A baby boy playing with toy alphabet letters on the floor. PHOTO | NATIONA baby boy playing with toy alphabet letters on the floor. PHOTO | NATION
By NAIROBI WIFE

I recently saw a video on YouTube of a British comic describing how his life is now that he has children. He was saying how childless people are clueless on what it really is to have little humans in your life and that all they have are misconceptions on how easy it is to bring up children.

This was the second time I watched the video, but it was the first time I could relate.

When I was still young and stupid, I thought that parenting would be a breeze. I have a cousin with three young children, the oldest of whom is a boy.

He is the typical tomboy; he uses furniture as his own personal playground and the walls of their house are his blackboard. His parents had recently painted over his doodles, but a few months later, they were back, bigger and bolder. The house is never clean; the carpet has food stains in it permanently and a funny odour permeates throughout the home.

I have never admired these parents and I’ve always thought that they don’t try hard enough to discipline their children or keep their home presentable.

HOUSE IN CHAOS

I have a small child, one who isn’t even mobile yet and still my house is not neat. I have toys, blankets and other baby paraphernalia strewn about my living room.

My little one, who sometimes has trouble keeping food down, always aims for the carpet, so white blotches are often seen around where we sit.

Every room apart from the kitchen has little white muslin cloths for wiping her face when she brings up milk, we even joke that they are part of the baby and have to be where she is. If this is the state of my house now, what will it be like in a few months when she is crawling and walking?

My mother often told me when I was pregnant to go to all the places that I desired. I was so heavy and tired all the time that all I really wanted was to curl up in bed on my days off and just sleep.

I cheated myself that I would be up and about once the baby was out. Now, leaving the house is chaos, and she hasn’t even started refusing yet.

Getting myself and the baby ready takes about three hours. I get up (reluctantly, mark you) and go to make breakfast and before I can partake of it, my sleeping child wakes up and demands to be fed. After her feeding, I clean her up and dress her for the outing. If she is calm enough, I will hurriedly take a shower, dress and then pick her up and go have my breakfast.

WAILING BABY

Remember how she can’t keep food down? She will soil her clothes and possibly mine, so a change of clothes is in order. While I’m at it, I pack her bag with at least two full changes of clothes, depending on how long we will be out, diapers, a toy, the all-important muslin cloths, bibs, wipes, a small blanket, a baby shawl, a flannel sheet, changing mat and petroleum jelly.

During all this, the baby gets hungry again and starts to doze off as she feeds. That is the routine, no matter how early I wake up and or what I do beforehand.

Children will embarrass you, no matter how cool, calm and collected you feign to be. We once went out for a family lunch to celebrate my dad’s birthday and as soon as we walked into the restaurant, my baby started wailing. I don’t know if it was all the strange faces but she just didn’t want to be there.

Needless to say, it was a very long two hours. As soon as I had eaten, I left and everyone was quite relieved as they watched us go.

For all those people who kid themselves that they will be perfect parents, always pristine with an immaculate house, just continue. Reality will bring you to your senses once you have been handed your newborn child.