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Other people’s kids

People assume that just because one is a parent, one loves kids. Rubbish, I can’t stand kids that are not my own. And there’s nothing I hate more than parents who can’t stop jabbering on and on about their kids and how smart they are and how “little Sizwe said the sweetest thing the other day”. Aaargh!!! I’d much rather spend an evening getting a colonoscopy — even if Dr Basson was giving it.

And what most people don’t seem to realise, as they pin you down in a corner at the cocktail party — photos of their amphibian offspring in hand — is that for starters, nobody cares. Secondly, how many times has some colleague or friend bored you to death about just how cute “little Jeremy” is for months on end, until you set your eyes on little Jeremy for the first time? And then you discover that your friend has been talking about a member of some extra-terrestrial race — a purple blob that is a cross between Jabba the Hut and one of the Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Here’s a free tip, folks, your kids are only cute to you! Kinda reminds me of a mean story I heard about a mom who gets incensed when a bus driver makes disparaging remarks about her baby’s looks as she boards. A fellow passenger –who didn’t hear the exchange — upon seeing her anger, decides to support her: “Look, whatever the driver said to you, don’t take it lying down. Go back and confront him. Here, let me hold your monkey for you.”

It’s not so much that I hate kids. It’s just that … kids … are … not … nice … people in general. Honest people will agree with me. And I do “believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way, show them all the beauty they possess inside … ” and all those great sentiments with wailing violins in the background. There’s one problem, though. I have kids of my own and I know what I’m talking about.

There is the eldest, the 14-year-old. Great kid, but with an insatiable appetite for entertainment and finance-depleting gadgets. He set the scene for what was to come when he was about three. He would walk into my room, eyes swimming in a pond of tears.

Gadget man: Ngifuna leyanto enjena. (“I want my thing that looks like this” — arm raised, palm open in neo-Nazi salute)
Befuddled dad: What’s that? (Looking for help from mommy who shrugs)
GM: I want my thing! The one that looks like this!!! (Now ranting in a perfect Fuhrer impersonation)
BD: B-b-but son, I don’t know what that is. You want your SS uniform, a skyscraper? What?

And so on it will continue for another ten minutes until he collapses in a heap from the sheer exhaustion of trying to get through to his thick-skulled father. Of course the mystery has been solved. I think he was seeing 10 years into the future and wanted a PS III, an Xbox and the R4 000 Sony Ericsson Walkman phone on which he spends 23 hours discussing “you know, stuff” with his buddies on Mxit. And this was when he was not wailing like a banshee at the Pick n Pay because I refused to buy him frozen sausages for him to snack on while we shopped.

Then there’s the 4-year-old who’s in the throes of the talkathon phase of his development. I was involved in bringing this child into this world but I’m starting to question why. It’s not so much that he talks non-stop, all day long. It’s just that I have no idea what this kid is saying and why he has the uncontrollable urge to share this gibberish with me. Not that I want to understand what he’s saying, because in his rare moments of lucidity, when I can understand him, he says things that strike the fear of God into my soul. I have told my wife that I believe he is preparing for a career directing … bad movies.

For starters, he garbles up fairy tales such that there are always Three Bears, Three Dwarfs and Goldilocks — all huffing and puffing. And there are other little things he says that concern me. During the festive season one of his teenager cousins was visiting and I think we have a peeping Tom on our hands: “Baba and I have pee-pees. Cousin X has a bum over there.” A head start in anatomical detail for his chosen career path?

But there is hope, in the form of the youngest, the bow-legged 14-month-old — the reincarnation of my gallant forefathers who “wet their spears” with the blood of the Younghusbands on the eastern slope of Isandlwana. They were members of the Unokhenke regiment during the skirmish that was preceded by the famous eclipse of the sun on January 22 1879. If your great grandpa was a member of the Younghusbands; my condolences. In my defence, I have valid reasons for my nostalgia. You see; my two eldest are a pair of notorious coconuts. I have failed miserably to mould them in my image.

Enter the 14-month-old. This chap is a full-blooded Zulu with all the appropriate leanings. He prefers his formula to be no warmer than 39.4°C and no colder than 38.7°C. There have been incidents involving unsuspecting members of the extended family shoving bottles into his mouth outside of the approved temperature range. Let me put it this way; Avent, the UK-based baby bottle manufacturer, makes particularly sturdy bottles that create dangerous projectiles in the throwing hand of a future Olympic javelin champion.

Also, the elder pair of Oreos — they have an aversion to isiZulu, the language of their forefathers. Not so the bow-legged Zulu warrior. The other day he tried to make a bee-line for my tumbler of Klippies-and-Coke and I cut him off just in time. (Don’t judge my choice in beverages. Credit crunch). In any case, he turned around, looked me straight in the eye, pointed a fat finger at me and hissed “NJA!” (You dog!) As I walked away from the Klippies battle scene, dabbing at my eyes filled with tears of joy, I was overcome with emotion. Maybe there is hope, after all. Maybe he can rub off on the coconuts.

The more astute reader realises what just happened. While reading this, I have been pinning you down in a corner at a cocktail party and we’ve been poring over my kids’ pictures.

Don’t you just hate other people’s kids?

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  • Ndumiso Ngcobo

    Once upon a time, Ndumiso Ngcobo used to be an intelligent, relevant man with a respectable (read: boring-as-crap) job which funded his extensive beer habit. One day he woke up and discovered that he had lost his mind, quit his well-paying job, penned a collection of hallucinations. A bunch of racist white guys published the collection just to make him look more ridiculous and called it 'Some of my best friends are white'. (Two Dogs, ISBN 978-1-92013-718-2). Nowadays he spends his days wandering the earth like Kwai Chang Caine, munching locusts, mumbling to himself like John the Baptist and searching for the meaning of life at the bottom of beer mugs. The racist publishers have reared their ugly heads again and dangled money in his face to pen yet another collection of hallucinations entitled 'Is It Coz 'm Black'. He will take cash, major credit cards and will perform a strip tease for contributions to his beer fund.