Tomorrow I will be free. Free from my toddler. Free from my mum. This is a story about the freedom I seek.
The loosely hanging curtains give way to bright sunlight that blasts my face with vengeance. I turn to face the other side, hoping to catch some more sleep but not before I peep at my three month old daughter sleeping next to me. To my amazement, she is wide awake, staring at the wooden structure on the roof where the ceiling is yet to be fixed. In a few minutes, she will be cooing and kicking all her four limbs in the air excitedly announcing that she’s ready for a feed. She’s a calm one this one. Her 3 year old sister on the contrary has tested me to the limits. Severally, I have felt like running away from my house and moving to a place with no civilization. I remember once when she was a week old I almost took her to Mercury ABC to hang out with the dad at 3.00am on a Friday! Seriously that thought crossed my mind as it seemed to be the only sane thing I could do at the time.
I grab my phone from under the pillow to check the time. It’s 9.30am. As if on cue, the trouble maker, as we call her, calls out from the other bed. “Mama my eyes have tears.” I ask her why, to which she responds “Because I was crying in my sleep”. I ask her why she was crying and she says ” Because Kukumuku eat me” Kukumuku is what she calls chicken. This girl is more scared of chicken than she is of donkeys. Heck lions in the park dont even move her. I can already tell its going to be one long day yet again.
Breakfast has been promptly prepared by grandma and laid out on the table. Porridge, tea, cassavas, sausages, bread, boiled eggs and watermelon. She has been forcing me to eat heap loads of food since my arrival to ensure I have sufficient milk for the baby. My waistline which had started defining itself two weeks ago after running a total of 72 miles has disappeared and in its place are two layers of fat akin to my infant’s folds. I quickly serve the toddler porridge and instruct her to drink it up. As I proceed to breast feed the baby, the toddler dashes out of the living room screaming “bird come here” conveniently knocking her porridge which spills on the carpet. I am not just irked, but in total disbelief. It’s as if all law and order was left back at home in Nairobi. My mum tells me to ignore her.
Between having my breakfast of kings, washing the kids and catching up with trends on Twitter, time somehow finds a way of lapsing faster than I can change my baby’s diaper. It’s lunch hour already. I will not even get into my food frustration and my expanding waistline as at this point, this is the least of my concerns. I have bigger woos. Try feeding a toddler when everyone else is having a meal. You will most certainly be more successful at growing waist length African hair faster than you can get the toddler to finish their plate of anything. But fear not. Her hunger pangs will definitely check in when you are trying to have your afternoon nap.
Guests come over. Two elderly ladies in their fifties and a 7 year old girl. My toddler tears the plastic table mats, rolls the pieces and makes “glasses” out of them offering the guests “juice”. I choose to be positive and give her A for creativity. Montessori in action. She then sits right across me next to the other kid who she asks all sorts of questions and shows off her scooter to.
For about half an hour, the guests are taking turns to hold the baby, making comments about how chubby she is (a plus for me as chubby=healthy=I am a great mom), who she looks like, and other nonsensical stuff. She coos in a whinny tone and happily, I pick her from the guests to breastfeed her. She suckles so hard making this loud smacking sound (always does). One of the guests points out that I probably don’t have enough milk. I respond that she always does that even when feeding from a bottle. After about three minutes, she again questions whether I am sure I have enough milk. I pull out the nipple from the baby’s mouth and a jet of milk splashes out. I am tempted to point it in that lady’s way directing it on her face but unfortunately she’s seated quite far from me. I wind up on breastfeeding, burp her then pass her over to Mrs Know It All. She mentions that the baby hasn’t burped. I want to stab her.
Just when they are about to leave, we bow our heads in prayer. While I am busy having a moment with God, my hair is suddenly ruffled so hard by my toddler and she goes on to scream “surprise!” into my ears. I think she tiptoed from across the room as i was totally caught off guard. Someone please give me back my daughter and take away this imposter.
I tell my brother to take her for a walk to the neighbours to see some animals. They spot cows, goats, sheep, donkeys. She insists she wants to see lions and baboons. Does she really think this place is a park? In no time she is back. She finds her baby sister lying on the seat and pokes her finger in baby’s nose trying to remove crusty mucus. I guess the intention was good.
It’s 11.30pm. She is still at it. She’s just finished plucking grandma’s white plastic flowers and distributing them to my two siblings, my folks and I as holy communion. She’s currently making tissue paper and its holder from the torn plastic mat. Tomorrow is our last day. I cannot wait to get back to my house where discipline reigns supreme. Most importantly, I cannot wait for Mercy the nanny to take over. Yes I said it!
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