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Raising kids away from home

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Raising kids away from home can be a source of so many parental challenges.

My Diaspora Diary with Rumbi Munochiveyi

I struggle a lot with secret or private communication in public. My sons are only fluent in “The Eye” language, and with everything else, clueless.

So I can pretty much give them the eye and put them in the exact place I want them in no time, anywhere, and yet anything else fails.
Secondly, I’m raising them in a place where I’ve learned; it’s not okay for parents to lie to children, it’s not okay to teach kids to lie. But every now and then, I want them to lie a bit, to lie a bit for me.

Last year, on one bright afternoon, heavily pregnant with Baby Sarah, and taking bathroom breaks every 25 minutes, Takunda and I went to pick up the “Medium-Brother,” Anesu, from school. The “Biiig-Brother,” Tino, had Chess, and would only leave an hour and forty-five minutes later and we were to wait for him somewhere nearby.

By the time we got to the school, I desperately needed to use a bathroom and had asked one framing shop earlier but they’d only let Kunda in. So by the time we got Nesu I had to find one in the school.

Everyone seemed to be closing down and in the rushed lining up for buses and pick-ups one teacher noticed I was looking for something.
The only bathroom nearby was the one in the Special Needs classroom and it’s meant for kids only. When the teacher asked I said we needed a bathroom, pointing at Kunda using my head.

The teacher, clearly sympathetic, looked at Kunda and said, oh let’s get you something quickly little one.

She rushed us into the Special Needs classroom and asked the class teacher if, this little man here, could use their bathroom.
No problem, the teacher answered, so glad to help.

But for the life of me, I have no idea why I just had to say, okay boys which one do we get into?

I guess it doesn’t matter so what shall it be, the boys’ or the girls’?

And Nesu and Kunda stood there, still, as though frozen, and away from the bathrooms. Now, Kunda in his confusion, he quickly retorted, I don’ wan’ use bathroom.

Close to embarrassment, I looked at him and with the hard focused look, I asked again, Kunda don’t you want to pee?

And he answered, No mama, I never said I wannu pee. So I looked at Nesu again, giving him the, just-go-along look, and asked him, Nesu you want to pee right? And Nesu, loud as always gave me his big, NO Mum, I NEVER said I wanted to pee. And he just had to wear the biggest, smuggest smile as he said that.

So I turned to the teacher and said aah kids, now no one wants to use the bathroom.

She just smiled and said, that’s what they all do, and we all left. And I hadn’t used the bathroom, and I was almost at break point.
But I also wasn’t just about to let the teacher know I had lied for the kids and that I’m the shameless adult that wanted to use the Special Needs bathroom that she won’t even use.

After we left the school we drove to the nearest fast food place and, much as I hate their bathroom, I had to use it. As soon as we walked into the bathroom Nesu stopped, put his hands on his waist and said, uh-huh, so you ARE the one who wanted to use the bathroom right??? And he gave me that smug smile again.

I wanted to laugh. I wanted to scream at him, “SO you knew???” But I didn’t answer him. I just smiled back and thought to myself I’ll get him one day.

I would never have done that to my mother. It was an unsaid code that I got along with any white lie she told.

It was my duty to back her up, or even make one up for her without prompting.

But why, I just had to go on and buy into raising my kids somewhat different from the way my mother did, and for that, I must suffer all this silly humiliation and inconvenience.

He won this one, but I promise you, I’ll get him, and I’ll get him I promise. I am the mother here.

From the diary of a scared mother of four*

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