Baby & Me

One year

It’s been one year since Mademoiselle Adoti made her grand entry into this world, sucking on her finger and acting like she was down with the whole birth thing. Hard to believe that it’s been a whole 12 months since I first became a Mum. Everything was so new to me then, but now I feel like I’ve been to war, annihilated the enemy and returned a veteran of all things motherhood.

I feel like a true earth mother, you know, the kind that climbs mountains in their bare feet, wearing nothing but a grass skirt, breasts swinging in the wind, toes sinking into the soil. The kind of mother who straps her young’ un to her back and goes out into the fields at dawn, returning many hours later with the setting of the sun. The kind of mother who sucks mucus out of her child’s nose and clips her nails with her teeth (those last two things have actually happened).

So yes, I feel strong. Like I can take on the world and win before sitting down for lunch. And I can see that strength of a woman reflecting in my feisty, little one-year-old. The other day, she picked up a 6kg-bag of potatoes (I would add, ‘with her bare hands’ but that would be too dramatic) and managed to take several steps forward without putting it down. As usual, I tried to take it away from her, because yeah, who wants their child to be pummelled by a bag full of spuds? For my efforts, I got a very sharp shriek and a look that said, “Leave me alone Ma’…I got this!”

I look at the child and worry about my future because she’s one but she can act as terribly as a two- year-old. She wants to explore the world, touching and dismantling everything as she goes along. So far, we’ve been able to convince her that electrical outlets and appliances are a no-go zone, but every so often she will try and push the envelope and test the ‘electricity-can-shock-you-to-death’ theory.

So last week, I’m lying in my bed and she’s on the floor, zipping from one end of the room to the other, leaving a trail of shoes, clothing and toiletries in her wake. Eventually, she comes round to the extension cable and stops, as if pondering her next move. It seemed like I was completely engrossed in a book I was reading but stealthily, I was waiting and watching, anticipating her next move. She looked up at me surreptitiously, at the same time reaching for one of the cables.

“Doh-tee!” I say, firmly. “What are you doing?”

Startled, she looks up, the cable-end of a cellphone charger gripped tightly in her small fist.

‘Yih?” she goes, giving me the most innocent, wide-eyed look her mischievous, one-year-old self can muster.

“Stop it. Put that down!”

“Yih?” Now she’s fluttering her eyelids for maximum dramatic effect.

I reach out and try to wrest the cable from her hand, expecting a monumental struggle. Adoti doesn’t disappoint.

“Aaahh!” she yells, yanking on it with all her might.

“Give it!” I’m pulling on one end and she’s pulling on the other. It is the ultimate battle of wills. Mother versus daughter. Remember this is the child who was lifting her weight (give or take a couple of kilos) in potatoes without so much as a by-your-leave. I am surprised by the strength in that little fist but eventually, I manage to yank the cord clean away, leaving my daughter understandably put-out.

She furrows her brow and makes a growling sound, swiping her fingers forward in a determined attempt to reclaim her loot. But Mama is having none it.

Sensing that the war is about to be lost, she beats a strategic retreat and bursts into tears. But I’m onto her one-year-old shenanigans. So I refuse to give up my position. Eventually, she quiets down and heads for the shoe rack, where she proceeds to bring every last shoe down to ground level, chortling happily to herself, the hapless footwear falling under her assault.

This is a marathon we’re running, Adoti and I, so gracefully, I concede the fight over footwear. There are many, many battles ahead and Mama needs to conserve her energies. Pretty soon, she’ll be talking and a whole new battlefront will open up. I’m willing to bet that the first words to come out of her mouth will be, ‘I’m going to chapa you!’ Only difference being, unlike her mum, she’ll probably make good on the threat.

Happy Birthday Dots!