Monday, September 6, 2010

Babies Gone Human

The good news is that my boys are becoming little people; with noticeable interests and strengths. The bad news is their vices and failings are beginning also to show. And I don’t know what to do with them.

Dovene is showing strains of nhye. Man, that kid is bossy! He’ll wear his helmet and then insist that his brother should wear his, to the point of forcibly putting it on Vinyo himself. When he wants to watch Horton hears a who- apparently the only piece of cinematography worth any discerning toddler’s time- then Vinyo must watch it too. If he dares to get up midway, Dovene will try to force him back to his seat. Vinyo is no rollover so these Dovene says moments usually get rough. I think it is nice that he always looks out for his little brother. He won’t let you give him a treat without giving his brother one too. Or even put his shoes on him and not put Vinyo’s on too. Not that he should mind his own business. But he really does go overboard. I’m at a loss how to curb it, or even if I should be the one to sort it out.

He is, for want of a better word, let me say, somewhat lazy. I’m teaching them to pack their lego bricks when they are done with them. And without fail, Dovene will pick up a few, walk around with them, act busy, drop one in the box, stop and say ‘maman, airplane’ or something else to distract you and wander. In the end if you don’t redirect him sternly several times, Vinyo will do all the work. Same for when they help me stack things.

This bothers me a lot. My grandmother’s shrill voice will forever echo in my head saying ‘akwadwesem onnye ohia nam! fi ho ke ye w’edwuma, kwadwefo poree!’ I’m permanently damaged. I can’t spot a lazy person but a fight or flight instinct kicks in. He’s only 34 months old. Fight or flight is rather a melodramatic response. For all I know it’s a phase that will pass when he’s 42 months. In the meantime, I’m flailing.

Vinyo is a stubborn child. To say he has a mind of his own is to put it mildly. Once he decides he doesn’t want to do something, you better be prepared for a stare-down. He has this mutinous look that I’m sure will terrify his subordinates one day.

He also has what looks at this point to be an unforgiving streak. When Dovene offends him, I make Dovene apologise, I pat him on the back and give him a hug and say its ok, Dovene said sorry. He’ll lap it all up and the minute no one is looking, he’ll go and give Dovene a good smack. [it usually serves him right]. How is a kid not yet two, going to carry a grudge and seek vengeance. And how do you cure him of it?!

Of course these are all minor things; nothing to have nervous breakdowns about. We often laugh about them in fact. Its only that I miss seeing them as bits of perfection with nary a flaw. As babies, their everything was perfect. If they cried, it was only until their desire was communicated. If they touched something they shouldn’t, it was only out of ignorance and curiosity. Even their feet were kissable.

Now they are just the often-dirty, flat feet that are not allowed in the chairs. Now they have a guilty start that betrays their knowledge that what they were doing was wrong. Now they can cry loudly without shedding a single tear, just to manipulate you. Sometimes after I’ve scolded, forbidden and repeated myself hoarse, I exclaim. ‘Ah wo how adwene papa!!’ The moments of baby perfection are now merely fleeting glimpses. Little angels are become little mortals; like us. Watching their pedestals disintegrate I am more than a little wistful.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Change & Decay

Some people cheerily share the details of their excretory mechanisms with the world- even strangers. And they do it without a second’s self-consciousness. Personally, I have never been like that, nor even envied them that. For some pointless reason, I’ve always tried to avoid any mention of my own loo habits or needs. I can hold pee for 5 hours and as a child I would frequently do that rather than use the loo at school or in someone’s house. I once made an hour’s journey home holding in a diarrheal dump. Instead of just using the loo at the office.

The stupid part is that its not because of my concerns about other people’s hygiene or the state of the loo or even the absence of water that prompts this behaviour. It’s the incredibly asinine mortification of people knowing I’m in the bathroom. I have this scenario in my head, that somebody –(as a child, the somebody was the headteacher or my favourite teacher. As I entered womanhood, ‘somebody’ became a cultured, intelligent hunk)- will come looking for me and they’ll shout ‘she’s shanking’. And that would just be the most embarrassing thing ever.

For this reason alone, I never respond if someone calls me while I’m in the bathroom. If I have to wash my hands or pee I hurry so I’m not gone long enough for those who know I’m there to think I’m doing number two.

When Kofi and I were dating, I never let him see me straddling a water closet. If I needed to shank I would go to the hotel next door. One time when the taps weren’t running and I woke up at 5am needing to shank, I did bum kegels till 6 when I rushed off to Osu – 10 mins drive away- to shank at Nandos. I couldn’t very well have him waking up to find my poo in his loo, could I?

Nor did marriage change this dumb practice. The whole of the first year we were married, I would only use the loo when he wasn't in our room. I told him that while lying on the delivery bed pushing Dovene out, I prayed ‘o God please don’t let me shank now, please God!’ I really did. I read that sometimes women poo from the force of that last push. I can’t imagine anything more shyous. My husband, and the kind elderly midwife standing in front of my vagina, then out comes some force-flung poo. Yuck! He said laughing, ‘you’re a fool M!’

Which brings me to the present. I live with two almost fully potty trained toddlers with impressive vocabulary. Conversations about pooing abound. And it doesn’t really matter who’s there. They’ll come up to me in public shouting ‘maman poo please’ or out of the blue one will say and the other will immediately repeat ‘maman next time say poo’. Or ‘maman go and poo’. Or worse yet ‘maman is going to poo’ as you exit the room.

All the potty training manuals and advice said to let the child know that pooing was normal by letting him see you do it, talking about your needing to poo and demonstrating that you are pooing too. ‘Dovene, Vinyo, won hwe, maman is pooing’ Such fun conversation!

You can’t then blame the kids if they warm up to the chat and proceed to include others can you? So presently topping the chart of awkward mummy moments are at number two: we’re at a party, an uncle-in-law is playing with the boys when out of the blue Dovene says loudly’ grandpa next time say poo ok’ of course everyone thinks the man had farted quietly – which in fact he hadn’t but he couldn’t possibly start explaining.

At number one : Kofi had company, work people and after playing gracious hostess for a while, I left them so they could work. The boys and I play for a while. Then I go to the loo to pee. Dovene comes in and starts shouting maman is pooing, mamma is pooing. I tried to hush him in vain. With the bathroom window practically overlooking the living room, there was no chance that the information had not been clearly communicated to the guests. I couldn’t bring myself to flush when I was done. And instead spent a long time running the tap in the sink in the hope that they would think he was just using phrases he knew. I’m convinced it worked. I refuse to consider the alternative.

Ei, ene me na me nie!

Return Of The Mac

I would apologise for the long hiatus but that would be deceptive. It would suggest I could have but I didn’t post. I’m not really the wonder that I believe- and hope I delude others into believing- that I am. With the workload from Law School, trying to compete fraulein Maria for the wonder mommy slot, while confirming that oyer pa my husband did find, I just didn’t have the time during the school year to blog.

I really should have written at least 1 post during my three month long vacation. But it felt so good to be idle, I just couldn’t dredge up the discipline to.

In any case, here I am, back again! After nearly a year. I am going to try this time to keep up. Thank you for not deserting me. And a special thank you to my sister MP for scolding me into writing this next post.