Pick your Battles big enough to matter, small enough to win. – Xavier.
Be selective in your Battles, sometimes peace and quiet is better than being right. – Xavier’s Parents.
Before I became a father, I judged other parents. Yes, I did. It’s something I’m not proud of now that I’m raising a headstrong little boy and I will be deluded to think I’m not being judged too.
The judgments were not so huge, like the God judging Buhari kind, oh no, nothing that serious. It was in the little eye-rolls when I watched little kids run amok in shopping malls. The judgemental tone when I told a friend how a woman couldn’t bother to change her son’s mismatched socks. It was in those little gestures that my naiveté reigned supreme. I was single, childless and utterly clueless.
Now I’m a father to a boy that seems to have his own strong will. A boy I must say is versed in the art of manipulation. A tear-less wail or boisterous laughter is all he has in his arsenal, and at the end, he gets what he wants. Not all of it, but in this war we are in, I and his mother have learnt which battles are definitely not worth fighting.
He wants to feed himself? He should go right ahead. I won’t be pursuing him around the apartment with a spoonful of meal, trying to get him to at least eat something so he doesn’t die of starvation. We’re all already going to die of that anyway, with this present fuel price regime. I envision a Hunger Games style battle for the last bowl of garri, with me winning of cos. But until then, it’s best he is fully fed so at least he’ll have a fighting chance for the games battle ahead.
VISITING A MESSY HOUSE
Allowing him to feed himself means every meal time is messy time. He is yet to get the expert hand-to-mouth coordination a typical hungry Nigerian has. So what we get is half a teaspoon of everything finds its way into his mouth and the other half on the floor. Cleaning up is a chore, so should you visit us during dinner, you better not judge us or we’ll curse you to forever keep buying fuel at 145naira a litre.
On a positive note, with the way prices of foodstuffs keep skyrocketing and tomato now the new gold, food spillage is no longer allowed in the house. If he spills food on the ground, the two-hour rule applies. IT’S STILL DAMN EDIBLE!
WHEN TO HAVE SEX
This is fairly explanatory. Sex can wait.
Should I stretch my arms over his mother and he so much as wriggles his toes, Sex can wait.
Should his mom so much as sets nyash and he mumbles some jargon in his dreams, Sex can wait.
I shall not be the one to traumatize my child. I’ll leave that for his future biology teacher.
PS: This boy has got to stop being a baby and learn to sleep alone. Operation ‘Kick him out of my bedroom’ will commence in earnest.
HAVING HIS BATH AT NIGHT
We try to make sure he bathes and brushes his teeth every night, but you see eh, there comes a night we all get home late and tired, and our son is already asleep. There is no way in heaven and hell either one of us is waking him up. Do you know what that means? He’ll be AWAKE! A clean son is definitely not worth the battle; his milk teeth will all fall off anyway.
As he is still learning to form his words, what we get to hear is basically gibberish. Apart from words such as Take, Eat, Water, Bye-bye, Daddy, the other words are plain gibberish. No matter how grumpy I am, no matter if his mother is on that time of the month, should he speak gibberish, then we must speak back. Should he call out daddy a hundred times in five minutes, I must answer his call every time. Not doing so means we’ll never get to have relative quiet. Doing so means we’ll also not get relative quiet. So you see, answer or not, we’ll never know peace silence. Best to keep verbally communicating just as his teacher and our mothers instructed us to.
Don’t get us wrong, there are some Battles that are worth it:
- Collecting food from strangers
- Playing with fuel
- Using a tomato as a play thing
- Getting into cars with strangers
- Making sure he stays in school
- Having sex before 21…and many more.
Until then, we have chosen the battles that are not worth it. Godspeed!
Written by Anyibaba