January 25th and February 2 (between 3pm and 4:30pm)of this year, I learnt more within that time frame than I taught humanly possible.
Those were the two days that I had to pick up my god-daughter Kai from school and drop her home to Chaguanas. Working within thePort of Spain, I am her parents’ back up in case they cannot make it in time to pick her up from school.
They told me about this arrangement like a year ago but who knew the day would actually come. On January 25, I got the call around 1:00pm about the “pick up”. I was terrified.
I wondered if Kai would actually leave the school with me as she is not a child that goes to everyone she knows easily. She has moods and moments. It take s her a while to warm up to people depending on the mood.
Strange that I wasn’t worried about the teachers or the school but my only god-daughter’s reaction to me. Rejection in any form is not nice.
Anyway, after panicking a bit and picking up a few snacks for her to have on the way home, I arrived safely in front of the daycare and got a nice parking spot.
Her kindergarten is like Fort Knoxand I had to show ID and announce myself to be allowed in.
I walked over to the area where she was and she came to me looking a little sleepy but there was calm. We got her knapsack and lunch kit and walked out to my car. She was quiet.
“Ah want to go home” was the first sentence uttered while buckling her into the back seat.
“That’s where we are going Kai”
“Ah want to go home”
“Kai, you will be home just now ok?”
“If you are hungry, there are some snacks right next to you ok?”
“OK” she said very quietly.
I drove off and told her that we are going to the supermarket to get her some juice and then we will be heading home. No response.
One minute later:
“Can I have a snack please?”
“Sure Kai. Which one”
She pointed to the Motts Fruit Snack (tastes like gummi bears). I opened up the pack for her and she ate them all in the 2 minutes it took for us to get to Hi-Lo Woodbrook.
We come out of the car and I carry her into Hi-Lo. I pick up another pack of gummi bears, a small bottle of water and a small pack of juice. While cashing for it, the cashier and a lady behind her keep looking back and forth between Kai and myself to see some sort of resemblance…Sigh Trinis…
Anyway, we were back in the car and off we went….right back into Traffic!1 Ugh I detest TRAFFIC!!. It is one of the reasons that I refuse to move back East. I rather live in the West than have to deal with this bumper to bumper traffic to get out of Port of Spain.
All in well in the car and then I hear, “Oops”
“What happened Kai?”
“I dropped some of the chips”
I looked in the back and ALL of the chips from the Plantain chip snacks were either on the ground or on the seat. I managed to get some into a plastic bag I had for garbage and promised her to deal with the rest later.
“Untle Stefan, it scratching meh leg. Ah don’t want to sit down here.”
With this crisis, I had to pull out of traffic to the side of the road, take her out of the seat. Clean it and then put her back in. I made her stand on the other side of the back seat while I cleaned everything. She insisted on wanting to sit behind me while I drove. That wasn’t happening.
Time elapsed: 15 minutes from pick up.
By the time we got to the highway, she had spilt juice on herself and I wiped that up with even taking my eye off the road. Now that she had warmed up to me, the talking started and it seemed as if it would never end
“What is this?”
“I don’t like dat music. Turn it off”
“Ah want some breeze.”
“Untle Stefan ah want to get a juice for mommy”
“What is this shadow?”
“Ah want to put up the shade”
“Can I take off the seat belt” “NO!!”
“Ah want to go home”
“Where we going?”
“Ah want some more juice please.”
This went on for what seemed like an eternity and folks I have to say that I failed to take control. The music was turned off briefly until I realised that I must be going am dot let a child dictate my pace. The windows went down also and the “air Con” was turned off, just to accommodate her. Sigh….the love of a child.
Then it came.
“Untle Stefan I wil sleep when I go home. Ok?”
“Kai, if you want you can sleep now.”
And with that, she was out like a light. My heart was filled with joy as she slept the rest of the way to her house. Taking her out of the car when we got to her house brought on a weird feeling that I couldn’t shake no matter how hard I tried.
I want this! I want this headache of taking care of a child. I want to have someone hug you like this unconditionally. I want to be able to mould a young mind into an upstanding member of society. Yes, this is what I want!! The feeling inside was strong. It felt good having this young child hold me and not want to let go.
Honestly, I like the idea of having a child (or two) and being seen around with an infant and people asking those inquisitive questions and women looking on at you with grins on their faces as you take care of a young one…well these things are nice.
Fifteen minutes later, Kai was awake and active again and wanted to play with me. And not just normal sit on lap and play with my iPad type play; no she wanted to run up and down outside.
By the time I got back into my car and finally got home, I was exhausted. The feeling had also left me and I was back to the “so good to be single” mode. What was I thinking?
Thursday Feb 5th cam around and I got to do the trip all over again. This time. She did not sleep a wink in the car. She talked non-stop for the ENTIRE ride.
The warm fuzzy feeling of wanting children, never returned with the same force it did the first time. However, I can’t escape the undeniable pleasure that I get from spending time with Kai and hopefully we will continue to have a good relationship as she grows up.
I do however realise that at the end of the day, the idea of children is a wonderful one. The responsibility for taking care of them…well that scares the black off of my skin.
God bless parents!!