Today morning I was up early to see a pharmacist who wanted some help with Ms. Excel. At 8 am I was at her waiting lounge; sadly, fully packed with already eagerly waiting-to-be-served Kenyans. The sunny side of the chilly morning is that there were seats to help us preserve the patience mileage.
Besides me, sat this old graybeard who was battling flu. There was a mum with a cute kid opposite me who was staring at the sneezing old heavy-breather with such awe; if he had a dollar for every piece of awe he bestowed, he’d be dollar-deep in mischief. Then dumbstruck happened.
He walks straight to the coffin-dodging gaffer, pulls an innocent face and bluntly asks, “Hi, why are you ugly?” I try to trace his mum who has apparently disappeared into the offices and seemingly left stern instructions to spoiled brat not to ‘touch, do or go’. I suppressed a laughter only for the whippersnapper to launch that loaded ammo our way again, “Yes, why are you ugly?” That one couldn’t just hold my laugh in there. It came out as a fart.
The ‘object’ of inquiry was floored like an overturned turtle. Stupefied to that sort of duck-face you want to throw bread crumbs and seeds to, he just gazed back digesting that he was actually expected to answer. Of course he answered,
“Because I eat kiddies.”
This causes the little terror punk to shriek out loud, sending her mummy scampering into the room just in time for our fake smiley faces; souped up to hoodwink her that all was well . Obviously, the fleece worked and the matriarch dismissed that skit as one of the 50 shades of the rascal’s mischief that we all don’t know about. Bro’s code: Always save a brother, regardless of age.
Yet I’ve learnt that kids will always have this pretty innocence in their eyes. It is something we tend to lose when we grow up or pretend we are. That kiddish thing – honesty. It’s so childish, yes?
It is these little pieces of interruptions called ‘growth’ that actually spoil childhood. You remember those days when you told someone you loved them and really meant it? That age. That’s when one plus one was plainly two and there was nothing to hide about that. Then, the glass was really not half empty, neither was it half full. You just broke the glass and fled.
Kids play detective around the home; pester and ask any questions. While playing NFS Most Wanted with a pal at their home last Sunday, her small sister zooms into the room with her fluffy puppy. She caresses the beast, throws her up into the air and catches him in her little arms then screams amid exhilaration that ‘she loves the puppy so much she’ll marry him’. Deeply engrossed we are in our doings; but her sister answers;
“You can’t marry him because that’s bestiality”.
I offer my uncalled for aid.
“It’s sex with an animal.”
That’s the stupid move right there. It came out of my mouth like dragon-fire. Then the loaded missile that we hadn’t seen hit us right there like a hidden land mine;
“What is sex?”
I regret. This’ the point we pretend that we are deeply ingrained in NFS so that she forgets and gives up but trust this fractious kid to be those who grow up to shoot up their hands up in class when the teacher asks, “Any questions?” She repeats again;
“Yes, what is sex, what is it?”
Caught off guard, I veer my Audi off the road and get red-faced into a stammer. I blurt out;
“Sex is a way that grown-ups show love for each other. It’s also how people make babies. It’s a special kind of snuggle.”
I’m trying to make the answer look hard yet interesting. It’s obvious that till now, I don’t believe that answer. We pause the game as we are taken aback. That raises more glassy-eyed curiosity which her big sister coaxingly brushes off with a hug and pat on the shoulder; demanding she goes after fluffy who’s going berserk with the sofa cushions.
sigh *deep breath*
The honesty with which kids approach their environment, the innocent bravado and don’t care spirit is just amazing. It simply makes them learn so fast. Looks like I’ll have to think before talking to any lest i fall into a pit of quicksand. I can’t imagine the answer to a parent’s inquisition, ‘Where did you hear that?’ being ‘Joe said …’.
Avoid kids this week; if they’re not yours or you are poor at home-skills like me.