How can I introduce this subject and still not lose all credibility to my readers that I actually know how to function as a mum? There is no way, so let me just tell you the truth.
When I was taking my first-born to school she abruptly said this,
“Heh, mum, do you know Malkia does not say “mum” for so many days now?”
Huh, this first-born of mine does not know how to break heart-breaking news gently!!! That information was passed just before she moved on to a Peppa Pig-related topic.
Before today, it had never bothered me that my baby (Malkia) does not call me mum, she cries for me and I like to believe that that’s what is of greater importance. Thank you for agreeing with me!
Anyway, this same girl has been calling “Daddy” since she was ten months. Daddy!
And to think that I am a stay-at-home-mum! Sigh!
Before we proceed, I have fished out a Facebook post I wrote consisting the words first-born used to say when she was the same age…one and a half years.
Now here are second born’s favourite words at one and a half years (in a month);
- “NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!” Don’t even ask what she is always vehemently opposing.
- “SHTOP IT!” That means stop it.
- “KEKUU” That means Thank you.
- “TOORI” That means “Sorry”…because we always have something going wrong in this household.
- “A, TU, SHEE, FO, FAE, SHIS, SHEHEN, EIT, NAAN, TEEEEN!!!” That’s counting one to ten, she believes.
- “TARARINONITANISHORINOTIHHIIIA????” Gibberish question, most of the times directed to daddy.
On a rare occasion, like twice a week , she says a teary, very pulled “muuuuuum” when she hears her older sister call me in the same manner.
She never names any body part, not even “nywele”, no naming “uji” or even the very important “food”.
That,dear reader, is how I realized that my older child is raising her younger sister, at least in speech. The words my second-born speaks are the words her older sister is always speaking to her. We are yet to discover in what other ways I have delegated my duties, knowingly or maybe not.
Second-born’s language development is another nightmare altogether. With the first-born, we were clear that we wanted her to learn Swahili and be able to converse with anyone in the street. With second-born, the older sister is in school and so used to speaking in English that when she comes home we sort of proceed in English, despite having used Swahili all the rest of that day. You also know that I am a rabbit farmer, and telling my farm-hand that we shall hitherto only communicate in English in this household is not exactly ranking very highly in his to-do-list…he just wonders when I am selling the next batch, never mind that he wonders so in Swahili. Guy will keep his job!
That is not half the dilemma even, because first-born still wants to watch Spanish Peppa Pig episodes. For no reason at all, she just chooses Spanish! Poor second-born who watches along. I shall not even say that there is a Kikuyu TV station that my husband loves to watch. Nor that I was brought up in “Eastlands” so my Swahili by default includes words such as “Nipatilishie …”, nor that I also need to hear some French around me because I am a French student. Poor poor second born.
We shall survive. She shall speak, even if she will develop her own tongue, finally she shall drop the gibberish and pick a language.
These are other first-born versus second-born differences that are real to me.
First-born: I took photos daily…well, almost daily. It was so exhilarating to see how babies grow everyday.
Second-born: When I look at my first-born’s photos I realize they look just the same so if situation gets really bad there’ll be some sharing of baby pics. I have a few photos though, which were never uploaded on face book as were the first-born’s!
First-born: I can count the number of times she fell using the fingers of my one hand.
Second born: I cannot count the number of times they fall on each other with her sister even if I use a calculator! A Ring-Around-The-Rosies is her favourite song, girl just loves the idea of falling. Pillows are thrown on the floor, then I hear”A, TU, SHEE, GOOOO!” and I hold my breath waiting to hear if anyone is hurt. No one has been, so far.
First-born: I decided when it was time to sleep, nursed, ignored all sounds and we slept.
Second-born: I decide it’s time to sleep, nurse and instruct the first-born to ignore her sister then after a few minutes she asks her sister “What are you saying?” I re-start the routine.
First-born: I would be found at Aghakan Hospital at midnight due to blocked nose (a snoring sound meant a blocked nose).
Second-born: Her sister goes to school, catches an infection, comes home and the two girls share cup and spoon and kisses whether I say NO or I yell STOOOOP!!! I have learnt to embrace a cold. I will only think of heading to hospital if a cough goes on for two weeks, and only if it is getting worse. Meanwhile, I am a pro at home-made concoctions.
Do not even think of judging me for a second, I too am a second-born, and I turned out just fine. I seem fine, no?