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Baby is the shrieking beauty

By Phoebe Jay | October 12th 2014

Nairobi; Kenya: The child is going to be a star. You can take that to the piggy bank.

She is right up there with the Trapp kids if we are judging by talent alone.

If you have watched the Sound of Music, you will recall the scene when Maria is teaching the children to sing.

“When you know the notes to sing, you can sing most anything,” the tune went.

Ever the innovator, my daughter knows just one note, but I will tell you what, the girl can sing.

It is a very high and piercing note that carries over brick and mortar, serenading all our neighbours often into the wee hours of the night.


She sings until her soprano voice is worn out and then switches to alto. Like a boss.

I look at her leveraging her single note for maximum effect, with a most enterprising expression on her face, and I am amazed.

Yeah, turn down for what? Sleeping is for losers.

After about an hour of this one little woman show, Mama is usually so worn out she would sell her soul for a few winks. But not baby. Baby can shriek, sorry sing, until the cows come home.

You have got to give it to the kid, she is resilient. When she is not trying to wake the dead, she is practicing new skills.

The skill du jour is sitting up.

And because it is sitting up, there can be no lying down. Even to sleep.

As soon as she realizes that Mama is trying to place her in a reclining position, all hell breaks loose.

She can go from singing to screaming faster than you can say baa, baa, and black sheep. The child wants to sit up even when she is having a bath.

I do not have to tell you how much fun that is. So much fun that I may just have to construct a swimming pool to accommodate baby’s bath time gymnastics.

With so much fanfare, you might be tempted to think that baby is always on the go. You would be wrong.

She is pretty good at keeping her own counsel. But you would be foolish if you believed that she was not up to something.

I am not ashamed to admit that she has made a fool of me more times than I care to remember. She has taken to bunching her hair up in her fists and yanking on it.

She pulls and pulls probably unaware that her hair is attached to her head.

And when she is not doing that, she is trying to suck on her toes.

Recently, she has been able to get her feet into her mouth.

She has even figured out how to take off her socks. But trouble starts when she cannot decide what to munch on first — the socks, or the toes.


These are the kinds of dilemmas that no doubt keep her up at night.

Everything must be tasted, that much we have established. But what to taste first? Decisions, decisions. It really is tough out there for a child.

These hard choices notwithstanding, the child has tasted everything, including her wash cloth. It was soaked in soap and water at the time. She did not seem to mind.

And predictably, when I told her to “stop that immediately!” she stuffed even more of the soggy flannel into her mouth. I swear there was a twinkle in her eye, the little rascal.

I am getting the feeling that she is slowly but surely wrapping me around her little finger, or toe, as the case may be.

She has already mastered the elusive art of the poker face. Her blankest looks are reserved for her most mischievous moments.

If she is about to pee in your face as you change her diaper, you would never tell for the serene expression on her face. Because I know this, I am always expecting trouble when she is giving me that ‘butter-wouldn’t-melt’ look.

But she is a cheeky lass, she is. Sometimes she smiles ever so sweetly, distracting you with an overdose of cuteness.

As I say, the child is going to be a star. For someone who has been on the planet for such a short time, her repertoire of tricks is impressive.

Looks like I am going to have to bring my A game. You know things are thick when you are battling with an infant and she is winning.

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