One of the things I always strive to do as a writer is to be open as much as possible. If I cannot be authentic about my experiences as a parent then what is the point of this blog? I know you enjoyed my previous post on Taji’s cute toddler lingo, but today you will be enjoying the ‘ugly ‘ truth about raising this cutie.
Before I continue first some background facts.If I was to describe my personality I’d say I am more intuitive than anything else. My husband, on the other hand, is a doer. I’d relate him to a charging bull sometimes ! ( hides ). My 21-month toddler appears to be taking his personality traits. She is extremely confident, is not afraid to speak her mind and likes everything her way.
I find myself struggling daily with whether to discipline her or try and decipher what her latest tantrum is trying to communicate. Let me give an example, earlier today I had her repeating the word water over and over again. I was in another room and didn’t go running to see what was going on because I knew I had left her water bottle close to her in case she gets thirsty. After a few minutes of her saying it over and over, she came to find me. She marched over to the laundry basket and picked a t-shirt and took off. I chased her down and tried to take it back and she screamed in frustration! I took a breath and in that instance where I was tempted to spank her, decided to give it back to her and asked her to show me the water.
She took the t-shirt and ran off towards the sitting room and led me to a puddle of water on the floor. She then proceeded to wipe the water with the t-shirt. That for me was an aha moment in this parenting journey. I felt proud of her for knowing that she needed to clean up the mess that she had created after pouring some water. If I had spanked her and moved on I wouldn’t have ‘listened’ to what she was trying to tell me. I will try and remember to take a breath the next time she pulls a mind numbing tantrum that makes me want to hand her over to the highest bidder!There are times I feel like she is possessed by an evil spirit because of the never ending crying spells and tantrums and the word MINE! being repeated over and over. On days like that, I feel depleted and like someone has sucked out all my energy. As much as I do not like chaos, as a parent I have no choice. I have to dive into the chaos and continue to learn how to correctly raise and discipline my strong willed child.
I hope and pray that I do not spank her too much, that in my disciplining I do not stifle her creativity and confidence. There will be times for the ‘rod’ and there will be times to listen. May I always have the wisdom and the patience to figure it all out in the journey ahead.
How do you discipline your child? How do you deal with tantrums? Do you believe in spanking or talking? I found this infographic on this page HERE that I think is pretty helpful to decipher a child’s behaviour.
Nowadays I find myself spending a few minutes day staring at my daughter and thinking she is growing up so fast! Where does time truly go?
She is almost two years old and is a bundle of energy and independence. Mostly what melts my heart into a puddle of mushiness is her speech. It is so adorable! I keep planning to record the way she currently speaks so that I can remind her later when she is older.
This ladies and gentlemen is Taji’s glossary of vocabulary. I will spell out the words the way I hear her pronounce them.
1.Uppa – High Five
2.Goshe- Sheng for Gota , means to Fist bump in English.
3.Nyam nyam- food
4.Owange- Orange fruit slices or orange fresh juice.
7.Miuk-Milk, also yoghurt
8.Come -pick me up, also let us go , usually accompanied with her dragging me to follow her.
9.Up- pick me up, also put me down
13.Babe- her dad, my husband ( face palm)
15.Vroom – Car
16.Bwash- Brush, she says this mostly in the morning when she wants to brush her teeth.
17.Wotat? – What is that?
18.Wosho?- What is wrong?
19.Sheesh coming?- This is usually said when someone leaves the house and she wants confirmation that they will return.
20.Here! -listen to me! Look at this! Give it to me! This word is repeated over and over until you do what she wants and if you do not understand her command prepare for the screaming.
21. Taytu- Thank You
The list goes on and on! Most of the time she speaks or sings in her native toddler babble, which I just pretend to understand and respond to.
What cute words does your child use that make you want them to remain kids forever?
As a mother even after 20months I still feel like a newbie.I am constantly questioning different things and juggling different anxieties in relation to raising Miss T.
Some of the questions that cruise through my brain are laughable, some are serious.I think.Do you recognise some of them ?😊
1.After a meal.. Was that enough food ?Should I add more ?What if I overfeed her and she becomes obese or gets diabetes?? *sigh*
2.After reading a baby center article..Oh my gosh my toddler should have stopped using a milk bottle with teats by now! It will rot her teeth!Should I throw out the new ones I just bought her and buy sippy cups?She needs her teeth!
3.How much cow milk is too much ?Can one get an overdose of Calcium? 😅
4.Should I introduce the potty now?(afterwards)Is the potty too shallow, maybe she got into contact with the urine!Ohmigosh I hope she doesn’t get an infection!
5.Pull up diapers pants or no?Are they compulsory?
6.Why does she love to pinch and scratch and hit me so much and not her dad ? Whyyyyyyy? *wails in corner in a pool of tears *Not.Ha.
7.When does one stop using diaper cream on a child’s bum?
8. When does discipline start setting in and how much smacking is too much ?
And so on, and so forth.I could keep going but I won’t, I think I have shown you enough of my crazy! 😀
Care to share your thoughts and questions that run through your heads as fellow mums?
Let’s talk .
Romans 12:2New International Version (NIV)
2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
1.Gather all and I mean ALL the items required for the mission ahead.All items in the photo are necessary.
2.Pick Toddler as she runs away from mummy.Take spray bottle and liberally spray water all over her head.
3.Toddler will have squirmed away from you in protest at the liquid dripping on her head.
4 .Pick TV remote and pass it to the toddler to appease her (she loves the remote , feel free to use whatever silences your toddler).
5.Take leave in conditioner and apply on her head.Use the brush to comb and smoothen out any tangles .
6.Toddler is protesting again , shush her and threaten to go on your outing and leave her at home.When that doesn’t work (it doesn’t work) hand her the thermometer to play with.
7 .Take the comb and quickly divide hair into sections and use the hair bands to style as you desire.
8.After you have finished , you will realise that you did not divide the hair into neat sections.
9.Shrug and move on with your life.
10.I wanted ten points ,so consider this a space filler. happy styling 😎
I have a confession to make, I must admit I have been feeling broody lately. Especially when I see tiny baby boys. I melt on the inside and if the baby belongs to a friend of mine, I have to spend some time holding him. Aaaaah, that new baby smell . That experience of enjoying the cuddliness of a new-born baby, is almost enough to cause amnesia. The kind of amnesia that almost completely erases the experience of the first few months of parenthood. I said almost. A few hours later after the newborn novelty has worn off. It all comes back to me, and I literally have a conversation with my ovaries.’ Stop it DON’T even think about it!’ I am definitely not ready for another one, at least not yet.
Lets throwback on my birth-day , and I will show you exactly what I mean.
DISCLAIMER : I will get descriptive. You have been warned
I had a natural birth which I am thankful for, yes I am. However the pain is unbearable. Forgive me but I will have to use CAPS in this section just to emphasize what it felt like.
My water broke early and after waiting for a whole day, my OB-GYN advised us to allow him to induce labor. The pain is indescribable. I remember the hospital nurse explaining what would happen as she attached me to the drip. I remember her saying it would take about an hour for the drugs to take effect. LIEEEEES! I remember distinctly feeling the drugs coursing through my body and the contractions starting instantly. Nothing prepares you for that. If labor progresses as it should, there are breaks between contractions where a mother can take a breather untill the next contraction. There was no such break for me. The contractions are seconds apart, and so is the pain. I had an amazing midwife/doula who helped me through breathing exercises that helped. But still , THE PAIN. Lucky for me my labor only lasted four hours .but still, THE PAIN.
Thankful for small mercies, therefore Taji was tiny so I didn’t tear and therefore I didn’t need stitches afterwards.
As a new mum I shed a lot of tears and still feel sad to date that I was unable to breastfeed my daughter for at least the first year of her life. I had so much milk after birth, it was so much I had to keep changing my hospital gown every few hours as I overflowed. During my hospital stay the nurses literally used to drag my nipples and place them into her mouth to show me how to feed her. It was degrading and painful and never seemed to work. She would suck for a few seconds and then cry and cry for hours until she fell asleep. I remember one nurse telling me it was my breasts that had a problem and after fashioning a plastic syringe to her liking, she used the air vacuum to repeatedly pop up my nipple. The discomfort is out of this world.
Nothing worked, she just never did latch properly . When we got home I started expressing milk and feeding her with a bottle. The poor thing hungrily finished it up. During our first Doctor’s appointment she had gone down to two kilograms. The milk I had wasn’t enough, she kept losing weight and eventually we bought formula and never looked back. She drank expressed breast milk for two months and then I went completely dry.
In hindsight I took the whole breastfeeding experience for granted. I didn’t think she would ‘reject’ her food.Maybe I should have fed her with a cup and spoon, no one told me that. I will get a lactation consultant next time around , who knows maybe It may help.
3.Growth Spurts /Sleep deprivation/ Teething , they all happen together.
In my experience from around four months, we never seemed to sleep normally again. Once we introduced her to formula she slept well, from 11pm to around 6am. After four months sleep became elusive until around 9 months. I do not know what happened.My husband will tell you I should have let her cry. ( He blames me for her bad sleeping habits ha-ha). I even attended a sleep seminar (ha-ha let me laugh at myself). Nothing worked and eventually she set her own sleep schedule. She is asleep right now, on the sofa . She had slept an hour ago and then woke up. It seems to me she stays up for her dad and rarely settles down until he comes home ( ha-ha it is your fault George). All I know sleep deprivation drove me up the wall. Days merge into each other and the exhaustion never ends. Even when she would sleep through the night the sleep was never enough. There was so much ‘sleep backlog’ to catch up on.
One day she will sleep at normal hours , without waking up even once until then we trudge on.
Taji was born in a private room in a private hospital. The labor ward had amazing nurses and my doctor and mid wife were the best.I loved my experience . After birth I was moved to my own private room. The nurses there were the worst. I learned later that new mothers are supposed to get a chance to rest and recover from birth as they keep the baby in the nursery. She was with me throughout . I never did get to sleep anyway. The nurses during the night shift would blast loud reggae music for hours on end. It wasn’t until my husband complained that they would turn it down.
Secondly , my OB-GYN cleared me to go home after two days.The hospital pediatrician who was present at birth did not clear Taji for discharge. Apparently they had sent a culture to the lab that would take 36hours for results to show . She was concerned that Taji may have an infection. We had no reason to not trust her judgement. We ended up staying from Tuesday to Saturday. During this period we never got a full report as to what was happening. It was a cat and mouse game with the nurses and pediatrician who changed with every shift. One would tell us the results were out , the other would say they were not ready. Eventually my husband , the poor sweet man who had been spending the night on the little sofa in my hospital room to give me support as I tried to breastfeed , finally demanded to see the results and suddenly they were ready and voila the culture showed that there was nothing to worry at. Ofcourse by then my maternity cover had been depleted .
We know better now , if we do have a baby in a hospital next time we will have our own trusted pediatrician who will guide us through the process and if there are any concerns explain them better .
5. Domestic managers
My husband and I love our space and had decided that when the baby was born that we would survive without a live in nanny/house help. I was able to hire and train a young lady with the help of my mother in law. She would come early morning and leave in the evening. She was a good cook and cleaned the house well . BUT a month later she was giving me sob stories and asking me to lend her a huge amount of money. I declined, a days later she sent me a text asking me to give her some stuff from our house. I declined. Then I accidentally found out she was 6 months pregnant A Fact that she had not told me about during the interview .I then saw her with some of my stud earrings that I had put aside in a drawer as they were not pairs anymore. I did not feel like this was someone I could trust my child with let alone my house . She was gone . Since then we have not hired anyone on permanent basis. Maybe this year we will be lucky
When I look back at this collection of stories I am more amused than traumatized. We had a baby and survived through the grace and strength of GOD.
Maybe we will do this again.
First post of the year. I feel truly blessed to be alive to see another year come to be. I am not one for making New year resolutions because if anything 2016 taught me , it is that resolving to get through each day is enough. After all tomorrow is not promised, we only have today .
So ,it is 11.12 pm , the house is quiet save for the music i am listening to as i write. Hubby and Taji are asleep . It feels good to have a few minutes to myself. Our baby is now a 14 month old toddler, she has boundless energy . This week she decided to fully start walking. It feels surreal. In my eyes she is a walking,breathing miracle. My heart explodes with joy at-least 20 times a day as I reflect on just how much she has grown. I still have not mastered this motherhood thing.Let me show you just what i mean.
Pray tell, what does that even mean? I gave up trying to sleep train Taji. She has a mind of her own, and yes Mama doesn’t have the heart to let her cry it out. I tried everything, i read all the books and articles online. She sleeps when she wants and in our bed. DO not judge me , yes i see you, you with the perfectly sleep trained baby who sleeps in their own room. Move along , nothing to see here. I feed her, give her a bath, read her a story,pray with her, give her a last bottle for the day and put her down. Sometimes she sleeps sometimes she decides shes staying up until Daddy comes home. She then sleeps with us for about an hour then i put her in her bed.
I stopped feeling guilty about not having a sleep trained baby. I put her in our bed one exhausted night when she was teething and going through a growth spurt and she finally fell asleep. I figure she wont be with us much longer as she needs to move to the next room. Stay tuned, let us see how that goes!
Taji eats as she sits in her feeding chair. Thankfully she eats well. She is now fully weaned and eats whatever we eat, spices and all.Depending on her day to day appetite i will feed her three meals or smaller ones spaced out through the day. Including fruits and water to keep her hydrated especially in this hot January weather. We were lucky that she transitioned to whole cow milk without trouble , yes there was a celebration in our house when we stopped buying formula. Kshs 1050 per tin, how did we do it? God truly provides.
If you do not already know, Taji is a fully fledged daddy’s girl. She says mama maybe twice a week, and Dada 50 million times a day. The injustice ! Oh well. She now says Mama, Dada, pupu (when she poops) hi and ba-byeeee , and sings /hums along to her favourite YouTube videos. Our daughter is a dancer (yeah she got that from me, I had a short career as a dancer ha-ha). She can stand upright and now takes lots of steps around the house. At the rate she is going she will be running by the end of the month. My baby is growing up. Bittersweet.
My daughter loves people thankfully. Mama not so much. Whenever we go for social gatherings i struggle to keep up with the conversations. I used to be a social butterfly ,guess that happens when your daily companion is a baby. Social media doesn’t help ,i wistfully watch as all my friends go on with their lives. I miss having an ADULT best friend, one that i can call and go for coffee with and laugh as we catch up and talk about our lives.
So in a nutshell, that is where we are at. I have a happy healthy baby , a happy marriage and for that I am thankful for. I am praying a lot as I figure out the next step for me. I need to work on becoming whole , reconnect with the social being that I was, reconnect with my gifts that are meant to be shared with the world. Getting out of this mummy hole with my dark thoughts is proving hard. But I have made a few steps out and each day it gets better and better.
Thank God we made it.
Happy 2017 everyone.
I grew up in Golf Estate phase one near Kenyatta Market in Nairobi. I remember hating been sent to the shops by my parents.There was always a group of older boys idling on the street corners who would whistle at me and shout all manner of words from across the street.I remember feeling my stomach constrict and my heart racing whenever I would approach that corner. It didn’t matter whether I crossed the street to avoid them or quickened my steps .Nothing was going to stop them from having their fun.Worst part was I’d have to go through it twice as I headed back from the shops. I remember always feeling scared, hoping and hoping with all my little heart that I wouldn’t find them.The relief I’d feel on the days that they weren’t there could fill up a whole room.
Fast forward to a few years later , I was now old enough to go for driving classes.My parents paid for me to attend them at a driving school on Tom Mboya street in town.It was an exciting time for me as this was my perceived first step towards independence.My dreams were shattered when I met my driving instructor.Every morning without fail he would find an excuse to put his hand on my thigh as I was driving. It made me feel so uncomfortable and scared.This stranger felt he had the right to do as he pleased without a care in the world.I would push his hand off and tell him to stop.He didn’t.I finally told my mum and the very next day she accompanied to the school and she raised hell in their offices.She didn’t even give the managers a chance to respond and we walked out of that driving school (thanks for defending me mum).I was enrolled into another school the next week to do the driving test, suffice to say I failed and after that whole unnerving experience, I decided I was done with driving. Until I met my husband years later and he encouraged me to resit the test and I finally got my driving license.
There are many many stories I could write about today , experiences that made me wish I was a man. Why am I telling you all these stories ? Because yesterday a lady posted on twitter about her experience with an Orange Kenya employee.This guy had the audacity to retrieve her number and send her his photo and a WhatsApp chat .He wanted to get to know her better. I was outraged at the breach of privacy.The level of entitlement that this man portrayed. It gets worse, the responses on social media were AGAINST her for sharing the whole experience on twitter.Very few people stood up for her.She was abused and told off.She should have been happy that a man was hitting on her , never mind how he got her number.What is wrong with the world today?My soul was bleeding by the time I went to bed last night.The saddest part to this whole story, majority of the stone throwers and the nasty insults towards this lady came from women.
We as women are taught not to get raped, to dress decently so that we don’t attract rapists and tempt men to act on their desire .That’s the message we hear growing up.
Boys will be boys.Let’s excuse their bad behavior after all that is how they were created. That is the message we hear growing up.
I learnt to be afraid at a young age ,and now this Orange Kenya experience has shown me that I need to be very , very afraid for my daughter.
The comments on social media are a mirror revealing our true nature.Our thoughts give birth to our actions.And judging by what I read last night. God help us all.
I will do my best to teach Taji to stand up for herself whenever she feels disrespected and to feel free to tell me about any incidents because like my mother before me, I will defend her honor.
Let us stop excusing any form of harassment and maybe one day the women can finally stop being afraid to be female.
Been meaning to write this for a while now . I feel like the past few years represent a huge metamorphosis for me. Have you ever had that nagging feeling like you didn’t belong? Like you thought differently from everyone else. I’ve spent a lot of my adult life convincing my brain to go along with the crowd even though everything in me screamed , go the other way.
I would be in the salon feeling like a prisoner sitting in the drier for the millionth time for a wash and set. I hated going through the motions ,applying the numerous chemicals to straighten my hair, because this was what the world dictated as beautiful. Id hear repeatedly that those with natural hair could’nt afford to get their hair done.
I would be in a religious meeting listening to the word and a voice inside would tell me , stop playing church, go out into the world, don’t forget the great commission.
I would be waking up to go to work ,feeling like a minion about to jump onto a conveyor belt. I could do my job in my sleep, I was working just to help pay the bills ,clear our loans that we were paying at the time.
So one day I said enough. I swore never to spend four hours in the salon straightening my hair, or at Kenyatta market getting it braided for 6-8 hours. I chopped my hair off. That was two years ago ,it marked the beginning of my walk to freedom. I got the usual negative comments I brushed them off. My husband was happy with my choice ,his opinion is the only one I seek.
On the spiritual front I began to seek God on my own. I began to ask and truly try to understand what my purpose was on this earth. I knew that for this season I wanted to become a mother that was the desire of my heart. I also felt that I wanted to be a present parent.A stay at home mother.That scared me, no manner of praying could push that desire away. I knew I needed to leave my job.
You see I have grown up listening to all manner of stories, been told that being an independent woman is how to survive this world. Never rely on a man, have your own money, you never know what will happen in the future if he leaves you. But that way of thinking never felt right to me. You see in my view that is living a life based on fear , I trust in God. He is my provider and my protector. I wanted to be free. and So at the beginning of 2015, my husband and I were planning for the year and I remember we prayed. Crazy prayers basically that If God was to bless us with kids I would be able to leave my job, that we would be able to pay off our debt in one payment . I remember not having any faith it was smaller than a mustard seed.But it happened, God answered our prayer, and when it was time for me to leave employment I remember hearing God saying trust me. And I did.My decision raised a lot of eyebrows, it still does.
You see life is simple. We are born, we live and then we die. God provides my daily guidance on what to do. And when I follow his will there is so much peace and contentment. I am a woman finding out from my creator how I am supposed to live my life. Not how the world dictates I should live It.
Today a new journey begins, check out this link here later today. This is one of the doors that opened when I stepped out. I am so happy that I am not afraid anymore. That I am a proud misfit . It is a lonely path but very fulfilling and I will continue to walk it for the remainder of my life.
For the past few days my mind has been on an incident that happened in my life 8 years ago. I have been having a difficult month since my last blog post and I do tend to feel sorry for myself. I get distracted by my current situation and I forget to look back and see how far God has brought me. I have been praying for miracles in my life , well I remembered one major one 8 years ago.Do you believe in angels? Well, I do.
The year was 2008 .The month of September . It was a Thursday morning and I was a passenger on a motorcycle with a friend. We had barely been on the road 20 minutes when a security vehicle rammed into us. When I say us, I mean me. The car literally rammed into my left leg and I was thrown off. I still remember vividly the feeling of flying through the air and landing on the tarmac. I rolled and stopped and for a few seconds time stood still. I lifted up my head , I could move. I tried to get up and that is when I noticed that my left leg was facing in the opposite direction, mangled and broken. And that is when the pain hit me. I remember screaming aloud ‘my leg ,my leg will I ever walk again.’ The passengers in the vehicle that had hit me came out to help and were now trying to lift me off the tarmac into their vehicle. The pain was too much, they were causing more harm than good. Then a white lady came out of nowhere and asked them to put me down. She knelt down beside me took my hand and asked me my name . She then told me her name was Debbie. She said she was a nurse and that her and husband would take me to hospital. She basically took over the situation. She instructed the men on how to carry me carefully and to put me on the back seat of their car. I remember it was a white car , she sat at the front next to her husband whose name was Aram, he was driving .My friend who was on the motorcycle with me sat on the back seat beside me and we left the accident scene.
I remember the husband talking and saying they were Christian missionaries heading to visit their friend when they say the accident. I remember he said I would be okay and he began to pray for me.He prayed all the way to hospital. The nearest hospital was Karen hospital was five minutes away from the accident scene and we got there pretty fast. He drove towards the emergency entrance, Debbie ran inside and came out with two nurses and a stretcher. She again took over the situation and instructed them what to do.She helped with the admission, made sure that i was comfortable ,made sure that the nurses were checking on me and carrying out the initial first aid procedures. By this time my Father had been called, and this couple said they would stay with me until he arrived. My dad arrived shortly after, and after he talked to me and heard what had happened he turned around to thank the couple for being so helpful and bringing me to hospital. They wanted to leave at this point and my dad asked Debbie for her telephone number so that we could contact them later to properly thank them. She said she didn’t have a phone. So my father turned to her husband and he evaded the question .With my dad’s insistence he finally gave him a number and they left.
About two weeks later after i had been discharged I remembered to ask my dad for the telephone number . I dialled it. The number didn’t exist. It didn’t ring, it wasn’t engaged,it didn’t exist.
It took me two years to heal from my injury , it was a grueling journey with three surgeries and multiple physiotherapy sessions.8 years later I think about that day, and I remember that my father telling me that morning of the accident, God had urged him to pray for me . He didn’t know why but he did. Was it a coincidence ,that couple happened to be on that road when the accident happened? Was it a coincidence that Debbie was a nurse and therefore knew what to do to take care of me to ensure that I was taken care of and even prevented me from further injury as I was being bundled into the security vehicle after the accident? Was it a coincidence that both of them ,a couple from another country didn’t have cell phones even though they were missionaries living away from home? Why were they so attentive, so caring why did they stay with me until my father arrived?
I believe they were angels, no doubt about it. And I am forever grateful that I am here today to tell this story.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;