Since becoming a father, my life has completely changed. Words like panic, emergency, catastrophe and apocalypse have a new meaning. My son is always out and about getting into trouble and hurt, while my wife is ageing at an alarming pace trying to keep up with him and to keep him safe. It is like watching someone try and hold on to a fistful of sand while it escapes through every crevice there is. It is a continuous cat and mouse chase and always reminds me of Tom and Jerry. All my childhood I wanted life to be a cartoon series, now it is.
Unlike most humans my son, though only two years old, doesn’t have any fear of insects or reptiles. This compounded with my passion for being out in the bush as much as possible proves to be dangerous sometimes. He was only six months old when he joined me on his first bush trip. Being a very responsible dad, I didn’t take him out on the game drives as I was worried about tsetse flies biting him. However, there was one sadistic tsetse which was hiding in one of our cooler boxes and managed to get out of the car and bit him square in the center of his palm. The resultant swelling, his hysteria and my wife’s reaction almost made me become single again. Luckily, somehow, I was able to save my marriage that fateful day.
But what I have realised is that once you are a parent you need to try and save your marriage on a daily basis. This is much needed due to the child’s actions and the spouse’s actions. Being a boy, and a typical one at that, he has never been interested in toys or other play items. He just wants to be left to his own accord whether inside or outside the house. I do enjoy this as on weekends as I sit outside in the garden having a beer while my son and his shenanigans keep me occupied for hours on end, he also doesn’t require much participation from me which is an added benefit to my lazy self. The only person who is keeping count is my wife. I am talking of my beers here.
My son especially likes to play with spiders. I really do not understand the fascination. I wouldn’t mind however if one day he became Spiderman and went round the Roma/Kalundu area fighting crime. It is a distant possibility though. He regularly picks up spiders from all over the backyard and runs into the house to give them to the first person he sees. The problem is that he keeps his fist closed so the person receiving the gift doesn’t even know what they are about to get into their hands. My wife and I are quite used to this and usually encourage him to go back to the garden and let the spider free. Recently my slightly aged mother-inlaw was at home, my wife and I weren’t and the same thing happened. She is an elderly lady who I am very happy is alive today after what happened after lovingly receiving the gift from her grandson. I am not complaining though (wink, wink).
Playing with spiders and scaring his grandmother is much appreciated but the problem is more seldom than not that he ends up hurting himself. We often have to rush him to a specialist for fixing something in his body that has taken a beating. In one of his escapades, he was bitten by a spider on his face and had such a severe bulge in the right side of the face that we would hardly even see his right eye. When taken to the hospital he was acting all manly and not showing any pain.
The doctor who we now visit regularly has formed an opinion that as parents we aren’t doing very well in protecting our child. My wife who always used to not know how to handle a situation is now so used to it that whenever we hear a loud bang or a thud or a scream from him, she just tells me, “Go check if he is bleeding. I will bring your wallet. Let us go to the hospital”
Recently after schools have reopened, he has started to go to a nursery, which is much needed. All his energy wasn’t getting utilised at home and today we are happy that he gets to play around with other children of his age. The nursery is a fantastic one where the teachers take excellent care of all toddlers who go there. We are contacted ever so frequently on WhatsApp with videos and updates of his day. There is one WhatsApp group which has my wife, the headteacher and myself in it. Last week my heart skipped a couple of beats when I saw on the same group a photo of my son’s forehead towards the side with what looked like a bad bruise and dried-up blood. The headteacher told us we need to get to the hospital immediately. My wife rushed to the hospital but the teacher had arrived before us and they took our son into the observation room. By the time my wife barged into the hospital, the doctor came out of the observation room, looked at my wife and the headteacher and burst out laughing and told my wife, “It looks like you kissed him this morning and it was nothing but your lipstick on his forehead.”
I am sure other parents are laughing in the car park every time they see my wife. I have refused to drop our son off at his nursery for at least a period of six months. I also bought a big bag of wet wipes and left it at the nursery and have made a special request to the teachers to wipe him head to toe, every day, when he comes in. I did try to convince my wife against the use of wet wipes but unsuccessfully.
Dooderonomy will resume later, until then, goodbye.