I remember the first time I ever shared this story. It was my first class in Developmental Psychology with the then Dr. Adejuwon whom we fondly called ‘mama’. She was teaching us about how our earliest memories were formed, and asking for ours. I told the story of how our ‘houseboy’ ate my dodo when I was 3 years old. It was funny to the whole class, but it was funnier to me because I didn’t even know I remembered the incident until that moment in class.
Half of a hot piece of dodo
Our domestic help, Sunday, was the most playful adult I had ever known. I have a vivid memory of my dad knocking his head for leaving me alone at home and going out to play in the rain. But my earliest memory of him involves food – dodo in particular.
My aunt Isioma was frying dodo one afternoon when I returned home from school. Giving me, her favourite (read only) niece at the time, a piece of her dodo was the natural thing to do. Knowing it was too hot though, she gave it to Sunday to cool it for me by blowing on it. He obligingly blew on the piece of dodo while I calmly waited. But when he gave it back to me, it had been bitten in half. Sigh. The way I screamed and cried can only be imagined.
Boundaries and trust
There were layers to my pain, ladies. First off, I’m rather finicky. I wouldn’t share a cup or piece of cutlery with anyone except maybe my mother occasionally. If someone had eaten from a plate of food, you’d best believe I wasn’t going to eat it. And everyone knew it. I wasn’t even a foodie, so it certainly wasn’t about food. It was just a ‘Stay your lane, abeg’ issue. But do we respect boundaries? No! Smh.
The other thing that niggled was the more subtle but very real feeling of being cheated and violated. Like, ‘Oga, I trusted you. HOW COULD YOU?!’ I expected a nicely cooled piece of dodo and what did I get?Half!! I am almost sure this was what triggered my trust issues. Lol.
Jokes aside though, we need to be mindful in our relations with kids. The oddest things stick in their memories and create issues that can take on a life of their own pretty easily. Spend your time and energy helping them make good memories. And for goodness sake, don’t bite their dodo!