Baby & Me

Terrible tens

10 months going on 2 years. I swear, the child is running me rugged. We are onto Adoti’s Voice, Season Three and everything is bigger and louder.

My daughter is the Queen of the grand gesture. She doesn’t do things in halves. If she’s going to smack you in the face, it’s going to be a resounding one. If she’s going to grab your earring and yank on it, she will grab it and hang on for dear life.

The same goes for her conversations. She has rejected the idea that voices can also whisper. Hers was clearly made for shouting. And shout she does, with gusto.

Now that she’s practicing how to walk, she’s attacking this new area of her life with the same verve that she does everything else. She’s used to the walker going full speed ahead, so why should her own feet be anything different?

She’s given new meaning to the phrase, ‘hit the ground running’. The child races from one point to the next, often tripping and falling before she reaches her destination. But hitting the ground hard, over and over and over again, is not deterrent enough for my sassy lil’ miss. Commendably, she gets up every time and tries again.

She’s recently learned how to pull an ‘about-turn’. It’s quite a production. First step is to tumble forward at maximum speed. Next is to hit the brakes and come to a teetering stop. Finally, Adoti lifts one leg with as much pomp and circumstance as a 10-month-old can muster, and swings it in the opposite direction. Finally, finally, she looks at Mama with a triumphant look on her face, her hands waving back in forth in unrestrained glee.

“Yaay! Good girl!” I say, hands clapping madly. The applause is like music to her ears and she gets so excited that she sets off again, as fast as her little legs can carry her, laughing every step of the way.

It warms my heart I tell you. It also tires me out because now that she can walk, the child will not still at all. She’s constantly wiggling her way out of my arms and trying to slide down to the floor. If I try to restrain her, she makes enough noise to raise the dead. I usually try to ignore her at first, but then she starts trying to inflict bodily harm with her hands and feet. Sometimes even her big, ole’ head. Who knew a baby’s head could be so hard?

Basically, she throws a tantrum and will not stop for anything. Not even milk. The only way to appease her is to put her down.

But here’s the thing. Many of these shenanigans occur after bath time when she so fresh and so clean and really should be winding down and getting ready for bed. I try to explain to The Dot that she needs to sit it out until bedtime but she’s chooses not to understand where I’m coming from.

“Adoti, no playing!” I say to her. Her reply is usually a, “Yih?” in the style of my sisters from Central Kenya.

“I said, no playing!”

“Yih?” This time her eyes are open wide in the very picture of innocence.

At this point, I stand up and walk towards her.

She knows she can’t outrun me so she assumes the crawling position and scampers away at full throttle.

“Adoti…stop!” Mama is beginning to get exasperated now.

In her defence, she will usually stop fleeing and turn back, as if in acquiescence. She’s still smiling innocently; secretly smug that she’s gotten Mama to play before bedtime.

But then I pick her up and start walking in the general direction of her bed. That’s when the terrible, 2-year-old Adoti makes and appearance.

All wail breaks loose and I have to beat a hasty retreat lest the neighbours call child services. But this time, wiggle as she might, I refuse to let her out of my arms. Eventually, she realises that Mama ain’t playin’ and begins to suck her thumb restfully. A few minutes into it and her eyes begin to droop. Pretty soon, she sprawled out on my lap, dead asleep.

Ideally, I should allow her to fall asleep on her own but after those late night acrobatics, I’m usually looking for the fastest route to slumber land. It’s usually at least five hours of peace after that. But no matter how many hoops she makes me jump through in her waking hours, I’m always a little sad when she sleeps because she’s my little light and I love to watch her shine.