So. My two-year-old is truly a 21st Century kid because she records everything I say with digital speed and hits the playback button before I can say, “Woops!”
And because I’m always saying, “Woops!” (I inherited that particular habit from my own mother), she’s saying it too. But in Adoti language it’s, “Woop!”A word which in Adoti’s world is fluid in nature and can be applied to a variety of situations, not necessarily restricted to accidental thoughts, words or actions.
But to be fair, she does say “Woop!” accurately most of the time. She’ll fall on her bum and say, “Woop!” spill water down the front of her shirt and say it, spit out a mouthful of food on purpose and say it.
She’s also started saying, “Yesh, yah!” a whole lot, nodding her head vigorously at the same time just in case you don’t get that she’s responding in the affirmative. Yesh of course is ‘yes’.
So I’ll ask her: “Did you play with your friends today?”
She’ll nod and say, “Yesh, yah!”
“Were you playing in the rain?”
Vigorous nod and then, “Yesh, yah!”
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“Were you abducted by aliens?”
Very grave and ponderous nod this time around before she pipes up with another, “Yesh, yah!”
Cracks me up all the time. And when I laugh, she laughs because it’s the 21st Century and she’s a digital recorder and playback machine. I guess I’ll never know if she thinks I’m funny or not. But I can live with that.
What I cannot live with is the ease with which she takes what’s mine and makes it hers. She wears my shoes. Wraps my bras around her head. Drops my underwear off the balcony. Eats my food. Tries to brush her teeth with my brush. She literally lives under my skin.
It’s not a natural inclination for me to share every inch of my space with another human being but hey, when you have kids, God plays a trick on you. As soon as the midwife sees the baby’s head, you cede all rights to your body and property.
The reality that I was never again going to be the captain of my domain really hit home a few days ago when I rose from the sofa to get myself a cup of coffee, fully expecting to find the area vacant on my return.
Instead, I find my sassy, lil’ miss stretched out in my spot, her body reclining against the pillow, her hands causally flung behind her head and her eyes fixed on the TV keenly following the news.
I literally did a double take. Oh, my word. This was the absolute last straw. Was this child unaware about the, “Don’t sit in Mama’s spot” rule? Was she completely blind to the sanctity of the spot reserved for mothers around the world? The spot that only mothers were allowed to inhabit? Even knowing that she was going to record my words and play them back, I began to stutter incoherently.
Eventually, my head shaking from side to side on its own accord, I took my coffee back to the kitchen, returned to the scene of the abomination and very gently, removed the child from the sofa and deposited her on the ground. And then I sat down with the intention never to rise again. Ever. In those tense moments of reflection over what my life had become, I decided that I would take the child to playgroup like I had been threatening.
Clearly, familiarity was breeding contempt. See how you like it when you don’t have Mama to terrorise, I thought furiously. The world don’t love you babe, only Mama loves you! And this is the thanks I get? Huh? HUH? You just wait and see when I drop you off at school. Harrumph!
And surely enough, Adoti’s first day at playgroup came. I woke her up at 8am, had her ready by 9 and by 9.30 we were on the premises.
I was expecting a meltdown of epic proportions the minute I put her down and tried to walk away. She was running around and playing with all the other kids as if I didn’t endure many, many hours of labour, acting all independent and stuff. Who does that?
When I picked her up at 12.30pm, it took her a good minute to realise that I was there, she was too busy having a good time. And when I asked her if she liked her first day at playgroup, she said, “Yesh, yah!” with the obligatory nodding of her head.