Take a fresh look at your lifestyle.

Mummy, why do you call everybody sweetheart?

It was about 6. 45 pm on a Saturday evening and we had just returned from where Kosisochukwu went to fix her hair around the neighbourhood. Going out for any reason excites her but she is more thrilled whenever she is going to braid her hair.

Kosisochukwu, my five-year-old was sitting on the small dining table in the kitchen, munching away the snacks I had bought for her. She was observing everything in preparation for dinner. I knew we were going to have a late meal.

Immediately, I brought out the veggies, she advanced from where she was sitting with the aim to help pick them. I knew exactly her mission; so, I packed a handful into a bowl for her. At that age, she had started showing significant interest in kitchen affairs. I did well to encourage her in every little bit.

The woman, Mrs. Amaechi, who makes her hair at the small market in the neighbourhood, is on a retainership basis. She is a pleasant lady, who also knows the way of children. She has a cute little girl of Kosisochukwu’s age. Her name is Ekwy. I often refer to as her sweetheart and Kosi frowns whenever I call her that.

I am fond of referring to everyone, as honey or sweetheart. Even though, that is what I also call my daughters.

While I was cooking, my brief encounter with Ekwy crossed my mind.

“My friend, how are you?” I had said

“I’m fine,” came her tiny voice.

“You are such a pretty little girl. Has anyone told you that you are so pretty?” She smiled shyly. “Now, tell me, when will you grow up?” I asked.


“Tomoyo,” she meant to say tomorrow. She wasn’t able to pronounce it properly. What did she care? After all, she had provided me with an answer. It sounded funny and childish. I feigned ignorance of the fact that she couldn’t pronounce the word better than that. I kept pushing her that she must pronounce it the way I did. It became a ritual. It was just fun for me.

Suddenly, Kosi interrupted my thoughts. Her complaint was why I referred to everyone as my sweetheart. She was particular about Ekwy.

 I could hear a tinge of jealousy and a demonstration of territorial supremacy in her behaviour.

She began, “Mummy, why do you always call people honey or sweetheart? I thought I am your only sweetheart.”

“Oh, of course,” I replied, not knowing exactly where she was heading. “You are my sweetheart and will always be.”

READ ALSO: 15 things to do with a naked man

“So, why do you call them that naa? And every time, you say, I am your sweetheart. Yet you even call this small tintinrin girl, Ekwy, sweetheart. Is she your sweetheart? But mummy naa, am I not your sweetheart again?” She queried

Sensing how serious she had taken it, I managed to calm her down. It was a serious issue.

She is my first at attempt at motherhood and ours has been an incredible journey. Kosisochukwu is her name but I have dotted her with all conceivable pet names like Girls or Girlie. And nothing trills her more than this.

“Okay, girlie,” I said, drawing her close to me now. “Let me tell you now. You are the real sweetheart. You are my authentic honey girl. You are da girls. You are gege and girlie, girlie. There is no doubt that you and your sister are my sweethearts. You know what?” She steadied her gaze on my lips. She wasn’t sure of what I would say next but she hoped it would be in her favour as always.

“Yes,” I continued, “don’t mind these people ooo. I just call them sweetheart for nothing. They are fake sweethearts. You and your sister are the real sweethearts.” With this, she gave out a hearty laugh. I knew I had won her over. She was the ultimate winner. We were both winners in the game. Her behaviour was only natural. She was defending her territory. She didn’t want to share my love for her with anyone.

“Mummy, why is your nose long?” she joked

I wondered from where this question popped up. It’s a far cry from our line of conversation.

“Really, is my nose long?”

“Yes, naa,” she touched my nose with her index finger. Your nose is like this pencil. She demonstrated, raising the pencil in her hand

“When is Uncle Yoyo coming?”

Uncle Yoyo is my younger brother, who lives in Port Harcourt. All the children and grandchildren call him that. He got that name from one of his little nieces. It’s an adaptation of uncle is back, oyoyo. But since the little girl couldn’t say that, she changed it to suit her. She would simply say Uncle Yoyo and it stuck.

“He will come but not now, girlie,” I said not ready to be dragged into another endless conversation.

“He promised to come and take me na, mummy. I miss him ooo,” she informed me.

“Yes, I know. I miss him too but you know he is busy at work. Don’t worry, he told me that he would come.”

“Mummy, let’s call him naa,” she made for my phone.

“No, no, girlie; you know that is a no-go area. I will call him; I promise but you know that you don’t touch my phone. Okay?”

“Yes, mummy,” she looked away, pretending as if I wasn’t talking to her.

She would always want to fiddle with my phone when she was much younger but not anymore. She has been reprimanded a few times on the issue of playing with my phone. I have one old phone that is no longer functional, which she plays with. The phone was dead on arrival. The battery had factory fault and all my efforts at reviving it proved abortive. So, I bequeathed it to my dear Kosi.

In fact, when I gave it to her, the first question from was, “mummy, did you dach me?” Kosi says dach in place of dash.

Sometime ago, her Aunty gave her some toys. She ran to me in excitement to say, “Mummy, see ooo, Aunty Shirley dach me this.”

Everyone knows that I don’t allow them play with my phone and suddenly, I just gave away this shiny, beautiful one to her. She took it with mixed feelings. She was both happy and surprised. She then asked, “Mummy, did you say I should take?” I nodded. Again, she asked, “Mummy, did you dach me?” My response was in the affirmative. I guessed she wasn’t sure if I truly dached her.

But she was so smart to understand that this particular phone was not in good order. She picked it up and when the light didn’t come on, she threw it away. At some other times, she would simply give it to you to activate it for her. She threw tantrums and wondered why her phone didn’t work.

“But you have your phone naa? Go and call him with it,” I instructed her.

She took the phone and walked away. A little later, I heard her in a mock conversation with Uncle Yoyo. Hardly would anyone know that there was no one on the other side. The conversation was perfect and articulate. Her gesticulations were so real.

Dinner was ready. Girlie and I ate and retired to bed happily after saying our prayers.