Just a few weeks ago, TeeVee host, comedian and popular mentor, Teju BabyFace, and his charming wife, Oluwatobiloba, dedicated their adorable twins, Oreofe Oluwa and Ore Oluwa. The babies were born a couple of months ago in the United States where they spent six weeks before they came home with their excited parents. Teju and wife had waited almost six years after their wedding before the good Lord blessed them with a boy and a girl, and expectedly, they are over the moon with joy. And so is everyone who knows them either closely or from a distance. City People’s Senior Editor, WALE LAWAL, got Teju BabyFace (real name Olateju Oyelakin) to share with us a bit of those difficult moments he and his wife had to endure before the twins came and he was more than willing to oblige us. He also had a few words of encouragement for couples who are still waiting on the Lord like he and his wife waited.
Congratulations on the birth of your twins. It really was gladdening when the news broke that your beautiful wife had put to bed a set of twins. The internet was agog with goodwill messages, jubilation and all. Everyone just seemed happy for you and your wife. Can you recall how happy you felt seeing how loved you are by the public?
Well, I felt that we missed out a bit because we weren’t at home. I would’ve liked to be around to have felt the outpouring of the goodwill messages as they were coming. It would’ve been something to have beheld, but we weren’t at home and only came back almost two months later to hear about it. But we did see it online. I remember that the Facebook post of it, today has hit almost 2.2 million people. I mean, that was amazing for me. Between Facebook, Instagram and all that, we did over 25 million. Those are awesome numbers. So, one is grateful.
How much did it touch you that you and your wife were that loved and that everybody so profoundly wished you well?
I have always thought that I have a unique and unusual brand, in that I am very popular and perceived to be very successful. I always suspected that if I had a baby, even if I had one, it would be quite the news, but once I knew that we were going to have two, I knew it would make huge headlines. If one had waited almost six years to have children and then you have twins, a boy and a girl, and you don’t make news, then I’m not sure anything would make news again. So, one is grateful.
What was it like waiting. Part of the things that gladdened your admirers is the fact that they had no doubt you guys were holding on pretty well despite the long wait. You were good together and as far they knew, with Teju, he’s all good and happy with his wife and he’s absolutely sure this thing is no big deal, that the baby will come when it will come. Was it that simple, really?
(Laughs) Lai lai! I mean, felt that way sometimes in my more lucid moments, but that’s not the way I felt a whole lot of times. A whole lot of times there was panic, that what if this thing does not happen. The truth is that it seemed to be history repeating itself. My father had the same problem. My father, and my father’s first son, I have an elder sister who is older than me by 3 years, and yet I wasn’t born until 10 years after my father was married.
My elder sister was born about seven years after my father was married, which is give or take about the same time I had to wait. Sorry, it’s not really the same because a year is a lifetime when you’re waiting for children. So, this was history about repeating itself. His case was more complicated though.
I come from a polygamous family so there were times when one was worried that, is this thing going to happen again? There was the fact that the contemplation of having another wife or having children from another woman was just antithetical to my entire destiny. So, since that option was off the table, I couldn’t have babies by another woman or have another wife, what it meant was that I was going to be childless. And that wasn’t a very palatable option.
On the other hand, there was also the part where if you’re a believer in God, He sends you very strong messages now and again that keep your feet on the ground and let you hold faith. I just knew that I was going to have children.
I saw the pictures in my head. Even when I was a bad boy and I was having girlfriends up and down as a ‘single man,’ when I was serially dating, without exception, all my girlfriends used to say, as uncommitted as you are, you’re actually going to be a fantastic father and husband. Which is quite a testimony when your girlfriend who is fighting with you for cheating on her is actually telling you that, even though you’re cheating, you’re actually going to be a fantastic husband and a fantastic father. I mean, I felt it in my bone, I felt in my blood that children were on the way, it’s just a question of time and how to get through the time.
If you were told when your trial would end, then it would be easier for you to bear. If you knew you’ll become rich, you’ll probably go home and start sleeping. If you knew when you would ever get out of whatever it is you’re going through, you’ll probably not worry about anything anymore. It’s the element of not knowing if you would ever get out that just makes things rather difficult.
How well did your wife cope? You sound like you held on quite well…
There’s an Instagram post you should see. I posted it after the dedication about three weeks ago and that would tell you everything. It was my wife’s picture and I wrote that only once during that entire time did I see her cry. And it was short. She was just annoyed that morning that somebody had called her again that morning to ask her that how far now? Where are the children? It was more of annoyance that, what is it sef? Apart from that, she was okay.
She was all over the place organizing baby showers for friends, organizing bridal parties, jumping up and down. And I’ll be like, na waoh, this is strong o. There is a degree which I have to admit that I withdrew into myself as the years rolled by.
When you’re childless, there’s a degree to which you withdraw into yourself a bit, especially if you have the tendency to be reclusive which I do. But she was the vivacious one, which is what shocks people. They think because I’m the one who is the public figure, they think I’m the one who is outgoing, but the reverse actually is the case. I’m the one who likes to sit back at home when I’m not officially engaged outside. I sit in my library, read books, write books and watch tee-vee, She is the one who likes to go out.
If you were to speak to a couple who are probably going through that same phase, and you’re to tell them this and this are the things we did that worked for us, that didn’t break us, what would you be telling them?
When you’re expectant and waiting for children, a lot is thrown at you in the way of advice. Come here, go there. There’s one man here, somebody saw a vision there, the Lord sent somebody to you there. Let’s take you this mountain and that hilltop…At that point, you’re going to have to put your foot down and say, you know what, this is what we are going to do, these are our options, and as led by the spirit of God this is what we’re going to do. We’re not going to do this anymore, we’re not going to go there anymore, no matter who’s giving us the advice.
We’re going to thank them for their support, but we’re not going to be running from pillar to post on everyone’s say so. Like I said, there’s so much to tell you, but that one thing just comes to mind now and stands out. You have to put your foot down at some point and stop going everywhere that everybody tells you because in the end, when God does it, which He will do, depending on how many places you have been, you find maybe twenty four people who are claiming credit for that which God probably did without any of them.
At any rate, if God uses the twenty four of them, how do you convince all of them, since each one is convinced that it was solely his own intervention that made it happen? Now, every one of them says you have to bring the babies to come and see them, and you become an ingrate if you haven’t gone to see them. You were praying for the babies, and now that they have come you can’t rest because you to keep going everywhere because everybody is claiming credit, including the person who didn’t do anything.
How easy or tough was it for you to fight external interferences, to say, I will take this advice, I won’t touch this one, thank you, or to completely shut out some, at the risk of annoying some family members who, truly in their way, mean?
It was difficult, really. I mean, you’re flesh and blood after all. You’re human. Sometimes, after you stand strong, after a while you begin to repent of what you intended to do, especially as you’re not seeing results. I remember that shortly after my wife and I made up our mind to stand on a particular resolution, I got a call from somebody else who meant well, who actually was convincing us to go somewhere, and this time medically.
And the pitch was almost convincing that I was almost going to do that again. But the strength of our resolution was very strong that I managed to shake it off and it was shortly after that the Lord did it. But it’s difficult, especially when you don’t see the results of your resolutions sometimes. Then again, as you rightly said, depending on who is telling you, what authority the person has over you and in the family.
There’s a limit to how much you can turn them back, especially if the person is insistent. By the time you’re going into the third year and no results yet, you’ll be like, you know what, let’s do it. Even if you already have one child, they will still be telling you that you’re no different from the woman who has no child, I mean, that is ridiculous! First of all, if you have only one child, let me just give you that comfort now, that is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard in my life. That the person who has one child doesn’t have a child?
That is the most ridiculous ignorance and stupidity of the highest level fostered by people that have not gone through anything. You need to know there is an entire world of difference between somebody who doesn’t have a child and somebody who has one. May God not put you in a position where you don’t have children for you to know that somebody who has one child and the person who has none are not the same thing. Are you kidding? (Laughs) One great child makes up for more than, how do Yorubas say it, 200 mediocre children.
Alright, let’s get to the lighter part. Can you recall for us the first thing you said to your wife when you first set eyes on your children?
She wanted to know if they were fine ni. They had taken them out of the delivery room and I had to follow them to where they were cleaning them and bringing their body temperature up to normal and all those normal things that they do for newborn. On the other hand, they were also taking care of her. You would think that finally, after all this waiting, when you finally have all these children you will just be jumping all over the place. That’s what I thought. But it is said that every level brings a new devil. The moment they were born, I barely had time to rejoice before I started to worry. I was worried hoping the children will be okay, and I was also worried if their mother was recuperating very well. So, as soon as we saw each other, I guess the first thing she wanted to know was how are they? And I told her they’re fine and I was getting worried and running all over the place.
The twins are a boy and a girl, right?
Yes, they are.
Tell us their names, please.
The male is Oreofe oluwa while the girl is Ore oluwa.
Even though it’s barely a few months, give us an idea of what fatherhood has been like for you so far. They must be a handful, aren’t they?
One is just eternally thankful and grateful. We were in the parlour yesterday and my family was around so I had nephews and nieces running all over the place. And my babies were there as well. Nobody noticed as I started to mouth a silent prayer of thanksgiving to God because these are the true riches of life. There’s no amount of money I could’ve had that could’ve given me the amount of joy I felt in that moment.
It is reproach when you don’t have children and I know because I have been there now. I can only pray that anybody who is sojourning through that challenge that God brings them out. It’s not a good thing. It holds you back in so many ways and you don’t even know its holding you back. So, I’m so grateful in ways I can’t even express. Yes, I still have my career goals, and my monetary goals, but over and above all that, I’m grateful for family. Sure, they are quite a handful.
I learnt that it takes four adults to take care of two children. Before we returned from the U.S. I did everything from changing diapers to rocking them to sleep. My mum was with us but still, it appeared we were shorthanded and still needed one more hand to support us. There had to be two people with one baby at every point in time so that one person will be catching up on sleep. It was like we were doing shifts. But I am grateful for the experience. I know every little thing about them. If I hadn’t spent those six weeks bonding with them, taking care of them, I wouldn’t have known them like I know them now.