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Protecting our children from abuse – The PANTS rule

Call Me Mummy!!

I read this article earlier today and it brought a tear to my eye.

This is something that always plays at the back of my mind – is my daughter safe? Am I doing everything possible as parent to make sure she is well protected? Which is why when I read about the PANTS campaign I just had to blog about it! I know it is something a lot of parents do already (and I’m possibly late to the PANTS campaign rule!) but for people like me that think oh my daughter is too young, well she isn’t! The difference between 2 and 3 is 365 days! So there’s no such thing as being too early to start practicing these rules.

Talk Pants Learn the Pants Rule

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My children’s big mummy.

If you ever lived in a Nigerian household you would know  that you do not call your mother’s or Father’s older sister aunt, you call them big mummy, during our own time we called them ‘Maami’. I had four maamis although three of them lived in Lagos so I was more familiar with those three more than the fourth one. My siblings and I were called ‘aniyameta’ literal meaning, ‘someone’ that has three mothers. These three mummies all had different roles they played in my life during my childhood and at a particular time I was so confused about who exactly was my biological mother that I had to trace her through my dad, so it was which one of them that was close to my dad that was my mum.

My children’s big mummy is my immediate elder sister, she is a prettier version of me

That is me, holding the plate, you be the judge, who is prettier?. Picture taken four Christmases ago on T1’s 10th birthday.

and I honestly do not mind( there was this song we had for her, omo dara latese  o dori)

Omo dara latese o dori…, Me helping her adjust her ‘gele’ in her garden , getting ready for a party in London, summer of 2013.

meaning a child that is beautiful from her feet to her head, she is arguably also more ‘well behaved’ ( she never gave the onidiri trouble like I did while we were growing up) wink* wink*. People, even our own children and our aged mum have sometimes mistaken our voices for each other but beyond that there is little or no resemblance in our mannerisms,  our way of handling stuff, our disposition etc. We are like chalk and cheese when it comes to the way we handle children, I am the no-nonsense type

The no-nonsense type caught on ‘hidden camera’ by paparazzi photographer T2, 2012 on T3’s 6th birthday in her school.

and according to her I expect too much from them. She is the softly-softly-catch-the-monkey’ type

The softly-softly-catch-monkey type, most likely wondering why I appeared so stressed at the same event.

if you get what I mean. And according to them she is their best favourite person.

She is one of the few that I can trust my children with if anything should happen to me like going to the great beyond for example. I know she would take care of them just like her own. She pampers them a lot no doubt but she would not spoil them, she would not wield the stick like I would but she is good at lecturing and explaining to them what they did wrong, what they ought not to do, what they ought to do etc. 

 She is naked but not ashamed with them, even me their mother if I were dressing up or something, I would grab a towel to shield my body a little if any of my children should walk in  but she would not and that is saying a lot if you know what I mean. 

She is responsible for their first bras and all their underwear in fact she would usually start buying the bras before the the breasts start budding, she is responsible for all their  roll on and all hygiene stuff, despite the fact that she lives outside the country, she knows when they will run out of them and when to restock. It started before I started having children, when I was in the ministry of waiting, we waited together, she was more concerned than I was and would usually prod me, advise, cajole me almost to exasperation. When her first niece arrived,

Her first niece held by Grandma on the very first day of arrival, Christmas day year 2000.

she did all the baby shopping, I did not spend a kobo and since then, she has not missed any of their birthdays, she would call if she is out of the country and would usually be the first caller, she would pray and send them loads of presents, despite the fact that I often forget her own birthday.

 She taught them hygiene,  how to clean  their private from front to back as a girl should, to soak their undies and wash separately every morning before having their bath rather than piling them up along with all the other clothes to load in the washing machine,and to always remember to wear roll on. She is a prayer warrior and she prays for them even more than I do.

Summer is her favourite time of the year because of them. We would usually end up spending most of our summer vacation with her, she would also take a long break from work. They would play ten-ten, tinko-tinko, suuwe, Mr aeroplane and all the other silly games, I would take a well deserved break and sleep for about two weeks without lifting a finger except to stuff food and drink in my mouth. They would cook together, eat together, go shopping together, do all sorts together and leave me be. After my two weeks me-time. We would start the vacation proper by visiting one holiday resort or the other and all other places of interests. Her visit to Nigeria is usually for Christmas, she shares the time she spends with us equally between them in each of  their rooms each so that she would not be accused of being partial. 

On this particular summer vacation, we visited a holiday resort and it would be our first time on a roller coaster,

Our first roller coaster rides

the ride affected us differently, the children? They kept on going back for more, we had difficulty in dragging them back to the hotel even after night fall.

Me in black with the ‘slim backside’ dragging T3, big mummy on the left in denim skirt trying to catch up with the rest of them.

Me?  I developed acute morning sickness symptoms, I feared that I might be pregnant despite all the precautions so after day one,  I just lay down in bed for the remaining two days. For their big mummy, her bladder ran out of control, she had to wee like every five minutes

Big mummy running to a loo, on the right T2, on the left, Me and behind the camera is T1

and naughty children could not stop laughing at her and asking her to try more rides, she in spite of herself still followed them and went for only the very slow rides with T3 who was about six years old then and so not tall enough to go on most of the rides. 

On our visit to the Zoo,

Zoo visit, 2008 version.

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Zoo visit, 2008 version.

T3 then 3 years old was scared of all the animals, so was crying non stop and  refused to stay in her stroller so big mummy had to strap her on her back for up to three hours till she fell asleep and we gently transferred her to the stroller.

After she fell asleep, we played a fast one on her and put her by this purple cow, not a life one of course to have a laugh and show her when she wakes up.

It is only through her that my children would cross the boundary I set for them and I would not be able to take any action, take shopping for example, shopping is easier, faster and less expensive when big mummy is not there so they would usually beg me to let’s wait for big mummy before we can shop. With her in tow, they would load the trolley with lots of panti, crisps,

‘Remove the ‘panti’ if you dare’ look.

 

jelly sweets and all sorts of ‘jedijedi’ and they would be staring at me with that ‘remove it if you can look’. Of course they know I can’t because of big mummy’s presence.

Her husband is my children’s big daddy. I remember when one of my brothers came visiting and introduced himself as their big daddy, T3 corrected him vehemently that he was not their big daddy that big mummy’s daddy was their big daddy, she meant to say husband but at that age, to her the daddy of the house was everybody’s daddy, she did not yet understand the ‘husband’ aspect of things. In between both of them, I don’t know who pampers them more, big daddy’s specialty is procurement of ‘jedijedi’, cooking delicacies and serving up to three large pieces of meat per meal, he would also want to help them do the dishes, but trust me on that one, that would be ‘over my dead body’ as the saying goes.

Altogether, we are blessed round about, my children and I, for this wonderful couple that are our big mummy and big daddy and we can only advise those that do not have a big mummy and a big daddy to go and adopt. Chikena. 

What about you, have you got or are you planning on adopting?