Raising kids is part joy and part guerrilla warfare – Ed Asner
Being a father has been a really great and rewarding experience for me, majestically so, if I may add. It’s been one of those experiences that I thought I’ll absolutely be prepared for, and I went into it believing I had it all covered.
To a certain extent, I did have it covered; I had a ton of experience going in.
I come from a family of five men, and from the first to the fourth, our age bracket is not really that far apart. Now, the fifth one, the adorable cute baby of the house, he is on a whole new age bracket – a difference of whopping seven years between he and his immediate older brother. He was lucky to have four elder brothers who were forced available to take care of him.
We, the elder brothers, were in a boarding secondary school when he was born, and during the holidays, when we got home, our mom immediately passed him on to us. We did everything. Bathed, clothed, changed diapers, prepared the baby formula and fed him, blaming the baby for our farts, blaming the baby for little things we spoilt in the house. We did it all till he came of age; there really was nothing more to learn about taking care of a baby.
Those all are still the same, hasn’t changed one bit. I’m not saying I shift blame to my son when his mother asks who farted, but I don’t tend to correct her when she assumes it’s our baby by checking his diapers for poop. I mean, that poop-checking act has her already assuming it’s him; why confuse her by saying I’m the culprit? This all made me never to doubt my paternal prowess; it really can’t be that hard. Babies are still babies; they’ll still be clueless, adorable, bumbling toddlers.
But babies have changed, I swear they have.
I don’t know if that’s even possible, but the way I’ve been fighting for possession of my gadgets with my son has been nothing short of Civil War 2 – The Parent/Child Apocalypse. It’s a war I’m afraid I’m losing. I didn’t even know there was a war to begin with, it just sort of happened.
His first shot was fired about two months ago. As usual, I got ready for work, did the necessary goodbyes and headed out. While working, I got a text message but when I opened my phone to read it, I absolutely had no idea where the text message went. I could see the notification but couldn’t find the message. Well, I was busy, so I laid the phone down, expecting to get back to it later. About an hour later, another text message came in and it was still the same thing. I couldn’t find it.
Then, I decided to place a call to a customer I had called the previous day; I opened my call log but could not find the number. That was strange; I’d just called the number barely twenty four hours ago.
AARRGH! I was already having a frustrating day. I didn’t need this. I opened my contact list, got the number and called. While driving though, I kept thinking back to the text messages. How could I not find them? One was a credit alert. Biko, how I won’t see my own credit alerts again was just somehow-somehow.
It wasn’t until I got home that I had time to look for the text messages and others that came in during the day. All of them were there alright, just way, way, way, way, way, way buried deep down. I somehow didn’t think much of this. I was too tired to, and as long as I’d read the messages, I was fine. This my clueless state went on for about four more days. I get a message, I keep scrolling till I find it, I read and drop the phone.
I was awakened from this clueless trance one day I returned from work and my son dashed for my phone. He always makes a fuss, and on days when I’m feeling stern, I leave him to throw his tantrum until he gets distracted by something else. That night, I obliged him. And oh, what I saw instantly made me realise I had a hacker for a son. His fingers went swoosh-swoosh over the screen, trying to unlock the pattern lock. When that failed, he brought the phone back to me and I unlocked it. Instantly, he grabbed it out my hands and kept swiping left-right-down. He knew the apps to go for; he knew which ones sang the music that made him laugh. He just knew everything, and that was scary. How could a kid that just crossed the one-year mark barely three months ago know how to navigate a complex android phone?
I was still watching him as he opened the ‘Date & Time’ section of the phone, and with a few swipes of his AK-47 fingers, we were in February 12, 2019.
That was why my messages were scrambled the last time. I collected the phone back from him, searched for those text messages and found out they were messages from the past. Apparently, my customers, friends, and the bank were either still stuck in 2010, August 24 2010 to be exact, or I was the one who had those text conversations in the year 2010.
I was narrating to my wife how tech-savvy her son had become, and she had a wide grin on her face as she handed her phone to me. She simply said I should go through it. Here are some of the things I found.
- She must be practicing for the Obudu marathon because her Stop watch had been counting for over three hours.
- She also had the exercise app moved from the obscure place she hid it, to front and centre on its own home screen.
- She had sent over seven challenge requests to friends via the Words with Friends Scrabble app.
- Her home screen was in shambles. It was really, really disorganised.
- She didn’t have some of her apps anymore.
- She kept sending random text messages containing the following words: djhgdlhdkll, pwiybwdkfsadhd, tuejsdnsaks, ayiwdslkjadhi, yhdk, and a host of others. People might think she was learning Cantonese.
After going through her phone maze, it was clear to us that we had to make sure our son does not lay his hands on our phones anymore. We might be more phone savvy, but our boy seemed like he came WiFi enabled, always on the buzz. Since he always unplugged our phones wherever we plugged it, we had no other choice but to start plugging them where his arms couldn’t reach. Places like these:
Till we find alternatives, this is the best we can do. Having to hide our phones and our laptops whenever he is on the prowl seeking for a gadget to rearrange has been tough, but we are getting used to it.
So, should you try calling my wife or buzzing her and she doesn’t get back to you immediately, know that she is charging her phone high up on the kitchen counter. Should you call me anytime from 7pm and my phone is switched off, it’s plugged high up on the bathroom water heater. Fear not, we shall get back to you; we’re still seeking new ways to win the war against a single one-year-and-five-months-old boy.
Written by Anyibaba