If you know me well, then you must know how I believe that I know many things. In fact, I sometimes even secretly think that I know everything, which is why you can understand my surprise when it took a toddler to prove to me that I am delusional.
Kwezi is good at imitations. If I sneeze, she tries to sneeze. If I make a face, she makes a face and this gave me the impression that maybe if I sat on the toilet and made her sit on her potty, she would imitate me once again and understand that this was time for serious business. How wrong I was!
Every time she stood up from the potty, I would make a small prayer, hoping for “good feedback”. Nothing. I tried again another day. Nothing. By this time, she had seen no other use for the potty and she started using it for other activities. To my irritation, she started using her bum and hands to “drive” herself, hooting and, to my horror, waving her tiny hand like she is in a Range Rover.
I didn’t know what to do and I chose to blame myself for buying her a potty that was literally like a chair. I jumped into action and went to Kimironko market where I paid my Rwf800 and came home with a green, practical replacement. Nothing.
When my irritation hit its peak, I packed her up and literally dumped her at my parents’ house. She stayed for eight days and when I eventually picked her up, there was a significant change. I knew my mother was a magician but I didn’t know about her miracles. Kwezi understood the purpose of a potty. She is yet to fully grasp the concept but we are slowly getting there. Last night, I almost threw a party when she announced “potty” before I put her to bed. I kissed and hugged her like she had just won a trophy. I was celebrating someone’s bladder movement and it really felt like a big milestone.
Last week, I told you that the beauty of raising a child is that you are always learning something. What did my mother do to interest Kwezi in a potty? I was suspicious. Was there a bribe? No. She exercised the two things that I need to work on—patience and incentive. Give it time and reward the small steps. Today, I clap and ululate when she ‘susus’ and I let her enjoy carrying the potty to the toilet and having the honour to flush. She too feels accomplished.
I have learnt something about humility and I have fully embraced the fact that like any other modern new mum, I will still have to rely on Google and more experienced mothers for help that's okay.
We just can’t wait to celebrate bowel movement.