I have a six month old daughter. Everybody who has or has ever had a six month old knows restlessness on their part and tiredness on your part comes with the territory.
She happens to also be teething, so imagine my dilemma.
On this particular day, it was so bad; the process made her extremely cranky all day.
I did all that was humanly possible to do to get her to settle down. I discovered soon enough that it was harder than rocket science.
Finally, the heavens smiled upon me and I was able to get her to sleep. I was so glad I almost burst into a dance. Finally a break.
Then I remembered that there were other things that needed seeing to around the house (of course!); I left my sleeping baby, sure that after these last tasks my work would be done.
If only I knew.
Then the man of my dreams – or so I supposed – came home. The hug he gave me was very welcome. Even though he wasn’t a bed that I would very much appreciate at that moment, he was an acceptable substitute.
The first thing he asked after releasing me was where his baby was and I sighed deeply in relief, going into narration: “Ahh! She is sleeping finally. Baby, you won’t believe the stress she put me through today. The teething is really affecting her. She has been cranky and restless all day. I just succeeded in putting her to sleep.”
When I was done with my monologue he smiled – that smile that stops my heart – and said, “I’m sorry. I can imagine what you went through.”
I left him to freshen up and went back to all the duties that Africans expect me to do, so I can be tagged a dutiful and good wife.
I finished cooking a beautiful, sumptuous meal and went back to the room. The sight before me stopped me short and almost drove me into another frenzy.
There my baby was, awake and smiling while my husband was swinging her around. “This baby has woken up again”, I thought in exasperation. “Weren’t you quiet enough?” I asked resignedly.
“Oh, no. I woke her up. I wanted to play with her,” he answered, smiling again.
Only this time, the smile left a bitter feeling at the pit of my stomach and I felt like wiping it off of his face.
“What!? How could you do that!? Why would you wake her up!?” I screamed furiously.
Oblivious to my feelings and totally at a loss as to why I was that angry, he replied, “What do you mean? How can she sleep without me?”
I had to call upon all the pre-wedding counseling classes I attended and all of my mother’s advice to stop the obscenities in my head from spewing out.
Certain I might destroy something in my temper, I left the room still steaming.
A couple of minutes later, I heard my baby let out a wail. “There you go,” I thought. “Now you will see what I’ve been experiencing.”
The thought had barely left my head when he came in with the baby, still smiling that silly smile – at this point I had forgotten that it used to drive me crazy – and dropped the baby in my arms. “I can’t get her to keep quiet” he explained and left me looking at his retreating figure, aghast.
To say I was shocked is saying the least. I couldn’t help wondering:
“Is this what they meant when they said a woman keeps the home?”