Diary of a mum doing her best – Day 730. AB (after the birth of Henry)
So we were off to a rollicking start, the child bathed and dressed, rushed out of the room demanding anyone above 3 feet in height should “drive now!” Finally Aunty Koko comes down with the keys and we are set to go. Aunty gets behind the wheel, Grandpa gets in the front seat, the child and myself take our respective places in the back.
IpadGate. (Thanks to Nixon every crisis is a Gate)
As we leave the 50 meter super Wi-Fi signal radius of the house, the child attempts to change programs on YouTube. My heart skips a beat. Screams and kicking ensue. I still have not been able to explain to the 2 year old that he can’t change programs once we leave the house, unless dad is in the car with his mobile Wi-Fi. How does one feel so tired 6 minutes into the journey?
Shopping Centre Gate
Finally I see through the clouds and fog, the bright beacon lights of the shopping centre. Presidential Security style, I jump out of the car while Aunty is still manoeuvring… she tends to take her time parking. Whip out the pushchair and set it up. Then I open Henry’s door…
I look at the pushchair, I look at the child.
God help me. I know what’s coming next. I need to evacuate the premises as quickly as possible. The less witnesses, the less pressure.
“Dad, you and Koko can go on ahead, we’ll catch up…”
“No” grandpa replies, “let’s go together”.
“Lord please take control of my life! Do not give in!” I tell myself as I put him in his pushchair. He starts wailing. “Do not give in, do not give in.”
Dad gives me that look but I’m not moved. Seriously I don’t need this! Koko gives me a smile, seriously, I just love her so much. There’s nothing like someone having your back when a 2 year old decides to “show you” in public.
We walk into the shops, he’s still crying. I walk round like it’s a normal day, people are staring ….and…. I’m not giving in. I cannot give in now! Stay Strong. You are the adult.
10 minutes later (feels like 10 years) we leave the store. Dad is annoyed. In my mind, I’m past caring, I told him to go on ahead. I hear him say “she needs to do better”. I hear Koko say “It’s not her fault… She did tell you to go on ahead”. Thank God, it wasn’t just me who heard the words leave my mouth.
We agree to split up and reconvene in an hour. Finally! My God answers prayers. Note the child is still crying but I cannot, I shall not, I must not give in! The words of Winston Churchill resounding in my head. Never, never, never, never, never, never quit.
We (Koko, crying child and I) walk into the next store. We’re on our way to children’s section. Maybe the sight of other smiling, non crying children will bring peace to all mankind.
On our way I see Aunty Ayo. l love my Aunty Ayo, she is a huge support. She always understands and encourages me. Her presence at the mall is clearly a sign from God that He remembered me.
“Hi aunty!” In my shrill soprano voice.
She looks up and smiles. “Oh what’s the matter?” She says looking at crying Henry. I’m beginning to think he read the biography of Winton Churchill as well.
“He was sleeping and he just wants to be carried. He’s the size of a 4 year old! I can’t carry anyone Aunty”.
“Oh poor dear”, “She says and rubs his face. We make small talk, Aunty doesn’t seem even slightly bothered about the last member of Bob Marley’s wailers. She just is so understanding! l’m in the middle of saying something when she cuts in “Oh just pick him up. Please! All the white people are looking at us”.
I feel defeat punch me in the gut. I smile faintly, putting up no resistance. Not uttering a word. l lift the child out of his pram. He smiles. She smiles. He places his head on my shoulders. He’s out like a light. “That’s better” she says. I smile, I wish Aunty happy holidays and make up an excuse about having to dash so I don’t miss the last bus to the moon or something.
I walk away with a singular thought. Next time I will act like I didn’t see you and keep rolling!