You must find yourself chewing over this time and time again. I bet you at least once every week, you lie on your back in your bed staring at the crack on the ceiling and you wonder,
“What do I do with these kids today?”
I don’t know how full-time parents do it. Having to be around the kids on the trot especially from age 1 to 5 would make me lose my marbles. Don’t get me wrong, I love my babies to death. But they drive me crazy, especially lately. The two-year old (Xia) is riotous and the five-year old (Xena) is loud and inquisitive, like a cop at a crime scene. My house constantly feels like feeding time at the zoo.
Over the weekend, especially when the nanny is away, we always pray for them to sleep longer. Our prayers don’t get past the walls of our house though. The moment we are up, it doesn’t take long before we either hear a knock on the door (this being Xena who knows to never barge into our room, something I instilled in her since she was two and a half), or the “small terrorist” calling out “mama” from her room. It’s like our body clocks are all synchronised into one D’Souza clock.
They don’t know the meaning of silence. From the moment they wake up to the break of dawn, they yap and cry and laugh hysterically and count loudly. The are constantly moving around the house, most times on their feet but sometimes Xena will prefer her bike as a means of transport, from the kitchen to the living room. Xia will be constantly screaming “mama” and “dede” while Xena will narrate winding tales interspersed with incessant questions, about 276 of them. I kid you not, there’s this day I was so frustrated I decided to count her questions on a Saturday from the time she walked into my room at 9.30am, to when I put her to sleep at 9pm.
The other day we were all in my bedroom, me desperately trying to watch the Netflix series Abstract-The Art of Design, Xena drawing her way out of the woods though a maze while whistling to some song and Xia speaking gibberish in the loudest tone her small lungs could muster while assembling Lego blocks. The noise was too much and I was struggling to hear the brilliant Platon (google him) explain the process of bringing to life his ingenious images.
So, I increased the volume from 19 to 79 and immediately, Xena lifted her head from her book to the TV then to me. The look on her face was enough to send me to a priest for confession. With her hands over her ears she asked, “79, really? My head is going to burst!”
Recently I figured that If I kept them very busy it would save me from being bullied by my kids and having to tell them that I have a headache for the umpteenth time. Or that my head is about to burst. Now that Xena tends to pick up these phrases and use them on her sister and sometimes on us which is quite disturbing.
So, last week on Wednesday after the elections, when uncertainty hung in the air like a heavy fog, I came up with this brilliant idea. I felt the urge to run and since it was midday and the sun was up, it only made sense to do it in the forest (Karura) where the canopies would provide the much-needed shade. What made the forest even more appealing was that the kids could also come along and explore the waterfall and caves then ride their bikes on the field. But for me to run, I had to have another adult accompany us so that I could leave the Christopher Colombuses to their exploration and I would get lost in my run and hopefully not in the forest hehe.
Xena’s seven-year old cousin was around and so was her uncle. I knew the uncle would not easily buy into the idea of trekking so I needed to be extremely convincing. I told him how if we took the kids to the forest they would sing praises of us for months to come. You know how kids are show offs and would go like “my daddy took me on the SGR train. Have you ever been on the SGR?” or “my mommy bought me this fidget spinner. I can tell my mommy to show your mommy where to get one.” He was immediately sold. After all, who doesn’t like some validation especially from their child?
We stowed the bikes in the boot of the car and headed to Karura. The waterfall is about 1.6kms from the parking lot, quite a stretch for young kids. Xena would ask to sit on the park benches every time she sported one, so we made it fun and used that as a photo break. Finally, we got to the waterfall and I left them to it and went for my run which totalled 9.3km. We got back to the starting point (the field) at the same time as apparently the journey back was quite a mission for the kids. They were exhausted but still, they wanted to ride their bikes. After two laps around the field and me doing my after-run stretches, it was time to head back home.
No one said a word to the other on our way back.