Baby & Me

Oh Dear Mother of God

Oh Dear Mother of God. Pray for me now in the hour of my need. My child wants to kill me. At a year and six months, she has decided that being terrible at two is too mainstream. Time is of the essence and Adoti has just recently discovered the power of now.

The child is usually up by about 8.30am and asleep for the night by 9.30pm. We usually stick to this schedule without too much ado. It’s been a while since we’ve had any drama. At 1.00pm, she goes down for a nap, which usually lasts an hour, maybe an hour and a half, and after that things usually progress pretty uneventfully until her sleeping hour.

That was then. Suddenly, she’s back to getting up with the birds at 6.30 in the morning, chirping in Chinese and dashing from one corner of the house to the other, as if it were the first dawn of all time. Morning has broken! Rise and shine! I don’t know where Dots gets her sunny, early-morning disposition from because if Mama was a bird, she would most definitely be a night-owl.

Early mornings are not my thing at all. And that would be alright if my daughter kept the volume down and did as she was told. But no. That would be too easy.

Every action is met with a shrieking reaction. Dots, let’s wash your face. Shriek! Let’s put on your play clothes. Shriek! Let’s have breakfast. Shriek! Let me put you down so that I can do some Mummy things. SHRIEK!!

Only two things will appease the child: Barney & Friends or her real-life friends who usually come out to play at about 10.00am. At 8.00am, other children are in their homes doing whatever it is that they do, but not my Adoti. She’s up with the birds and apparently, will only be satisfied if she can be out with them as well.

And I’m not about to let her watch cartoons first thing in the morning, which would be the alternative. Well, I wasn’t; but with the onset of her pre-terrible twos, I am fast losing my grip on her discipline and my sanity. I’m pretty sure my sanity will go first.

A couple of nights ago, I got home at 10.30pm to find that the Dot was still awake. A few days earlier she had caught a cold, which put her in an even more cantankerous mood than usual. Night time has been a bit more challenging than the daylight hours because for some reason, illnesses are aggravated by the setting sun.

So I find her in tears, with snot running down her nose, and her face a gooey mess of various bodily fluids. “Mama Adoti, leo inaonekana hakuna kulala,” Nanny Lucy said, looking like there was very little life left in her.

She had no idea how prophetic her words would turn out to be.

Three hours later, after checking the child’s temperature a thousand times, trying to feed her, removing her clothes, putting them back on, switching on her beloved Barney, switching him off again, playing praise and worship songs, not playing praise and worship songs, watching music videos, giving the child water, giving her milk, giving her water again and finally just letting her run around the house, from room to room, leaving despair in her wake – we ended up in the parking lot. Two women and a girl child. At 1.30 in the morning.

After a couple of laps, the tears had subsided and we went back up to the house, only for Adoti to hit play and repeat. She cried herself hoarse, the poor child, before finally falling into an exhausted heap.

As I watched sleep finally carry her away, I truly understood what it means to be drained. My bones were heavy. My spirit was weary.

I recalled my Dad telling me that now that I had a child of my own, I would finally understand how much my own mother had done for me. And in that moment of absolute exhaustion, I felt the utmost gratitude. It’s hard out here for a Mum, I’m sayin’.

It is also the most rewarding thing a woman will ever do. Watching that sleeping child, I knew I would do it all again tomorrow if I had to. And that I guess, is the enduring joy of motherhood.