Baby & Me

Two at last, oh God almighty, we’re two at last!

My lil’ miss got her hair braided into a beaded bob and she was super excited about her new do.  Every chance she got, she would stand in front of the mirror and yell, “Smatee!” That’s “smart” in her language. If something looks good, it’s “Smatee!” because Nanny Lucy addresses her thus:

“Heh-heh-heeh, Adoti, smart girl beautiful!” A salutation she welcomes as if she were the most beautiful girl in the world, grinning from ear to ear and clapping her hands.

So the girl is so enamoured with her hair that she keeps swinging her head from side to side and then flipping the braids off her face with so much sass you would think she was Lil’ Nicki Minaj. It’s priceless.

She has new hair and because her last set of braids had stayed on so long, they were almost growing out of her head. My sister is after me to bite the bullet and lock her hair but Nanny Lucy is convinced that if I do, Adoti will end up on a street corner, smoking weed and listening to roots reggae by the time she’s four.

“Hio hapana madam …unajua hawa watu wa dredi si wazuri,” she says without a hint of irony, given that my hair is locked as well. That she manages to remain so conservative living with two crazy ladies is a mystery to me. But I digress.

Adoti also has new hair because she turned two! And right on cue, her favourite new word is, “No!”

Sometimes, she says, “No waaay!” like an American cartoon character. She makes me laugh with her ‘no waaays’, because she doesn’t get that it’s waaay funny. I’ll say something like, “Gosh toto, it’s raining,” and she’ll go, “No waaay!” which cracks me up.

I’ll start laughing and then she’ll start laughing and we’ll both be laughing for nothing. But then I’ll say, “Adoti, come down from that window ledge!” and she’ll yell, “No!” This time meaning exactly what she says.

She’s also learned how to say, “Wait!” and “I’m coming!” because those are words Mama has on speed dial. Adoti always wants me to do something for her. I can’t be sitting down doing nothing when “smart girl beautiful” is in the building. The child always has a litany of demands. If it’s not water that she wants, it’s hot chocolate and bread. If it’s not hot chocolate and bread, it’s crisps. If it’s not crisps, it’s fish sticks. If it’s none of those then she wants to go outside and play. If we’re outside playing, suddenly she doesn’t want to play anymore, she wants me to carry her. And yeah, she’s learned how to say, “Beba!!”

There is always an urgency to Adoti’s demands, which usually mean that I have to tell her to wait. “Things don’t happen on your schedule toto,” I’ll say to her, “Wait!”

And because she follows me everywhere, she frequently hears me say, “I’m going to the loo, I’m coming”, or “I’m just going to book a flight and go on a three-month vacay, I’m coming”.

Just kidding.

The thing is, Adoti’s ‘I’m comings’ should technically be, ‘I’m goings’ because I’ll be done changing her diaper and then she’ll dash off to the sitting room yelling, “I’m coming!”

I’ll start to tell her that it should the other way round but end will usually end up saying, “Oh, forget it”. I’m pretty sure that will be the next addition to her expanding vocabulary.

I was making her bed the other day when she pointed at it and said, “Tanda!” I was so proud I almost toppled over. Which reminded of me of the time Adoti attended her cousin Zachy’s birthday party. Time came to cut the cake and sing happy birthday and on the last note, everybody started to clap and cheer. Adoti clapped so hard she fell down, laughing all the way to ground. I swear that child doesn’t know how to do things in halves.

This has been her birthday week, and by the time you read this, she’ll have had her own birthday party. I’m betting she sticks her head in the cake, or tries to eat her candles. Whatever the case, if I know that little girl at all, she’s going to have the time of her life. I pray she never loses that delightful joie de vivre.