My journey as a father is taking a new turn. I don’t know how much I have learnt over the last 2 years or since we discovered that we were pregnant with Ciiru. Its been a great ride all the same and I am loving every little bit of it. From the early mornings to fix formula for her to late night diaper changes, tantrums, and the all too funny baby talk.
We have now reached our first fuel stop and its time to take it to the next level. We are pregnant again! I remember my wife getting all tired and starting to look chubby all over again (after Ciiru had sacked her dry). I didnt think too much of it until one day she asked me to come home with the home testing pregnancy kit. At first I declined thinking she had just stopped breastfeeding – so pregnancy could not be it! We were planning for it but didn’t expect it to happen so soon. After a couple of days I gathered enough courage and bought the kit. 2 pink lines confirmed it was time to change gears for the next chapter in our lives. We were going to have another baby!
Like Brad Paisley sang, I remember sayin’ I don’t care either way Just as long as he or she is healthy I’m OK. Then the doctor pointed to the corner of the screen And said “Ya see that thing right there well ya know what that means” … And I started wondering who he was going to be. Will he be anything like me? And do all the things that boys do? climb a tree too tall, ride his bike too fast and end up every summer wearing something in a cast? He’s gonna throw a ball and break some glass in a window etc etc.
I know he will make me proud most days and some days I will loose my temper. He will probably get in fights and all those things boys do but I pray that in life he will be a warrior…a mighty man of fearless courage! A man who will not be bought or sold, a man who in his innermost soul is true and honest. A man who does not fear to call sin by its right name, a man whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole and a man who will stand for the right though the heavens fall!!
Ciiru is obviously not too happy to loose her dual status as a first and last born. But its time for to learn to love and to share. Its time for to share mummy and daddy with another precious soul who she will love and adore. Its going to be alot of work but one thing I have learnt … God is faithful. He has blessed as with these gifts and with the gifts He has given us strength and wisdom in abundantly! And for these we say thank you!!
I already dread the day he will leave home 😦 He’s going to hug his momma, shake my hand and act like he can’t wait to leave but as he drives out I know he’ll cry his eyes out … because we loved him!! I will love him as much as any father can love his son! I love you son and we cant wait to meet you come June-2014!!
Winter is not my favorite time of the year. It reminds me of the cold season in Nairobi when we were younger. I would wake up at night with a congested chest and a whiz, walk to my parents room and knock for an inhaler. My mum always had one handy (ventolin to be precise) that worked like magic. After struggling for the better part of the night 2 puffs would work the magic and I would quietly go back to sleep… happy!
Last month at the onset of winter, due to weather changes my wife and I got the flu which we promptly passed on to our little one 😦 This turned out to be a serous bout of flu for her- From coughing to blocked nose to running nose to fever … the works. Surprisingly though she was still up and about and eating well in spite of all the symptoms. We gave her CALPOL which took care of the fever and we had nasal drops for the congestion which did not always work. She had difficulties breathing because she could not breath through the nose and as a result she also struggled to breast feed.
The mucus accumulation in her chest made her cough as though to spit it out but she did not know how to get it out. So she would swallow it right back in. Usually while feeding her she vomited and it came out with a heavy supply of mucus which was a relief for her because soon after that she would eat without a hustle. Of-course this was not pleasant if it happened right at the end of a feed- that meant you start all over again as you cannot let her go to sleep hungry.
on the 2nd or 3rd evening while we were putting her down to sleep I heard the sound of a whiz from her chest. My wife heard it too and we were both terrified; for different reasons … my wife for fear that the cold and flu symptoms were getting worse and I for fear that she could have the asthma genes that my grandma, my mama and I have battled with. My heart sunk and I almost teared but I had to man up for my galz. My wife suggested that we take her to hospital. I did not object … Tip: Always trust your wife’s instincts. So we dressed her warm and headed to the nearest Medi-clinic.
At the Medi-Clinic the doctor checked her chest and listened to her breathing and decided to nebulize her. A Nebulizer is a drug delivery device used to administer medication in the form of a mist inhaled into the lungs. Nebulizers are commonly used for the treatment of, asthma, COPD and other respiratory diseases (Wikipedia). Watching my baby with the Nebulizer mask over her faces tore my heart to pieces. I was so sad and prayed that God would not allow our daughter to suffer the same chest complications my mum and I have suffered for a long time. As I held her and as my wife and I praying over her she quietly slept as her chest opened up and her breathing became easier. She lay there peaceful and quiet … and in deep sleep.
Next we had to take her for X-rays to determine if there was any infection in the lungs. Obviously this woke her up as we undressed her and held her down amidst screams and kicks. We thank God there was no infection in the lungs. The doctors gave us medication for her and thereafter allowed us to head back home. We were shaken but happy that she was alright. Thank you God for healing her and keeping her safe. You are Jehovah Rapha – The Lord Who Heals!
nb: My mum and I have since stopped eating eggs and using animal milk. And as result we have no complications for as long as we can remember. I do not even have ventolin (Inhalers) at home for just incase. God healed me.
Yesterday when I got home I was tired! The only place I wanted to be was home … with Keshi and Ciiru. They make me feel peaceful and safe. My wife makes me feel like a teenager because of how much I love her. And Ciiru …. Ciiru brings out all the childishness in me. She makes me feel like a baby again! I love watching her trying to put her hands together, rolling over, drooling, blubbering … the works! But yesterday they shocked me! When my wife opened the door for me I remained speechless for a while … there she was … my little angel in ‘matutas’ (English for that?! … corns I suppose) … For the 1st time in her 7 months of life she had her hair made! She looked like a new person to me. Like I was experiencing her for the very 1st time. She looked more like a girl than a baby now. My little angel is growing up fast and furious!! and it got me thinking.
I remembered Susan Engel saying “When they’re little they sit on your lap; when they’re big they sit on your heart” … Apparently having little kids is a breeze. As long as you hug them a lot and make good food, things seemed to be, for the most part, O.K. You can fix many problems, and distract them from others. Your home can be a haven from all that might be painful and difficult in the world beyond.
All of that changes when they are grown. They fall in love, break their hearts, apply for jobs, leave or lose the jobs, choose new homes, can’t pay the rent for those new homes and question their choice of profession. They forge their way, all just outside of your helping reach. Then, when bad things happen, they need you like crazy, but you discover that the kind of help you’ve spent years learning how to give is no longer helpful.
This poem by Brad Anderson came to my mind:
Can I Carry You?
I guess I can hold you one more time before you grow
And tell you that I love you so that you will always know
Please let me feed you again,One day you’ll feed yourself
And when you think back to this time, I hope it’s love I’ve shown
Can I help you put your coat on? Can I please mush your food?
Can I swing you around in my arms? Can I pick you out a treat?
One day you might just care for me,so let me care for you
I want to be a part of every little thing you do
Tonight could I please wash your hair? Can I put toys in the bath?
Can I help you count your small ten toes before I teach you math?
And one more time can I stand near to make sure you don’t fall?
Let’s take another space-ship ride Up to a distant planet
Before our Cardboard Rocket doesn’t fit us anymore
Please let me help you up the hill while you’re still too small to climb
And let me read you stories while you’re young and have the time
I know the day will come when you will do these things alone
Will you recall the shoulder rides and all the balls we’ve thrown?
I want you to grow stronger than your Dad could ever be
And when you find success there will be no soul more proud than me
So will you let me carry you? One day you’ll walk alone
I cannot bear to miss one day from now until you’ve grown!
Today Ciiru is 2 months! How time flies. People tell you that babies grow fast but when you are changing diapers at 3am and singing lullabies well into the morning that sounds far-fetched. You feel like your life is a never-ending nightmare (pun intended)! It’s now been 2 months of parenting and I can say am glad its starts so difficult because things get better every day. Have I learnt anything?
Lesson 1: If she’s asleep, leave her alone
The odd thing about newborn babies is that they do not move when they’re asleep and bundled. This caused me grave concern because, being the paranoid person that I am, I thought my baby had stopped breathing and had become victim to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).So after she fell asleep, my wife and I would bend over her crib and try to hear her breathing, or feel her heartbeat with the palm of my hand, or try to move her – which of course would wake her up, wailing, and we would have to put her back to sleep again. And then check again if she was still alive, waking her up, and so on. An endless cycle that drove us nearly insane.
Tip: Leave her alone! Check occasionally if you’re freaked out, but generally speaking, your baby will be fine. She’ll call for you when she needs you.
Lesson 2: Teamwork and tears
My wife and I developed a system of taking turns with the baby. When I couldn’t make her stop crying, I’d pass her over. When my wife couldn’t comfort her, she’d pass the baby back to me (we still do that). But there were times when neither of us could do a thing and our mutual frustration rendered us as helpless as the infant. The baby was crying, my wife was crying, I was crying, There will be nights when there is nothing else you can do but weather out the storm. Remember that your wife is not superhuman by default, and that your role did not end when you bought the baby cot. It’s important that you both remain allies and not point a finger at each other.
Tip: It’s not wrong to feel frustrated. It’s not wrong to cry. But no matter how miserable the three of you feel, it will pass. Well, until the next time. But you will survive.
At the end of the day, when I hold my little girl in my arms and see her look at me with her big eyes, everything makes sense and my troubles melt away. Do I think of myself as a great dad? Not yet, but I’m getting there. And with a little preparation, patience, sacrifice and a lot of love, so will you.