I’ve realised that I might not want kids. Why? I had a weekend that was infested with them: with their cute little feet and cute little faces and snuggly chubby cheeks.
cute, cuddly, chubby little creatures
It all started when my cousin (Well we’re not cousins, but we’re close friends even though I’ve known her for a few years, but the period of time really doesn’t matter, because if I’ve been to your home, cooked a meal with you and/or shared recipes on best ways to make delicious cheesy oven goodness then we are practically sisters) asked me to do her favour; to take care of her babies so she can have some time with her man. Well, she didn’t say this exactly. She didn’t call and say, “Gurrll, can you take my squishy chubby cheeky babies off my hands coz I need to spend a few hours alone with my baby daddy.” No, she did not say this, but I’m imaginative (read nutty) so that’s what I heard even though her plans had nothing to do with sitting in dimly lit, romantic restaurant, staring into each other’s eyes with the sounds of Lauryn Hill and Bob Marley singing, “…turn your lights down low…” enveloping them and considering never coming to pick up with babies until next week.
I had plans for my Saturday which involved letting half my spirit die under a hairdryer…
…muscling through laundry and reminding myself how I seriously want, no, need a washing machine, writing, sleeping, eating fries because I had been craving them, going to attend my friend’s show and more sleep. When my cousin called, I had to drop everything. Well…not everything, I set the morning hours aside to die beneath the hairdryer. How often does she ask me to do stuff like this for her? Never. Also I was thinking, “Chic needs some time to stare into her hubby’s eyes and sing.” By the way, she can sing o! Woooii!
The babies were set to come home at 1.00 p.m. I was ready. I had thought of snacks to give them, stories to tell, songs to sing with them, games to play. I was set…so I thought. I wasn’t prepared for the hurricane of baby anxiety I experienced. One of the babies is 3 years old. She is cute and independent and knows what she wants. The other is barely a year, so you can imagine my nervousness. He happily came into my arms and let me hold him. Everything was fine, until Mama and Papa drove away. Hooo! Fire pon de mountain top!
I thought I was ready
The baby wailed. Not for a few cute minutes. Nah, he cried a very loooong time. It was messy; tears, snort, cute chubby arms flying about pushing me away. Thank God my mum was around. She knows babies, she raised more three that I know. Thank God she was there to help otherwise, baby and I would have wailed until one of us tapped out and took that trophy. Mum did her best to distract him, but he is one smart chap because within a few minutes he would be back in his mood wailing. We did all we could; fed him, bathed him, made sure his diaper was so fresh and so clean, snuggled him, cuddled him, but it was never enough. He would be calm for a moment and then remember his peril in the next. Something was missing and that something was Mama (and Papa)
While my mum worked her motherly charms, I spent time with the 3 year old. Our conversation went something like this:
“Is that a good cartoon?”
“Yes, it is”
“Okay…Is that a princess?”
“Yes, it is.”
“How about that one?”
“I think they are all princesses”
“What is that?”
“What are they doing?”
“They are climbing ropes to jump over the statues”
“I don’t know. Maybe to get to the other side.”
“What are they doing now?”
“Do you want to put together a puzzle?”
“Okay. How do you play?”
“We have to find the pieces that match and make this picture on the box.”
“Look at the princesses. *staring back at the television* Put the puzzle away, we watch t.v”
“Auntie, I’m hungry”
And it was then, while I went away to the kitchen to get her a snack with the background sounds of the littler one still bawling, I thought to myself, “Can I do this for life?” I know they don’t stay babies forever but…this dependance that sucks away your freedom.
How do people deal?
For a person that plans to turn creative writing into her profession and even have it added to my passport like Trevor Noah has “comedian” as his profession (like ish is that serious yo’), I was looking at the whirlwind around me and thinking, “How do people write when they have kids? With hunger pangs, diapers, serving lunch for everyone else in the house, cleaning, entertaining the babies, trying to clear dishes as they pile up…HOW is this done? And is parenthood for me because I need to be able to zone out to write and you can’t zone out… and while I seriously pondered this baby number 2’s cries came piercing through my thoughts and it was my turn to take over distracting him? Entertaining him? This is why I wrote this post.
They smell fear!
While I tried to calm baby number 2, my mum said something that I found interesting. “Talk to him,” she said. This got me thinking. These little humans who I didn’t think can understand us want to be talked to (…and possibly heard, like the rest of us). So I took him out into the compound and talked. A lot of what I talked about was just stuff that popped into my head about things around the compound like the trees and plants. He quietened down for a while at least. Maybe he was really listening to what I was saying. Maybe he was tired of crying. I heard him let out this sigh that seemed to say, “Idiot! Take me to your leader! Tell them I want my Mama and Papa.”
When I went back to check on Little Miss Independent, I found her gleefully playing with her ball. It was sweet, how so much joy could come from something as small as tossing a ball around. Made me wonder; do we start to attach too much importance to too much and in a way give up our liberties to derive our joy from the simplest and most uncomplicated of things?
Later that evening, Little Miss Independent and I shared a rather interesting experience. It started with, “I want to poo!” I’ve wiped a number of babies’ bottoms before, but this time it seemed different. I think it was the way she raised her bottom in a manner that said, “Here, servant, wipe my booty!” *insert either King Julian or British accent, either way it has to be Royal* In such a simple act of raising her bum bum for me to wipe, I saw absolute trust (that I could deliver when it came wiping her clean), I was reminded of shamelessness and freedom.
I guess these kids taught me something. Perhaps it’s why we want to have them in our lives because they remind us of how soft and unserious life can be, how beautiful and graceful innocence is and how maybe, just maybe, it’s what we are looking for out in this world…a chance to go back to being just like kids after dying to grow up. The irony.
So maybe I will have kids and won’t have to go through the (very unlikely) burst condom situation to have any. Maybe I will want to be reminded of these beautiful things too when I look at a little human. Truth is, I never did let go of the dream of having my own children even after last weekend, (Mama, if you’re reading this, don’t start holding overnight prayers, nothing to worry about)I’m just kinda re-evaluating how many I’ll have and timelines.
If you have more time to spare over your weekends than I did this last weekend, maybe you should think about reading more. Read this blog and you could also buy “Homegrown Love”. The book is available on Amazon and Barnes&Noble.
For the Ugandan Book lovers, gear up for the Official Launch on December 8th. Details here.