The house is only a few metres from the last matatu drop. It takes five minutes to get home on a good day, and twenty on a slow one. Unless it’s late in the night or when I have a lot of luggage I prefer walking. I call myself an economist because I will have saved fifty shillings for a more pressing issue. But thing is, am more of a fitness junkie and happen to love my waist a little tinier and hips wider. So forgive me for not letting an opportunity to my dream body slip.

By the time I get home, sweat glues my chiffon top and my armpits are begging me to do something before they let loose of the hoard. Being a slow day, I lack the energy to go straight to the bathroom so I switch on the fan and perch myself directly under it to catch a breath. I then set myself free by unhooking my bra; remove each strap from both hands one after the other before finally taking it out via my cleavage.

I tie my locks into a pony coz ain’t nobody gonna be tacking them straps behind my ear every time they fall on my face and block my view! I tune to E from some weird station the DM (a polite term my sis uses to refer to house help) likes to put. For reasons best known to them out of all the good channels they still pick the one with weird pastors in funny suits who never understand the work of a microphone and almost always perform ‘miracles!’ How people still fall for such crap is a shocker to me! Anyways, there was Total Bellas then The Kardashians, Botched, WAGS and so much more I lost track; both of time and the shows. Kudos to whoever said reality TV is no good!

A few minutes after settling in, there’s a knock at the door. We hardly have visitors let alone in the middle of the week, so it could only be the plumber. The first thing that hits me is my bra on the floor and my handbag far from reach. I scamper for it and hide it behind my back. He did not wait for me to go and receive him, he was already in and asking for the broken tap. I must have looked suspicious because he stared right on my face like he wanted to know what the hell was going on behind my back. If I could interpret his look into a speech it would say something like; “Ma’am is everything alright?” I slowly slid my bra under the couch with my finger tips until it disappeared ; rubbed my palms against each other like nothing had happened then went ahead to show him. It was like a scene from Mr. Bean series.

Since it’s almost impossible to keep away from the Kardashians when you have already started keeping up with them, I went back to the living room and left him to carry on. Curtis came in from school moments later and that was my cue to go and shower and indulge in my stuff because once the TV is tuned in to cartoon, you can’t untune until the igwe approves. And getting that approval takes more than presenting hen’s milk and goats eggs to a juju man.

Fast forward to dinner time. He refuses to eat unless he gets hold of one of his toys that just rolled under the chair. Guess what he gets hold of first, my freaking bra! At this time am not yet aware because I was busy stuffing food on my plate. He caught my attention when he started screaming and running around the house saying it’s mine and pointing where it’s worn. My heart drops to the floor and there’s no time to pick it back up. Need I remind you everyone was in the sitting room including two family friends that had stopped by to say hello. The crowd breaks in to deep laughter and in as much as the show was funny, embarrassment was turning my insides upside down. I want to yank him by his arms and pin his little body against the chair but no, his tiny bones might snap. Instead I grab my bra from him and rush to the bedroom. I could feel their eyes on me as I rushed to put away the tiny piece of cloth that brought me the humiliation. It felt as though they had seen my nakedness. Or more like my nudes had leaked and were fast spreading on the internet.

But that is just the tip of the iceberg. Forget the small shows like being peed, pooped or even vomited on. How about walking to the shop and meeting a dude in rugged jeans and he loudly asks why he has put on a mop? Or one time when he spotted a pregnant woman and told her to stop overeating!

When they are at a tender age you forget about that bed you love so much unless you’re with them on that bed. They have to be burped every time something goes down their throat and it doesn’t matter how long they take, you will have to wait for that weird ugly sound. Their needs become a priority. You have to understand sometimes that their twenty minute nap is a full time sleep and sometimes you have to rock that craddle until infinity just to make sure they reach slumber the shortest time possible.

Sometimes you won’t be able to do your work as you expected because your schedule contradicts theirs. Sometimes they want to be carried all the time, other times they don’t want to be touched. They accept some visitors and turn down others. They cry when they want, when they are hungry, when you leave, sometimes when you come. They cry when they want something, when they don’t want anything. When they’re sick or healthy. When they want to sleep or don’t want to sleep. To get attention. Sometimes they even cry because they can’t think of anything else.

And all these mixed reactions make you want to beat the shit out of them but you never. Sometimes you do. And one day your leave will be over and you will be forced to look for someone to take care of them as you go work your ass off to make sure they don’t run out of diapers. And you will be scared to death because you have watched so many videos of house girls beating their employees kids or mistreating them in all kind of manners or even running away with them.

You will find yourself in Facebook groups with names such as New Mums, 2019 mums, terrific mums bla bla bla. You will find answers to questions you have. You will thank God for giving you that child at that particular time and not sooner or later. You will interact and learn how different the experience is for everyone.

While at work you call every once and again just to make sure your little minion’s heart is still beating. And once in a while you will receive disturbing calls and you will leave work with or without permit to take them to the hospital. And when you go to the market you will spend ninety percent of your shopping money and time at the baby’s section. And you will know exactly what fits and what doesn’t just by using your eyes. Motherhood teaches you a lot!

And then they grow up. Stop breastfeeding. Speak Chinese. Learn how to move around and get dirty. They will make a huge mess out of your house and your visitors will have to get used to coming to a disorganized house.

They will pass through all the baby stages or maybe not. And when you bump into other mom’s with their children you will always compare and contrast. Guess their age. Wish things. And if you stay longer even become friends with their mom’s and start sharing experiences. You start smiling with babies at the mall because you’ll wish that on your kid.

They then grow up. They learn how to talk and now your ears will have to work overtime. They yearn to tell you stories. Maybe they talk too much because they think they might forget, I don’t know. I’ll ask God when we get to heaven.

They will start school and your alarm will be their cries of how they don’t want to go to school. And they will cry will you leave in the morning and welcome you with a soft smile when you return and scream your name. You will yell at them for pissing you off and sometimes even whoop their tiny asses for no reason other than out of love and eagerness of seeing them growing up straight.

And one day something will happen and reality will hit you. That they are not yours. You play a very important role as an aunt or a sister but that’s all you gonna be, not their mum. And that’s okay because you will also get one of your own and it will be a little bit bearable because of prior experiences.

Good thing today is not yet that day. Because despite all the humiliations, all the hardships and all the downfalls they wake up run to your room and instead of screaming your name asking you to wake up and make tea, they will tap you softly on the cheek and wish you a happy birthday. Not a surprise because you remember telling him yester night but a surprise all the same because you didn’t expect it either.

10 thoughts on “Not What I Haggled For

  1. Absolute peach of work of art. Keeps one glued to the writings like a north and south pole of magnets. Great work 🙂

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