Helping You Build A Relationship You Can All Be Proud Of

Friday, 3 January 2014


The doorbell rang twice in rapid succession as if whoever was ringing it was intended on making noise rather than drawing attention to the gate. It rang the third time after a brief pause. Rita could not be bothered. She was too busy with many little things it felt like every other distraction was a road of pins she must tread on bare feet. 

Rita pulled her breast out to feed Jamie. Her breasts were full and overflowing, the evidence of which was the soaked breast pad. It was the fourth time she was feeding little Jamie within the last three hours and that routine was enervating. She felt as though, without bones, her body was being held together on a frame of zeal and the urge not to breakdown. Yet, beyond the stress of hourly feeding through the dead of the night, she has found an incomprehensible solace in the enthralling smiles of her son. There were times regardless of how tired or sleepy she felt, his smiles, from lips that parts economically, yet gaily, set in a face that makes cherubs blush in confusion, became the high no excitant could generate.

Jamie was her first child and she was sure he was the first of the many to come. At two months, he looked too healthy with too much energy it took the fun  out of the whole baby thing. He was not much of a cry baby… unless he pees or poops, or she picks her phone to make a call or goes to the kitchen to cook.

Kitchen! Oh no! Rita, jumped at the thought of it, nearly tripping on some used diapers and soiled burp clothes on the floor and dropping his feeding bottle in the process. She steadied herself and tiptoed to the kitchen through ounces of freshly pumped milk wildly creeping and spreading on the tiled floor. 

She knew she had to pick the diaper bag before it got soaked with milk; yet every second spent trying to curtailed the advancing spilled milk was the gravy that was going to burn the more and probably waste the entire effort she had put in juggling between cooking something for herself and Richard, feeding Jamie, changing his diapers twice, changing her own dress twice because she got peed on by Jamie who sometimes, out of the authority of his little mind decide when to pee on his parents. She had put in so much effort doing little little house chores. Bloody tiring.

Luckily the Gravy had not burnt itself off, having contemplated the act and deciding in its mindlessness that it would be too much an agony to take Rita through. Rita turned the cooker off and grabbed a mop and headed back to the hall. And like everything, there was an opportunity cost. The forgone alternative of having to salvage the gravy was the diaper bag that was drenched in fresh tasteless milk together with all the loose diapers in it. 

Without uttering a word, she mechanically picked the bag and took out those things she could salvage intact and those that must head for the washing machine. Those that could not be reused she dropped them off in the trash can; three diapers, some wipes. 

Jamie for whatever reason, burst into nerve racking screams. Rita had attempted to put him in his car seat so she could quickly wipe the floor; that was her crime. And she paid dearly by carrying him in one hand and attempting to mop with the other hand. 

They say babies are Barbarians. Rita was thinking there could be some truth in that assertion. They have a mind of their own and they act in ways only they can understand. Two things Jamie loves to bits, that is if he even appreciates the true meaning of love; his car seat and his mummy’s melons. Everything else can come later. Nonetheless, the barbarian in him was at work, and all of a sudden, the bed of Roses in his Car seat which is now synonymous to his cot, had become a putrid bed of puke he wanted to avoid at all cost. A baby's car seat is supposed to be in the car, but Jamie's is everywhere he goes.

Rita grabbed a pacifier and stuck it into his mouth to appease him and help him stop the heartbreaking screams. He spat it out with the strength of a prehistoric baby mammoth, lifting his voice to the next notch in a scream that eventually become an eerie shrilling sound. Rita dropped the mop and started rocking him, singing a classic Diana Washington track ‘Mad About A Boy’

Mad about the boy
I know it's stupid to be mad about the boy
I'm so ashamed of it but must admit the sleepless nights I've had
About the boy

On the silverscreen
He melts my foolish heart in every single scene
Although I'm quite aware that here and there are traces of the cad
About the boy

Lord knows I'm not a fool girl
I really shouldn't care
Lord knows I'm not a school girl
In the fury of her first affair

Will it ever cloy
This odd diversity of misery and joy
I'm feeling quite insane and young again
And all because I'm mad about the boy

So if I could employ
A little magic that will finally destroy
This dream that pains me and enchains me
But I can't because I'm mad...
I'm mad about the boy

Jamie, calmed down into a bout of shoulder heaving sobs as his mother sung him a song that was too intense to be a lullaby. Rita was keenly aware it had been over an hour since Jamie last fed so without any fuss, she sat down in the sofa and pulled her breast out again. 

The transformation was instantaneous. Jamie’s eyes were kindled with flames of excitement at the sight of his mum's breasts and the position his mother had placed him. To him, it could mean just one thing…Food! And food it was as he grabbed the sorry breast that used to be the curiosity of men, but in rapid decline in glory and rapid gain in elasticity, was becoming a common sight in public places; thanks to Jamie. He fought over the nipple with himself hitting, biting, wrestling and doing everything to tighten his grip on the nipple and not let go. 

Occasionally the bite got to Rita but she was too tired to bother. She had been running around the house for over four hours doing what takes less than two hours to do. She was tired. Her eyes were fasten on her baby as he sucked, finally, gently, easing the pressure on her breast from the build-up of milk. 

Her phone rang; it was Richard. She picked it and put it on speaker. 

“Hey Baby. Whatsup?” She asked him
“Nothing much ooh. Just calling to check up on you. You sound tired”
“I am tired. And your son won’t let me be. I have spilled all the milk I pumped this morning”
“Oh what happened?”
“I was cooking, and after giving me all the drama in the book, I finally settled down to feed him. It then occurred to me the gravy was still on fire. So I was rushing to go turn off the fire when I tripped on his soiled burp cloth and dropped the feeding bottle in my hand.
“Oh dear.”
“Yea…my bundle of joy ooh”
“I know right….So where is he now?”
“He is sucking quietly after screaming like someone was after his life”
“Charlie. But you are done cooking right?”
“Ok, you just clean him up, wash down and get some rest. When I come I will deal with the kitchen and the laundry. Leave the front door unlocked so I don’t disturb you when I came and you are asleep.”
“But when are you coming home?”
“The usual time… by 630pm. But I want you to rest. I don’t want to wake you up when I come and you are sleeping.”
“Oh ok”
“Yea…a tired you is a cranky business. I don’t want that.”
“Hmm. Look at this man. Hurry home and relieve me”
“No problem, I will be there in 3 hours.”
“Ok darling”
“Gotta go. You will be fine”
“I am fine. I love you”
“I love  you too.”

And fine she was. Her husband has been of great help. Aside the fact that she does all the nightly wakes and feeding, he has been a great husband to her. He has been supporting her, encouraging her, helping around with the house chores; literally becoming a houseboy for them. She knew if he could even have a paternity leave, he would have taken it just to stay home with her. He has suspended many part of his busy life just to ensure that she and baby were comfortable, vehemently kicking against the notion of a nanny until she was due to resume work. For him, the best thing any parent could give their children is the gift of being there.

Jamie was not interested in the milk; he was interested in holding the breast, playing with it and giving his mother his swaying smiles that could make any woman’s heart melt into pulp.

Rita rocked Jamie the more until he completely calmed down, started dozing off and monotonously sucked on her breast, farting in between and melting into a peaceful sleep. She did not see it; she was busily melting into her own slumber with Jamie clung to her bosom and her hands wrapped about him. She fell asleep with the muted television speaking to her, used diapers and wipes strewn on the tiled floor of the living room, milk partly solidifying on the tiles in patches, a mop stick laying on the floor in a bizarre manner, an air conditioner silently humming its observation away and trying its best to deal with the salmon scent in the room from Rita’s clothes after hours of cooking.

This is the routine Rita had had to live with ever since she gave birth. Hourly feeding of a toddler who is never full, painful blisters on the nipples that will not be allowed to heal, sleep deprivation and general deprivation from doing anything a woman knew how to do before becoming a mother.

But babies are a bundle of Joy and the pain of pregnancy and the pangs of delivery cannot be compared to the joy of holding another life in your hands; a life that will depend on you to nurture it into something that will, in the end, also reproduce itself. A life that will take you down the road of love, patience, sobriety, kindness, providence, maturity, respect, and joy inexplicable.

Babies are a joy bundled into a swaddling cloth for those that have them. Husbands; do well to support your wives in every aspect of the journey. That is the evidence of your unfailing love. Pretending the journey is the woman’s alone is not characteristic of a mature man. 

During this period of considerable drought, keep yourself and preserve your dignity; she did not become pregnant of her own accord. Be faithful to her during the period where she cannot satisfy your desires. It is only a matter of time before she comes back on the road again.

And mothers, you carry a noble title; show responsibility in your motherly duties. Do it without condition.   

PG Sebastian 
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