Today’s kids belong to a world apart. Children are gifts from heaven; I have always equated them with such precious things as cut diamonds. But I tell you, this view is apt, because those creatures are as hard and multi-faceted as cut diamonds. Just when you think you have a handle on a today’s kid, you are greeted with a fiery, hard and cold side of the little imp. I thought I was good with kids. I thought I was gifted in comprehending their enigmatic ways, but I have a whole world to learn about those little people.

Chukwuteim likes custard with his beans. No one else likes the combination as much as the 8-year-old Little Ja Rule likes it. Nobody really cares to make him a bowl of custard to have his bean porridge with, as he likes it, but I care. I will do anything for a child, and I do everything for this little guy, especially if we are on speaking terms. We were on speaking terms this morning. Although the little tart had beaten me, thrice in a row, in a game of chess last night. I’ve been trying to be nice to him so we may have another game tonight, and a chance to redeem my prestige as his tutor in chess. I chose to teach him how to make his favourite of milk and sugar sweetened bowl of custard.

He didn’t even seem to need my instructions, as he set a kettle of water to boil. But I showed him to use a dry spoon to measure the custard powder into a bowl, add an equal measure of cold water, stir-in a required measure of sugar, and just enough milk to have a rich, thick mixture; and to trickle in the boiling water while stirring until the mixture turns viscous, creamy and ready to eat. The smirking little man had stood back to survey the outcome of his experiment as if he was Pinky or The Brain who’d just taken over the world afteral.

The reward for my condescension came during the eating. I had been greeted with frowns and cold shoulder when the little imp had done wiping clean his bowl of beloved custard. He was still having much bean-porridge on his plate, and there was no trace of the custard I have guided him to make for himself. I asked what happened, and why he wasn’t looking pleased with his favourite meal? He replied in a sulk, and desultry tones that I have short-rationed him.

“But na you make the custard by yourself na, abi?”

I pointed out to him. He’d measured out the ingredients for the custard himself, albeit under my direction. I had even added more raw custard powder when his mixture turned out too watery, before the introduction of boiling water. That had actually increased the quantity he had initially gauged for his meal. I shouldn’t be accountable if he feels short-changed. Be his accusation defeated my logic. As he replied through a pout, punctuating his point with accusing pointing fingers:

“…is it not you? You deceived me and let me make small custard, but if it is your own you will make biiiiiiiiig one… and you will eat and eat and eat till your tummy is fuuuuull to your throat…!

I couldn’t make head or tail of his accusation that time. I still have not, till this moment, unravelled this new aspect of the little guy I thought I knew so well I could hear his thoughts. You just never know with children, especially today’s kids. They seem to have a whole set of norms, values and codes far removed from the realm of grown ups. The hidden world of today’s kids is impenetrable to the outsider grown ups. In the world of today’s kids, they are the natives, and we, grown-ups, are the aliens.

Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.


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