womb and I thank God for you, today and always...
I love you, mummy. Happy Mother's Day!

Mama, I would hav…

GIVING UP IS NOT AN OPTION

I saw the picture on this article yesterday, for the first time. I had cause to really look at it again, this afternoon.

I see in this picture, a man with his lips pursed in intense concentration. His tongue is sticking out a bit too. He, obviously, is engrossed in what he's doing.
I see the glasses he's wearing to aid his sight. I see the eyes behind those glasses, intently focused on his task.
I see his task. And, what a task too!
I see his stubby nails with some stains on them and I see his calloused thumb. They point to the fact that he, most likely, works with his hands.
I am drawn again to his task.
In those hands, are a needle and a thread. His goal is to pass a thread through the eye of the needle. That's a mundane task, right? Not exactly so when you realize that his thread is lot bigger than the eye of his needle.

Stupid man, eh? A thick thread with a jagged end cannot possible go through that tiny needle!
Crazed lunatic? Oh, well, his eyes do seem a little bit glazed.
Wh…

WHEN SILENCE IS NOT GOLDEN

When I was seven years old, my best friend (at the time) and I had, for some reason, fallen out. We were in the same class and part of a circle of friends. None of the others took sides with either of us..... except one person. This mutual friend, immediately, stopped talking to me. I didn't know why but, I reciprocated and just like that, we stopped being friends.

My best friend and I were family friends so it wasn't long before our parents noticed that we weren't friends anymore. At her home, one Sunday evening, there was some dramatic peace-making session where we had to hug each other and blah, blah, blah. Anyways, that was the end of our 'enmity'. We became friends again.

Of course, the next day in school, all our friends noticed. Our mutual friend, who had taken sides with her, immediately tried to get chummy with me again. I didn't let her get close, at all. That was the beginning of a silent war between us. I remember telling anyone who asked why we weren…