Yesterday,one of the members of my household turned two years.She called me to ask for a birthday cake:Daddy,me cake! Then she hang up.Asking for a cake at only two years! But you know kids of these days-they grow like our country’s debt with China-on steroids.So I would rather say she is 730 days old than say she is two years since these digital children live a lot each day.
In our days,we came to know about birthdays when we were almost teens.These digital babies are wired differently from us. At her age I was still eating mud and chasing lady bird beetles thinking they were edible.But again,life goes forwards,not backwards.
I was not at home when she made her début into this world.So I asked her mother to place her phone near her-so that I could feel the life in her.All of a sudden,the young one broke into those feeble baby cries that announce to the world-I am alive! See,babies are dishonest creatures.They have no high food prices to deal with.They have no thieving politicians to worry about.They got the whole world running crazy to accommodate them-yet they cry all the time.I don’t get them.
When I saw her for the first time,I was smitten by her chronic pinkness-all curls and stretches and yawns. She was a soft petal cheeked sweet-smelling darling of a girl.When she curled her little fingers around mine-for the first time in so many years I felt alive.
Unlike us adults,babies live one day at a time,drooling at life,sucking in all visual stimuli.Here is my attempt at chronicling her first 730 days:
The mother What-sapped me her photo -she was cute! We humans will always consider our babies as cute creatures-since they mirror us and we consider ourselves to be cute.Then came the dilemma of naming her. Do I name her after Madikizela Mandela or Rosa Parks or Anne Frank-women of courage I admire? But I reckoned out that her naming was about her identity,not about my fancy for renegade women from history.Thus we called her Margaret-after her maternal grandmother.
She had blossomed from a tiny bundle to a fat round Buddha .And just like Buddha-the enlightened one-babies emit light. Reason why it’s very difficult to look angry when one is looking at a baby-unless one suffers from strange illness whose symptoms include chronic hatred.
In my arms she was a cute bundle of hope –the closest I came to holding the future in my hands.Anytime I took a look at her I got the temptation to place an order of a whole year supply of candy for her.But her mother wont allow me to do that.
She uttered her first semblance of a word.I have always cherished to be there during my children magical moments.Like their first day in school when they shuffle unwillingly in oversize uniforms and Bata Toughees. So I was lucky to be there when she said bbbbaaba for the first time.
The women folk in my household were not pleased with her uttering the word ‘dad’ first instead ‘mom’.So they colluded to makes her learn the word ‘mom’.Baby’s elder sister coached her to say ‘mom’ 100 times and she forgot the word ‘dad’ altogether.Until much later. Women!
She demanded my phone as if she owned it.My beef with her is that she was in that stage Sigmund Freud called oral stage-so everything she touches goes to the mouth.I have exhibits of phones she short circuited with her saliva.They are preserved for my son-in-law who will sweep her of her feet in 2032 A. D.He will have to replace them before I give her hand in marriage.
Having played with my phone for a while now,she took her first selfie.A clumsy selfie with gooey drool as lipstick and Weetabix as her cutex-but all in all a selfie.Despite her chubbiness,she had not qualms about snapping herself.We are not born with body weight issues-they are taught to us by TV girls and svelte slay queens.
She opened an Instagram account:Baby Maggiex.All pink potties and swanky dolls and pompous pampers. Then they ran a competition for Instagram Baby of the Month in the estate and she won a day supply of pampers and a baby pacifier.Good for her.
She took her first baby steps and started going where she wanted to.I realized that I don’t own her-something we parents do not realize until the kids leave us with an empty nest.We don’t own ourselves in the first place-how can we own our children? Our children are loaned to us-they belong to the house of tomorrow which we can never visit even in our dreams.
Since she could now walk ,she demanded that I take her to where they sell pizza.It was a terrific Tuesday and she been tagged in an Instagram post about some pizza shindig going on in the estate.Thus I had to take her out and buy her those manufactured overrated food lest she threw a tantrum and updated on Instagram-Dad sucks!
She got philosophical.Daddy,where do bundles go? Daddy,who is God? Children are born philosophers-asking questions a wise man cannot answer.To them everything is a scientific marvel-they will stare at a little green worm for hours on end.
She called me on phone.She hasn’t learnt that habit of kids flashing their dad to call back since they believe dads phone is always brimming with airtime so he should always call.When she is restricted from watching Teletubbies she calls me-all sobs and sniffs.When she wants pizza she calls me-all please dad and woiyes .And that is it about daughters they will always look for a dad’s affirmation in their best and worst moments.Unlike sons who grow up and get swept of by some woman and forget dads, a daughter will always stay close to his dad.
After the first call we graduated to frequent calls.The little one doesn’t know that calling uses airtime,and airtime is taxed.Governments taxes even air.Now she has only ten teeth and can only form 20 words but somehow we communicate.But she has more teeth waiting in her gum-like words in a pen of a poet.Thus I am sure our chats will grow,and thus our bond.
She called to ask for her two-year birthday cake.I am told after day 730 mothers call them terrible twos.This is because they have the licence to terrorize the entire household.They became little tin pots dictators in diapers who exemplify minority rule.Running a household with two such souls is harder than running a battleship full of cursing soldiers.
That has been the journey with my daughter .So here’s to her two years,or 730 days if you like.There is no other way of making a man without having him as a child first. Boys are the only way God uses to make men.Girls are the only way God uses to make women.Babies are a nice way to start people.
A baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on.Happy 730th day baby Maggie.