Pudd’ng, our reliable helper
Posted Tuesday, July 24 2012 at 19:00
Breaking news. Pudd’ng’s got a runner gene. Runner as in messenger. She’s a sucker for errands. Whenever we send her to the shop, she’ll immediately drop whatever she’s doing. I’m sure for her, it’s a chance to prove she’s grown up, and can be trusted with adult tasks.
Initially, we had doubts about sending her to buy stuff. We thought she’d get mixed up. With time though, she proved us wrong.
However, we still give the sweet thing a raft of instructions. “Watch out for cars. Walk on 'this' side of the footpath. Carry money safely. Don’t talk to strangers. Remind me again; what have we sent you?”
After her first jaunt, she was so excited, we didn’t hear the end of it. She couldn’t wait to be sent again. If you asked her, she’d pick your spanking new ride from the showroom, with all the specs, and deliver it to your address ... sans even a teeny-weeny scratch.
A milk and mandazi issue
We’re inculcating in this little citizen the weight of doing certain things. Taking the initiative.
For instance, Pudd’ng knows she must help set the table. And clear it afterwards. No ifs, ands, or buts. One thing she’s always dying to do, but Tenderoni’s vetoing, is doing the dishes. Pudd’ng’s the water dog. I’m sure our H20 bill would look like a barcode if we indulged her for just one week.
“I want to send you to buy milk, then pass at Mtu wa Mandazi’s and grab four hot ones,” Tenderoni told Pudd’ng a couple of weeks ago.
Mtu wa Mandazi is the neighbourhood guy who sells the scrummiest pastries. Every ‘burb has its Croissants’ Court; and every ‘hood has its Mtu wa Mandazi. And off, the messenger shot, after Tenderoni had counted the dough – severally – untill we were sure baby girl could recite the amount in her sleep.
“What’s the name of the milk? How many mandazi?” Tenderoni asked one more time, and Pudd’ng was spot-on.
Boys in the ‘hood
As a kid, when Ma sent me, I’d recite her instructions like a tonic sol-fa. But I still goofed. At times it was my friends who made me succumb to their sweet talking “Tapo” temptations. Afterwards, I dreaded the walk of shame back home ... because I knew Ma would seek my sorry hide, even from back o’ Bourke.
Sometimes it was the near-similarity of trade names that confused me silly. One time I was sent to buy steel wire to scrub sufurias. Uh-uh. You don’t want to know what I returned home with. It was when Ma told me to scrub sufurias with, um, the Strepsils lozenge that, bam, my senses returned from Tapo-World.
Milk by any other name
When Pudd’ng took longer than usual to return, my mind went into overdrive. Just as Tenderoni was about to go after her, baby girl bounded in, and handed over the shopping bag.
“Messenger of Vanish,” Tenderoni teased, peeking inside the paper bag. “You look not well.”
Pudd’ng’s face dropped. I mean, like botox gone awfully wrong. When Tenderoni said that they must return to the shop because our daughter had got things mixed up, the poor thing almost chained herself on our burglar proof door. Omtataesque.
That’s defence mechanism. As a child, when told to return something to the shop, I’d feel done for. Just like moi back in the day, it took some convincing to unchain Pudd’ng.
“She gave me ten bob and told me to give her fresh milk,” the shopkeeper explained to Tenderoni. “That’s why I gave her this reja-reja milk. I didn’t know she meant ‘Fresha’.”