MATERNAL MOMENTS: PART 1

It’s all fun and games until labor contractions begin. By hook or crook of it, it gets evident that the chickens have come home to roost. That the day of havoc is alive and well. At this situation the baby is usually stretching off, armed with eagerness to breathe life outside the placenta. Speaking of which, the placenta is that place where everything is controlled from the atmosphere to the lack of harshness from realities like demos, teargas, cash crunch, frenemies, global warming, traffic, inflation, idle politicking, sanctions and blackmail. Besides, if hues and cries and piercing pains are anything to go by, a lot is left to be desired in the labor ward.

So, a day to the EDD your wife will confess to having craved for chips and since she cooks them so effortlessly, you’ll encourage her to let the unborn baby have what she is desiring, be it chips. And in a few, the table room will be filled with sweet aroma emanating from the kitchen where your wife and her bulging belly will be cooking for the baby and yourself, her last meal before she crosses the bridge to parenthood. Halfway the cooking, she will drop the long cooking spoon and run to you, holding her back with one arm complaining of a sharp pain. The impact of the pain will be enough to smoke out a bit of tear drops in her eyes and have her form a paranoid face. All this will happen at the backdrop of dawning labor pains that will have no clear recognition to first-timers. So anything close to pain will be enough to call a press conference and make a quick call to Eston, your cab guy. It will also be prudent to let the chips burn out in the kitchen as compared to handling the pain from your wife. Later, you’ll walk to the kitchen to serve what will have been saved from the savage of burning out. However, you’ll only manage to have some few bites courtesy of the tension building on.

Two hours later, the pains will have become more frequent at intervals of 30 – 40 minutes. By then, you’ll have consulted Doctor Google who will have it that the pains are called contractions. And that they’ll be signs of true labor if they come at a time when the EDD is expected. Upon reading that, your heart will skip with fear and excitement. The two feelings will interlock and do a Jaguar – Babu Owino fist out at your dismay. Further, Doctor Google will have it that, it will be highly important if one times the intervals of the contractions and probably, record them somewhere. The following will be the reason; For first-time mothers, true labor is placed when the spacing of the contractions is at the intervals of eight minutes while for the rest of the mothers, true labor kicks in when the contractions space in between ten minutes interval.

While you’ll gladly communicate this to your wife, she will have none of it and so will you. You’ll rather seek an interpretation from the nearest hospital in your list of options. What will follow will be you picking the small suitcase that will have ‘mother & baby items’ and place it at the doorstep as you make a call to Eston. He will not disappoint. At 11:44pm, he will have showed up at your gate. Both of you will make a brief prayer committing everything to the Lord and requesting for His protection and guidance in this uncharted path. You’ll walk out quietly, careful not to trigger any curiosity to your neighbors. In less than 10 minutes, you’ll have arrived at the hospital waiting to be attended. While at it, you’ll hear screams from the labor ward, of mothers pushing hard and cursing in equal measure. You’ll turn to your wife and pretend not to have heard the noise, just not to scare her further.

After an examination, your wife will be reordered to revert home as her cervix will have had zero opening and that the so-called pains she will be experiencing will be premature. In fact, the doc there will be like; “we need 10cm opening.” You’ll drive back home dejected, scared by what type of pains and magnitude to expect; wondering how your wife will handle them; bothered if that cervix spacing will ever be possible to attain and further agonizing if Eston will pick your call at 3:30am if the pains become intense and unbearable. No sooner you arrive home than the pains will drift closer together in intervals of 20 minutes. You’ll practically not sleep that night apart from massaging her back and persistently timing the pains and hoping hours ahead will speed up. You’ll miss daylight and all its safety.

At 5: 25am, you’ll have fully prepared and made way to the hospital again, this time not ready to revert back to the house without a kid in the arms. Luckily, she’ll be earnestly admitted and pronounced as to be experiencing true labor. She will be issued with those fluffy and oversize maternity gowns that will make her look like a Langa’ta Women’s prisoner. No pun intended. You’ll notice buds of fear placed at the corners of her eyes. You’ll try to ignore them as you whisper words of encouragement that in fact, will do little to suppress the fear in you too.  As that unfolds, her phone, as well as yours, will keep on buzzing from curious family members and friends eager to know if the baby will have popped out yet. While the calls will create more anxiety, you’ll advise your wife to switch her phone off and leave it to you, to convey the information as to when it’ll be appropriate. A friend of hers, actually twice her age will call you requesting to know if you picked a woman friend to help your wife as you embarked to the hospital. You’ll lie to her that you did so. As soon as you hang up, you’ll wonder how in the 21st-century husbands can’t drive their women to maternity wards in peace and in the company of nobody else apart from maybe their pet dog, one Poppy!

Not even your mother in law or your own mother will have the closest of information on what will be transpiring at this moment but instincts will be screaming something to their heads. While at it, you’ll stop the nurses along the way, humbly requesting to know the fate of your wife. Some will be receptive while others will be as cold as a club bouncer. The latter will have no feelings to let nor sympathize with your poor self. But there will be some who understand keeping up with a pregnant woman for nine months and overseeing all the hullabaloo and drama that comes with it, is no mean achievement. One such nurse will be Nurse – Angeline. She will have lots of things happening on her taste of hairstyle which will make her stand out anyway. Upon posing the question of the fate of your wife, you’ll notice her honest smile and reassurance even before she speaks. You’ll also notice the narrow gap between her front teeth that will make her smile more customized and memorable.

That evening, you’ll walk home to meet your house literally walking to you demanding to know how everything turned out. “Did the baby come?” the matrimonial bed will ask. “What is the gender?” the utensils will pose to you. “What is the weight of the baby?” The electronics will beg to know. The half-eaten chipos of yesternight will still be on the table mapping out what will seem to have been the most hectic 24 hours of your lifetime. Meanwhile, you’ll sit down and draft short messages conveying great news of the birth of your baby, a few hours ago, to people around you who seem to matter most. Before then, you’ll have called your mum as the first recipient of this privileged information and she will recite a gratitude prayer right on the other side of the phone conversation. She will be glad of her son, finally walking into parenthood while she is alive to witness it as it unfolds. To God be the glory.

By Day 2, your wife will have made lifetime friends from her hospital bed from the likes of Milly who despite losing a new baby born, will be a walking piece of inspiration. She will be extremely prayerful, overly kind and unbowed by the circumstances of losing a child. She will have coastal origins from her Swahili command to her plus-size demeanor. Then there will be sad stories of women who have braved marriage violence for their entire pregnancies. There will be more cold ones like of kids born with deformities and had their mothers take off leaving them at the mercy of the hospital. There will be some to extremely sympathize with; like of women who’ve endured bleeding from their fourth month of pregnancy compelling them to be hospitalized to the end of their gestation period; while others won’t deliver until their blood pressure stabilizes. Then there will be this slender, light-skinned Form two girl, admitted in the same ward with your wife. She will not have a child lying next to her. You’ll learn that she survived a rape ordeal, got impregnated in the melee and had the dignity of carrying the pregnancy to the ninth month. She delivered one and half years ago, an innocent baby boy. But why the girl will be back in the hospital is because she will have pains around her belly which in a few days ahead, will be booked in the theatre after it’s established if she has developed some tumor in her stomach, through an X-Ray process. Your wife will also have made friends with one woman who gave birth to 1.5kg underweight infant baby and got trapped in the hospital since the bill was too high for her and her family to settle. The last you had about it, it was way past sh.100,000.

Looking forward to Part 2 of Maternal Moments!!

 

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DR. JOHN NGORU

The only thing I share with John Ngoru is bad handwriting. But I can write and sign cheques, just in case you thought my handwriting is illegible. The thing is, it’s just bad but legible. It appears to have confidence issues and overwhelmingly dependable on my moods. Speaking of which, it bothers me how much energy and focus I apply just to write nicely. Writing a letter at a time with its own breathing and personal space is, to say the least daunting. I mean, where does the patience to write endearingly come from? In my thinking, one should write as fast as one constructs the sentence in his head. Writing shouldn’t be slower and perfect. It should have some sort of ego and shrubs of beards, especially men handwriting. What I’m I driving at? That it’s an offense for men to have cute handwriting. Back to Dr.Ngoru, our similarity can only be enforced by our handwriting and not perusing medical journals and burning the mid night oil reading bulky books that do not trigger any urge to live a happy life. That aside, I jokingly enquired from him if there is a particular handwriting doctors learn in Med school. And he confirmed not one he is aware of.

Of course, it is intimidating interviewing somebody who is not only an alumnus of the envied Nairobi University School of Medicine but a lad who was among the creme of the class. How on earth do you top in Med school? To be more precise, he was the best final year student of the University of Nairobi in the class of 2013.  You now get the drift!

I met Doctor Ngoru for the first time in the year 2004, in Nyahururu High School, both of us as Form Ones; timid and hugely over-monolised. We were classmates right from Form one to Form four. Speaking of monolisation that ranged from cleaning our uniforms in the dirty sinks, never mind without buckets, because buckets were a privilege especially for Form ones, to reverting to the dormitories after 12 am after the lethal bullies had not only retired to bed but fast asleep. It was more baffling for me in the sense that, my bucket and I departed ways right at the administration block, few minutes after my mum had stepped out of the school gate, when a face I couldn’t make up later, volunteered to assist in carrying my bucket only to melt into the crowd.

That notwithstanding, Ngoru, didn’t only top in our class, but the entire stream of over 150 boys so consistently for the four years of our high school course. And you’d think, he was such a book warmer. Certainly not. I know of fellows who studied harder and for longer hours than him. Dr.Ngoru was just an intellectual in a class of his own. He was a genius who was and is still shy to admit so. In fact, he tried to transfer school three times in high school and succeeded in getting admission to schools that were way better than Nyahururu High. Unfortunately, his parents couldn’t afford to transfer him to those schools even after being served with admission letters since they were way expensive. And so as it would appear, this didn’t thwart the efforts of Ngoru to study much harder even after fate looked grim and unrewarding.

And to put light to his childhood; Dr. John Ngoru grew up like any typical village boy then born in 1989, in a family of five siblings, as the firstborn in Kajiado District. His dad was a driver with the Ministry of Trade and Commerce based in Kajiado but sadly, lost his job controversially. What this meant is that Ngoru and his family had to relocate to their native home back in Nyandarua County. Having a jobless dad and a mother who was practicing small scale farming didn’t add up to much, in terms of family welfare. To add salt to injury, his dad had a responsibility of taking care of his parents and siblings (Ngoru’s grandparents and uncles/aunts).

What type of a kid were you? “I was a quiet kid who loved reading a lot. I moved to top the class from standard 4, where I maintained number one position from then to class 8.” Ngoru, spent his school holidays and weekends grazing his dad’s livestock in the far fields of Lake Ol Bolossat. Which brings me to the point; Andreaders should make a point of visiting Lake Ol Bolossat which for a fact, is the only lake in the former Central province. Here, you can enjoy the beach-like atmosphere and it can be very windy in the evenings. You will enjoy watching hippos from a safe distance, boat riding in the placid water body and peering at the bird life. For your information, there are very competitive villas and vacational homes with ample accommodation spaces. It is quite mesmerizing sipping your cold beer, eyes fixed on the calm lake that extends its wings to the sleepy Nyandarua Ranges.

Dr. Ngoru cleared his primary school in a local private school where he managed to garner 441 out of 500 marks, which was a massive record that fourteen years down the line, no one has managed to break it. He aimed to join Mang’u High School but that proved quite elusive. Who should we blame when one garners such impressive marks only to find oneself in a low caliber school?

What was the feeling when you ended up in a provincial rather than a national school? “Initially, it was very demoralising but I accepted my fate by 2nd term of Form One course. What pushed Ngoru to be this aggressive in his performance? “All I wanted back then was to get my folks off the poverty line.” Which tricks did he use to remain top in class all the way from Primary school to Campus? Ngoru politely dismisses the question of tricks or strategy. “Really no tricks. I was just a normal kid doing what was expected. All I can confirm is that; I rarely forget once I read something. It only has to be once.”

What were your highlights in High school? “As I said; Maintaining position One expect for once, from Form One to Four; Participating in Science Congress up to the National level; Being part of the Music Festivals group that proceeded all the way to the Provincial level; Earning favour from the school principal for being consistently the top student and for my discipline. I also participated in numerous Mathematical contests and I recall being involved in a road accident at one time coming from a contest in Nyeri High School where by the grace of God, I suffered only minor injuries.” Some of your projects that found their way to the National level include? “I fondly recall one that was about a Water pump fitted on bridges. The weight of vehicles driving over the bridge would pump the water. This particular project performed very well at the National contest. Unfortunately, I never pursued it after that. It’s one of those things I regret of.” As for me, I tried presenting a project to the Science Head of Department teacher in the safe company of my deskmate one Lucas from Kinagop who was far better than I in sciences and to our shock, the suggestion which couldn’t befit a project was easily disqualified at the school departmental level for lack of substance. Auuuch!

What’s amazing is that even after Ngoru’s parents were unable to clear his huge school fee balance after clearing Form Four in the year 2007, the school was patient enough to wait for 7 years, after Ngoru had settled in the job market whereby he settled the staggering balance. For the record, he scored an A plain (82) in his KCSE results which is a record Nyahururu High School has yet to break, ten years later. For the two years one would wait by then to join campus, he undertook a certificate course in ICT and moreover, commenced his CPA studies which he managed to clear in under two years. And as you’d expect, he scooped an award for being the top student countrywide in June 2009 exams.

Dr. Ngoru started off his Bachelor of Dental Surgery course in October 2009. By then his dad had secured a favourable job while his mum was running a small business which meant, they managed to send him some pocket money for him to survive in the city under the sun. Ngoru having participated in the 2009 census exercise, had managed to save some cash too which again helped him push along. He quickly established and acclimatized himself as a top student where he further vied and won to be the Vice – Chairman of NUDSA (Nairobi University Dental Students Association). He was also a representative of University of Nairobi Nyandarua Students Welfare Associations (UNNSWA); He wrote and published two articles in the East African Medical Journal; Represented University of Nairobi at the IADR (International Association of Dental Research) East & South African Division where he emerged top and won the Hatton award (2013) in South Africa; Represented IADR East and South African division at the global meeting in Cape Town South Africa in 2014.

As mentioned earlier, he emerged the top final year student of UON in the class of 2013 and was awashed with awards from Nairobi University, Colgate Palmolive, Dentmed and Elida Ponds Foundation. He proceeded to enroll for an internship at Kenyatta National Hospital which he completed in 2015. He was then posted to Lodwar District Hospital under the County Government of Turkana where he still works on part time basis occasionally flying from the Wilson Airport. I quizzed him about Lodwar ambiance? “It’s very hot with temperatures ranging from 35 degrees, at times going as high as 45. Lodwar is a cosmopolitan town.” From what I gathered it has no hill leave alone an anthill and happens to brag of two iconic geographical features; River Turkwel and Lake Turkana. Ngoru attests that the latter has white beaches only comparable to Diani’s water-front.

In addition, Dr. Ngoru tried his luck at the prestigious Karen Hospital where he was hired as a resident dentist.  While there, he had the rare opportunity of serving the high and mighty in the society. His clientele included former presidents, some of African First Ladies, Cabinet secretaries, Governors, Senators, Members of Parliament, Senior judges and so forth. He would later quit to launch his own state of the art dental clinic at the onset of this year. Clearly, Dr.Ngoru has no regrets for quitting to self-employment since Dental Access has grown in leaps and bounds to be a power house in matters dental health. It is located in the heart of Nairobi at Cardinal Otunga Plaza.

I indulged Dr.Ngoru on Kenyans uptake in matters dental hygiene. This is because I visited a dentist for the first time ever, this year when I battled an excruciating pain for nearly a week. For many years, one of my molars had endured a tooth decay which I toyed with for long, that it could undergo a root canal. Months ran into years and the day of havoc had finally knocked on my doorstep without bulging. The unrelenting tooth ache that was especially worse at night had coincided with my exams dates. Since it was always less severe during the day, I would reassure myself that the pain was dead and gone only to resurface from about 11 pm when retiring to bed and not let go. Not once did I sleep holding my right cheek till morning, sporadically fetching over the counter painkillers that had now been outsmarted by the sheer cold, solid and penetrative pain, leaving me with no choice but to vow that I’d visit the dentist first thing in the morning only to develop cold feet and postpone the whole mission. My fear of the dentist was all about stigma brought about by my mum when she boxed a dentist for a tooth extraction that had gone bad. It appeared the dentist was a quack who made my mum endure all the pains of extraction since she was not properly numbed.

Bwana daktari, how’s Kenyans dental hygiene? “The uptake is impressive. Gradually improving mostly in the cities and urban settings. Kenyans have realized it’s imperative to have regular check ups on matters of their dental health.”

Why do toothaches worse at night? “There are many schools of thought that include; low temperatures at night trigger tooth aches as opposed to the warm temperatures during the day. But more importantly, it’s worthy to appreciate that when one lies down, more blood rushes to the tooth exerting pressure and thereby bringing inflammatory mediators with it.”

Away from dentistry, Dr. Ngoru has managed to set up a poultry farm for his parents in Nakuru producing more than a thousand eggs in a month and about 600 broilers every two months. This is an enormous credit to him for investing in his parents with a sustainable wealth of such magnitude. Is there pressure attributed to first borns? “Yes, the pressure is palpable. Be it endeavoring to being a credible role model to the younger siblings and dealing with insurmountable expectations from the parents. Of course hailing from a typical Kenyan family, the burden of taking care of one’s parents and the younger siblings is inevitable.”

What’s your word of encouragement to the youth who’ve lost hope in life? “Two things; Whatever you do, whether by fate or choice, do it to your level best. Avoid idleness and associate yourself with people who believe in constructive ideas.”

We end it on that note congratulating Dr.Ngoru and his wife for the blessing of a bouncing baby boy to their lives. May he grow to fill the size of daktari’s shoes in matters intellectualism, humility and dignity.

 

 

DAD OF TWINS

Peter is a huge fan of my blog. In fact due to the amassed loyalty, I hear he is the self-appointed chairman of Andreaders in and outside of the country. It is that serious. He is one of those, when we run on each other always like, “by the way, was that storo true? The one you wrote about, last week.” If not, “Andrew, bana tumengonja sana, hujaandika kitu of late” (Andrew, we are getting impatient of your articles, its been awhile). Here he is now, on the spotlight. Pulled him over to the front line of Andreaders army and was like; dude, we can write about your twins and marriage life. He nodded yes sir. I sent him a questionnaire, which he gladly sent back armed with eagerness on how the article will turn out to be.

Dear Andreaders, here is the story of a dad and his twins.

I started off by asking Peter about the million dollar call that men from all walks of life fear most. Babe, I’m pregnant! If you want a man freeze to a statue, surprise him with something close to that statement. But that’s for the unmarried men. Nothing to worry for the married since in actual sense, they plan for this kind of responsibility so meticulously at least in most cases. And so for Peter, when his wife broke the news that she was pregnant, it didn’t turn out so much of a surprise. The surprise came through after, as you will shortly realise.

When your wife gets pregnant, of course as a man, one adjusts some routines and how we visualise life. It suddenly hits you, I will be a father soon, in a way more pronouncing than before she breaks the big news! And to Peter, how he adjusted is that he started helping on the household chores and dedicating all weekends and holidays to being with his wife. From the look of things, since they started courting, Peter, hadn’t seen the inside of his kitchen for god knows how long. And it goes without saying; when your wife gets pregnant, she automatically becomes the attention as the man staggers away to the rear of life.

Let’s talk about the first scan

“We hadn’t planned to do a scan but had to when she started feeling pains and discomfort in her lower abdomen. I immediately took her to the Sonographer early morning and we were given an appointment for 2 pm same day. I had to report to work so we agreed she would go see the Sonographer in the afternoon in the company of a good friend. She called me when she was queuing at the Sonographer’s room and I was just praying that all will turn out well. About 10 minutes later, she called. I was a bit worried this time because I didn’t know what to expect! She said “bae, imagine nimeambiwa niko na twins’’. I took a deep breath, woke up from my office seat and asked her, “what do you mean? Twins? How?’’ I thought she was kidding me! And she said, “yes, I wish you were here to listen to their heartbeats.’’ I drove to town immediately to meet her.”

I paused the question, did you expect twins?

“NO! All through, I never thought about twins! She didn’t have any history of twins from her family. Neither did my family have such a history expect for one case of two daughters for a cousin to my dad. So I would bet with my damn life that chances of getting twins were next to impossible, little did I know! Interestingly, my wife really love twins. We considered it an answered prayer.”

Top on the list on what men fear most, includes whether one will make a good dad. Whether they will make a balanced dad; funny, strict and responsible father, all at the same time. Or if they will turn out to be terrible fathers who will hardly bond with their kids; or will have kids come in the middle of their struggle with alcoholism or infidelity; or will deal with their teenage daughters as they slam doors and lock themselves in their rooms putting on earphones and leaving a resoundingly cold attitude placed on the bedroom door for dad to deal with.

Peter had this to say regarding being a father to girls.

“The best part about being a dad to girls is smashing stereotypes about perceptions regarding a cultured man. Moreover, I grew up in a family of boys only, hence this is a perfect opportunity that God has given me. I clean them whenever I get a chance, take them to doctor’s appointments and wake up in the middle of the night to attend to them. They have taught me to be soft and not so serious all the time besides making me do some silly character voices just to make them smile. More fascinating is that, they have taught me that cuddling before bedtime is mandatory for them to get a good sleep, otherwise we’ll have to deal with cries late at night. As a matter of fact, they’ve made me appreciate how important it is to be kind even when I don’t want to be. As they grow up, I want to instil in them that the sky is way below their limit. I will dare nurture them to responsible and highly independent girls who will wallow and glow with self-love and never bend over to mediocrity be it from men or the larger society.”

I have read and heard of weird pregnancy cravings and shiver to imagine what Kageshi will turn out to be in her gestation period. Will it include cravings for onions as I’m told some do and I hiding the table salt? Or will it be about strong desires for anything sour from milk to porridge? Or poor me, son of a peasant mother will be compelled to come with chocolates every evening if not rushing to my butcher Sir Kiogothe for some camel bones.

So, what was Peter’s experience with his wife’s bizarre cravings? He technically played safe with this particular query. Here is what he said; “none! I am happy that I didn’t have to wake up in the middle of the night to go buy her roasted meat.” Marriage is tricky. In most cases it is driven by what the couple prioritise; be it peace of mind, respect, faithfulness, compromise and commitment. To some, it’s driven by the number of holiday tours, cars and postings on social media on their every turn and blink. Funny enough, the latter batch never involve us when their relationship goes south, with the same gist they use in the other aspects of their lives. In the end, winners in marriage platform are those that realise money has zero shit and shouldn’t overrule rationality and chastity. So, has marriage changed some areas of Peter’s personality? “Not very much but I would say Fatherhood has changed me in that I’ve learnt to give and receive love unconditionally.” He points out.

I indulged him on what was going through their mind on the eve of the Cesarean operation. Could they touch the tension in the house when one kid didn’t kick as used to? Or could be that the fear of the operation hadn’t hit them as to whether it would turn out smooth or awful.

“I was nervous but still counting my blessings for having twins as firstborns and for a fairly smooth pregnancy journey for my wife.”

What colour were the maternity ward walls…Did the colours kindle hope or fear

“The walls were white with some beautiful wall hangings. The wall hangings played a great role in reducing my stress levels.”

Did the room have running machines or knifes or scissors or people in green attires (forgive me for asking some silly questions)…what’s there in

“No machines or knifes, just the bed, sofa, wardrobe, a table, bed-cot for the twins and a blood transfusion stand. Worthy to note is that we opted for a room in the private wing since we needed a more spacious place, conducive for recuperating and also for hosting me as well, as I wanted to partake in the process of supporting my wife by fully being available for her. ”

Was the environment around the ward pinch silent

“Sometimes silent and other times you’d hear cries from newborns in different wards. Additionally, the fact that the hospital was next to a river, we could hear monkeys chattering. Before the operation the doctor came in and asked her to get prepared for the operation. She got dressed in a green gown, prayed together and accompanied her down stairs to a room near the theatre. I helped the nurses lift her to a movable bed and pushed it to the theatre door where I kissed her forehead as she was received by another group of nurses in the theatre.”

How long was the Cesarean process

“About two hours. That was the longest wait of my life!”

What was going through his mind when the operation was taking place? Was he fidgeting or trying to read some of those decade old magazines strewn about on the waiting bay to no avail or was is it about seeking inspiration from the art evoking wall paintings?

“I was doing rounds round the hospital! I was tirelessly trying not to think that the life of my wife and kids were in the hands of the doctors. You know there is that fear of the unexpected. I thank God that the operation was successful!”

When you were called by the doctor to meet the kids for the first time, how was it

“I was excited that I was officially a father, but anxious at the same time to know their genders since the last scan hadn’t revealed the gender of one twin.”

What training did the nurses conduct to you regarding handling the babies

“I was trained how to bottle-feed them with baby formula, change nappies, bathe them including cleaning and sterilising their feeding items.”

Three months down the line, what have you learned of kids

“One is that you have to be very patient with kids, show them love and always learn to give, with no expectations of returns.”

And running a family

“It’s an honour and a privilege I don’t take for granted, having a loving family to go home to after a long day at work. I consider myself hugely blessed to work hard for people who motivate me in life. Nothing beats family!”

I hear you change diapers and clean the babies. How is the experience for you

“They say that fathers are disinterested in their babies especially when they become restless and stubborn. Well, having been there for my wife throughout the pregnancy journey up to delivery, I know the value of babies. Together with her, we bathe the twins one after the other, I also change their diapers and their clothes if they mess up.”

Tell me about the bond with your daughters…describe it

“We have a strong bond! The secret is simple, babies like attention. I maximise on the opportunity when I’m feeding them, changing their diapers or dressing them. I try mumbling and focusing on them. I make silly faces and smiles until they smile back. In essence I communicate with them.”

Is it true daughters are close to their dads…is it something you’ve noted?

“It’s too early for me to tell, but at least when I get hold of them, they somehow stop crying. This means they recognise their dad.”

What type of a daddy are you? Can you carry your kids in public places; church or malls? By the way, I once saw a man carrying his daughter in church using a baby carrier bag and couldn’t help admire his boldness. He literally stole the show from the passii at the podium. You could see the faces from ladies trying to make those aaaawwwww moments.

“Yes! In fact, for most Sunday afternoons we normally take a walk around town as we do our shopping.”

How do you balance marriage and your boys’ relationships

“Dividing that precious time amongst family and friends is not easy! It takes an extra effort on my part and that’s of my friends to keep the friendship rolling on and my marriage working.”

Do you drink less or more and why; Time constraints or a decision you have made

“I drink less. Main reason being that I want to spend more time with my family. Before marriage, I would only drink over the weekends. It has always been my policy that I don’t drink if I am working the next day.”

What’s your experience with house girls so far

“Finding a good and reliable house help is difficult since it takes a lot when it comes to raising multiples but we thank God so far we have had a lot of help from family relatives and friends.”

I hear you do cycling with your boys over the weekends. Tell me more

“I joined the cycling club early last year. It’s a club of well-organized chaps. Some of the club members represent the country in International races. We cycle to interesting places like Mt Kenya forest and Ol Pejeta Conservancy. Cycling is quickly gaining a booming reputation. When I joined the club, there were about 10 members and by close of 2016, we were about 20 dedicated members. However, I decided to go slow on cycling over weekends to dedicate that time for family.”

You are such a Subaru lover and columnist Njoki Chege would detest you for that. Tell me about it

“My favourite Subaru is a Forester SG9. It’s an all-wheel drive Station Wagon with a 2.5litre turbocharged engine. 6-speed manual transmission. Manufacturers of Subarus have mastered the art of making Subaru owners very proud! I don’t drive a Subaru but I know one day I will be able to afford one. You know I like driving behind or next to Subaru’s! Those things are pretty cool!”

Your final remarks

“Being a dad is one of the most fulfilling titles a man can ever have but it takes a lot more than just being a breadwinner. There is a lot of sacrifice involved like time invested for family which comes at a cost of losing a few if not many friends, foregoing some of the things one used to do priory and working extra hard for one’s family to have the most decent upbringing. Of importance too is that, there is a lot of learning needed so that one can be part of each and every milestone in his family uptake. It takes a lot of love too, to run a family successfully!”

Are you a young person, with a compelling story that you strongly believe should be retold to a larger audience for the sole purpose of inspiring and educating. Reach up to me on wandrewism@gmail.com

MISS RECEPTIONIST

receptionist 2Last Saturday I checked in at a doctor’s place for a random check up. I met an empty front office, well laid out, neat and inviting. I rested on the couch convinced that the receptionist would show up in a matter of minutes. She could be in the ladies, I thought so. Well, I waited for a boring 45 minutes, my only accompaniment being the diligent wall cloak that drooled at me, hanging a meter length above my damn forehead.

I stared at the pricey, clean, manicured interiors of this office until there was no more to stare. I went over my phone, camped in the social media apps, survived the heated arguments about Nakuru and Kibera rallies on Facebook,  toured Twitter streets and found them debating about the incredible CBK governor Patrick Njoroge and how he pockets a paltry sh.18,000 while giving the rest to the poor. I wasn’t convinced how a man of his stature could survive with sh.18,000 in Nairobi, never mind, I moved on. Across the streets were the financial and economy intellects the likes of Kenyanwallstreet and Aly-Khan Satchu debating everything from how Chase Bank will be less complicated than Imperial Bank to clean up, to how Tanzania gate crushed the oil pipeline deal between Kenya and Uganda and ran away with it.

I landed on Instagram and got dazzled by what I saw on that morning. Even after all this wastage of time, there was no receptionist to attend me. By now my patience had run out. My eyes got hold of this number artistically inscribed in a piece of artwork that was placed strategically. I called the number only to answered by a lady. Okay, I thought the voice would sound baritone and come stamped by white-like beards. Yaani I expected a Dr. Muthui* (Not his real name) to respond from the other end.

I went ahead and introduced myself before subtly throwing a complaint of how I had waited for a whole 45 minutes without being attended. The mellow voice changed in a matter of seconds. I could hear her cocking her throat and arming herself with all the ATT this world has got. This is how it went down;

 

It can’t be 45 minutes. I have just left 10 minutes ago for tea break.

 You can confirm from the security guys. According to my watch, I have been here for so long.

 It can’t be 45. I’m coming. (She went quiet.)

 (I hanged up.)

 

Before I screamed who cares about her tea break and how was that my problem, I had a tap on my left shoulder. It was my doting Angel hanging lowly and occasionally flapping his humongous wings. He calmed me down even before I got an explanation of how long 10 minutes were, in this part of the world.

She popped in. And there was an awkward silence between us taking shape. She was eager to meet this hell-of- a-client who was throwing shade to her amazing and futuristic career. She gave me a handshake and went straight to her desk. She had a Brenda Wairimu(Actress) resemblance. SmaIl face, a smaller nose, petite physique, extremely light skinned and a commanding persona. Dainty ladies have a way of commanding authority; if it’s not from their assertive voice, then it has to be their confusing hairstyle or resistful eyes or the miniskirts. Haha nature has a way of balancing things.

I inquired about the doctor and to my disappointment he was absent for that day. WTH!!………..How now. They should have placed a sticker somewhere or close the office.

I never like it when a day starts on such a low note. I left when we had made peace and even assured her I will be coming back next week.  That done, my Angel was at it again. This time hovering around me while I made my way out. He made me remember how lawyers accompany their clients from the courtroom heading to the parking bay ignoring the journalists.

 

What is it Angel?

 It’s time we wrote about receptionists.

 Well, I could try it soon.

You got me.

 Thanks Angel.

 

So, I thought about what makes a good or bad receptionist. Has anyone ever bothered to write about the different species of front office ladies? This would be hard to crack but interesting too.

Moody and Mean

These are customer care operators who make it our business to stomach their soaring levels of stress or bad mornings. You identify them by the moment you walk into a waiting lobby. They will pretend not to have seen you and go ahead to hit the keyboard hard, head lowered until someone walks from the opposite direction to have a word with them. That’s when they will be like, “sorry, how can I help you?” They also make long conversations sandwiched by disturbing laughters disregarding your presence and urgency.

Timid

Occasionally you will walk into an office and meet an extremely shy receptionist. She will hardly look to your direction and many a times have a voice that will not be audible. You will struggle to have a conversation with her and will leave with an unsatisfied look.

 Old Lady

You will find them mainly in government offices. They will be grey haired with loosely fitted specs and will take a million years to type a sentence. They will be motherly too, breathing heavily but quite reliable.

Men Only

This type pays homage to men only. They like it when men flatter with them for whatever reason. They highly have fun with serving the male clientele and even go to any length to please them.Typically, these are ladies who entertain a lot of men even in their personal lives.

The Multitasking and Smiley

These are best. They will answer calls from a different end as they take down your details while sorting out the files and reaching on the Messenger to give orders. They will depict high levels of energy, give genuine smiles and lend a keen ear. They will seem motivated and good at what they do. And the icing on the cake; they will recall your first name when you come back few days later.

My angel and I are so done with this challenge and on to the next one.

Blessed week Andreaders and may you Fiji all your good-for-nothing critics, competitors and haters.