Last week, a newspaper ran a story about some parents paying as much as Sh3.6 million for their tiny tots to attend kindergarten. Many Kenyans were shocked by this kind of spend for after all, what is this kind of magical teaching that happens in kindergarten? Surely! They said all that tiny ones need at that age is play, maybe spell a little and write a little. What these Kenyans do not know is that expensive spend on kids has become the rage in Kenya and it starts way before kindergarten.
Nowadays, parents who want to show they have arrived in the big league shamelessly use their kids to show off. It starts with the very thought/idea of having a child. Many parents in waiting, feel the urge to tell the whole world about their intention and plans to bring another living creature into this already overcrowded planet.
This is usually done through fuzzy posts on social media about feeling broody or some funny quote that makes having a child feel like a life purpose. Others feel the need to conduct online research by asking random strangers of Facebook questions such as, “What is the best food to ensure you conceive? Or, how will I ensure I deliver a boy?”
Once conception happens and pregnancy confirmed, these modern parents behave as if they have just witnessed the second coming of Christ. These proclamations of “We are pregnant” are made so loudly to all who care or do not care to listen. The hazy picture of any ultrasound is blasted far and wild with the parents saying they felt the world move when they saw the ultrasound image.
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What many dare not say (especially dads), is there really is nothing that amazing about that image - usually the baby seems just like a blur. Yet one, must show utter wonder and amazement because modern parenting says so. Modern mothers do not believe in wearing those tent-like maternity clothes of yesteryears. They must squeeze their bellies into maternity clothes made of spandex. Pregnant women must not look tardy, even when their hormones are acting crazy. They must step out in immaculate weaves and perfect skin, all in the name of being sexy.
The most interesting part of modern-day parents is just how much premium they place on certain pregnancy-related events. The second one in importance (after the first scan) is the pregnancy photo-shoot. For reasons I am yet to understand, pregnant women like to take ‘special’ photo-shoots; they like to show the world their distended stomach in all its hormonal, stretchmark glory.
These shoots are not cheap since photographers must be compensated for having to put up with the sights, sounds and tempers of pregnancy.
The father in waiting (if he is in the picture), has to show up for this mandatory shoot. He is expected to be the picture of fatherly pride as he cuddles the belly.
Of course, some people have declared such shoots as unAfrican and bordering on porn. Those critics who dare air such views receive the full wrath of these mums - who fight back with all manner of comebacks from their democratic rights to talking about the Wakanda spirit in them. The pregnancy photo-shoots happen in weird places, from swimming pools to forests - all in the name of broadcasting status to the world.
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All these pre-baby arrival events culminate into the baby shower. Baby showers nowadays have become the ultimate covert operation. The organisers go to great lengths to have the perfect guest list, perfect surprise, perfect venue and more importantly, the perfect presents.
A baby shower of repute is one that sufficiently surprises the mother to be, has an exotic sounding colour code and where the mother-to-be receives enough presents to take her child through the first five year of his or her life. An underwhelming presents catalogue is unacceptable in today’s baby showers.
Once the baby is here then the spend to floss campaign goes full steam. The parents hire extra domestic staff to take care of their tiny one - lest he cries too much or does not feed enough. The nannies are hired after such rigorous screening that one would imagine they are joining the secret service. The new baby has a designated car and driver to ensure anything they need is taken care of within minutes.
The tiny baby when not in car, must be pushed around in an expensive push walkers; must be decking in the best clothes (preferably designer brands), and must wear the finest diapers.
All these details must be shared as widely as possible on social media.
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Tiny babies who are clueless on anything must be taken on all manner of holidays abroad so that they can start looking glam and rich early in life. By the time the baby is born - ideally in some private wing in some ridiculously expensive hospital, the parents have bled a tiny sum of cash. This trend must continue throughout the child’s life, hence it is only natural that their parents part with a few millions when it comes to taking them to kindergarten.
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