Roses are Red, Baby Not so Cute…

aifo

Ever wondered what some people looked like as children? That moneyed boyfriend of yours who isn’t such a looker, maybe? You are probably pouting and declaring, “Looks aren’t everything!”

Well, of course not! How about that girlfriend of yours whose looks resemble those of a certain police chief? Oops! She’s wife material, you say: Whatever makes you sleep at night, man.

One of my aunts usually says that in her eyes, all babies look the same. To be blunt, she won’t be caught dead cooing babies. Perhaps in a bid not to ‘over-do’ things she’ll cuddle the child briefly and hand them over to the next person.

During a recent family gathering, one of my cousins caught her dangling a set of keys over a six month-old’s face –trying to be playful. The latter was not going to let it go and teased my aunt for  daring to do that in this “day and age”.

Anyway, I’m not too sure I agree with her sentiment. In fact, I totally disagree! Babies are NOT the same and as much as they all are born looking like they have just survived a spin in a tumble-dryer; let’s be careful not to make sweeping statements here.

Every parent (some more than others) thinks their child is beautiful, intelligent and smart, etc. That is a wonderful thing because under no circumstances should a child be made to feel that his/her parent is not proud of them.

At the same time most mothers want to hear that their new additions are adorable; I clearly remember taking offense when my best friend took surprise at my daughter’s otherwise large nose soon after birth. I was ready to disown people when comments like, “ngwana wa gago ga a na nko” (your daughter has a small nose) came from relatives.

But, shall we be brutally honest for a second? How many times have you been caught in the dilemma between saying absolutely nothing about how someone’s child looks and telling a white lie? Of course the former is NEVER an option if one doesn’t want to build a database of “frienemies” (friendly enemies), because you couldn’t at least muster a, “Ah, baby’s sooo cute!”

Attention comes ever so naturally with some babies and one can tell by how effortlessly they get people wrapped around their little pinkies like it ain’t sh*t, “All in a day’s work mama… I got this!” Someone would have to eventually step in and save the poor child from being cuddled, bounced up and down; smooched and harassed. With other babies, well…

Just the other day, I encountered a photo of a child of someone known to me and it took me a while before concluding that the child looked ‘interesting’. Shall we leave it at that? Not. I mean, I couldn’t help delving into all sorts of political correctness and usual over-analysis.

You’ve probably seen those kids that look like they are grown-up already; like they’ll tell you where to get off if you try and coo them? It’s worse if they have burdensome names like Amos and Albino at such tender ages. Dammit!

Honestly, sometimes one hopes for a moth turning into a butterfly type of situation for these little souls because playtime can be nightmarish when you are teased about your looks as a child. We all want to churn out ‘beautiful’ babies; which isn’t entirely up to us.

I not only refer to women because as it would occur, men secretly pray for sons who make the girls cry; are competitive and tough. Our biggest task as parents is to build character into the souls we give life to in order for them to be assertive and self-assured, with a healthy self-image.

 

 

 

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Judging A Book By Its Cover

I’ve come to realise how a single kind gesture, perhaps even a single word uttered at the right moment to someone can change their day -even the course of their lives- for the better. This is one of those things that as human beings we take for granted; our ability to set in motion a chain of events that can impact positively or negatively on the lives of others.

In the knowledge that we are “powerful beyond measure” some will use it (this knowledge) for the betterment of society. Sometimes when we are aware and cognisant of just how powerful we are, we become arrogant and don’t shy away from assertions that some individuals wouldn’t be what they are (where they are) without us.

I love Maya Angelou’s quote about the butterfly’s metamorphosis. She says, “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” At face value, this seems like just an inevitable biological process created by nature.

If one looks closer, it is a wonderful metaphor that feeds into the narrative of our everyday lives: It speaks to how we use initial perceptions about one another to form judgements (sub-conscious or otherwise) that shape how we relate to –and treat- one another. Therefore, the phrase “first impressions last” certainly rings true.

How many times have you judged people simply by what they do for a living? I suppose it is quite negligible how often we reckon we have other people figured out, isn’t it?

Ever stopped for a moment to observe the contempt with which some people treat cleaning staff, if you’re in a corporate environment? How about the petrol attendant at the filling station? Or are you one of those people?

a judgeJust a few months ago, in the latter part of 2013 my sister and I took on a catering job at short-notice. We had anticipated the pressure that would come with accepting the offer but what we hadn’t was the somewhat odd, condescending attitude that we encountered from the client.

It could have been that we looked rather young (and wet behind the ears) and for the ‘veterans’ translated to incompetence.I don’t know, perhaps a power trip at play there? I have no doubt that the treatment would have been different if we pitched there dressed in corporate clothing.

It is an open secret that the idea of starting a life with someone -and growing with them  throughout  emotional, physical and especially financial challenges- just doesn’t seem to be ‘cutting it’ anymore.

We can debate all we like about why the ready-made man has such allure to the 21st century woman. We don’t want to know. All we want are the good stories and polished diamonds from which we believe we ought to gain something but to which very little is contributed.

I had to confront myself with serious questions after my mentor –a Media and Communications specialist- revealed that he spent part of his youth doing piece jobs, including scrubbing toilets. He eventually saved up enough cash for a plane ticket to the UK where he kick-started his career, sharing a cramped flat with a group of other migrants.

Would I have treated him with the same kind of reverence then as I do now? Or, would I have dismissed him as a “nobody” and concluded that his fate was sealed?

Quite simply, one’s current circumstances aren’t their defining circumstances. Therefore, let’s remember that life can go either way; a person who had it all can easily find himself right at the bottom of the pile and vice versa. Will you be one of the people condemning him or helping him up?