In Summary
  • As soon as I forget the haunting clips of house helps beating their employers’ children senseless, a new and more depressing story comes up.
  • The latest is about a man who was a sex addict for close to three decades.
  • By the time he found the need to change, he had become a slave of his mental desire to have sex with every woman.

Dear Jijee,

It is just days to your first birthday as I type this. How time flies! It seems like yesterday when you stormed into the world with a shriek on that dusty Tuesday morning.  

I am still deciding which cake to buy. I know you will eat just a few grams of it and the rest will be shredded onto the ground, like you have done with other cakes before. And I’m having second thoughts about lighting a candle on top of the cake because your pesky fingers may reach for the flame and convert the party to a first aid session. Not yet time to learn by burning fingers.

It has been an eventful 12 months with you around, and today I have 12 questions to ask:

 

1. Will I ever convince myself to hire a house help?

As soon as I forget the haunting clips of house helps beating their employers’ children senseless, a new and more depressing story comes up. The latest is about a man who was a sex addict for close to three decades. By the time he found the need to change, he had become a slave of his mental desire to have sex with every woman. He had been a rapist and had reached a point where he was flashing his sexual organs to random women on the streets. The worst bit about the story is that he was introduced into sex at the age of seven by a house help who abused him for over a year. When I heard the story, I could not help fearing that in case we employ a house help, she may be doing everything well but abusing you in private. It will haunt me forever. Are there any good house helps left, really?

 

2. When will you learn to speak and spare us the many suggestions?

You should hear the many pieces of advice we receive whenever you have one condition or another. It can be something as simple as a running nose but there will be 6,095 different suggestions from all the mothers in the neighbourhood “who have been there” on what to do. “It is because you bring him out without a cap,” one will say, even when it is piping hot outside. “This sweater is too light. He will catch pneumonia,” another will say, regardless of the fact that pneumonia is caused by micro-organisms that people breathe in. “That coughing means you should not give him a cow’s milk,” advises another. I wish you could talk soon so that you can explain how you feel and what you like.

 

3. Where would you be if not for God’s protection?

It has been 12 months of falls, some minor; some that may make any parent’s guts form a knot from the scream you make. Twelve months of you thrusting all manner of solids into your mouth, wherever you find them. A year of being carried to public places by your parents despite your vulnerable immunity. A year of parents being on the edge. It is only the Almighty to be thanked for keeping you safe for this long.

 

4.  Is it necessary to have a child baptised as some churches recommend?

Our church says children can be baptised while still in their diapers. But some sceptics say there is no need to baptise someone who is yet to commit a sin. A big dilemma.

 

5. Are the parents who desert their kids normal?

I have heard cases of parents who abandoned their children to suffer; of fathers who went to work in cities and left their children in the countryside with their mothers. Lately, I have been wondering whether that is normal. To have a child is, as one commentator wrote on Facebook recently, to have your heart live outside you. It will not be normal to think about staying away from your child for too long — given the hugs, the unpretentious love and the general warmth a child brings to one’s life.

 

6. What, pray, is the best oil for a baby’s skin?

One causes rashes and when you change to another, there is a noticeable change but which is short-lived. Then you try another that almost works but you don’t seem to see the results. Which way, baby oil manufacturers?

 

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