Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Musings of a Father ( A tribute to all long suffering fathers out there)

It is the Sallah holiday. I have finally agreed to take my daughter to "Atama Amusement Park".

If you live in Abuja and do not know where it is,you are forgiven. It is actually Maitama Amusement Park,but her four year old tongue has not figured out how to pronounce Maitama yet.

I know some people from the South West who pronounce Gwagwalada,an area council in Abuja,as Gbagbalada!

If you decide to take a four year old to an amusement park,be prepared for an emptying experience;of you wallet,your strength,and your patience!

As we got to the gate she saw some folks exiting the park and remarked "why are they going home,the park has not closed yet! 

I knew I was already in trouble!

We bought our entry tickets,and as soon as we entered the venue,she took off like someone who was late for an important appointment. 

I could barely keep up,it was like trying to walk six bull mastiffs at once,without falling down!

The first ride she pointed to was one contraption that looks like what they use to simulate gravity at NASA!

It is curiously called the Frog. 

It slowly lifts you up vertically,and suddenly drops you from about twenty feet! 

Just contemplating it scared the hell out of me.There was no way I was going to allow her to ride on that thing! 

I told her her mother would need to be around,and consent,before she could go on it.

Later that day at home,I found out that my wife had equally declined the same offer to allow her ride the Frog!

A modern day amusement park is the closest thing to a legal "shakedown" you will ever find. Most of the rides do not last more than three minutes,and the children do not seem to tire quickly enough! 

Their roaring rambunctious rough housing seems to ebb one's energy while theirs increases! 

It would have been nice if God had fitted us with a speed setting:idle, normal,and slow!

Please remind me not to attempt to have a child at sixty. I wonder how Larry King copes?

In between balancing the contradictions of trying to give your child a treat, managing you money without looking like a skinflint to yourself,and trying to actually be the parent,you begin to wonder what crime you committed in your past life to find yourself in this predicament.

When we were growing up,all we knew were swings (which we called Jangrover),and they seemed to suffice. 

These days,the new fangled mechanical contraptions go as fast as your money disappears,quickly!

And then you have those annoying vendors who allure you child into wanting everything on offer.Books you have already bought,and toys they already have;the child does not seem to get it:our needs and our wants are different! 

The poor child,not knowing that you are on your last nerve,and leg,falls for them and begins to chant "Daddy buy this! Daddy buy that! And you being the adult,have to carefully,but firmly coax them from the temptations on offer!

There should be a law against such shameless behaviour. Using a child to put pressure on a father who is already worse for wear from coming to the park alone!

Equally worthy of condemnation are the ride operators. They attempt to collect money from you without issuing a ticket! Come on! I am not happy spending this money,why do you think I would give it to you to enjoy. If I cannot keep it myself,neither can you!

And all too soon,you arrive at that inevitable moment of crisis when you tell your child it is time to go home;everyone around would know how horrid a parent you are from the well-aimed tantrum!

It is almost as if you have not even allowed her to look at a ride,let alone ride on the ten she has experienced!

So you threaten,bluff,cajole,and negotiate,order,pull,push,shove,and finally scream your way out of the park, until the next installment!

Christmas time,and it is barely a month away!

I may just dodge that one with a well aimed trip out of town!

Naah! I actually enjoyed every moment. It is what we live for!


(First written in November last year. Happy Fathers' day everyone)

No comments:

Post a Comment