Anecdotes: Auntie’s Attitude

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It is really no use trying not to play favorites with the kids in my family because it is no secret that this little munchkin has absolutely and completely stolen my heart. Although it doesn’t hurt that she is adorable, it is Auntie’s attitude that has me completely smitten. Five years old going on 20, this eye-rolling drama queen is quite the trickster.

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Here’s just a few anecdotes of Auntie’s ridiculous antics:

I was in the middle of taking a bath in my backyard when suddenly I heard Auntie: “Fatoumata! Attaya?”
I looked up to see her already halfway down the long path from my back door to my “bathroom” with a glass of attaya in her hand. (Apparently, I forgot to lock my front door and she let herself in as usual.) She seemed completely unfazed by the fact that I was, I don’t know, taking a bath! She walked right up to me and gave me the glass of hot tea.
“Auntie! I’m taking a bath!” I said in Jola.
“Are you going to drink it or not?” she replied as she rolled her eyes.
I drank the tea, gave her back the glass and she walked out as if there was nothing strange about our interaction.

One day when my sisters and I were hanging out in my house, Auntie suddenly stood up and said: “Whatever, I’m going” in perfect English and then walked out while flipping back her hair. These were her first English words and we have no idea how she learned them.

Any time Auntie comes in my house she immediately picks up my broom and starts sweeping.
“Auntie, I literally just swept … three times,” I tell her.
“Ha!” she always laughs while continuing to sweep. “Look! Look, at this,” she shouts while pointing to dirt she manages to sweep anyway.
“I know! I really did just sweep, but it is always dusty here,” I reply.
Auntie will then roll her eyes and go to shake the dust pan outside.

Auntie absolutely loves dancing and will even beat box her own song if there’s no music. Her signature dance move: seductively licking her lips while shaking her butt all the way to the floor. Shall I remind you … she’s five.

One night as Auntie and I were laying outside practicing some English phrases, I turned to her and asked if she wanted be the Jola teacher since I am the English teacher. She laughed, but then eventually agreed. She started to point to stuff around the compound while telling me the terms in Jola. I repeated after her, to which she always laughed but then she would correct my pronunciation and make me repeat the word again and again. I told her she shouldn’t make fun of her pupils if she wanted to be a good teacher, but repetition was good. After about five minutes of this, she told me I was mixing up the words for “boy” and “girl.” But I was pretty sure that I had been correct and argued with her for a bit about it.
Finally one of the older kids piped up with a smile,”Don’t listen to her. She’s teasing.”
“Auntie, is this true? Are you trying to confuse me?” I asked.
“Uh huhh, deh!” she replied in a fit of giggles.

It is so normal to send kids out on errands, there’s a word for it: to small boy or small girl. The kid is supposed to do as he or she is told, no ifs, ands or buts about it. In fact, it is considered a small honor to be trusted with doing something for an adult and most kids happily run as fast as they can to do the job. Auntie, on the other hand, is the worst small girl ever. Seriously, the absolute worst! Here are two of many incidents:
I sent Auntie to the shop to get bread. After taking her sweet time, she finally came back.
“The bread is finished,” she said, hiding her hands behind her back.
“You’re teasing. Give it to me … and ALL the change,” I replied.
“Uh uh, deh!” she said, shaking her head no and trying to be serious before eventually erupting in laughter. She popped a sucker into her mouth. “Here (handing me the bread). The bread wasn’t really finished, but your change is!”

Another time, Auntie was screaming and crying like she was on the brink of death so I came out of my house to make sure she still had all her limbs intact. I found our teenage sister Hawa sitting next to her with a scowl, not trying to console Auntie in the slightest.
“What is going on?” I asked.
“I took candy away from Auntie,” Hawa replied.
“Okay. Why?”
“Why?” Hawa said with a huff. “Because I gave Auntie money to go buy salt at the shop so I could cook lunch and what did she do? She came back with candy. So I took it from her. And what does she say? She says ‘I bought that candy. Give it back or I will scream.’ I ask her with who’s money did she buy it and she says ‘mine’ like she’s pretending she has her own money or something and now she is crying as if I beat her, which I didn’t … but I should.”
I looked at Auntie, sternly while trying not to laugh, “Is that true, Auntie?”
Auntie looked to Hawa who repeated everything again to Auntie in Jola.
Auntie turned back to me, instantly turned off her water works and shrugged.
“Well, can you tell Hawa to give me my candy back,” Auntie said in Jola. “She did just tell you I am the one who walked all the way to the store to buy it.”

I could honestly go on for days, but I’m sure these stories don’t do Auntie’s attitude the right amount of justice. I seriously get such a kick out of this kid, and am happy she is here to always keep me laughing.

–JDF