Please don’t grow up too fast

This was bound to happen. It was just a matter of time. Just the other year – well, that is what it seems – Pudd’ng was in a playgroup in baby class. Now she is in a WhatsApp group. It’s at such times as this that some fathers exhale, “What in the world happened to my baby girl?”

Me? I know exactly what’s happened to my baby girl. She’s grown up. She is becoming her own young lady. She has her own circle of closely-knit buddies, both from the neighbourhood and school.

At times these schoolmates come to visit Pudd’ng. Some come from two or three estates away. I always ask them if their parents know where they are, and if they got permission to cross that many roads to come and visit their buddy.

In doing this, I hope that the other parents will return the favour and, when Pudd’ng drops by their crib, they will inquire if we know where she’s at.

No prejudice

The good thing with my daughter’s circle of friends is that they come from different tribes, socio-economic backgrounds and nationalities. 

And the great thing about Pudd’ng and her buddies is that she does not harbour any prejudices and stereotypes. I think that these mindsets are learned. When I was my daughter’s age, I just knew that, regardless of their last names, my friends were my friends.

The genesis

The WhatsApp group started as an academic exchange of sorts. It was borne out of a need, which one friend filled for another.

Pudd’ng’s friend took a picture of the day’s homework from a textbook they had been given, and she WhatsApped it to my number. I had not bought my daughter this particular textbook. And I gave Pudd’ng the props for thinking outside the box.  

When I gave Pudd’ng my phone to copy the homework, she took her sweet time with it. I knew what she was doing. I knew that it was not just her homework that was keeping her glued to my phone.

And when she finally returned my phone, I saw that they were chatting about some mundane matters. Well, to me, they are mundane. But I guess that, from the back and forth, they are big deals to baby girl and her friends.

The squatter

I always hold myself back from reading Pudd’ng’s WhatsApp messages. I know I have a right to know what they are talking about. But there is also that thing about respecting your child’s private space, although it’s squatting smack in the middle of my space.

Still, this is a tad tricky, considering that she is using my phone. So, in a situation like this, what’s a dad supposed to do? Do I just throw all care to the wind and go through the messages? Do I hold my horses? What if there is something serious in there that I am supposed to see?

Name games  

One chat just led to another. And before I knew it, there was a WhatsApp group on my phone called, “Class Group”. I do not know who started it, but I know that it consists of only the girls in the class.

The next thing I know was that my daughter had changed the name of the group to, “The Pudd’nglets”.

That’s funny, I thought. I wanted to ask baby girl about it. But I knew that, if I did that, I would out myself as the dad who is all up in his daughter’s business.

I don’t know what happened, but the next day, the name of the group was change to, “The Class Queens”.  

From the way they are going back and forth in changing the group’s name, I think that it’s only a matter of time before I see that so-and-so has left.  

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Pudd’ngJosaya Wasonga