When you walk around malls in Nairobi’s swankier neighbourhoods, you notice that most kids there are overweight. But then you drive through Eastlands and see kids playing near dump sites and on uncarpeted grounds. You notice the young ones are noticeably slimmer, or one could say healthier.
Many middle-class parents are irresponsible. Perhaps, to make up for what they lacked when growing up, they allow their children to eat junk. Unfortunately, obesity is a reality in many middle-class families.
Your wife, Caroline, is one of the most irresponsible parents you know. Her appetite for fast food and other types of junk food is appalling. It is something you have been ignoring but now, your family is being fed junk food at least three days a week. At times, she even has the audacity to ask you to pick up some fast food on the way home after a night out with the boys. How did wives become so disrespectful?
But the last straw for you is when you notice that your daughter Farrah has become noticeably fat. Farrah notoriously hates vegetables and fruits. She likes fried chicken. She likes fries. She likes ice cream. She likes pizza. And therein lies the problem.
Last week, you banned gadgets from the house. Farrah sulked big time but she is adjusting pretty well. Now, it is time to drop the second worst habit. This time round, Carol is the culprit. You tried diplomacy.
“I think from today, you really should go slow on junk…”
“It is not like we do junk every day…” she hit back, defensively.
“Even five times a week is dangerous,” you tell her…
“Nope, we never do it more than three times….”
“That is still too much. Shall we try eating healthy this year?”
“You will also leave your nyama choma?” she asks, mockingly. What she doesn’t know it has been two months for you since you ate your charcoal grilled ribs.
“But I have. In fact, it is only here at home that I eat meat, if it were not for you, I would not…”
“We have had this discussion. If you want to eat healthy, just say what we can cook for you. Don’t make your health concerns our problem,” she says defiantly.
“Except that this time around, you are not going to be feedingt the children junk. They have to eat normal food. I want more fruits and fresh vegetables at the dinner table. No take-out in the house,” you say, putting on a no-nonsense face. She is bewildered.
“You will eat your junk, but let it be maybe once every three months. Farrah needs to learn to love her vegetables.”
“Sawa, our family nutritionist…” the sarcasm nearly chokes her.
“I will appreciate it if you don’t make small sarcastic remarks about this. Heed what I say. OK?”
She throws her hands up. Later that night, she asks, “Kwani, what is happening in your life. You never used to be like this…”
You ask her if there is anything wrong with quitting junk food or curbing digital addiction. She has no answer. Now, it is time to know how obedient she is as a wife.
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