Fatherhood Chronicles: Calla the Toddler

calla teaching daddy new tricks

Been a while since I told you about Calla. It’s been a while since I told you anything. Such has life been, busy. I think busyness comes with age, and responsibility. Like the responsibility of raising a toddler girl. Fatherhood.

People call them Terrible Twos for a reason. We decided Calla will be called Terrific Two when she turned two, which she is most of the time. But you have to admit that she has a terrible toddler side at times.

Now she can count to twenty. Okay, 1-13 are perfect, the rest are placed in no particular order. Like van, tuu, yhii, foo, faiv, sigs, se’en, aiiti, nain, teeen! E’eben, teer’f, thatii, se’entin, fiftiin, twenti!

And she perfectly sings A to Zii (it’s zii, oldies, not zed – or zendi where I come from). Sometimes with spellings like A for Apple, B for B-baby Cayya, C for chat meeeow, D for dog wolf wolf, E for eepha fooooo, E for fis… daaadi… swim? That’s the alphabet ending with her asking if we can go swim.


She knows more colours than I do. She has an App where she keeps drawing stuff in different colours in a beautiful mess. I think she will be an artist.

toddler calla drawings
Calla draws things like Father, Mother and Baby.

Or an actor. She knows most TV ads by heart and re-enacts then exactly as they are. Being in the advertising space myself, Calla’s reactions to ads are how I know an advertisement is catchy or not. That said, if you work in an agency, Calla is ready for an internship. 🙂

She also knows most animals, and their sounds by heart. We took her to the Nairobi Orphanage the other day and I saw the world unravel in her eyes. She knew many of the animals, but had never seen them live. “Woooow lion! Roooooaaaar!” Ma-nki! Woo woo wooo!” Everyone was stopping to stare and laugh.

Calla bonding with a warthog
Calla bonding with a warthog

Do we teach her any of these things? Naah. I’m among the worst teachers out here. She learns things from cartoons, which she practices in real life. For example, she now eats an apple with a banana. You give her an apple, she demands a na-na. And then she starts singing the eepies and beneenees song.

Calla sings. A lot. She has better vocal chords than Mercy Chinwo singing “Jesus I love you too much ooh – chuumacho chu macho eches a vooo!” She only needs to hear beats of a song on radio to start singing the song almost perfectly. I don’t know how many times she has to listen to a song to sing it, but she sings almost all songs she hears.

Do you know a good music school for a toddler?

This talent has to be nurtured. Lest it becomes like mine. I used to be a kickass goalkeeper – but I was encouraged to read. You can see the impact – I am fat, and Harambee Stars continues to lose all games.

Calla is an intelligent baby – that’s right, I am bragging. I am proud.

toddling in the bush
Toddling in the bush

Makes us think of taking her to school already. But then remember she’s going to spend over 20 years of her life in school and decide to let her enjoy being a baby. Maybe we are selfish, wanting to spend more time with her. Did you realize the moment a baby leaves the house to go to school becomes the last time you spend time with then wholly? School gives way to career and marriage… Or whatever the kid decides to do with their life.

Now, pause to imagine a married Calla. With children of her own. And some wrinkles on her perfect face. And oozing wisdom. 🙂

We pray that that happens in our lifetime. See how Calla will relate to get kids and grand-kids. And if they will be like her.

For now, we will enjoy this oh so lovely, annoying toddler.

Because I am writing this on the tablet, and she doesn’t want me to have my peace, she’s here saying “Daddee, daddi Cayya! I vont tabeet.

I have no option but give it to her. Sitaki kuliliwa.

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