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News & Features » August 2016 » “Itty Bitty Titty Committee” by Nkosi Ife Bandele

“Itty Bitty Titty Committee” by Nkosi Ife Bandele

Are you a parent going through the Terrible Twos? Did you live through them and survive? Terrible Twosdays is a place to commiserate over the unending shenanigans of your Darling Children (as the online parenting communities say). Nonfiction stories will be considered, so long as names have been changed to protect the guilty. Inspired by our best-selling gift book for parents, Go the Fuck to Sleep, Terrible Twosdays joins the roster of our other online short fiction series. Unlike Mondays Are Murder and Thursdaze, we’re looking for stories with a light and mischievous feel, all about the day-to-day challenges of parenting. As with our other flash fiction series, stories must not exceed 750 words.

This week,

Nkosi-Bandele-and-kids-225x300Itty Bitty Titty Committee
by Nkosi Ife Bandele
There’s a girl in my nine year old’s third grade class who apparently has been left back more than a couple of times. She’s twelve and sprouting. Moreover, she acts “grown” for her age and often wears blouses that allow for her bra straps to show. My daughter as well as her girlfriends in class, who act like they grown too, are bright and aware enough to disparage this young woman for her learning deficiencies, but they admire her for her budding breasts, and more specifically for the bras that contain them.

“Ma, do you think I need a bra?”

My wife, who can be harsh, tries to be kind at first.

“Oh, I don’t think you need a bra yet, honey. Not quite yet.”

My wife and I share a wink and smile as my daughter insists.

“But look—”

My daughter points to the slight bumps pushing through her strapped tee.

Back in the day, my asshole homies and I would have called these “mosquito bites” or deemed her a member of the “IttyBittyTittyCommittee.” Mature-father-me tries to empathize.

“Seems you do have a little something there, honey.”

Act of betrayal. I should have ended by saying, but you don’t need a bra yet. However, I lost my heart.

My daughter thanks me and leaves it there for a moment. My wife’s hot because she knows what’s coming, and she insists that I never back her up.

*

“Ma, I need a bra!”

That was it for my wife. She had been hearing it all day long, and she had tried to be kind.

“You don’t need a bra. You’re as flat as this piece of paper!”

Harsh, and I don’t think my wife really meant it. After she slammed down the bill she was reviewing, I caught her slight grimace that quickly turned into big frown for me. See what you started!

My daughter felt insulted and grew contemptuous of my wife’s remark. She was disgusted by my wife. How can you not see them? You’re a hater, mom! My daughter pushed by a dining room chair, stamped into her room, and belly flopped onto her bed. She then sprung up to slam her door for further effect.

My wife started scolding me before I could offer my apology. “You always make me play the bad cop!”

I thought that was a bit much, as I didn’t punk out all the time, but I agreed to speak with my daughter whose loud sobs had become part of the effect.

“Mom, always does that.”

“Does, what?”

“You know, like, says things like that.”

“I think she was just trying to say that you really don’t need a bra as of yet.”

“A training bra!”

The desperation in her voice now broke my heart.

“Well, maybe in a year or so.” I was this close to giving in completely, but I had already betrayed my wife once on the matter.

*

“Next year?”

My daughter bounds from her bed and back into the dining room where my wife is now filing.

“Dad says that I can get a bra next year!”

My daughter’s happy, I’m happy, what’s the problem?

“You don’t need a bra, and I don’t want to hear another word about it!”

Repeat performance by all of us: daughter’s explosions, wife’s glares, me punking.

*

My son gets wind of it all during our silent dinner. Since he’s currently in his asshole stage, he further pisses off my daughter by cackling at the mere thought of her in a bra. He keeps looking at her and laughing until finally she fires her balled up napkin at him.

She remains quiet and intense throughout dinner, stabbing at her food, rattling the ice cubes in her water glass, shaking her head to refuse a dessert offer.

Ironically, we’re having berries for dessert, and she’s eyeing them but too proud to give in. Still, she must have made the connection subconsciously because she suddenly yanks down her tee shirt straps and aims her two berries at my wife: “In your face, Mom!”

 

***

NKOSI IFE BANDELE works as an adjunct professor at, like, every New York City university, teaching academic writing and the occasional literature course. He has three novels completed. His first novel, The Ape is Dead!, is available from Crimson Cloak Publishing. Excerpts of this work appear in the Crimson Cloak Publishing anthology Love Matters, Akashic’s Terrible Twosdays series,Hobart Magazine, Crescendo City Magazine, and the collection of poetry and prose titled It’s Animal but Merciful published by the independent press great weather for MEDIA. Excerpts from Nkosi’s second novel, Scott Free, are featured in Moonshot magazine’s issue #5 and Akashic’s Thursdaze series. He is also the author of a third novel, The Beast, and the Writer’s Digest award–winning screenplay Love is Crazy. Nkosi lives in New York City. He has been published under the pen names Eshu Bandele and skoo d foo, da bom! His website, including his blog THAT N-WORD’S CRAZY!, is eshubandele.com. Visit his Facebook Fan Page here.

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Do you have a story you’d like us to consider for online publication in the Terrible Twosdays flash fiction series? Here are the submission terms and guidelines:

—We are not offering payment, and are asking for first digital rights. The rights to the story revert to the author immediately upon publication.
—Your story should focus on the challenges of parenting. Ideally, stories should be about children aged 0 to 5, but any age (up to early teens) is acceptable. Stories may be fiction or nonfiction.
—Include the child’s age at the time of the story next to your byline.
—Your story should not exceed 750 words.
—E-mail your submission [email protected] paste the story into the body of the email, and also attach it as a PDF file.

Posted: Aug 23, 2016

Category: Terrible Twosdays | Tags: , , , ,



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