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DEAR SON: Your dad’s musings from children’s clinic bench

Wednesday January 24 2018

I’m yet to get over your reaction after the sharp end of a needle pricks your soft skin. ILLUSTRATION| IGAH

I’m yet to get over your reaction after the sharp end of a needle pricks your soft skin. ILLUSTRATION| IGAH 

By PETER MOGAMBI

Dear Jijee,

I’m yet to get over your reaction after the sharp end of a needle pricks your soft skin. I’m referring to the aftermath of the vaccines. Truth be told, as I’m penning this, I am still yet to witness the actual injection being administered to you.  

I pray that I never do because otherwise, I will look like the woman who was photographed blocking her closed eyes and wincing in pain as her son was receiving an injection in his arm.

However, I have witnessed how you look weather-beaten after a vaccine injection and it has never looked good at all. I even reached a point where I hated that tough-headed Eve and her bae Adam.

Had they not eaten that fruit, that darned fruit, we could not have been having it this tough. Children’s lives would be without vaccines every three or so months and parents will live without buying food and diapers (because, heck, we’d be one with nature; eating fruits and naming things). Most importantly, it would be life without injections. And tablets the size of an ugali pinch.

I was last at a children’s clinic about 18 months from the time of writing this. Dads, I was told, were wanted at prenatal clinics and I decided to be a good dad and show up. I wished I didn’t.

HOW CRUEL

I regretted my visit because of the innocence of the kids before they headed into the injection room.

One minute a child was bubbly and full of life bothering their parent as they played all over the waiting room.

Then the next moment, you would hear a scream from the hyper kid behind a closed door. How cruel, Eve and Adam!

Attending a children’s clinic as a man guarantees you endless stares because there are high chances you will be the only male in a line of about 50 women and 50 or more children in of different ages.

So, that day, I was literally the only man in the group. With me were all sorts of women.

There was one who was constantly on her phone, paying little attention to her blabbering son, and I was there thinking maybe childbirth had interrupted her slaying on the social media and now she was starting to bounce back.

I thought to myself: These are the kind of women whose photo uploads cease as soon as they become visibly pregnant and resurface some months after birth — with no photo or information about the child.

DROPPED OUT OF SCHOOL…

There was another who looked clearly like she had dropped out of school to raise the child.

I itched to know whether the boyfriend was still in school or if it was some paedophile-at-large who had confused her with the small Samsung phone she had.

And I saw a mother with identical twins. Raising two girls must be real pain in the head, I reckoned.

I could imagine both having a go at her face or hair with the sadism installed only in children. It makes them have no idea of how much pain their tiny hands inflict on others.

And I could visualise her head, on a typical day when she was playing with them, hurting more than the Saviour’s that Friday when a crown of thorns was shoved down his head.

Another woman was dozing off at the bench and for a moment I feared her muscles would relax then drop the toddler in her hands. I could almost understand.

Perhaps it was the family house help who had been sent to the clinic so that the kid could not skip the injection.

I could bet it was a house help from the way she was dressed. I could visualise her working late into the night and waking up early morning to ensure

the whole family got a head start to the day ahead before bringing the junior to the clinic. But why should a mother delegate clinic visits to a house help?

As I was busy judging, your mum’s name was called.

Yours in people-judging lenses,

Dad

***

This series brings you writings by Peter Mogambi, a Nairobi residentwho became a father in January 2017. By the time his son is old enough to read and comprehend, which is at least 11 years from today, a lot of water will have passed under the bridge. So, he has decided to preserve happenings in black and white so that when the boy can finally comprehend, he will get to follow his father’s feelings.