One Friday afternoon, I asked my guy what his Friday plans were. I knew he would have his son this weekend, and I was curious what they would be up too. He responded by asking if they could both come over. His son had never been to my apartment before, so immediately I start trying to mentally visualize if my apartment is safe for a 3 year old to visit. Of course it was! I asked him what his son’s favorite food was – hoping he would say pizza or cheeseburgers, which are my favorite – but he answered JOLLOF RICE! Huh?! What little kid’s favorite food is jollof rice? I am Nigerian by nationality but American by birth, and in my household I grew up eating American food. My mom tried to force me to eat Nigerian food, but I was just too stubborn. My mom would say, “Eat this or you’ll starve”, and my stubborn skinny self would choose to starve! So I’m definitely NOT an expert on cooking Nigerian food, especially the slightly difficult, but everyone’s favorite, jollof rice. I had been practicing for a while, so I was somewhat confident that I could pull it off. For the rest of my work day I spent my time googling Nigerian jollof recipes, just to make sure everything would be perfect for his little boy. After work I immediately started cooking, and just my luck, my jollof turned out to be a mushy mess. I was devastated. I felt like I was auditioning to be a mom, and I just bombed my audition. How could I be someone’s step mom when I couldn’t even cook simple jollof rice? I felt as if I failed as a woman. Even though I did not grow up eating Nigerian foods, I still have a desire to be able to cook for my husband and our children – especially my children. And I do have to admit, not being able to cook as well as my Nigerian sisters is an insecurity of mine, but like I said, I’ve been practicing so hopefully I will overcome that soon.
So I had to call my guy ask him to pick up some food on the way because my jollof rice didn’t turn out as expected. He told me that his son already ate, and that he will be fine. He said he wasn’t even expecting me to cook anything because I had just gotten off! (Seriously?!) Once they got to my place, I then realized that I had absolutely nothing to keep him occupied. I was too busying preparing for my audition as a step mom that I forgot a crucial and obvious detail about children – they have a short attention span. I didn’t even think to buy him a simple toy. No action figures, no crayons, not even bubbles for him to play with.
While they were at my place, his dad watched the game, while his son spent his time watching a TV show on his iPad. When it was time for them to leave, I asked his son to try on a shirt I bought him a while ago to see if it fit. And he threw it on the floor. *upside down smiley face*
-The Third Wheel-
One of my favorite memories as a child is going to the circus with my dad and younger sister. I can’t remember when we started going, but he used to take us every year. I loved the show, the acts, the clowns, and of course the snacks! And each year he would buy those overly priced picture programs so we could relive the circus until it was time to go again next year. Since I loved it so much, and I was getting more comfortable with the idea of my guy having a child, I suggested we take him to see the Barnum & Bailey Show. You know, the greatest show on earth! He agreed, and I bought us 3 tickets, with pretty good seats. On the way to the circus, he was so excited. I guess his dad had told him what to expect. As soon as we stepped into the arena, he was scared, and he did not want to go in at all. His dad finally convinced him to go inside, but he was terrified. Our seats were closer than expected, which now seemed like a bad idea. As the show was going on, he wouldn’t speak, and he was not enjoying the show. I was crushed. First he didn’t enjoy my favorite pizza place, and now he hates the circus. I should have known, I thought to myself. He’s way too young. I’m going to be a bad step mom! He’s only 3. I was at least 6 when I started going to the circus. On a positive note, it was my guy’s first time going to the circus, and he seemed to be enjoying it. During intermission, his dad left to get food. He wouldn’t go with him because he was too scared to move. So while I was alone with him, I asked if he wanted a toy, and he said yes. It was a light up toy sword. Yes, I was bribing him. We went outside to the lobby to get the sword, and then he started losing up a bit. I bought him the toy, and asked if he wanted to get his face painted, but he was still a little scared. He walked back down to our seats, and from that point on, he was no longer scared. He enjoyed the show, the elephants, the clowns, and the tigers. He was talking throughout the show, and you could see the look of amusement on his face. At the end of the night he didn’t want to go home. And he asked if I could “come to his house” I ended up staying, and he did not want me to leave, and he told me he was going to miss me! I smiled the whole ride home. Okay, maybe this won’t be as hard as I thought =)
So my first meeting with my guy’s son was at Dave N Busters. He has his son every other weekend, so one Friday night I asked him what his plans were with his son. He told me he didn’t have any major plans, but he hoped me, him, and his son could go to Dave N Busters Sunday evening. I was ecstatic! I always told myself, I would never ask the question: “So when can I meet your son?” I wanted our first meeting to be on his terms, at his pace. I know if I was in his shoes, I wouldn’t want a significant other to meet my child until I felt comfortable. Plus, my guy is a very private person, and I am the first woman he’s dated to meet his son. So this was a huge deal for him, and for our relationship. I was surprised how nervous I was to meet a 3year old. But as soon as we got there, everything ran smoothly. His son was very active, and loved to play. As long as we were playing games, everything was fine. At one point, he even “pushed me” so I could play the game with him.
After about an hour or two of playing, my guy and I were just sitting down and talking. I guess his son was like this is enough sitting and talking, and he grabbed my hand, and was like let’s play. That moment really touched my heart. And I thought to myself, “Okay, maybe I can do this, maybe his son will accept me, and maybe it’s just not that big of a deal”
But when we were done and about to go our separate ways, my guy told his son to tell me good-bye and give me a hug. He refused. LOL.
-The Third Wheel-
I still remember the first time he told me he had a child. It was only third time hanging out. The previous day I saw a picture of a child on his home screen so I decided to ask him about it. It was honestly just a question to serve as a conversation starter; I was expecting him to tell me that was his nephew, or baby cousin. When I asked, “Do you have a kid?” and he said “Yes” I could feel my heart drop. I was shocked. Even though it was only our third time of hanging out, I could tell that I really liked this man. We’ve already developed a connection, so this revelation really threw me for a loop. He gave me the background information on how his son was conceived, and his relationship with his son’s mother. He wasn’t ready to give me the full details, which was understandable, so I changed the topic. When I got home, I kept thinking, why did I have to fall for a man with a child? And honestly, and I don’t know why, but it kind of hurt a little that another woman gave him his first child, and not just a first child, his first son. Nigerians place a lot of value on sons (eye roll), and some other woman has already gifted him with his first.
I called my best friend, and told her the news. And her response was, “So” Huh? I was not expecting that. So I thought about it, and I told myself, I guess I’m going to start talking to a man with a child. So I decided to start this blog because I feel like there isn’t enough information on this topic, and also to express myself. I never imagined that I would fall for someone who has a child. It’s not as if I was against it, it is just not the norm for a Nigerian man to have a child, so it wasn’t even on my mind. Yes I’ve heard that it’s hard to find a good man without kids, but I can count on one hand how many men I know with a child –black or African. I titled the blog, “The Third Wheel”, because currently that is how I feel. The best definition of a third wheel that describes my experiences so far is: “a person hanging out with two people that are in a sense leaving him/her out. Called the third wheel because having any odd number of wheels on an object generally messes it up.” I know they aren’t leaving me out on purpose; I just don’t have a bond with his child – yet. I plan on posting my experiences, like my first time meeting his child, and anything else that may occur.