Recently, I have been feeling a previously unnamed feeling of dread, every time I speak to Kendi- my 5 years old.
Conversations go like this:
Me: Good morning doll
Kendi: Mama, can I please watch TV? (Notice the lack of greeting?)
Kendi: Mama, pleaaaassseee, can I watch TV?
Me: Kendi, ing’eyo ni waneno TV bang’ lunch? (You know we watch TV after lunch)
Kendi: (Starts to cry and throw herself around. This can take anywhere between 5 minutes and 45 minutes. She beat her own record last week though- with 90 minutes of crying, sulking, throwing herself, screaming, throwing things at me- and purposefully missing, because she knows what would happen to her if any of those cushions actually hit me- calling me ‘bad mama’, and saying, ‘I don’t love you!’)
Or like this:
I pick up Kendi from school. She skips towards me with her teacher holding her hand, laughing and looking like the cutest bunny in life.
Me: Hi doll. Skul odhi nade? (How was school?)
Kendi: (Immediately sullen) Ber (good) Mama, are you going to buy for me something?
This question often catches me off guard because I never buy for her ‘something’ on our way from school. I have no idea where she got this idea!
Me: (DREAD) Seat belt mama
Kendi: Asetweyo (I’ve buckled up) are you going to buy me something?
Me: Nitie snacks ot (there’s snacks at home)
Kendi: Ai mama, so you’re not going to buy for me anything?
Kendi: (Cries and throws her legs on the chair. Screams and carries on all the way home- a 10 minute ride. As soon as we get home, she stops crying, greets Catherine- her nanny, and asks for a snack. I go to my room to recoup)
And quite often:
On our way home from church…
Kendi: Mama, after lunch is what?
(This isn’t surprising as her life is one big schedule. She likes to know what’s coming next so that she can ‘plan’ for it. Or at least, expect it. This is so fascinating because I’m a planner as well. I usually plan weeks or months in advance.)
Me: Ibiro yweyo matin, kato ibiro nindo (You’ll relax a little and then you’ll nap)
Kendi: Mama (already whining) I don’t want to nindo (nap)
Me: (DREAD) Ji duto nyaka nind bang’ lunch, Kendi (Everyone must nap after lunch)
(This is not something new, this is not a surprise, she has been living this life for 5 years. It baffles me why it shocks her every single time)
Kendi: Mama, I’m not tirrrreeeeddd (already beginning to cry)
Martin: Kendi, stop that!
Kendi: But Baba
Martin: Don’t ‘but Baba’ me. Listen to mama. Stop whining!’
These moments are few and far between, because Martin doesn’t spend as much time with Kendi as I do.
What I really cannot deal with, and that makes me even angrier, is that I should be afraid of a 5 year old. I don’t want to talk to her because I’m afraid I will have to deal with a screaming pre-schooler for the next 30 minutes. I hesitate before saying ‘no’ because I don’t want to deal with a screaming pre-schooler for the next 30 minutes. I struggle to tell her to stop watching TV and go take a bath, because I will be dealing with a screaming pre-schooler for the next 30 minutes. It’s EXHAUSTING! I want to run away and live in the forest.
Do I still do all these things that might set her off? A resounding YES! Because I don’t want her to turn out to be a spoiled little brat. But, now, there’s no joy in parenting my little lady. Only dread and fear. Oh and I almost forgot, regret, a sense of failure and self judgement.