The Downside Of Being The Last Child In A Nigerian Home
“Don’t you know he is the last child?” a statement that makes the youngest in a Nigerian home almost untouchable. Most grown-up last children would argue that being the youngest has its perks, but trust me when I say its disadvantages are nothing compared to its benefits. One truth nobody will tell you is that as you grow older, your privileges as the last child begin to change, both for the better and for the worse.
From the moment you are given birth to till around age 7, everyone wants a piece of you. They want to carry you on their arms, pull your chubby cheeks, put you on their laps and make funny faces, just for a smile from you. Weird beings we are. During this period, you get everything you ask for. Sweets, toys, a happy meal, a T.V station to watch and no exaggeration, your world with the family heeding to your every command. If they don’t, you simply pull the ultimate move: a loud, annoying cry enough to shatter the glass in your home. Not even the President himself has the power to stop this move that turns a bundle of joy and sweetness into their worst nightmare.
If everybody gets two pieces of meat, you, the sweet little thing, gets three pieces, plus the last piece. Another joy of being the youngest is that you don’t get blamed for wrongdoings, even if you are clearly guilty. I mean, you have your older siblings for that. Smashing a window with a football automatically translates to your older ones breaking a window, in the minds of your parents. Your older siblings, especially the boys, would most times refuse to hang out with you due to the fear of you getting hurt. This is because you as the baby of the house getting hurt is equal to your siblings getting punished. Trust Nigerian parents to always have a baton (a wooden cane), ready-ever-sharp mouth and a hand grenade (rubber flip flops) to launch at you, on standby.
However, between the ages of 8 to age 17, things start to take a turn. Of course, you still get spoiled by siblings, relatives and family friends alike; things take a different turn. Your siblings begin to protest anytime you get the last piece of food. This is the period you start running errands. From collecting your father’s pressing iron from the next-door neighbour to going to the tailor’s shop to collect your mother’s dress. Asides running errands, your movement starts getting restricted out of the fear of you getting hurt or getting linked with bad influence. In addition to that, as the youngest, you must always be home on time. This means no late nights or sleepovers for you. Why keep late nights when you are under pressure to make A’s. You must not “fall their hands.”
From age 18, your perks end. No more last piece of food, special treatment, and “flexing” money. To the world, you are not the last born anymore; you are now an adult. An adult has responsibilities, and those responsibilities come at you fast. It is due to these responsibilities that every action you make is under watchful eyes. Like 2Pac said: “All eyez on me”. This is when you must not mess up.
However, while the world starts seeing you as an adult, to your family, especially the females, you will forever remain a child in their eyes. Being the youngest in a Nigerian home is very sweet; THE PROBLEM LIES IN GROWING UP.