Thursday, April 19, 2012

If Tupac and that dude from the Google Chrome commercial can do it so can I

My daughter,

Welcome to this weird, wonderful world of ours. You know ur your (always spell properly) mom always bugged me about speaking to you while you were in the womb, but to be honest I felt it was one of those old wives’ tales like placing a strand of cotton on baby’s head to cure her of hiccups. To humour her I would talk to you doing various impersonations, my favorite being Barry White - Google him if you like – but problem was my faux baritone only kicked in first thang thing in the morning and after a few days your mom got fed up with my morning breath and begged me to stop.

For your birth I had planned to go the whole nine with a camcorder, Darth Vader costume – I practiced “(deep breath) I (deep breath) am (deep breath) your (deep breath) father (deep breath)” over and over again until I could have played James Earl Jones’s understudy. Also planned a music player at the ready to kick in Circle Of Life from The Lion King soundtrack soon as your head popped out. Want to know what put paid to my plans? P-A-I-N!!! I know you are just coming into the world and this might be too early for your tender ears but pregnancy contractions are indescribably painful. Why am I telling you this? I am not sure, maybe because I am still in therapy trying to overcome seeing your mom in so much pain. And you know your mom, she read all the maternity books she could lay her hands on so she was well prepared, especially some book called Spiritual Childbirth, and still the pain was excruciating. Moi? I made do with The Bloke’s Guide To Babies. Didn’t help much but it made your mom happy I made an effort.

Here’s a tip from father to daughter: humour your mom at times even if her request doesn’t make sense to you, it helps to reduce her nagging. Why do you think your pic is currently displayed on my Blackberry profile? I am incredibly private but your mom made such a fuss about it, as if my not putting your pic up for the world to gawk at – and let’s not forget the “ooh she’s soo cute” and “oooh can’t believe you are a dad” trite statements peeps spew out – was a sure sign I would become an emotionally distant father. How was she to know I had secretly become the type of parent I swore I would never be, that all someone had to do was inquire about you and I would start showing them slideshows of you on my phone?

Saying all that one must admit your mom really is a real trooper. Eighteen hours in labour she endured; your dad and maternal grandmother tried their utmost to cheer her on while being subjected to a barrage of verbal, erm, responses from your unusually intimidating mother. To calm her down, instead of Elton John warbling on about the circle of life we had to make do with an oldies station on the radio and at two minutes past midnight you came forth to the Lionel Richie’s Endless Love. This is where women reading this collectively go awwwww but even your cynical old dad must agree the song was apt.
Trust me even if the Ku Klux Klan’s theme song blared out your dad would find a way to segue the “aptness” of that to your birth. Don’t blame him, it is what adults do in an attempt to justify how once-in-a-million-Halley’s comet-unique the bond between they and their kids is. Your uncle Jide took this to the extreme when your cousin Mimi was few months old by boldly affirming, “she has my arms”. Yes, I know what you are cooing about and I wholly agree that is as tenuous a link as there ever will be.

With all the pain your mom went through and all my frightfulness at not being able to help alleviate the pain it all made sense to me when I cut the umbilical cord. To your mom it clicked earlier: at the peak of our back-and-forths while you were doing your utmost to squeeze out from between her thighs your mama and I agreed you would be our only child; I couldn’t see myself going through something like this again and your mom couldn’t either. Well what would you know, less than ten seconds after the nurse wiped you down and handed you to her your mom turns to me and says, “I am so happy……we’d try for another one.” U what?! Mi bambino, extirpate this from your mind after reading this, but I have to confess: THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES IS MORE DEADLY LOONEY THAN THE MALE.

Oh while we are on that tip, do you know you should have been a boy. Yes, we had two scans and were assured you were a boy. Yup, two scans. After you were born the midwife told us scans are only right 99 percent of the time. So keep this away from the Occupy Wall Street folk – you can Google them as well - babes, we are part of the 1%! Yes, we are…..yes, we are. You have a trust fund and everything. Seriously, you do….okay you will have one by the time you are old enough to read this. Your mom will probably use this to blackmail me for your affection so it’s best I confess here that I actually wanted a boy. In addition to your dad’s vast skills as a DIY guru he also used to moonlight as a clairvoyant under the nom de guerre Prophet Joe. Okay maybe blue-moonlight is a better term as I couldn’t get a vision for everyone, my powers were random at best. But when I was in my zone bambino I was gooood. My specialty was in predicting genders of unborn babies and I had a 100% success rate….until your birth that is.

So my powers supported by the scans confirmed you would be a boy and I already had plans to enroll you for training at Arsenal Football Club, UK. You were going to be the first footballing Academy Award Winner with a Nobel Peace Prize before your 30th birthday. I know you may feel I was trying to live vicariously through your male self, but you have to admit those goals were way loftier than that lady in Texas who dyed her 2 year old daughter’s hair blond all in the hope she would one day become a cheerleader for the Dallas Cowboys. Now aren’t you glad God sent you to me instead?

Why did I want a boy? Er, well, your dad is a wuss about emotional stuff. You see, er, with a boy one can leave them to their own devices….sorta. They choose to get married at 50? No problem. They date the wrong woman/women? No worries, they’ll get it right later. Girls on the other hand? One, well a father, has to worry like crazy because he knows what goes on in guys’ heads. He prays to God to forgive his past indiscretions and though he could be a worshipper of any religion for just that brief moment when it dawns on him he has a FEMALE child the innate Bhuddist in him prays karma doesn’t take a big chunk out of his derriere. Chris Rock said it best when he said his job as a father was to ensure his daughter doesn’t have too many daddy issues she ends up as a stripper. A male stripper? As long as he ain’t gay most fathers would shrug it off.

Bambino, was the last paragraph a tad misogynistic? I apologize, and as someone who’s been exposed to Western media his entire life I ought to know better, but as someone who’s been exposed to Western media his entire life I have to shirk responsibility any way I know how so I am blaming this on watching too many Oliver Stone movies.

Hmmm, not convinced? Maybe the following will put a better perspective on my recent bout of Neanderthalism (it’s a word daddy made up just for you bambino):

1. A female friend who once had her sights set on me: “You had a girl? God don catch you! All the women you went after, now you will know what their fathers went through.”
2. Mate from boarding school: “Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Going to send my son round…wink wink. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.”
3. Mate from Nigerian university: “So so so chuffed you had a girl. Have two girls and when you told me your wife was preggers I prayed and prayed you would have a girl too so I wouldn’t be the only one with insecurities.”
4. Older work colleague: “You had a girl? Lucky you man, now you know your future’s secure as female kids take good care of their folks, especially the fathers.”
5. Mate of older work colleague (who approached me soon as colleague walked out of the room): “Psst. Don’t listen to him, he’s spouting that because he has five daughters and is scared shitless. You know how everyone never tells a parent to his face he has an ugly baby? Same way guys will female kids are automatically programmed to commiserate with guys of their ilk. I know because I have two daughters of my own. Two words for you sir: guns and guard-dogs!”

Gulp! Now you understand daddy’s fears a bit more? What I left out of ALL those, ahem, testimonials was the prefix “Man, I cannot picture you as someone’s dad.” It’s true bambino, I can’t believe I am a dad myself. It seems like only yesterday your mom and I exchanged vows and now you are here, a living, breathing part of me. Woah. Actually what those folks were referring to is your dad’s sometimes most times infantile behavior. This is a dude that frantically searched Youtube for Jodeci’s Forever My Lady video, donned on leather pants with high-top boots and did his K-Ci Hailey impression – not to worry he was the only one at home – after your mom informed him over the phone that she was pregnant. Why did he do this? Because he was overjoyed……and he didn’t know the lyrics to Guns N’ Roses’s Sweet Child O Mine. Ha. See what I mean? Even your ten year old cousin Tishe furtively asked your mom how I was coping with being a dad as she can tell “it’s going to be daunting for uncle Tunde”. Initially I doubted my abilities as any sane man would, but want to know why I know I am ready to be a dad? Few months before you were born I started to observe my dance moves were slowly fading away, now all I am left with is the same ol’ two-step your paternal grandfather does.

On a serious tip bambino, I know there’ll come a time when this diamond stud-rocking, funny shirt-wearing, fake ponytail-clipping man will embarrass the heck out of you when he thinks he’s being cool. Please cut me some slack and remember I love you very much, shall always be proud of you no matter what, and will do my utmost to protect you. You should have seen what a mess I was when you start bawling after your first jabs. No amount of absent pictures of you on Blackberry will change how I will forever feel about you, okay? Love you loads and looking forward to our exciting life together.

Your dad,

I know I stated I will always be proud of you but you are not considering auditioning for the Dallas Cowboys cheerleading squad, are you? Just checking….

Justin Bieber is evil….and has a combover. Feel free to hate him.

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