Parents play myriad roles in their children’s lives: provider, protector, pal, priest and private investigator.
Most parents play the PI role unconsciously. If they are brutally honest, kids will confess that this role is more pest than PI. At least, that’s how I felt my mama, Nya’Manoah uncovered - sometimes even without trying - my juvenile schemes … which at the time I thought were pretty elaborate.
I am now wearing Nya’Manoah’s shoes. And, from the look on Pudd’ng’s face when Tenderoni and I uncover what she is up to – sometimes we just stumble on the evidence – she thinks that we have superpowers.
About eyes, Nya’Manoah would freak me out when, after uncovering my game, she would say that she had eyes everywhere. For some time in my young life, I believed her and, whenever I was up to no good, I would look around for her eyes.
Times have changed and kids have tons of information at their disposal. I am sure that if I told Pudd’ng that I have an extra eye, her mind would go to one thing: “Dad? Are you in the illuminati?”
I think that many of the misdemeanours that parents uncover can be attributed to sixth sense. This is the same feeling that some parents have when their children are in mortal danger. It is an inherent feeling that cannot be explained or learnt, but just experienced.
Even without consciously trying, Tenderoni and I have, on several different occasions, stumbled into “contraband” in Pudd’ng’s bedroom or inside her bag.
Last New Year’s Eve, Pudd’ng and other Sunday school kids were set to perform a praise dance in church. They had been practicing the whole week for this gig, and baby girl was looking forward to it. Part of their dancing gear for the performance included white shirts.
“What do you have inside that bag?” I asked Pudd’ng minutes before we left, and she answered that it was water and a jacket.
But sixth sense made Tenderoni to peek inside the bag. She found that Pudd’ng had carried three white school shirts. Apparently, baby girl – aka costume director - had told her friends that she would be the supplier of the dancing gear.
That little lie almost cost the costume director the opportunity to dance to the Lord. Tenderoni was adamant that baby girl would cross over the New Year some place else as I went to church. It took my intervention to make Tenderoni to change her mind.
Social media cop
I don’t know why, but Pudd’ng would rather use my phone to chat with her friends, than use Tenderoni’s. I guess this is because I have been identified as the softie. Or there is something special between us. I don’t know.
One of the rules that I have given Pudd’ng is that she will not send her pictures to anyone. No buts. This was after I found that she had shared some of her pictures with her friends.
I had to explain to her the dangers of sharing her pictures online, even if it is with people that she thinks are her friends.
There is an unwritten rule that I live by; I do not read Pudd’ng’s WhatsApp messages before she reads them. Even when the messages are in their hundreds – (they have a WhatsApp group and, unlike boys, girls “speak” thousands of words per day, online or otherwise) - I hold my horses until Pudd’ng has read them before I put on my PI badge.
Pudd’ng’s smart. She knows that I read her chats. She knows I’m her social media cop. She’s probably deleting the chats she does not want me to see.
Am I spying on Pudd’ng? Hell, no. It is called being concerned. It is called parenting.