Thursday Aug 11, 2022

University of Sucking Technology

For 1 year and 8 months i was the first child, first son, last son, last child, only child. Then there was the worst news possible, I was gonna have a sister!

AT 10pm my mum alerted my dad that her water just broke. We didn’t own a car back then so he’d arranged with a neighbour (who was a taxi driver) to take them to the hospital at any time of the night he called. So with speed he rushed to get the neighbour.

He walked past the front door, through the hallway, down to the nursery (i still slept there) to pick his beloved size 5 wife. The fan was turning at the highest speed, and there was this slippery liquid seeping under the door. with her back to the window (and away from the wall) was my mother with her legs extended, and attached by a snaking length of placenta, was a baby girl. On the floor!

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As this baby girl grew, i was fascinated. Why was she so tiny? why couldn’t she run about and play like other people’s sisters? why did she cry and scream so much? why did she suck my mother’s breasts? didn’t she know that was for only babies?!!!!

My little brain was expanding rapidly. Without knowing why, I began to assume responsibility for her. I reember when my mom stepped out of the house one day to the market (about 5 minutes walk) and “Baby” (who could walk by this time) was crying. the only reason I knew babies cried was pain and hunger. After checking for ant sting sites and finding none, I decided she was hungry. So i went to the kitchen and made the only thing I thought knew how to make.

Garri

My mom was horrified when she got back. she almost flogged me that day but eventually horror gave way to amusement. Garri! how can you feed a baby garri!!!! Of course i didn’t know there was a difference between baby food and “adult” food. But i learnt.

I also learnt that kids were evil. I don’t know how but I really loved that kid to bits- she’d send ME her elder brother on errands and i wouldn’t object! she started manipulating me and enjoying every bit of my dullness. one day she said she wanted a cup of water, and I stood up and walked to the kitchen to get her some. by the time i got back, all the pieces of meat had disappeared into her now-moving mouth!!!!!! I cried like a mumu that day ehn!

But there were those moments she trusted me without question. I remember when she hated making her hair and wanted it cut off. My mum kept warning her that one day she’d wish she never did that. But the stubborn little girl insisted! and i convinced her i’d do a better job than my mom. she believed me and insisted that it would be me or nobody else.

OF course my perception of order and neatness was still very warped so i ended up with uneven cuts. and my mum had to complete it. (or the time we tried to make fried rice and we dumped the rice into the boiling oil all to no avail).

She was always two classes behind me but in primary four, she took the Common Entrance Exams to Secondary School. So I was in JS2 and she was in JS1. Too close for comfort! that was when a lot of the beef started. She went to boarding school before me; when I went to Navy she joined a year later. She’d show up on JS3 block and everytime she came i boiled inside. WHo wanted to be seen with a Junior? (it’s not like i was a senior that could solve any of her problems anyway!)

I remember one time during visiting day my dad came and left before she could get out of the hostel. I was so hungry I ate all of MY food and said he gave us only the other pack of food to share. She couldn’t believe it but she didn’t question big bro too much (she gave up after 20 minutes of “are you sure?”). One day, my dad came and left before I could come out. When she met me, she gave me a half-used tin of milk, half of nestle’s Milo, half pack of sugar. I couldn’t believe my dad was that stingy! how would he expect us to share everything from different hostels?!!

I collected it anyway after much grumbling. then i looked at her eyes (i could always tell when she was lying by looking in there) and asked her one more time, “Did daddy really give us one set?”

Then calmly, without fear, she reminded me of the other time I said daddy gave us one pack of food to share!!!!! I was humbled!!!!!!

And when i eventually started liking girls (took me a while to catch up) She totally picked up on that. she teased me about every girl i liked (either real or imagined). Any girl I talk to is automatically added to the list of prospective future in-laws. Currently she thinks i’m gonna marry a certain Indian girl (*winks*).

I’ve watched her learn to design clothes, make beads, bangles, earrings. I remember when my kid sister was reacting to all the earings she tried on- Ene just thought for a minute or two, crafted a plastic slip-on protector and that was the last time baby glory ever reacted 🙂

I’ve watched her battle genetics and a sweet tooth to control her weight. Last year when I had the time i drove her to the gym twice a day, every day. I myself got encouraged- I started pumping iron (hence my new “shape”). I watched her skip food and drink only water and one disgusting aloe-vera drink.

I’ve seen her battle stereotypes, fight difficult subjects, and sometimes fail. i love her comebacks when life seems to deal a hard blow. I hate the way she laughs loud at night. i like the fact she has pretty friends.

I have a sister, Her name is Miracle

And I love her dearly

Happy Birthdy, Sis!!

PS: we called her “University of Sucking Technology” because she sucked her thumb till she was 9. heheheheheh

 

Peter

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