Motherhood

To whip or not to whip

Proverbs 13:24, “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.”

One mom in my daughters class asked the other moms who had children in that class, what mode of discipline we used on our kids. She said that her daughter had become very stubborn and intentionally did what she was told not to do. The mom further said that she had whipped her daughter to no avail and now the mom needed a new strategy as the whipping didn’t seem to work. Another mom pipped in and said that her son was doing the same thing. He too was stubborn and did not heed his mummy’s voice. The conversation picked up and became animated as more moms contributed to the issue. Another mom said her son answers her back sometimes when she tries to correct him. Yet, another mom agreed that her daughter answered back too sometimes when corrected. Another mom said that she used to whip her daughter too but she stopped it seemed her daughter was becoming more stubborn. Then I remembered my daughter, she too was a bit stubborn sometimes. She would not heed to warnings, and if I was more stern, she would continue doing exactly what I had told her not to do. At that point it became apparent that at that age, four years, our kids had an almost similar discipline issue. Stubbornness.

If you have been raised in an African set up like me, whipping of kids was quite common. Parents used rods to discipline their kids, quite literary and it was highly acceptable across many African communities. At least it was, during our yester years when we were kids and the years before us. Those days you would find a parent using a belt or a stick to beat the living daylights out of his child. That used to work. A child would not repeat that act again least he is beaten thoroughly.  These days, few parents of my time whip their kids in an effort to discipline them. One mom in my daughters class, says that she gently talks to her kids and makes them understand what they are doing is wrong, she says that she negotiates with her kids and they agree on what needs to be done. But does this work for kids of six years and below?

My hairdresser disagrees. She is a mother of two daughters, a two year and seven year old.  She is a very vocal woman on matters motherhood. She says that she disciplines her kids the only way she knows how. By whipping. When her kids misbehave she whips them and cubs that behavior before it grows into something worse. She further says that if  she didn’t do that, she fears the kids will carry that bad behavior into adulthood. When the society has to deal with such transgression, she, their mom will be blamed for not raising them right. To guide her kids in the right path, she whips.

My mom never whipped us. I cant even remember her raising her voice on us. But my grandma was something else, my moms mother. God bless her sweet soul. I remember her as a strict disciplinarian. Whenever we wronged, she would pinch us between the thighs. I mean between the thighs?! That spot is very fleshy and very soft, so you can imagine the amount of pain that cuts through, right into your inner being! It was a nightmare. We never wronged again!

I tried once to whip my child. She was repeatedly doing an act that I had clearly told her not to do. But she kept going. I kept insisting to her she stops. She kept insisting she would continue. Continued she did. I insisted. She insisted. The African mama in me stood up, and I took one of my thin belts and whip it went on her thighs. Whip, Whip. She immediately stopped. Then she looked at me, she started crying non stop. I felt so bad. Inwardly I was asking myself questions why I did that to her. I felt so bad. I felt I was a bad mother. It ate on me for days. Outwardly, I hugged her and told her I was so sorry but she should listen to her mom all the time. From that day, I resorted to using gentle methods of discipline. I take away small privileges like her toys. I switch off cartoon time, I denie her play time, I reward her with compliments, hugs and kisses, or something new, I talk to her, I explain her wrongs and make her understand the right thing to do.

When I tell her No! I make sure its firm and final. She then starts to yell, scream and cry. All in an effort to emotionally blackmail me, sometimes I give in. Other times, I stand firm. Its not easy disciplining kids at this age. Its very hard. But overtime, I have learnt that discipline is not fun. I have learnt to acknowledged myself as a parent and she as a child. I have learnt to acknowledge that we are not friends. We are not mates. As a parent you understand this. So these days I discipline her firmly and I dont flinch. She will scream, and pout and I will not give in like I used to. So, what has happened, overtime she too has come to the realization that am not only her mom but I have authority over her. After she is done with all the screaming, pouting and puffing her face, she would later walk timidly to me and say in a sweet small voice, “Am so sorry mom for everything, please forgive me.” Then we hug and kiss. The following day, she forgets and she does the exact same thing I told her not to. And the cycle starts again. Like I said, Its hard.

Talk to me, how do you discipline your kids?

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Motherhood

Celebrating my MBA- Another milestone

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world,” Nelson Mandela

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photo: courtesy

Finally, I did it! Yes! I finally got my MBA. Huraaaaya!!! I am very happy and I am celebrating! People usually celebrate engagements, weddings & new babies with pomp, colour and so much excitement. We post on our social media pages and our friends and family all come out to congratulate and celebrate with us. We hold baby showers, engagement parties and massive wedding functions. We eat, drink, dance and get merry. I mean these are milestones in our lives and we go all out to mark them. I should know, I celebrated my new born baby! However, we seldom celebrate MBA achievement. I think all women who achieve a certain level of education, be it a diploma, a college degree or a skill course, we should celebrate and she should be celebrated with pomp and colour as they would if they were celebrating a wedding engagement or a new baby. I choose to celebrate my MBA achievement today.

Getting  here has not been easy for me.  There are many challenges that I went through. I will highlight a few here. It has been a tough three year old  journey. There was a lot of hard work, pain, tears, an almost giving up moments and a one year of stalling. It was very hard. My newborn daughter had just turned one year the year that I enrolled for my masters. I was a nursing mom. I was still breastfeeding her and being an advocate of breastfeeding I had wished to breastfeed until she turned two years. This didn’t happen. At the same time, I was working in a highly pressured business environment. The working hours were long. The work load heavy and expectations were very high. The pressure at work was too heavy. At some point I felt compelled to defer my studies and focus on work. But I did not take this road. Instead, I pressed on. At home things were tough as well, I was also undergoing trying moments in my relationship. Things were a big mess. I was emotionally drained and physically exhausted. It was not easy balancing work, motherhood, relationship and school.

I remember there was a time I didn’t see my daughter for a full week. I would leave home very early before she woke up, go to work, in the evening attend classes until past 8 PM. By the time I got home it was past 9 PM, I would often find her asleep. This really distraught me. It emotionally affected me. Not being able to see my baby when she was awake made me sad. So, what I resolved to do, I would wake her up early in the morning on my way to work. I made sure she would wake up, then I would hug her and kiss her goodbye.

Weekends were no better. I had assignments, and papers to write. Saturdays were usual work days. Those days that I was not working I was either in the library or on some group discussion doing some study away from home. On Sundays, I would have my mom pick her up so that I could get time to write my papers and also have her nanny take the Sunday off. God knew she needed it.  That’s how we got by during the first year of my course work.

Then there was work. Targets to meet. Customers to please. Objectives to cover. Pressure to be your best at work. I used to find it mentally and physically draining. Most days I would sleep late studying or writing a paper and I would wake up very early to beat the morning traffic and get to work on time. I was fatigued. I barely managed to get by the day but work had to be done. On days that we had continuous assessment tests, I would sometimes walk in the exam room from work, twenty minutes after the rest of my classmates had started. Imagine the anxiety of writing an exam when the others were almost finishing up. I had to be on point, I had to pull myself together and shift on gears that I didn’t know I had in order to get good grades and to maintain my sanity. Sometimes, I look back and I wonder how I did it. With all the emotional baggage from home, dealing with fears that you are not being a good mama to your own child and all the good performance I had to struggle to get at work. In a nutshell, I could barely keep it together. When I look back it was purely God’s work.

Did I tell you that I did two research projects? Yeah, I did. My first research project was floored by the exam panel. Now, imagine the frustrations, the late nights, the time, the money, the energy I put into this paper and after getting all the necessary approvals and doing all the necessary corrections only to be rejected by the last approving panel. I almost quit. This was the breaking point. I never cried the tears I did. I remember asking myself why did I ever decide to pursue higher education. I could have used the money for something else. I almost shelved my MBA pursuit. Then I remembered the reasons why I enrolled in the first place. I remembered the time, sacrifices, hard work that I put in. I got up, dusted myself, researched and wrote another paper.

To all those mamas that are struggling to manage careers, new babies, families, relationships and at the same time school, it can be done. To those new moms who wish to go back to school in the midst of a career storm, it can be done. You can do it mama. It’s not going to be easy. There are days that you will question why you made that decision to go back to school. Some days, you will cry overwhelmed tears. On such days work will be too much, your boss will not understand why you need time off to do assignments or write papers or do exams, On such days your baby will be unwell. He will need your attention, your school work will stall, the situation at home may not be at it’s best, family demands may increase ,pressure will mount at work. Your head will spin. A couple of times you will lose your head. Literary. The key here is not to lose focus. You must stand firm. Cry if you have to. Take a break if you must. But you must achieve your goal.

Go on now and earn that degree that you so wish.

 

 

Motherhood

5 lessons I learn from my daughter

 Mathew 18:3 “And He said: Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven”.

She maybe four years but she seems to be older and wiser than me sometimes. She brings me back to reality and takes me back to lessons that my adult self has otherwise forgotten or simply chosen  to ignore. In her, I am reminded each day on how to live. Yes, she humbles me and each single day she reminds me that I am mom. And being mom comes with so much adult responsibilities which are mostly centered around her. She shapes my decisions. Ever since she arrived in my life four years ago, all my decisions that I make are influenced by her. I weigh each decision carefully and if it doesn’t favor her, no matter how good and alluring that situation is, I let it go. It doesn’t favor my daughter, I don’t take it. Period.

She is also my source of great leanings and constant reminder of how life is intended to be lived. So, today, I will share 5 things that my LO has taught me.

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  1. Little faith moves mountains: She is little. She is simply my baby. Daily she reminds me that all I need is a little faith to conquer my biggest mountains. When she asks for something, she knows mama has heard and I will provide. She will ask me with so much simplistic sweetness. “Mom, buy me a doll”. That’s it. She has asked. She has faith that mama will get her a new doll. It’s as simple as that. She will ask and she knows she will get. Other times it will be, “Mom, stand here, catch me. Am going to jump”. And she jumps from the top of the seat directly to my arms. At the back of her mind she knows mama will catch me, I will not fall. I mean, it doesn’t occur to her that I will move aside or decide not to catch her. It doesn’t occur to her that she will fall. She has simple faith, mama will catch me. That’s it. I learn to have simple faith from her. It’s in the way she asks for things. It’s in the way she talks. She knows it will be provided. How will it be if I just have that simple little faith like my daughter towards my father in heaven? How about I have that little faith in my self? How about I put some faith in my work? In my life? Nothing much. Just a little belief. Pure. simple. No doubts. How many mountains am I gonna move in my life?How many mountains will you move in your life if you just adopt your child little faith?
  2. Forgiveness: Forgiveness is hard. I am not here to demystify it. I struggle with forgiveness daily. Of deep hurts. Of deep wounds. Of simple unintended hurts. My daughter teaches me forgiveness is freedom. I have seen a couple of times that she runs into the house crying that a certain friend has taken her toy, or they have fought and she cries saying she will not play with them again. Just as she starts crying she stops and after a few minutes she’s outside the house playing as if nothing happened between her and her friend. The next day they are playing ball and laughing. The previous day incident is not mentioned. Its dead. Not spoken about ever again. They are friends yet again. But what does our adult self do? We sulk for ages after a fight with our friends. We cut off ties. We carry grudges for years. We keep a log of dates, time and the hurt. We carry un forgiveness baggage. Imprisoning ourselves from happiness. We cut off relations that would otherwise have been beneficial to our future. I have learnt to forgive, let go and build great relations while at it. There is an excerpt of music from one of her favorite cartoon soundtrack Frozen that we love to sing along to, that says”..Let it go, let it go…” 
  3. Persistence: When she started walking she would fall down several times. Sometimes she would cry frustrated. Then she would decide that she would do good if she just crawls. She will crawl for two seconds then stand up and try walking again. Over and over again she tried walking, these days she runs so fast! It was the same thing when she was learning how to ride her bike. She fell off a couple of times and at some point she said she didn’t want that bike. But the next day she got on it and these days she’s an expert. When she wants something, she doesn’t give me peace. She will sing of it until she gets it. She will persist until I give in. How many times do we give in to persistent cries from our LO? She reminds me yet again, if I persist in search of that which I want in life, will I not get it? What does God say about prayers again? Pray without ceasing. How many dreams have been deferred? How many ideas have we shelved? Its time to pick a lesson from our kids and get back to them. Persistence is key to success.
  4. It’s never that serious: She laughs silly. She laughs so loud. She laughs at anything. At anyone. She laughs at herself. She is a bubbly girl.  I may come home at night tired. looking haggard and misplaced, then she will just burst out laughing.” Mom, you look funny”. At that moment, my days challenges are nothing. So, we laugh. She would make funny faces and we laugh. She will go through old photos in my phone and laugh saying she was very tinny. Nothing funny about the photo but she will laugh. Again, am hit with a big reminder to dance in my storms. To laugh at myself. To laugh at my problems. This little person reminds me to be silly. She reminds me to live. I have learnt to laugh hard and to laugh deep. It’s never that serious anyway.
  5. No discrimination: In my daughters world all kids are the same. We can be at a function and somehow she finds her way to other kids and start having kid conversations and immediately play starts. There is no class in the kids world. No discrimination. Unless an adult who feels he is more of an adult than others comes in and tells the kids not to associate with certain kids. Otherwise for a kid it is all kids. That is how they see each other. To her, it is a kids zone. It is all play, kids talk and having fun while at it. Wouldn’t it be great if we adopted a world that we are all friends? No discrimination by colour, social status, education, size etc. It would be great to embrace each other and view each other as kids view kids.

She may be little but she got lots of wisdom within her, she doesn’t know it, but she inspires me each day. Each day I learn from her and more than anything am reminded she learns from me. The learning she takes are not from what I tell her but more so from what she observes in me. As a mom I strive to be her best example. I hope all moms can take lessons from their little ones and make better a world for them too.

What lessons do you learn from your little ones?

 

Motherhood

I choose to enjoy my child, Now

It’s been raining cats and dogs the last couple of days in my home town. Being a coastal town, we are used to hot and humid weather. But the last one week or so, we have experienced weather changes like I have never seen before. At least not in the recent years. Flooding has been reported all over the media in some residential areas  and sadly there has been some loss of lives as a result of these heavy rains. It has been a dull, cold and wet situation. But am not writing about the weather.

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So today, am sitting in my office, with my laptop open just staring at it as if waiting for some command from the virtual world on how to carry on with my day. My hot black coffee is right by my desk, untouched. The weather is cold and cloudy. It’s threatening to rain heavily. I need to keep warm. I know I should take a sip of my coffee. But for some strange reason, I dont bring myself to. Needless to say, I love coffee. I love it rich, strong, black and sugarless. Not today though, I don’t feel like coffee. So, I power my laptop and on comes my daughters picture. Saved on my desk top as my wall paper. Here she is a day old. I stare at the picture longer than I should have. On any usual day, I barely see the picture. I usually power the laptop and off I go straight to work. Not today. Today I just want to stare at this beautiful tiny image.

She’s one day old. She looks so peaceful. Her skin is pink in colour, her cheeks are round. She is asleep. Wrapped in flowered blue and white baby shawl. She is carefully wrapped that the only thing visible is her face. Two tinny puffy eyes, a pink nose and a small mouth and bright pink cheeks. She looks like an angel. I remember this day, she lies in one of those glass hospital baby cots. I take a moment and just savour the picture.

Am starting at this picture with lots of pride and love. Am thinking to myself my baby girl is growing up real fast. Very fast. Too fast, I say to myself. Today, she’s 4 going 24. Soon she will be out of the house and on her own. I straighten my back and reminisce of our journey together. I realise with a sense of pride and an almost sad feeling that I will miss her toddlership, so to speak. I will miss the sideshows, the tantrums, the dramas, the playtime, the tears, the laughter, I will definitely miss everything that this little person did. Then again, I may not miss it as much because I will probably be dealing with the joys and pains of her next growth stage.

I say to myself, there are certain things that I will definitely miss. Obviously.

According to my LO I should be available to her at anytime that she needs me. To her it doesn’t matter what am doing or where I am. She thinks it’s her birth right to be attended to by her mom whenever, wherever she wants. Well, it is her birth right. Sort off. Sometimes we moms must draw the line in meeting our kids demands and say no to some of what they ask. She has a stand though, and that is to have her mommy’s attention when she demands it.

I will miss her interruption of my shower moments. Like the other day, I was in the bathroom, after a long day at work, enjoying my warm shower, happily singing off tune to songs I barely knew, while breaking into some funny dance, then, baam! Am rudely interrupted by a toddler! Abruptly she flags the bathroom door open, just to show me her homework. “Mom, look what I did today!” She said excitedly. I had soap on my face. I could not open my eyes. I was butt naked. But she doesn’t seem startled. “Mom you are not looking!” I will definitely miss these moments.

This other time I am doing my business in the loo and she bangs open the door, extending her crackle packet. “Mom, open for me please.” I gently tell her I will do so as soon as I finish and I have washed my hands could she please go and close the door behind her? With determination in her eyes she says, “I will wait for you.” Thinking she will leave, she didn’t. Nothing can move a determined toddler. So, I finish my business as she waits patiently, right there before me.

It was then that I decided that was enough of banging bathroom doors. So, one time I locked myself from the inside. A mom needs some privacy. These toddler bang-ins will not hold anymore. So, this time am in the bathroom and she bangs the door open, as usual. Only it didn’t open. Then she starts the endless knocking, the pounding. “Mom, open the door. I want to tell you something.” “Mom, I want to talk to you,” making it sound like an emergency, “Now!” Clearly she doesn’t understand the meaning of privacy.

I will miss all those bathroom moments. The privacy that I never had.  I will miss the audience that I had during what should have been the most crucial alone moment. I will miss the door bangs. I will miss the cries at the door simply because I refused to open. I will miss it all.

Then again, because they grow so fast, I dont want to project my thoughts and fears to the future. I want to enjoy my daughter now. I purpose as her mom to be available to her in all possible ways to me. This is the time I believe is very crucial in bonding with our kids. At this stage when they are young and in learning stage. The best gift as a mom I can give my child is my time. Be available.

I inhaled deeply. Then I opened some program on my laptop to get to work with renewed strength to be the best mama I can be for my daughter. I took the first sip of my coffee. It’s pure niceness. Exactly how I love it. I took another long sip and I deliberately let my lips linger a little bit longer on the brim of my cup as I took in the strong aroma. I closed my eyes for a few seconds. I listened to the soft sound of rain as it begun to pour. I took another long slow sip. Heavenly.

 

Motherhood

Where do babies come from?

I knew this question would come up very soon. In fact with the inquisitive nature of my four year old I would say, she delayed way too long in asking me. Way too long. So it didn’t come as a surprise when she broached the subject. It was rather interesting how she brought it up.

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I come from work, and my wide eyed toddler was looking at me with curiosity in her eyes. I could read the way she was looking at me as I walked around the house that something was up with her. I at first thought she did something that was making her have those guilty toddler moments. You know those ones that they look at you thinking that you already know what they did and at the same time they are trying to hide it from you? She had that look.

When I was about to probe what she’s been up to, she couldn’t contain herself she asked me in an excited tone.

“Mom, which supermarket did you buy me from?”  I was thrown off balance. Then she looked up at me. Expecting a ready answer. I almost chuckled. Seeing the seriousness in her eyes, I tried desperately to hide my laughter. I looked at her and decided it was time. She needed to know where she came from.

The day, I gave birth to my daughter, I made a promise to myself that I will do my level best as her mom to make sure she gets the right information from me. Information on her sexuality, her life, her family, her schooling, her friends, her health etc. I want to be the source of right information for my daughter. I promised myself to educate her on all matters that affect her as they come in a way that I will be able to tell her the truth but at the same time be able to explain to her in a way that she will be able to understand it at her age without me being overly explicit or complex for her to understand. As a mom, I wish to be straight forward with my child. I want to be gentle in explanation. I want to be open with her. To school her. I want her to run to me first when she wants information. When she is being bullied. when she cries. When she needs understanding, I wish for her to know her mom has her back and she can come to me first.

Truth in my motherhood is very essential. If I don’t school my child in this age of internet and knowledge from the streets, she will still get that information. Information that she would perceive it indifferently. It is very important for me to create that balance as a mother and what she will learn from the world.

So I asked her where she got that idea that I bought her from the supermarket. She said that one of her friends mother had just given birth. During one of her visits to her friend’s house, the second time mom told them that babies are bought from supermarkets. I could only imagine the questions the kids might have asked. You know how curious kids are? Toddlers for that matter. I could imagine, they must have been staring at the new baby with utmost awe. Maybe they were curious at how tinny he was. Oh what tinny head he has! Oh, what small hands he has! Oh, what tinny body he has! Oh, what tinny feet he has!And then maybe came the question. Probably from her friend to her mother, “Mommy where did you get this baby?” Or maybe it was my daughter who asked more daringly. “Where do babies come from?”

I gently took her in my arms and sat her down and smiled. Motherhood is hard. Really hard. Explaining some issues to a four year old is the hardest. But like I said, its important for me to explain the truth to her in a language that a four year old can understand without being explicit or loose meaning.

I explained to her that babies are not bought from supermarkets. I emphasised that I didn’t buy her. I had to  be really careful with my next choice of words. Taking a second to pause in between words, checking her reaction and level of understanding. At the same time bracing myself for further questions. Our conversation went something close to this.

Me, holding her hands, “God put you in my stomach”. Pause. Searching  her eyes. Holding my breath dreading her next question which I thought would be something like, “How did God put me in your stomach?” Sigh of relief. She didn’t ask. I wasn’t ready to explain the “How”. Oh God.

Me, using gestures, “My stomach grew big, like this”

Her, “Inside here?” Touching my stomach.

“Yes. When it was very big. I went to the hospital and the doctor removed you from my stomach.” Pause. Searching her now wide open eyes. I knew she would ask the next question.

“How did the doctor remove me?”

I lifted my blouse and showed her my C-section scar. “The doctor gave me medicine. I slept and then he cut me here and he removed you then he put glue and closed me up”

“Did blood come out?” She sounded terrified.

“Yes. Blood came out. But the doctor cleaned it.”

She almost jumped out of her skin, “So babies are cut from their mommies stomach!”

Me, “No baby. Not all babies are born that way.”

“So their mommies buy them from supermarket?”

“No sweety.” Trying so hard to be gentle. Pronouncing each word slowly and deliberately. “All mommies get big tummies. Then they go to the hospital and they give birth and then come home with their babies.”

Her nodding. We getting somewhere.

Me, “So, all babies are born in hospitals.”

Her, “Which hospital?”

“Do they cry?”

“Was I tinny?”

“Did your mummy go to hospital?”

The focus changed from where babies come from and the conversation trailed off and finally to an off topic. I know that would not be the end of her questions. But each day, as she grows she will ask more and more hard questions. And as she advances in age, curiosity and knowledge, I will expound my answers more and explain as clearly as possible in a way that she will understand. I know one day, we will have explicit conversations as mother and daughter.

Till then it’s baby steps. Literary.

How do you handle hard questions from your toddler?

 

Motherhood

Her thoughts on breastfeeding

I love this mama’s thoughts on breastfeeding. It makes you take a moment and reflect. How well do you connect with your baby when they are breastfeeding? I am a pro-breastfeeding mama myself and having successfully breastfed my 4 year old. Yee! I am guilty too as well. Sometimes I would breastfeed while trying to cover something else. We women call it multitasking. Breastfeeding when eating. Breastfeeding when reading a book. Breastfeeding when watching a movie. Breastfeeding when writing etc ..LOL…Guilty. How often do we take time to be still, just you and your baby enjoying the moment? #Reflection

Read on..Awesome read.

 

 

I breastfed both my children. It was a choice I made before both were born, something that felt right for me. I knew I wanted to support them as naturally as I could concerning their immune system, building a relationship with them and cradling them. I did not know what this looked like in reality […]

via Reflections on Breastfeeding – How Connected to our Babies are we? — Women in Livingness Blog

Motherhood

Toddler Tales

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This is my definition of a toddler; Little people below the age of five with the ability to change into anything they want in less than a minute. In less than a second, a toddler changes into someone that you hardly recognise and instantly change back to the sweet adorable baby that you know. They will terrorise you, raise all the inches of your hair, drive you up against the wall, and within an instant you have lost your mind. They put you in a situation that, you begin to believe that it is you with the problem and not them. I mean, why would you be angry at a laughing little one who just dipped his cup in the toilet bowl and drinking from it? It is fun after all, to have an open water supply, is it not ,mom? His small eyes seem to ask you.

Just when you want to scream at him, he jolts out of the bathroom to the living room and that’s when you realise his legs have poop and he is staining your well manicured floor. Now, you are going crazy. You are insane. You want to shout ,stop! Baby come back here! Let me wash you. But what comes out of your mouth is a horse whisper “Oh my God!Now who will clean this mess?” You ask yourself under hot breath.

Instinctively, you run towards him. He sees you, these little people have compound eyes. They can see from the back of their heads. So, he sees you running after him, and he immediately takes that as a cue for playing. He starts giggling loudly trying to escape your grasp.By now you can not recognise your floor. Your carpet is a mess. Poop all over. You scream your house manager’s name.”Wairimu!” No answer. Then it hits you. It’s a Sunday. She’s off duty. You get an instant migraine, it dawns on you,it’s just you and the now little monster. So,help me God.

He is still running away from you, soiling all over the house. You trying so hard to duck the mess. Your arms are fully stretched towards him, bingo, you have him now and just as you are pulling him towards you, you slip on the poop and accidently you let go of his hand. He falls down with a thud. He screams. Powerfully. The cry that follows can wake up your ancestors. He has strong powerful lungs. He is crying terribly. At that second the memory of your labour pain kicks in, and your maternal instincts takes over, you hold him defensively in your arms.  Within a second you forget that you were going insane. He is now your baby who needs you and not the little rascal you were chasing around.

Now he is in your arms. You are soothing him. He then decides he is very hurt and he is in crucial pain, so he escalates his crying to level five. You panic, maybe his bone is broken. You check him he seems fine. No broken bones. No blood. You ascertain. You try to assure him he is ok. If he could please keep quiet so that you can wash him. Now both of you have poop all over. But it doesn’t matter now. He’s your cute baby who has fallen down and all you want is to clean him. So, you start singing those happy cartoon songs that he loves. Usually he would join in and the two of you would have a fun time singing. Not today. He decides, to increase his crying to level ten. He is throwing his arms and legs all over. You are distraught.You want to pick the phone and call his paed, you now believe he is truly hurt. Maybe some internal injury. You want to take him to the ER. You frantically try to grasp the phone with your right hand balancing him on the left.

He is a toddler. He has seen a window of opportunity. Like lightning, he runs out of your arms up the stairs. He starts to laugh. “Mom,catch me!”, “Again mom”. You don’t know what hit you. Bewildered,you look at him. He is wearing one of those cute adorable smiling faces that you love so much. He wants to play. You are confused. Was he not the one crying in so much pain? You look at the floor, at your blouse, the smell is annoying. You want to scream. He disappears around the corner. You fall down into a heap on the floor. Now, you are beginning to really question your existence.

                                                                        **

I have been there. I have been that mom. One time my daughter threw a terrible tantrum. She wanted to use a blue cup to drink water and not the green cup that I had given gave her. She threw a terribly fit. Crying and stamping her feet, throwing her arms in the air, simply because she didn’t want a green cup. I thought she wanted water and it didn’t matter to me whether it came in a green or blue cup. I was thinking that I was a grown up and she was the baby so , you do what mama says. At first I didn’t badge. I did not change the cup. Neither did she drink from it. Toddlers can be stubborn like that sometimes. I didn’t see it coming, she took the green cup  and threw it on the floor while demanding the blue one.

I became infuriated. Am standing there wondering whether to scorn her, pinch her, scream or just ignore her. Then she suddenly realised my mood has changed and she immediately knew that mama was not happy. She toned down, looked up at me, gave me one of those sweet innocent eyes and a little warm smile. Then she asked in the most timid sweet voice ever.

“You don’t love me now mom?”

That did it. Her tone, her sweetness, immediately defused the anger I was feeling. Within a second she was my beautiful adorable baby who needed assurance that mama loves her. I forgot I was mad. I took her in my moms and smiled.

“No baby girl,I love you baby.”Then I added, “You are just four. That’s all.”

Toddlers they teach us the values of love, patience and understanding. They have taught us to be fearless, carefree, to forgive easily, to be happy, to be easy, most importantly my daughter has taught me to live. To live for the moment and enjoy every little second that I have in my life and to appreciate each challenge that comes my way. She has taught me how to be a conqueror of my hopes and dreams. Because of her , I live.

What lessons have you learnt from your toddler?