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Uchenna's blog: All Eyes on Me

clock Released On 23rd Jun 2022

Uchenna's blog: All Eyes on Me

I have to hand it to Generation Alpha - their confidence and sassy natures that interrupt adult conversation midway and point out emphatically: "You're not clapping for me!"

This was seven year old Commander-in-Chief-Senior sauntering into the kitchen in her full bright pink Princess regalia gown as my sisters dissected the pressing problem about which on demand TV shows to be watching right now. 

They paused, looked at each other and then her, and burst out laughing.

"Oh my goodness, I'm so sorry," said my sister. "Madam, please please please: strike a pose."

And so Commander-in-Chief Senior did her catwalk down the kitchen, twirled round, and they stood up and broke into full applause, taking paparazzi pics which were swiftly uploaded to the family WhatsApp group. And, of course, in true Gen Alpha style as a visual digital native, she wanted to see the gallery, swipe right, and giggle at her silly facial expressions from dawn till dusk. 

My girlfriends branded the episode as "a queen who knows what she deserves", "yaaas guurrll", and "very cute".

As my sisters gisted me about her celeb spotlight, we marveled at the evolution of Nigerian parenting in the diaspora. When we were growing up, we didn't have the guts to interrupt adults as they were talking. And if our parents or any aunty or uncle gave "the eye", we knew the countdown was on for real trouble to land. So mentally, you would start thinking about how to course correct - like yesterday - so that peace would reign.

As a parent I've become intentional and reflective about my language and assumptions because I'm straddling two worlds - my Nigerian heritage and my British living. I want my children to experience the best of both. To blossom in their confidence and continue with probing questions that my shy, socially awkward childhood self could not do.

But that cultural imprint, that Nigerian DNA, is real. It shows up when least expected.  Commander-in-Chief Senior asked grandma if she could go in her car. Before grandma responded, she imitated her Nigerian "no" with the grunt in the back of her throat.

It was so perfectly tonally flavoured - the right texture, the right facial squint. Just like my mother.

We all burst out laughing.

Some mothers really do have 'em.

Uchenna works in strategic communications and engagement. Her/She has led initiatives on employee engagement and diversity and recruitment for different companies. Uchenna marvels at the new zest of life and clarity her Commanders-in-Chief have given her.

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