The Abscondita Effect

Maggie has a uniform.

It was her only request when she started working with us.  We agreed and had some made, including aprons.

My father in law is a mechanic, so he spends a lot of time on overalls. As Leo has not started school yet, he spends a lot of time with his grandpa tinkering around. We decided to have an overall made for him so we do not have to struggle with grease on his clothes. You should have seen how excited he was when he wore it for the first time, he even wanted to sleep in it.

Now my princess felt left out and asked for a uniform like Maggie’s. Complete with an apron so she can help out in the housework. I was taken aback at first as I thought she would ask for an overall like her brother’s. But no, she was adamant. Uniform with an apron, same design and colour as Maggie’s.

I thought it was a phase and ignored it for some weeks, but the girl was persistent. Turns out she even requested Maggie to take her to the local tailor to have her measurements taken. This Mum still thought it was a joke, until I was asked for some money to pay the fundi yesterday morning.

I came home from work to find my girl brimming with pride over her uniform. I have never been so jazzed up as I was yesterday. The girl is so excited she can now look like Maggie as she helps her.

I am learning a lot out of this; I am a young parent but I am learning to let my kids be. If it does not harm them and will help them, who am I to deter them?

I have learnt to appreciate Maggie more. She is excellent with kids and it is obvious they love and respect her. A LOT. She loves them too, see how she just took them to have measurements taken and even picked the clothes herself. Men the kids do not even talk back at her (unlike me). Yani, I do not know how I can ever repay her for the great job she is doing with my kids.

I have also learnt that written education is not everything. In many of the Moms groups I am in, mothers are looking for young, educated help for their kids and a whole endless list of perfect qualities they must have. Ours was only for Maggie to love and care for our kids and she has done a fabulous job, without even knowing how to read. Yes, you read me right. The first time she told me she was semi –literate I thought she was joking but yes, she cannot read written instructions. And yes, she was able to measure formula well and has never mixed up the kids’ medication.

I have learnt to be patient. Maggie is much older than H and I. We have learnt to take some things in stride and overlook some, because nobody is perfect in this world. And she is much wiser than us, raised more kids than us and lived longer than us, so on some issues, she knows best and me and my degree certificates just take a back seat. She also cooks porridge better than me, according to my angels 🙂

This has also challenged me on the gender stereotypes we have, and I am still working on this. We have exposed both kids to the same environment, they both tinker with their grandpa on the cars he is working on, both help in house chores including the cooking, both help out in the shamba, both play with the same toys (they have full blown tea parties) but Njeri just gravitated towards household chores. I need to dust off my developmental psychology notes as I am lost on this. Have we subconsciously taught them gender roles or is it just Njeri growing into her gender identity? Leo has more blurred lines but you will hear him say some things are not for boys, or for girls.

Raising kids is a whole degree in psychology I tell you.

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Dear Abscondita

Sigh. Abscondita has burnt two of my suits with the iron. Just realised the one I am wearing today has a scorch mark on the side too. She has always ironed tin clothes well but of late I do not know what is happening. So now I have to buy three new suits that I had not budgeted for. Why you do me like that Abscondita? Why? I am not looking forward to the conversation we will have when I get home in the evening. Sigh. 

Abscondita tales

Now that NSSF has asked us to register our house helps, they have not told us how to deal with those who do not want to be registered. Like my dear Abscondita. She says she does not need it as she is not going to be in employment long enough to have a tidy amount that will help her later in life. She is quite old and has always told me we’ll be her last employers. She is fine with NHIF but no NSSF for her and she’s adamant on the same. This is very interesting coming from someone who knows and gets paid minimum wage, overtime when applicable and wants to know when my annual leave is so she can plan for hers at the same time 🙂  Before NSSF we had agreed to put part of her salary in her savings account which she can access after employment, and she is fine with it. How do i convince her to agree? And what to do when the NSSF folks knock on our door?

Rainy mess

Abscondita is a day scholar, and usually leaves when I get home. I rushed home today to avoid being caught up in the rain and released her. I unfortunately assumed she had shut the door leading outside behind her, and she unfortunately assumed I would shut it. It has been raining for over forty minutes now and i have just realised the veranda is wet, really wet. The direction of the rain and strong winds are not helping as the seat cushions in the veranda are wet too. Sigh.

Abscondita

Abscondita is the name H used to refer to our house help when she did not come to work for three days. However it’s because she was not feeling well. I think he called her that as she put off taking meds until I pushed her too. This was the first time she had really ticked me off. I have had no other reason to complain as she’s really good with the baby, mature and never been late for work. Her views on life are rather quirky and you can be sure I’ll be posting some of the .funny things she says. One time she asked if we’re going on holiday to Mombasa in December. When I asked why, she said that she wanted to come with us so she could also visit her relative who lives there. Reason she can’t go by herself, “unajua mtanibeba na gari na tutakaa kwa hoteli kama wahindi”.  Another time I made oats for breakfast and she commented “nyinyi ni wazungu, hao tu ndio wanakula hizo, na supaketi na nyama ya kusiaga”. The most interesting request she made however was when we hired her, it was to just allow her to wear a uniform as she does not want her clothes to wear out 🙂 Abscondita is funny.