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My son is much more creative than I was at his age

SUNDAY MAGAZINE
By Kwamboka Oyaro | October 12th 2014

Nairobi; Kenya: Since my four-year old son has become a story teller, I have had to compare the way he sees things with how I did decades ago when I was around his age.

Recently, the young man saw a small plane making its way through the sky and announced, “It is smoking!”

In my earlier days, we called it a ‘white road in the sky’. He went ahead to explain that while lorries emit ugly, black smoke, the plane’s was white and clean.

In our morning run to school, he talks throughout the short one kilometre trip, to the door of his classroom.

Last month, he identified and ‘owned’ a ‘pimped up’ car that belongs to a certain driving school. This vehicle, which I should refer to as his, has pink stripes.

Predictably, it leaves the parking lot at 7.30am for the morning drive since we met it at nearly the same place every day.

“Ona, mummy, ile ni gari yangu (Mum look that is my car)!”

He had declared the first day he saw it. I thought it was a passing cloud. I was wrong.

Every day of the week, he excitedly pointed out as soon as he saw it. Then towards the end of September, we did not see the car for four days.

He started scouting for another but none measured up to ‘his’ car.

So he came up with explanations about its whereabouts.

“It got a puncture and they have gone to repair it,” he said on one of the long four days.

He was hopeful that it would be back. The following day, he did not see the car, so he explained that when they went to repair the tyre, they found out all the others were worn out  so they went to buy new ones...and they were still looking for the right ones.

On a rainy Friday morning, as I waited for one of his excuses why the car was still missing, I saw ‘his’ car snake onto the road and alerted him.

Excitedly, he said, “It had gone to a wedding mbali saaana (far, far away). You see, right now it has eight bridesmaids and the driver. They are all smart.”

I looked at the car slowly meandering through the heavy traffic on Outering Road. There was only a learner and the instructor.

Concerned, I checked his forehead. He had no fever.

Where did he get the wedding story? Did I ever come up with such creative stories when I was growing up?

The nearest I ever came was to spinning a story about someone, a stranger in the village, snatching money meant for salt from me.

I had been sent to buy salt. Along the way, I found friends playing and I joined then.

When I finally remembered that I had been sent, and what for, I dashed to the kiosk and discovered that I had lost the money.

So I cracked my head and came up with the stranger-snatcher story.

My mother looked at me once and then picked a piece of wood promising to switch off the snatcher’s natural lights, then headed to the kiosk.

She came back with the salt and said: “Well the stranger had dropped the money at (she mentioned the place where we were playing) so I did not need to beat him up.”

She neither beat me for lying. I got so embarrassed but there in I learnt a lesson about the virtue of honesty.

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