Esco: My Daughter Is Brilliant!

My daughter is brilliant.
I realized that she is the paragon of intellectual excellence from my first moments with her, just after she was born. Most babies cry after they are pulled from their mama’s womb. No, not my daughter, not even when the dokinta smacked her. My little one had her eyes open like she was happy to be finally here on earth. She stuck her hand in her mouth, sucking her balled fist as she wondered when her next meal will be served. Even when her mother gave her mammary glands to suckle on, my baby daughter looked disinterested and disappointed. Like, na so so milk or formula everyday; una nor dey cook soup?
Chineke, my daughter is brilliant! Her way of asking questions about everything she sees is very infectious. It is funny – whenever my daughter asks me about something, I end up learning from her: I was watching the recent events on TV regarding the Speaker of the House of Representatives Mr. Tambuwal, whose followers scaled the fences of the House of Assembly complex to force themselves in.

Watching the ensuing chaos as reps and security agents pushed and shoved as they hauled themselves over the metal railings, my perplexed daughter pointed and asked me: “Daddy, they are climbing the fence? Are they thieves?”
I thought about it for a moment, “I think you may be right, sweetheart. You see some people jump over fences, some people steal public cash…” Some people do both…

Zee ignored my explanations as she pointed at the appalling scenes on the TV and went into a chant and dance “Thief! Thief! Thief!”

And as I usually do when goofing around with my daughter, I joined in the chorus bellowing “Tifs! Tifs! Barawos! Oles! Ndi Onye Ara!! Vagabonds! Scallywags! Highway robbers!! Treasury usurpers!! Stealers of our commonwealth!!”

Zee, who is almost 4, is also very charismatic in the way she responds to queries by posing another question in a very uniquely Nigerian way:

Me: “Zee why did you pee in your bed?”
Zee: “Pee in my bed?”
Me: “Yes, your bed is wet with piss. Why did you not get up and go potty in the bathroom?”
Zee: “Why is water wet, daddy?”

Why is water wet? Good question. As usual some of daughter’s questions set up a train of thoughts in my head. I felt like grabbing a placard, palm fronds and a huff of roasted corn and hitting the streets yelling: Why is water still scarce in many parts of Nigeria in this day and age,yet everyone is carrying a smart cell-phone? Why have fundamentalist savages been allowed to run over parts of Northern Nigeria? Why all of a sudden is Ms. Savage’s marriage situation with Mr. Billz a subject of probe and discussion, like it is anyone’s business? Why the heck do certain Nigerian banks refuse to make forex bills available for travellers at the approved exchange rate?

And she has given her mum and I nicknames as terms of endearment. Zee is a huge fan of Peppa Pig a British cartoon series about a porky character called Peppa Pig who lives with her dad, mum and little brother. Zee even gave us names after each character from the cartoon – she calls me “Daddy Pig” and her ma “Mummy Pig”. Subtle hint for us to hit the gym then. Besides I called my dad “Samanja” back in the day, so Daddy Pig is not so bad.

My daughter is brilliant.

When she responds to a question with a question, she appears to throw the onus back on you with her intelligent form of rebuttal. Maybe she would make a good lawyer? Or maybe an immigration officer at MMA who asks you to give him your remaining Naira since you are travelling to obodo oyibo. Truth be told, unlike my parents who basically forced a vocation on me, I will support my daughter in whatever occupation she chooses. As far as it is one of either a nuclear scientist, neurologist or a lawyer.

My daughter is brilliant. Some weeks ago, my daughter’s school had parents’ visiting day, and it was amazing to see Zee interact with her peers. You discover more about kids when you see how they relate to kids in their age group. Some kids become bullies like LASTMA agents when you use “one way”. Some children recoil into a shell like the Niger Delta Militants after the amnesty. Other kids project their qualities and charisma and shine like just my plate after I have eaten agonyi beans that I enjoyed.

Guess what? At school, my daughter is already in a love triangle; sorry make that rectangle. A set of boy triplets all dote on her. In fact, I saw them calling out to her in the playground rectangle; sorry make that quadrangle. Then, they all tried to share their Ribena with her and surrounded her in a circle.

How sweet! I am really glad that my daughter is this popular and sought after but Triple X would have to hold their horses o! What part of the game is this – polyandry? Not with my precious, jare.

My daughter is brilliance personified. All female children are brilliant – and should be so celebrated and protected by our society. A certain Igbo tradition is that if your wife bears you a son, you slaughter a goat for her. In fact, when she has a second son, you kill a nama and she is figuratively said to have “put her two legs in the marriage”. Unless she was an adulterer or runs wife. See what I did there: two legs in marriage – runs wife…

Great, but I think if your wife has a daughter for you, you need to cop her a diamond ring or something. Daughters are forever, you see. I should know – my daughter is four, and she already runs errands like fetching my tablet from my room because I am too lazy to get up. She also stands up for me against her mum – like when wifey wanted to change the channel during a Premiership football game to Orange is the New Black instead. Zee yanked the TV remote from her mum’s grasp and handed it over to me, yelling “No mummy, it is daddy’s turn!” Ah, the spirit of federal character is strong in this one.

She is protective of my stuff, and provides me with an early warning system. Like when my missus tried to sneak off with my cellphone so she could read all my messages, emails and social media interactions. Zee saw her and notified me “Mum, that is daddy’s phone! Look dad – mummy took your phone!!” Busted! Mummy had to hand my machine back over. Not that I had anything to hide of course. The cheeky amebo – Zee not wifey. Ah, where was Zee when I had nosy and insecure girlfriends who liked to leaf through my stuff.

Daughters are brilliant, and should be celebrated by our society. Girl kids are awesome because they show a lot of personality early on, and are more likely to get very involved in household fabric. Plus they do take care of you in old age. Sons are more likely to face their wives’ family instead – nothing wrong with that.

Before then, they smash up everything in the house in their toddler plus years. Plus if you are Igbo, you get a good dowry for your daughters. And since the Igbankwu is held in the bride’s home, you get to commandeer the party jollof rice too.

Let us spare a thought for our daughters from Chibok who have been held captive by mercenaries and face the grim possibility of not spending Christmas or the New Year with their families. Or never at all. It is every Nigerian’s shame and burden.

But if I ain’t give you all you want, I gave you all you need/
And I pray you got the best of me/
And that you’ll always strive to be all that you can be/
Banky W “To My Unborn Child” (2012)

Posted by jeremiah shiaka

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