I am Tooth Fairy

Four and a half loose milky teeth ago, my now 5-year-old daughter had her first loose tooth. Losing teeth is one of those experiences parenthood doesn’t prepare you for. We assume we only need to contend with soiled diapers, fevers and the all too famous terrific two’s. Those million mommy blogs hardly talk about us having to pretend to be brave and cruelly pulling out teeth. I contemplated booking Pesh at the dentist’s but wondered how it would be spoken of. I, Mama Pesh- the Bold, took her daughter to a dentist to get a dangling, almost falling tooth to be pinched out.

Squints*  Not so impressive

If only her father was around. This would not be an issue to break my back over.

Proud of you lil one
Proud of you lil one

Then suddenly a brilliant idea came to mind. I could have someone do it at a cost and still not be seen near the dentist! I would not only have created temporary employment for someone, my dear Pesh wouldn’t have to watch her supposed pain reflect on my face! I felt so bright I could feel the burn!

 

I got it done very well and then, we had a new problem. We got the tooth out..so what do we do with it? Pesh held it tight in her hand so it wouldn’t fall and get lost. “Hun, have you ever heard of tooth fairies?” I asked suddenly excited with my continued brilliance. “Like Thumbelina?” her eyes opened wide with curiosity. “Yes,” I explained “but Thumbelina has brothers and sisters who you don’t see on TV but live around us” Thank God there is no commandment on lying because this would have jetted me straight to hell. Or maybe number 9 is? “When you are so brave like you are right now-, “ I continued wearing my sweetest smile. “They put your name down and come at night to hunt for your tooth.” She suddenly frowned and pulled her hand away hiding the tooth wrapped in her palm under her armpit. “Why?” she whimpered. “Well, so they can reward you!” I hoped she would brighten up…and she did. “If they find your tooth they pick it up and reward you with a coin to buy yourself a gift.” she was elated and brought the tooth back to light.toothfairy 1So together, that night, we hid the tooth under her pillow, said our prayers and my two daughters went to sleep. I sat and watched them both in admiration and remembered back in the day when our brevity during such events were rewarded with stalks of sugarcane we could hardly bite into. At times we were asked to hide the teeth under our pillows and when my parents couldn’t get a coin they would throw the tooth away while we slept and promise us that good luck would follow us. It never occurs to a child why good luck must follow people but hey, our parents had spoken!

 

I slipped a Kshs 20 coin under the pillow Pesh lay her head on and pulled out the tiny incisor we had placed therein. My husband and I promised to give our children the best childhood we could and this was going to be one of them. That morning Pesh woke up and immediately checked under her pillow. She was thrilled to see a shiny coin in place of her tooth. ‘Looks like you were very brave, the fairies got pleased with you!” I teased, “I never got any coins when I was young.”

“No? What did you find?” Pesh asked wearing pride and content. “Nothing” I replied, almost tasting blunt sugar cane juice in my mouth.

“ I was not as brave as you are,” I went on worried a little about Hell- Jet. “ I cried ever time. Even when I felt no pain. I hope you now I’m proud of you, sweetie,” and a hug sealed this fairy conversation.

Fairy motherThree more times Justin and I ensured we replaced the teeth with coins and had the same excited reaction in the morning. Innocently she knows the fairies are proud of her and she will do everything not to fail them. Now, I can only hope she wont hate it when she discovers there are no real fairies…that her tooth fairy is me and that we did it all  to give her an exciting childhood.

To Bosses with Hearts For Working Moms

This world does have some good people, probably equally as many as the bad, I wouldn’t quite know. This post wants nothing to do with the bad though. I am here to acclaim those bosses and employers who understand women. Who said being a working mother, and a wife was easy? But heck lets break some glasses in cheer to those who don’t tear their hair away over us women!

I started working when I was 19 and in the nine years I have been in employment I have constantly seen bosses treat juniors, women especially, with a lot of petulance. A few others who can tolerate us make it up by trying to push us to get sexual with them. I have resigned from two jobs in my past because I could not take my boss breaking those invisible respect lines. I have feared working as a mom, feared losing my job and feared not being that somebody in the society… for the very reason that makes me a woman. I am not sure if it is how we react to situations or how we learn to prioritize our families above all else? I have no idea. What I know is my heart feels warm and happy that I have the most understanding boss as my employer and since I can’t send this article to him (Breaking those invisible lines) I would rather dedicate this piece to all great bosses and employers out there.

Tight schedules

Some of us are wired to rush home every evening after work. For fear of being caught in traffic, we sometimes steal the last five minutes to rush and powder our noses then have the clock tick to time with one foot already out the door. I know of a woman who shifts her working hours so she reports in and leaves early. There are bolder mothers who take classes after work. Bravo to you for I cannot bear not to see my children before they sleep.

My 24 hour Job
My 24 hour Job

Office Parties we hardly attend

That and missing trips away from home are just a few of the kind of things that I imagine must annoy you to hell and back. It’s obviously very possible with older children and understanding husbands. I type this with one hand as the other wipes off a nagging tear for a trip to the coast that I have to miss. I instead chose cuddles and nyonyo in the middle of the night.

Pregnancies and their planet

You must really hate us when we suddenly announce that we are expecting a child. In your mind you probably calculate the extra expenditure on our medical covers and the hiring of someone to take our places while on leave. Worry not, to make me sleep well at night I repeat to myself how you must be proud that working for you helps me grow and live and be what I want to be. I even picture you patting yourself on your back proud that through you our family survives… and I repeat it over and over like a mantra.

good boss 3

Our raging hormones while pregnant are something else. We forget what we were typing for you right in the middle of the work, we forget dates, we text you by mistake, we look for a napping spot to sneak in over lunch hour, we walk around with bare feet, put them up when they swell and keep rushing out of meetings to satisfy our churning bellies, we snack all the time… Christ, what is it that we don’t do? Yet you stand us and even trust us with projects. God bless you!

Babies and work

When the babies come we make you pay us three months while we heal and bond with our babies at home. I know I was guilty enough and carried my work home. I hope my boss appreciated this. A belated cheque would do, thank you very much. We stay home and come back looking like strangers wearing masks with our faces…then work a few hours and fly back home. Having added well over ten kilos these bosses must think twice before wanting us to represent their organizations anywhere!

Nannies and No nannies

That call that “The nanny is gone and I am looking for a new one”  or “My child hasd an accident and I must run” must be one you dread most. Thank you for not showing it. You take it in and even offer advice where necessary. If only to offer you some peace, know that we follow in your footsteps to be virtuous bosses to our house managers. Between you and us, even though we trust them our most precious little ones we live on the edge hoping all goes well every time we go to work. Our success also comes from the comfort of knowing all is well back home.

thank you Thank you for letting us run home when there is an emergency with our babies…I mean you could ask us to send their fathers home anyway, but you don’t. Thank you for supporting us through our challenges. Your kind words do reassure too. Thank you for helping us acquire stability in our lives, and to my boss, thank you for being that number one mentor in my life. I always want to excel and some day make someone’s life worth its while too. So to you all wholesome bosses out there, salut!

End Year with a Bang!

Every birth is unique…every pregnancy different in its own way. Having Pesh was not easy…Hell! No normal delivery is ever any easy ‘cept for our lucky sisters who sneeze those babies out! Damn those lucky mamas. Sad to say, I am not one of them. I am specially designed to go on a painful bender of intense labour to last a minimum of eight hours. God must have captioned that with (no resting breaks for this one) somewhere. He probably wore that tihihi-smile when he did that too! I just don’t know why he won’t let me have it easy.
It was on the sunny afternoon of the 27th day of December 2013. It was quiet, and broke. The air stunk of hang-overs, morning beer-locks and lots of drowsiness. Following Christmas and Boxing Day, this was the laziest day of the season yet. I was awakened by the awareness that our baby may arrive soon. I quickly grabbed my now crampled, overused and worn out to-do-list and went through it for the umpteenth time. Everything seemed to be ready…well everything except for the author of that list!
I looked around the house and noticed a few flaws; the comforter in our bedroom was not condusive for a newborn, what with all the dust that collects: the seats in the living room had some threads hanging loose underneath them and the picture frames had some fine threads from the wet cleaning Vivianne had recently done. I grabbed the douvet leaving my husband more puzzled than annoyed; I cleaned it up, and then went on to stitch up the threads make the seats neat. I cleaned the frames once more and dusted the window sils. It was lunch time already and I had just one more thing to do. Buy milk in bulk.
I asked Vivianne to clean up the five litre bottle and get ready so I may show her where the milk vendor is stationed at. She did so while I finished my meal…and the first contraction, like a silly joke started. It was an annoying pain that lasted about fifteen seconds. Deep down, I knew that was it, but I had to be very sure before taking any steps. Justin woke up late with a nasty headache from all the partiying and late night football games. “Eat up well and quickly”, I advised. You may not have your next meal soon” The problem with my husband is he never takes anything lightly even when you wish he would if only to make things easier to bear with. He instead panicked and Mrs Mwambi ended up assuring him at the end of each contraction. After an hour of consistent contractions, we called my sister and her husband who accompanied us to the hospital. My parents were on their way back from holiday and I would have called my mommy to pray for me first. Doesn’t every child believe in her mommy’s prayers? Unfortunately, she, like my husband would have panicked too so I held on to this information till they got to Nairobi.
I was admitted and checked up. By that time, my contractions were getting unbearable to the point I could not sit and wait in line so I was on my knees even as the doctor asked me the usual questions. On My water was not broken so doc pricked it and let it run. It was not clear coloured. Baby had let out her first poop in the uterus. Doc checked out the heartbeat and said it was normal… that she was not tired yet. With my now very painful contractions, part of me wished for a c- section. Yes, even Jesus did ask God to take away the cup of pain at some point! I didn’t think I could take any more pain and I was already feeling tired. The doctor’s next decision left me feeling even more exhausted. “Your baby is active and pushing its way out well” he started. “Her heartbeat is normal and even though she pooped in the water, the active labour only means she has not swallowed this water so it will only be risky if we let you labour on slowly. We will progress you into the last stages of labour and have you deliver normal but hopefully in half the time!” this would have been great news, but only to everyone else. I read in between the lines. This meant more pain for me! I was put on a drip; that which they call the painful waters…and painful to hell and back it was. It was about 8pm and I had dilated at 4 cm only. I was meant to go another 4-5 hours. But that would have been too late for baby. In exactly two hours, with a lot of screams, wails, moans, curses and questions directed at God, Baby Raine finally made her way out; and she distorted my pelvic bone as she made her grand entrance into the world.
She was such a tiny little being weighing 2.9, about 200 grams less what Pesh weighed. She screamed and only settled when they placed her on my belly and I could not believe such a tiny person could make me scream our ancestors out of their resting place. Trully she had already marked her place in this world and I loved her to bits.
The one thing I still find peculiar is just why and how in the last two hours of my labour, Pesh was cranky, had a fever and seemed disillusioned…she would have been rushed to hospital by my parents since they found all our kids at their place, but the problem was that at the same time, my brother and mom had extremely weird stomach pains.At the hospital, my sister also had her fair share of stomach pains which we all assumed to be the sympathetic syndrome. At 10:15pm, right after I had gotten Raine, everyone was well again. No pain, no fevers! Now I need an explanation to that one!
So we are home now, enjoying Raine’s wee cries and Pesh’s over protective behaviour. It’s truly beautiful, and this is how I crossed my year into 2014. Pics coming soon! Happy New Year folks!

…and the moment we have all been waiting for…

I went straight for the bathroom only to notice I still had my handbag with me. I called Pesh and sent her with it to my bedroom. The naughty girl followed me back into the bathroom and tried to get a good peep before I quickly whisked her away. I had my small tins hidden away in the locker so I pulled one out and filled it. That was easy; I needed to pee every thirty minutes anyway! I put in the stick one at a time, laying them neatly on a piece of napkin when done. My heart throbbed…real fast as I imagined what I would feel if it were positive…or negative.
I had stopped thinking about it. Ever since I got my BFN (Big fat negative) the last time, I was in no pressure at all. I let it go and as I promised you, let it remain God’s will. I never tried again, I promise though I kept track of my usual body changes.
I sat on the toilet bowl and gave the first six test kits a full ten minutes.I know I only needed 5 but something naughty in my head thought it would be funny if they tested and all dried out! I was curious of the test results, yet not sure I was ready for them. Have you ever felt so happy yet scared at the same time? What if I wasted so much money on twelve kits and got more BFNs? I would block the toilet flashing them all in! I thought angrily. Justin came to the bathroom door, obviously concerned. I could hear Pesh’s tiny footsteps trotting along. “Are you ok in there?” he startled me and I immediately jumped and stood casting the dizzy spell on myself again. “Yeah” I struggled to reply. “Just testing for pregnancy in here” he was silent for a moment. “Would you like some help?” Of course he wouldn’t miss it for the world. “No, I just need to read the sticks now” I responded calmly as I turned round, eyes closed. Sorry, I was in no hurry to confirm it just yet. “…and? Would you like me to help you read the tests?” Justin probed. “Mommy, you have a bad tummy?” Pesh too seemed concerned.
prego
“I am coming in a bit, please take Pesh away so I don’t die of tension” I requested as I opened my eyes…and they popped really wide at what I saw before me. “All six test kits are spoilt!” I whispered to myself. They each had two bright red strips on them…they all read bright and fat positives on them.. ‘How could I not see this coming; how on earth did you sneak in you little punkin’. I poked my tummy and bent to glimpse at it. ‘How long have you been there? Oh dear, I am going to be a mom to another? I can’t do it!’ I panicked as memories of my first pregnancy flashed before me. It was hard telling my parents the great news and even harder when it was time to push the creature out. I remembered I hadn’t told Justin yet. I grabbed the kits and sneaked quickly into the bedroom. Justin and Pesh both came running in moments later.
“What’s with you and Pesh stalking me everywhere I go” I complained, struggling not to smile. “Of course you know why,” he replied “You are acting unusual so we all want to know what’s up.” I pulled out one kit and handed it over to him. He smiled excitedly and clapped his hands to which Pesh imitated and celebrated. “You are pregnant?” He asked now looking straight at me, “A little” I answered coyly and accepted the group hug that followed. It dawned on me that I could not take it back; it was done. I remembered the words of a nurse who warned me when I confirmed my pregnancy with Pesh, three years ago. “It is now up to you to take good care of that baby; that is God’s responsibility to you. Never question your ability to be a good mother. You will be the best you can be when the time comes.” I remember it took a whole month of denial when every morning and every night I would unfold the piece of paper that had my test results. I would read the word positive over and over taking it all in before I folded and hid it back in my drawer.
This time round, it was different. It was not the first time anymore. My fears and concerns were not the same; I wondered when we would be buying that car we always wanted…because we now really needed it. Two kids would easily drain me and the more I thought about it, the more it scared me. I looked at Pesh and even as she smiled back the fear of impending motherhood…more motherhood dawned on me.

Babies come easy? They lied…

Now that I failed, I can attest to the fact that disappointment can really make one lose focus of their goals. The power of the mind is incredible, but when it all goes into your head, you can run miles, get exhausted and suddenly wake up from deep dreamy sleep. My brain played a nasty one on me. We were trying to get pregnant… Goodness me! All your attention is suddenly focused here! How you love gossip! Ok, sit tight and let me do my usual. We got off the pill and started redirecting our minds to getting pregnant. As is in the 21st century, we did not wait for God to bless us…no, I went on to search for ways and means of getting a preferred child. The outcome awed me.
It turns out that people do know how to get a particular gender in children. They know and yet they sit on their discoveries until you mention it in a whisper. Only then will you be pulled aside and your seriousness carefully scrutinized before any information is offered. Heck! It’s like dealing marijuana! So one friend offered to give me a Chinese based calendar (True, Chinese have literary everything under the sun) that depicted what months I am likely to get what baby at what ages. The first thing I did was counter-check on all the babies I know and their mothers’ ages. Some were right, some I forced right…it was pleasantly positive, though it was really hard to tell when exactly they were conceived as babies can come at any time.

baby
I then researched online…this was the fun part. I joined all moms and baby blogs and websites, read as much as I could and noted down what was most important. The advice remained pretty much the same though people’s experiences made a lot of difference. Some got pregnant weeks after getting off the pill, others tried for a full year, and some are still trying! I took down my notes, and set off to try.
I bought nutritious supplements, and made Justin eat lots of groundnuts haha. I also have up on my wine fetish and embarked on eating and exercising well. Things we do for family…The rest remains censored but from then on, we waited…and waited…and that was when my brain started working. I started craving dry bread and got too hungry too fast. I hated having to go to the bathroom and got really lazy and tired. When I got the anger episodes, I thought that was really it! I started feeling huge and delicate…slept with one hand on my belly and well, started thanking Jesus!

Now there is this sign that I was waiting for; a sign I had read about that would prove it all should I want to test positive. This sign would either prove me right, or wrong. It is what the blogs called ‘Ovulation bleeding’. This was a sign that would prove that we had conceived. Stop nudging me! Ovulation bleeding happens once an embryo has attached itself to the uterus. It is like a wound formed in the process and comes out as a very light pinkish to brown bleeding. This bleeding usually happens in the first week of conception. There. You should try reading these things too, and yes, I am having yet another anger episode at the thought at the next phase of this piece.

When we traveled home, my best friend and I took a walk down the valleys and to the river down stream. It was the most beautiful sight, with the sun shining in some parts and lots of clouds laying low in others. There was as lot of whispering from the trees and huge round rocks lying lazy at the stream. We played a lot, got chased by bees and took photos in the woods. We let our troubles fly with the wind and our voices and we made noises and humming birds responded. For a moment there, life was good. It lasted an hour as the once blue skies suddenly got hovered by dull clouds. Before we could say ‘lightening’ it was pouring tremendously. We ran up hill having hid our phones somewhere safe and by time we were backing home, we were a perfect replica of rained on chicken.
I went to the bathroom for a quick cold shower and by the time I sat down to enjoy a glass of warm milk I had found out I was not pregnant. Nature had helped me relax and I let go of my worries and concerns. I also let go of my pregnancy. Grief, anger and disenchantment were all I felt and it took me a week to realize that it could never have worked just because the Chinese chart thought so. I gave up and gave God back his mantle. May his will be done.

Being Miss Nyamwamu for a little while

I got a call from my father. ‘Mom…’ That’s how he calls me; his mother; because I have been named after his old lady. I answered and he went on. ‘You know you are my mother, right?’

‘Dad, what have you been drinking again?’  I always know when he has had something to drink. He is generally a quiet person but whenever he takes something, he becomes very excited and talks a little too much…a lot like me, though I am not a drunk. I actually don’t drink. Ok, I lie. I drink water, milk and lots of sweet white wine; and now I’m talking too much.

There was some noise in his back ground; noise that made me easily bear out his location. He was in a pub. ‘What is it, dad’ I pushed knowing only too well the state he was in. ‘Mom, You are my mother, Do you know that?’ He struggled to sound serious. ‘Yes, dad’ I didn’t want to fight. Never pick a fight with a man who is holding a bottle. And I’m not saying he will hit you with it, even though that too makes sense. No one can fight a drunken man and win, trust me.

‘Good’ I could almost picture him nodding his head and almost hitting the counter with it. This was not usual for a man who has known alcohol to be his friend since I was never there. ‘Dad, is everything OK? Why are you so drunk…?’

‘No!’  He cut me short. ‘Are you calling me a drunk; your own father? That just hurt!’ Indeed. I had pressed a wrong button there.  Lesson one for me; a drunken man is very emotional

Daddy’s little girl

‘I’m sorry dad. Please let me not interrupt you. When you called me, I believe there is something you wanted to say?’ I hoped I was leading him in the right direction.’ Ooooooh  Yeeeees! ‘And he laughed as if happy to remember.  I smiled, pleased with myself. ‘I am a very sad man today,’ ‘Well, dad, you certainly do not sound like one. Tell me, what exactly are you having today?’ I teased him. ‘They bought me a cold Tusker, then another and another, and then they just kept coming. Your mother will not be very pleased with me today.’ he chuckled. ‘No, she will not,’ I agreed. ‘Fanne, I have been looking you up on the internet and I am a very disappointed man.’ I was puzzled. ‘Dad, you don’t go to the internet. Who got you there? And I do not post any naked pictures of myself. Neither do I get tagged on any, willingly.’ I was quick to defend myself. ‘Shut up and listen, young lady’ he interrupted. Did he just call me a young lady? ‘Dad, you’re growing old fast. I am now a married….’ ‘Fanne, you talk too much. That’s where my problem is.’ I was lost. ‘I don’t understand…’ He went on to explain. ‘To me and your mother, you are our little girl.’ ‘No I am not!’ I was tempted to scream out. ‘And even if you are married, you still have a dad who loves you and is always looking out for you.’ He sounded nothing like a drunk. ‘Everywhere I look out for you I have to search you by your husband’s name or Mama Pesh. ‘I’m sorry, dad’ I whispered, taking in the rush of a lot of guilt. ‘You still bear my name, you know and I am still very important to you.’

A sealed deal

There was a minute-long silence and I all I could afford to mutter was, ‘Sorry,’ I didn’t see this one coming. I never knew my father, the man we feared slightly more than God, when we were kids could get jealous of Justin. He felt weakened that his girls were all married and his name was never mentioned anywhere. That made me sad too. I had to find a way to defend myself. ‘Dad, listen,’ I stuttered, ‘Call me back, I am not on postpaid and you took too long to get over your guilt.’ He said and hung up immediately. He is a hilarious person. He somehow makes me laugh even in the worst situations. I called him back. ‘I am embarrassed, Dad’. I started and I could almost see a smile crack his usually precipice face. ‘I had no idea you felt this way and I am sorry. My boss knows Justin very well. When he hired me, they created my email with his name. So I changed my blog to the same name too. One day, I’m going to be a great person and all I’m trying to do is create a brand in my name, just so I am able to fight off any impersonator along the way…’ that was the best I could do. He was quiet and I knew he wasn’t satisfied. I thought harder. ‘I have a proposal. Why don’t I post on my blog and write all my articles this week using our family name?’

‘Hmmm, yes, that is a good idea. Except that I don’t want to be a celebrity. I just want you to carry my name and remember me even for just a while’ ‘What happened to the beers, dad?’ he was getting too sober to discuss such a serious complaint. ‘I now have six bottles I need to drown now, so hang up or I may need to sell some back so I can sneak out before your mother calls again.’

‘Speak later, dad. I love you!’ He was silent. ‘Are you there, dad?’

‘I heard you.’ He replied, ‘Let’s see how this week goes’

‘Of course Daddy. You love me too. Bye dad!’ Perfect. It was a done deal.

Aaaaargh! Yet another bunch of crazy neighbours!

All parents want to have the best for their children. We all want to give them the best environment to grow in, with a lot of good and responsible influence directed at them. It seemed smooth for us until a new family moved in, weeks after the annoying boy and his family moved out. I heard they came from an overly ghetto-influenced estate. This one was not going to be easy at all. The neighbour’s daughter, called Samantha is about three years older than Pesh, and I am still trying to figure out what kind of close friendship they are trying to develop. It makes me wonder if Pesh is too mature for her age or if Sammy is a tad bit too childish!

Watching the two playing, I get annoyed half the time. Sammy is a conniving, two-timing, scheming, six year old who knows the right buttons to press. Yes, I called her conniving. She supposedly thinks Pesh should have a set of all the toys she has and makes her claim them from us. She won’t share her toys and wont go away to play alone either. She is always hovering around waiting to make judgements on why my little girl behaves like a 2 and a half year old, which she is by the way.

Last weekend, Pesh wanted a toy car. Why would I want to buy my little princess a car? Not that I don’t believe in female drivers, but a toy car for a girl? ‘Go ask your dad!’ I snapped in disbelief. We just pierced her ears to make her look more like a girl and now, she just killed it. Justin said no to her requests too and she didn’t take it too well. She went all gaga and threw tantrums crying and screaming uncontrollably.

Battling Samantha

I grabbed her and sat her on my lap, trying to calm her down. I asked what kind of a car she wanted. ‘Like Sammy’s’ she sobbed. ‘Well, hun, you can borrow Sammy her car, and then she will borrow your doll…’ She won’t let me finish and instead went all wild, screaming for money again. ‘How much money does this car cost?’ I probed. She didn’t respond.  Instead, she got off my lap and ran out the house. I followed her as she went round the corridors to where Sammy sat. ‘Sam, how much does your car cost?’ I heard her ask to which Sammy quickly responded, ‘One hundred and fifty shillings,’ She then turned and ran back to where I stood, with my hands akimbo and breathing fire. I was going to kill the little scoundrel. ‘Where is your mother, Sammy?’ I asked. She didn’t budge and went on riding her under-sized car on a window sill. ‘And who asked you to send Pesh for money?’ I didn’t care if she was a year old. She was big-headed and exasperating and I was ready for war.

She didn’t respond and instead gave me that look that clearly showed blameless surprise. I cooled a little bit and squatted to her level. ‘Sammy, you don’t like to share your toys with Pesh, right?’ she gave a blank stare batting her eye lids. ‘Since you are a mean person, I don’t want you to play with Pesh anymore. Ok?’ her eyes lit and looked more worried than concerned. ‘See, Samantha, here at our court, children play together and they share their toys. They do not brag about what they have and Pesh never asks me for money to buy new toys.’ I almost added that girls don’t play with cars too, but seeing clearly that she was a tom boy, I spared her that whip-lash. ‘Sammy, if you don’t want to share your toys with other children, please go on and play, but on your own. Don’t hang around showing off your toys making others cry.’

I scared myself a little as I realised I was threatening a six year old, so I backed off and started walking back to the house. Pesh was obviously not satisfied and she cried more. I was firm and stuck to my decision. ‘Shika, Pesh.’ I heard a wee voice call out and we all turned back. It was Samantha. She stood with her right hand stretched out holding her toy car. ‘You can play with mine for now, ok?’ I was left speechless as Pesh excitedly ran to Sammy and hugged the hand that held the toy. They both sat down and started playing together, each taking turns. I couldn’t believe the girl had wisdom and astuteness. ‘Sammy, you are the brightest girl I have met today’ I said and walked away wearing a big smile on my face.

Just before I stepped into the house, I heard a voice call out to me. ‘Mama Mkawesu!’ I turned round, startled, and behind me stood Sammy’s mother. ‘How did you know Pesh’s other name?’ ‘The same way you know well to dare discipline my child!’ she snapped back. ‘I was just…just…trying, you know… trying to…’ I stuttered. ‘I know.’ She cut me short and suddenly let out an unexpected grin. ‘I was watching and somehow, I though you would hit her. Had you, I would have given you a worse beating than what your husband gives you.’ I was lost. ‘Sorry, my husband doesn’t …’ ‘Never mind,’ she interrupted, ‘I like this place. Its way better that the smelly neighbourhood we lived in before. It stunk through people’s doorways as well as their mouths. But now, with neighbours like you, Sammy will definitely have good mother-figures to keep her character in check. I felt humbled. ‘Oh, and about Pesh’s other name, she told me. Bright girl, you got there!’ and off she walked leaving me with a bigger smile and trembling knees.

Enough of this 'Terrible twos' adventures!

This is a tribute to one of my silent readers. She has a 2 year old little girl called Ariana, a beautiful little princes  just like Pesh 🙂 And in rememberance of this nasty age, we raise a toast to the ‘Terrific twos!’

Just the other day, we fêted another day away from work. It was one of those impromptu public holidays that we always cross our fingers to land on a Monday. This one did squarely.

As usual, as nothing major happens on Mondays, we unwound and grew all sluggish and cosy at home…well everyone except I, did. I thought it best to check out exactly how clean my house was. The dirt was perfectly disguised… moving forward, I gathered all my cleaning tools and proceeded to clean out everything that been swept under the carpet, behind the fridge and every other crack that could fit in just about anything. There were lots of bottles that I literary kicked out, lots of softened carrots and shrunken onions that were hardly chop-able anymore.

Pesh was not left behind. She is no lazy bag of bones, no. Even with her tiny hands, she is always ready to help where she can and with mom teaching the little girl some house chores, I left her to tend to the bottles and newspapers I thought was garbage. ‘Throw them in the bin, hun,’ I shouted over my shoulder to which she said her famous new word, ‘sawa’

She sat carefully on the floor and began throwing each item on the pile into the bin; of course after a thorough scan and making sure it was indeed invaluable. I went on scrubbing the surfaces, oblivious of everything else happening around me. I was in ‘Super Mom’ mode; I almost grew wings and turned into Casper, the friendly ghost as I cleaned away the dust mites and cobwebs. Vivian was busy whipping something up for Pesh’s lunch. Unlike me, however, she constantly threw watchful glances at Pesh.

A choking sip

I heard her cough and at first ignored it. It could be anything anyway. She could be choking on a plastic toy she probably tried to swallow…or more comforting, her own saliva. I turned to look her way hoping the latter was true. ‘Patience Mwambi!’ Vivian, screamed, surprising everyone was trembling as she pulled a bottle away from her. Her lips glowed and glittered with sun rays sparkly on them. She coughed again. What she took was obviously oily. ‘Good heavens I hope she took cooking oil!’ I prayed loudly as I moved closer and smelt her lips. It was the worst I could have asked for. I looked back at Vivian who trembled some more. She still held the bottle in her hand. I grabbed it from her and put my nose on its mouth. Confirmed, Pesh had just sipped some paraffin.

Now that bottle.. is the exact same one Pesh had!!

The bottle barely had any liquid in it. I could see a teaspoonful of paraffin still dancing at the bottom of it. How much was in here? I asked Vivian who quickly stated it was hardly there. ‘I used it the last time I lit up the charcoal jiko.’ I knew there was no more left so I hid the bottle behind the fridge.’ She hung her head in shame and looked away. I could tell she had tears threatening to fall, but I had no time to calm her down. I had to act fast even in my absolute confusion.

I called my sister in law. We thank Jesus for people like my sister in law. She works in a hospital and has three children to her name…uh, to her husband’s name; and she is always just a call away, ready to sort out almost all our medical sins. She advised on some anti- poison tablet to give her and some milk as well. She was kind enough to also prescribe some self assurance for a terrified mom! If none of you have experienced this before, note some things I almost did but was stopped in my tracks.

Doctor Mama Pesh advises

Firstly, do not try to make your baby puke. I had brought in a raw egg ready for this task already. The idea here is to avoid the paraffin from getting to the lungs and making it all come back up from the tummy is as good as making her swallow it over and over again. Secondly, clean her up! Do not stare bluntly at your shocked baby like I did! The more she inhales it, the more it affects her lungs. Why the lungs, you may ask? Your baby will be prone to getting pneumonia or some other fatal lung disease. If a lot of it is consumed, baby will suffocate, convulse, form at the mouth and possibly die! Yes, I heard it happened to someone’s child. Thirdly, give your child a lot of milk but not so much to nauseate her. Then get her a coal tablet and give as prescribed depending on their age. If baby reacts to the paraffin, get them to see a doctor immediately.

Luckily, our little girl did not suffer any reactions from her little tasting adventure. She is however careful not to sip any clear liquids anymore. ‘Nilikunywa’afuta!’ she now tells everyone she meets. If you probe further on her experience, she will proudly tell you of the awful smell that made her choke! The bottles were disposed of and we all are more careful of our ‘Paraffin Baby’.

It was never Vivian’s fault to put the paraffin bottle near our little girl. Neither was it Pesh’s for thinking all clear liquids are either water or Sprite. It was totally my mistake not to have taken precaution, but instead of hanging myself by the rope for it, I feel really wiser now, that I can even pass on some advice on it..for instance, always check out your house help’s hiding spots, especially to the back of the fridge! I am not a perfect mother, but I am indeed a perfect student.

Ps. Now that its my birthday today, those gifts will come in real handy 🙂

Strange Baby Xenia is on my heels!

I am being hunted down, of course not by the police, God forbid, but by a strange baby, I named Xenia. This baby has been pushed away for the longest time and now, he/ she… who ever it is has lost their patience and wants in! Ever since baby Pesh was baby no more, this strange baby started dialling my number. It would possess the phones of all my friends and they all went gaga over her. ‘So when are you having another baby’ they would ask. I obviously dismissed their great ideas and moved on to give Pesh all the attention I felt she deserved.

Baby Xenia realised it was too early to come knocking on my door so she went away for a few months.  She watched Pesh enjoy all the love and attention; at times even got carried away. She fell asleep when I sung her sibling a lullaby and got angry whenever her Pesh cried and I wouldn’t pick her up. She watched her sister grow into a beautiful, tall girl and must have envied her new friends because she came back… through my mother-in law.

The call came through. Mom inquired how her namesake was fairing on. Excited, I strutted on the new things she was learning to do; talking Pesh language, finally jumping with her toes off the floor, calling her daddy. She listened keenly as I tripped over my tongue. ‘That is dangerous.’ She said with a suddenly stern voice.

‘It is wrong to love one child like that. See how your voice pitches highly when you speak of her? That is not good. That love should be shared among more children, now.’ I remained speechless as I pictured baby Xenia seated in a corner and waiting with baited breadth the way her daddy waits to a goal to get scored. I pictured her smile and brushed the thought away. ‘I am not ready yet, sorry I burst your bubble again’ I whispered as I pictured her saunter away. ‘What did you say?’ mom went on ‘You know my hearing is getting worse by the day,’ I thought of a quick lie and made the topic go away.

I must have hurt Xenia as several months went by without hearing about her; I missed her already even though I have never met her. I pictured what she would look like, had I welcomed her home, would she look just like Pesh or would she be completely different? One thing I am almost certain of is her mischief, what with all the stalking visits she has been paying me! At some point I thought I was ready for her. I only considered the thought, but I just wasn’t sure yet. Our staggering economy and up coming elections played a great role in daunting her arrival. I feared for our safety, hers too. I could hear her whisper encouragements in my ear. She tried to get me comfortable with the idea, yet I still took caution.

Fed up with my constant rejection, Baby Xenia has decided to play the game the hard way. She visited writers and editors and made them write about her. The writers loyally outlined the merits and demerits of having more than one child. They even went an extra mile and highlighted on the best time to have another baby! I tried to look away and believe it or not, she went on to advise her fellow mates to convince their parents to have them. My friends called in to tell the tales of having a second baby. I paid them visits and held the beautiful new born babies. They felt so little and delicate in my arms and I always went back home with a promise to join the second born train soon. However in time, Pesh would get into trouble and make my ears flare and I would swear never to have another one like her.

Baby Xenia was determined to win this so she came closer home. On a visit to my house my sister noticed a new picture I had framed and put on the wall. ‘Beautiful family,’ she exclaimed, ‘At this rate, I don’t see any space you have left for another baby. Is it kaput for you?’ She questioned and I explained in a thousand words why Xenia could not join us just yet.

I went cleaning outside the house. Pesh tagged along with her tiny broom. Some of my neighbours joined in and tried to turn me into a gossip. They talked of my annoying neighbour who never punished her son. All this while, I remained quiet and waited to see how far the gossip would go without my participation. Little did I know that Xenia sat right there playing her cards. ‘Pesh is a very caring little girl,’ one of them offered. ‘Oh, yes she is,’ another jumped in. ‘in fact she is old enough to differentiate between a small helpless baby and a toddler and will take care of her siblings very well! Look at how she is helping mommy now…’ I froze and stared straight at them. ‘So, when are you giving Pesh a playmate?’ one quipped as I quickly took off.

I am now trouncing from Baby Xenia. She has sworn not to let me go and just a few weeks ago, she waited for me to get exhausted after playing with Pesh and preparing for work. She hid my pills so I couldn’t find them and only made them available as soon as I stepped out the following morning. So now I hold my breadth and hope she is not building her tent in my womb awaiting the nine month long wait to meet me!

Focus on Princess Pesh

Princess Pesh is all grown up! Come 1st June, she will be exactly two and a half years old. She can pronounce a lot of words already; she even has several favourites. She stops me from calling her daddy, Baba Pesh. ‘No Mommy!’ she yells, ‘his name is Daddy!’

She fights a lot with her dad mainly for wanting to sit on the same spot or when he touches her for more than three seconds. They fight for his glass of water and for her candy. They even fight over me! ‘Mommy wangu…Mommy wangu…’ she goes whilst holding me tightly. She will then eye him to see what he would do about that fact. Whenever she gets sleepy, she calls out to me and points to my lap. ‘I want to sleep here’ and she pokes me. Many times you would catch me grasping for breadth over the words that come out of her mouth.

It’s hardly been a month since she moved into her own room, now she even brags about it. Yesterday I stopped her from biting the cat. She put the dirty, poor animal between her teeth and went down to bite it. I’d rather die than see the cat’s reaction to that! She begs for potty and dances crazily to stop her from peeing, she still runs away from her own poop and now she wants to flash the W/C each time it fills up.

Little girl still believes in the thief who comes in and hides in the dark waiting for her to behave badly. She believes the thief will steal away her ears, dolls and DVDs, she respects him even more than she respects mommy, if she respects mommy at all.

The other day, I held her sandal in my hand, threatening to give her a proper thrash if she wouldn’t swallow her food. Later, when I sat down to eat mine she came over, picked up her daddy’s 8 foot size shoe and shouted, ‘Meza haraka!’ at me. I thought I died. Ok. I think I die too many times out of shock; I may end up making this word lose its meaning. So I died…. 🙂

She still runs all over the house like a little mad girl. I once made a mistake and gave her a glass of coke. The next 10 minutes that followed found us moving our heads right to left, to right again, following a little girl who ran tirelessly across the room who screamed excitedly as she ran by.

Pesh will give you a phone call.

Oh yes she will. She easily unlocks my android which is fully touch screen, searches for contacts and calls the name that she feels looks pleasing to her eye. Most of the time, she calls her grandmother, who is always happy to hear her chirrup her greetings. She will hold a conversation safely through the greetings and hand it over to you to ask her whatever you’d like. I pray she never calls my boss or even worse, have his wife pick the phone up!

She can tell what belongs to whom and will sometimes embarrass us when we serve our guests with our personalised cups. Thankfully, she will not yank it out of their hands.

Little Pesh is a lover of hugs. She hugs me when I walk in everyday, hugs me when she meets me coming from the shop, she hugs everyone who recognises her and only needs a hug to comfort her. She is a lover of attention and luckily she always deserves it. Such an entertainer she is!

She loves babies, but sometimes she can get reaaaaaallllly pissed off. Those are the times when I’d rather not have a new born baby in my house. Little girl will turn into a crazy fireball and turn the house upside down. The only way I calm her down is by pulling her in a quick embrace and hold her there till she is done breaking down.

Pesh can pray.

One day, my mom came home to see our ‘wall unit’. I had it custom made and we saved a lot of money on it. While she wanted to buy a whole set for well over Kshs. 30,000, I asked her to come check mine out. She did and she loved it. Just before she left, she did her usual thing. ‘Let’s pray’ she began. Pesh didn’t wait. She picked the cue and led us to a night-time prayer. She blessed everyone in our court, Ussie, her kitten and her ‘Wawa’- grandma who lives in Taita.

The following Monday, mom called me and wrote Pesh’s prayer down on phone. Later, I overheard from reliable sources that her baby-class pupils recite Pesh’s prayer over and over each day for practice.

For her records, I wouldn’t mind keeping this for her to remember…

‘Dear God, Thank you for today. Forgive us our sins. As we sleep, be with us. Bless Daddy, Mommy, Jane, Ussie, Sam, auntie……..and all our friends. In Jesus name, we pray, Amen’

This song also made my week.

I’m bringing home my baby bumble bee, wont my mommy be so proud of me I’m bringing home my baby bumble bee, ouch! Pesh Mwambi! (Replace Pesh Mwambi with- It stung me!)

One thing I know that is not usual with this girl is her clear memory. She knows the way to her grandparent’s house, the way to the doctor she hates, the wrong way and the weird way. She thinks a lot before she agrees to do something.  My daddy loves her most because despite her mad love for cars, she refused to take a ride with them without her mommy. It only proved that she follows her instincts when she is not sure of something.

This little girl is growing fast, strong and very intelligent. Soon I hope to teach her to write so she can be one of my guest writers. Hopefully, she will entertain more than I do so we can both fight for the light spot. This little Princess, my precious little Pesh.

Cold Chill in my Bed!!

I wanted a 2”x6” size bed. The carpenter said he could make one for me, but that I would have to make my own mattress to go with it. So I thought of buying several sacks, tearing them apart, stuffing in some old clothes…and probably some from my discourteous neighbour’s line. And voila! I’ll have a mattress! Ok. Today’s topic has nothing to do with mattresses, not that I have anything against them. You see, a mattress is one of the values items that even super-markets keep close to their hearts… hehe! I’m messing with you. Supermarkets keep these cushy items away because they are easy fuel to accidental fires! 🙂 Back to important things.

My little one is officially out of our bedroom. It wasn’t difficult to kick her out. She actually loves the colours and the prints in her new room! However, someone else had trouble getting over this grandeur separation. That person was me.

I kept peeking into her room to test its warmth; checked that the windows were tightly closed, and that the water paint was not smelly. I did her bed by myself and made sure to put in two sheets, two blankets and a soft pillow. I then went on to feel her temperature every two hours at night…..Call me what you want, but I am just a young, hot 🙂 mother reacting abnormally to a normal situation. Once in my bed, I tossed and turned and had nightmares and heard baby voices and saw the demon in a bear and anything else you can come up with.

It was cold.

I felt cold chills with every passing second. They ran from my back to my tummy and straight for my feet which I folded closer. I grabbed the blanket closer and tried to shut my eyes really tight. I even whispered a prayer to beg for some peace. I got a little and rested before it was time to check up on her again. I slept facing the wall. That was where she always slept each night. I’d spoon her in my lap to give her warmth each night and in return I felt protective. It was as if I had been pregnant from the outside.

Pesh slept well in her new bed. She never even once woke up to ask for her bottle. While I struggled to get used to my new life, she was busy enjoying a peaceful night. On the second night, the same thing happened. At some point I sat up and put the lights on. Why was this cold chill still there? I even thought my bedroom was haunted…think ‘Haunted’ from Investigative Discovery. I’m a fan by the way.

My husband slept facing the other way. He seemed comfortable on his own and I immediately felt guilty that for two years, that is how he had been spending his nights. It felt horrible to know he never had anyone to cuddle him, or share some warmth. I looked at the space at the bedside and fitted a mental baby-bed in it. ‘That is where our next baby will always sleep’ I thought to myself.

Another cold breeze crept in and I suddenly sneezed. The curtains were shaken. That couldn’t have been caused by just a sneeze. I reasoned. I moved closer to the window and slowly opened one side of the curtain. There it was; my reason for sneezing. I stretched my hand quietly, careful not to awake our  estate night-runner, and shut the slightly open window.

The cold was gone.

I switched the lights back off and crouched next to my husband. Instinctively, he moved closer, held me tight, just like I did Pesh and helped me sleep. I promised to create that spot for myself; to always make him warm and never to bring another child into our bed.

Oh that night runner story is very true by the way. He made me change my curtains from a beautiful, red and black to an ugly, brown, heavy one. I caught him peeping through my window once while changing into my night clothes. The scream I let out was enough to scare off an armed robber, any day.

That morning I woke up with and ugly flu.

Pesh seems even happier now that she sleeps better at night. She doesn’t get destructed by us preparing to leave for work each morning. She hugs us tighter than she did when we come back each evening and tells a lot of stories in her language. She seems to have forgotten mommy’s comforting embrace and has adjusted well, unlike someone I know.

Now, the bed.

The reason I wanted a smaller bed is simple. With Pesh’s exit, it seemed too large for us to even find each other! One of its sides would get cold and we all temporarily squeeze into a little corner and hang in there till morning comes. If we had a smaller bed, we’d have no choice but to hold tightly to avoid falling over. This way the room would never be cold.

But since we found out what made the room cold. Thank God it was no one from ‘Haunted’; we can now enjoy our big bed even with its lack of a third party.

My Great Enemy

I once watched something. I’m trying hard not to say movie just so you don’t turn away. I promise to try my best and make this piece as interesting as possible without sounding like a Doctor F.Mwambi. So in this something I was watching, there was a woman in her late twenties who was burning up, well,  not literary. They never said what was ailing her. They simply pointed a horse pipe at her and let the water hit her.

She obviously had a fever and I support the horse pipe idea considering they were in a ranch in the Spanish…..

I am not saying that’s the way to go. what I am saying is that under whatever circumstances fever catches you, be it in a matatu, on the railway tracks, or even in an interview room, your top priority should be to cool it off. I don’t care if you dip your head in a toilet bowl. Kill that fever.

I never joke with fevers. Ever since we met, (fever and I), we swore never to stand in the same spot. We do not see eye to eye. Neither do we sneer at each other. There’s no time. We go straight into battle…and I always win.

My husband was having a chat one morning with his colleague. I wasn’t there but the story he shared with me later in the day caused my heart a lot of anguish. That previous night his colleague,  and his wife went to bed a happy family. Not long into the night, their six month old son was attacked by the enemy; the fever. Innocently unaware, they helplessly watched their baby snivel in pain till morning. I can almost picture them peering at the little boy in wonder and awe as he winced and yelped for help. They knew it was the fever but didn’t know what this fever was really up to. Lucky for them, Fever must have realized it was fighting a child already down and tapping out.

Baby did not get convulsions. Yes, to you all who imagine that fever is as minute as snipping your finger with a nail cutter, get more creative. Convulsions damage brain cells and if not controlled, they can easily turn you into a cabbage. I am not a guru…I wouldn’t mention it if I were anyway.

I have a similar episode. At two years old, my Pesh got a fever one night. As the chap chap mom I feel I am, I rushed for my trusted Calpol and fed her one spoon. Half an hour later, her temperature shot higher. I didn’t panic; I took a bowl of warm water and damped her for the next thirty minutes till I got convinced she could go through the night. She did. However the following day, it recurred. Fevers have this nasty habit of visiting in the witchy hours. I used my trusted Calpol again and damped her, this time for an hour. It didn’t get better. I thought she would explode into a million pieces. Picture a glowing balloon that grows bigger and bigger as it gets incited by heat from within. At some point it will cease from being elastic and blow up! That thought made me rush little Pesh to hospital. She was confused and agitated, talking as though she were asleep. She wasn’t clear with her words. She kept insisting that I carry her even while she sat on my lap.

At the hospital, doc asked what painkiller I was using. Quickly, I pulled out my trusted Calpol and held it high enough to see. “I have been using this ever since she was 2 weeks old” I announced proudly. Doc wore a glum face. ‘What?’ I went on slowly trailing off my smile into a worried look. Doc calmed me down and assured me all was well…that was before he told me Calpol was a painkiller used for children below one year.

OH?

He subscribed a stronger painkiller for Pesh and accompanied them with suppositories. He gave me a few pointers that I thought to share with you today, if only to show you how to keep the fever away.

1) The most important thing is to keep the fever down; we’ll seek its cause later, just kill the fever.

2) As a mother…or dad, always keep a thermometer at a close range. If it’s not on your budget, don’t panic. Always check your child for high temperature by feeling his/her forehead, with your hand.

3) Dress your child lightly to help lose the heat.

4) Always keep painkiller syrup for such emergency cases.

5) Always damp the body with luke-warm water to help cool it off.

6) Never wait till morning if the temperature doesn’t go down. Fine baby’s body is fighting something but we can always find that out later, once we have handled the fever.

That said, watch out for this monster and let’s keep our children healthy. Have jolly one, friends!

Cheers to year 2!

Dear Patience,

On the eve of this very day, exactly two years ago I was an almost exact replica of a fully blown balloon. Proudly braving an addition of fifteen kilos, I was full with a well developed baby in my near exploding womb; full of anxiety and expectations; full of love and accumulated concern

Full with you.

I trotted an imbalanced me around and selfishly attracted attention from everyone; flies, worms and all. Once, I got too petrified and asked your uncle Jay to walk me to the tuck shop to get a toothbrush and paste for the hospital.

At around 4pm my water broke and it finally hit me smack on my headthat the long awaited time was here. I was going to meet you.

At last.

The things you made me do

I quickly drowned the rest of my tea. I loved my tea and my leaving only meant waving good bye to tea leaves and saying hello to chocolate and cocoa (yuck!). I loathed chocolate and cocoa.  You made me hate them and I puke with as much as it’s smell. Now here I was, getting married to them. Doctor said at least until you were six months old and weaning lest you get a short supply of nyonyo milk!

I fed worse than a swine. I craved food all the time and got selfish with my paw-paws. No one touched my paw-paws. I loved my oranges too and ate them at the bus stage, in the bus, in the supermarket, in meetings, in the bank and waiting rooms. The world was my dining place and everyone, well almost everyone came to my service.

Your arrival

At the hospital I ate more fries and chicken, and drank cold water. If I tell you how I screamed while pushing and cursed all the way, I risk you thinking that I regretted having you. To be very honest, it reached a point where I totally forgot I was having a baby and just wailed. I had no time to think of the wee and lovely looking clothes I had packed for you, how pretty you’d look in the tiny rompers with funny messages written on it, or the many stuffed dolls that waited at home for you.

I had no time to fathom how it would be being a mother. All I wanted to do was scream my lungs away and muse on how loud I could be, to overlook the agonizing pain. Believe me hun, I tried really hard to think positively. That the end result would make me rejoice, but that wouldn’t work either.

Your arrival came with its repercussions. I realised I had to do some more growing up. I was suddenly viewed differently.

I was treated with more respect.

My world flipped. I was no longer alone. I now had you. To watch, feed, clean, love and play with. At some point I got really scared that you were too attached to me; that you fully depended on me. You, expecting so much from me gave me the creeps. I got scared of failing you. I wanted to run from all the anticipation yet still provide you all you needed. Ironically I couldn’t picture myself away from you, but I still felt I wasn’t ready . After a lot of encouragement from  God, your grandparents, your daddy, aunties and uncles, I finally gathered the courage to do it. I realised there’s no perfect mother out there; that we learn by experience. I learned to go easy and take a step at a time.

What I am

I lost my middle name and I’d be happy to lose my first name too. I have become Mama Pesh. You changed my name. You transformed me into the responsible, hardworking and focused person I am now. I run home from work just to spend the few hours left playing with you, watching you smile and giggle and hear you talk Pesh language. I respect my parents even more because of you. I realise a mother’s worry is nothing to place a bet on. A mother’s instincts are 97% right; and all because I am able to feel your every whim and anguish.

Your innocent existence makes me drown in sudden love and worry. Worry of ever seeing you get hurt.

Who you are

You, my precious naughty angel have grown into an outstanding toddler. I have watched you brave claustrophobia and fear of strangers. I have been hallowed to watch you grow tall, gorgeous and intelligent. Honestly love, I was a little scared of your nearing – midget height. Though a few things still vex you, you always come round. You comprehend well what we enlighten you, and you have a razor-sharp memory. You know when we are just being silly and when it’s serious business. Though we reprimand you when you go wrong, you have learnt only too well that our love for you stands strong; a precipice stone on the edge of cascading waters.

May you grow to be the best of your ability and the almighty God bless you with long life. I pray you become an eye for those who do not see, a shoulder for those who need a friend, and the difference the world needs to see. I bless you precious girl for you are a blessing to me. Happy birthday Patience Mwambi, enjoy, sing, dance and eat lots of cake. For the good girl you have been, you so deserve it.

Ps/ Each year when it’s your birthday we shall commemorate all who were born on this day, and all we lost, especially those who were HIV positive, (Toto, a dear, little friend, in mind) This being the World Aids Day.

Yours loving,

Mom.

White Walls 2

That night we all went home dead beat, hungry and broke. My little girl was much recovered after getting the drip; she played around and smiled at the household faces enclosed in the white walls…well except for white coat wearers. She stared at them with flames in her eyes whenever they passed by and I almost thought I saw her clinch  her wee fingers at their mere sight.

I saw detestation especially towards female doctors in heels and weaves. Weaves that blocked off one eye. Female doctors that we all prayed with baited breath that they don’t drop off their white coats. These could have possibly been their only cover from the shame of mankind. Crap! These doctors could have been the Jinxed spirits from hell!

Sprinkles some Holy water on key pads spelling unspeakable terms.

Exactly one year later, about two weeks ago, the jinxed spirit was back, this time, attacking baby’s throat. She got endless fevers and Calpol only camouflaged them, but only till one night.

It was around 10pm and we hadn’t had supper, my husband and I. He stepped out to have a word with his brother while I put the food in the microwave to warm. Pesh seemed fine, and then out of the blue went erratic. ‘Mommy, ibebe’ I picked her up. ‘Ibebe!!’ she pestered, trying to climb up my head. I got bemused wondering what other word ibebe would mean, aside from carry me. ‘Ibebe!’ I stood up. ‘Sende!’ it was dark, where did she want us to go? I wondered. I tried to show her it was dark outside, but she was too disillusioned. ‘Jane, bye bye!’ she waved to my house help, happy that we were leaving. When I turned her back and headed for the couch she got aggravated and restless. ‘Mommy, sende!’ I declined.

She went hysterical. ‘Shika nyonyo’ I tried to woo her. It failed. ‘Haya twende tulale’. Failed.

I gave up. She kept asking me to carry her yet I already had.

Suddenly she was thirsty. She demanded for water. It was put to boil immediately and brought over. It was still a little hot so I asked Jane to cool it a little.

Pesh couldn’t wait. She grabbed the glass and drained the water like her very life hang on it. We exchanged looks with Jane. It was agreed she was not well.

At that moment, the only thing I was sure of was that I was not sleeping with a little mad girl. So we rushed to hospital, again, hungry.

She was smiling all the way to hospital, stunned by the darkness of the estate. She did not ask that I carry her. She was a bundle of peace…at least till we reached the hospital.

For the first time since I met my little girl, I saw a tiny possessed woman in her. She was totally uncontrollable and the only thing that calmed her down was a sip of water I got her from the dispenser. She remembered the white coat and immediately turned and ran. Getting her into the doctor’s room for treatment is a whole blog website on its own.

So it turned out that she was on the brink of convulsing. Yes and Calpol turned out to be too baby for her. These manufacturers need to do some advancement to let us know when medication is to be used and at what age. Yes if you know anyone who works…or sleeps there, ask them to pass this message. I almost lost my daughter to an ‘F’ing  fever. And It’s not funny. I’m literary in very low moods as I punch down these words. I just realized it was because of the memories this piece gives me. I know. It looks shallow to non moms, but I promise I will try hard not to say ‘I told you so’ when once upon the future you have one for yourselves.

When you lack sleep as you watch your baby snore her dreams away, terrified that she may have a nightmare. When you call every hour  to find out how she is, to listen to her gibbering;  when you die when your house help won’t pick up her phone and when you send everyone you know to you house to find out why her phone is ‘mteja’

It’s crazy being a first time mom. I actually thought twice about taking her to the doctor. The last time I did, doc listened attentively, and then of all questions he picked to ask, it just had to be. ‘Is she your first born?’ seriously?

I know, I’ve heard it, and probably you too that when you have your first born, the directives to the house help when you leave the house is ‘Call me when she sneezes’ when you get a second child, the message changes slightly to, ‘Call me when you can’t separate them in a fight.’ And by the time you get baby number 3, you transform to ‘Call me, ONLY when you see blood!’

I have a long way to go.

So evil spirit, just in case you are also reading this blog, this is my message to you.

*Placing hand on your head in prayer*, ‘Ushindwe! pepo mbaya!! Riswa! *pouring all Holy water on you!* Na usirudi kwangu next year na hizo zingine pia!! Mannerless pepo colorless! Angamia Al shabaab wewe! Kafiri! Rudi ahera ulikotoka! * calming down*

‘This prayer oh Lord is to cleanse my house and all readers of this blog, just so I don’t chase it straight into one of their homes. Bless us all with health, wealth and wisdom. I pray in Jesus name.’

And we all say,

‘Amen.’

I now feel rejuvenated and fresh and so should you. Let’s keep praying for our families and keep this evil spirit away, especially for our children. Should you feel it encroaching your house, repeat the prayer above…um the first one and all shall be well with you. Have a prayerful week folks!

Milestones I wish to keep.

I make a mad dash for my house every sundown. Reason? You guessed right.Pesh. I’ve forever been on the trot back home to her anyway but when I when I realized I was still losing touch, I sped up. I had to run as she is budding faster than I can catch up. I got hit by words that I could not re-pronounce. Words that made Bulgarian sound effortless. Crap! Her words are the weirdest thing I have ever heard! The only thing that never hit me was the fact that this girl, Pesh was merely repeating what I always said to her.

Each day I’d get home to find a new word, when I had not yet learnt to comprehend the old one. The only word I heard clearly was Mama, Daddy and Tane which I could easily make out to be my house-help’s name, Jane.

At some point she garbled so many ‘words’ so fast ,I got aggravated and begged her to speak Swahili..Or English. I couldn’t catch up so I asked Jane’s help. She was at a better chance to get their nous as she spent most of the time with her. She too couldn’t make out some of them so I kept a small diary for this lesson.

Every night before she sleeps, I notice she calls out specific words. I thought she’d learnt a bed time prayer or poem and I praised God. I was wrong. She was calling out the names of all the kids in the neighbourhood.*sulk* most of her translations will make a lot more sense when revised in Swahili..trust me.

Ussie/usss– as you all might have heard is her famous name  for the kitten, obviously corrupted from pussy…THE CAT. Not the…..*clearing throat* please let me make my point in peace here.

Uwiya–  I noticed this whenever she breast-fed and she would stop and inform me that uwiya,(milk) is on the nyonyo.

Nananya?-She always replies by repeating the last word we utter. So this goes to asking what you are doing. Sometimes she will go ahead and ask herself loudly when she is wrong and fathoms just what you’ll say.

Ibiba-I always ask her to show me a full tummy whenever she refuses to eat. Nowadays after a struggle to eat she will rub it with a smug face and complement it with a self-approving nod and announce ‘Ibiba!’

Awa-wu– I love my girl and she says she loves me back. She reciprocates this with a big hug.

Ta-taait!- Now even Ussie gets this every evening before bed. She will call Tane and Uss and wave them good night.

Siit– At first she called it Tamuu. Now she has grown up. And it’s sweet like her.

Aati–  whenever you hold a glass and the content is clear, she doesn’t care if it’s vodka. She wants it. it must be water.

Uta!- This was hard, but she made it easy as she pulls me from where I stand.

i-ia– She will pull you into the house and slam it shut, so you got to understand that she wants you to come in!

Tula!- Once I saved Uss from Pesh trying to force it to suck a lollipop. She shouted, ‘Tula!’ and poor kitty’s whiskers were sticky with sweet syrup. *yuck!*

ii-yaya– Watch out for this as it will come with a grab at your eyelids to shut down, followed by the nearest dishcloth covering your head.

sita-This was easy. The stretched arm told it all. She will offer to say ‘Taatu!’ if you don’t; that is thank you for giving YOU something.

ata!-One of Pesh’s first words. This made me realise that everything she went close to was considered a health hazard and a yelp of ‘wacha!’ was the commonly used word.

Tsamu!-this remarks that she is totally enjoying the taste. It also comes with an approving constant nod.

My little girl shocks me daily. I caught her once ,she was shaking her small behind and making steps and singing ‘saa saaa saaa leeeh!!’(sawa sawa sawa leh!) I thought I almost died. She is a genius. She can read faces and she knew I was shocked so she sang more.

I died.

I love her buoyancy and the way she makes sure to grab our attention-all of us, and then do something silly to make us laugh.  She will shout your name till your world

Ussie!.....Awawuuu!!

stops and focuses on her, then squat like she wants to pee and starts walking like a tip-toeing old man. Hilarious. I’ll make a point to catch this on video and show her on her 21st birthday. *devilish smile*

She is growing too fast! She is no longer scared of the deep frier, even when we open it’s ‘mouth’ to bite her. She still hates the potty and insists on tying a diaper on me. She still chases me up with her Johnsons powder to powder my bottom and follows me to the bathroom. She wants to peep into the toilet bowl and takes off when I flash it. She loves Tanya’s awkward ad and sprays everyone on the face with her imaginary Tropical air freshener.

She is more stunning, confident and bright and we’ll get her a fiery beast; a large pure German shepherd to keep away all of you with naughty little boys who are now ogling at her picture and making plans.