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My little dancing queen

By Judith Mukiri Mwobobia | Jul 22nd 2018 | 3 min read
Tenderoni insisted that Pudd’ng should not be in her school’s music and drama club, but that the she should concentrate on her books. [Courtesy]

Pudd’ng’s school made it to the finals of the national musical festival. Their school will represent Nairobi in the group poem in Nyeri, next month.

Initially, Tenderoni insisted that Pudd’ng should not be in her school’s music and drama club, but that the she should concentrate on her books. We noticed that, as Pudd’ng concentrated on this extracurricular activity, her grades were dropping.

Me? I am the dear darling’s advocate. I came to Pudd’ng’s defense. After convincing Tenderoni to change her mind, we gave baby girl one condition; we would allow her to do music and drama if she kept her grades up. We agreed that she must find a balance between schoolwork and play, or else we would pull a plug on the latter.  

The music festival team missed school for the three days that they went for the competitions. We reached a consensus with Pudd’ng that, to keep the academic-music balance, she had to go to school early each day and catch up with what the other pupils had learned while she was away.

Heck, I do not buy the opinion that books, and nothing but books, is the formula for success. I know this much is true: a child’s talent, if harnessed and gainfully employed, can positively change families and communities.

Backflip babe

While Tenderoni was in primary school, she was in her school’s gymnastics team. Well, that is what she tells me … and she swears by her somersaults if I raise my eyebrows in disbelief.

See, it is hard for me to picture Tenderoni doing back flips. And, nope, I did not say anything about her weight. She is just the right weight for this brother.

“Where would you be if you kept doing gymnastics?” I asked Tenderoni after I got over my disbelief.

In my ‘hood’, some of my peers make their living by doing gymnastics. They spend almost the whole year abroad, doing circus circuits, and making the best out of their talent.  

Our folks were old school and saw everything in black and white. White was books, and black was anything that came between their child and books. I guess that, when Tenderoni was doing backflips, her folks would tell her the same thing mine did to my elder brother, who was a left-footed football prodigy: “Child, if you break your doggone back, don’t coming running to us.”

Carpe diem

“This is the last year that you are going for the music festivals,” Tenderoni told Pudd’ng, adding that from next year baby girl will have to concentrate on her books.

“But mum...” Pudd’ng protested, and then turned to me for support: “Dad? Tell mum …”  

“Who knows where this will take her?” the dear darling’s lawyer came to his client’s defense. “Besides, she is only getting better with time.”

Mum: “She will have all the time in the world to pursue music after she is done with education.”

Dad: “But she has to seize the moment and, hopefully, when she is done with school and this is what she wants to do, she will have a head start.”

Daughter, fingers crossed.

Let’s just say that, the tentative agreement we have come to is that, if Pudd’ng maintains the books-music balance next year, it will make mum change her mind.

Kodak moments

I think the pros of going for the music festival competitions far outweigh the cons. For starters, Pudd’ng has become more confident. I can attribute this to public speaking and performing before adjudicators.  

What if, at the end of primary school, we find out that these gigs have added no tangible benefit in Pudd’ng’s life? Then, she will have had fun while at it. It is not always about collecting trophies, but also making lasting memories.  


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