Last week Sisi (our domestic worker Mavis) told me that she wanted to “adopt” her husband’s nephew, a 10-month-old baby who is barely eating, let alone being stimulated and vaccinated, and whose young mom is still in school, and dad is unemployed.
Tragically, this is not a first in South Africa, nor a last. And sadly, Sisi has been struggling to become pregnant (an ectopic pregnancy a few years ago resulted in her losing her tube).
At first, I was scared by the “change”, and fearful for the responsibility that we have since the baby will be living with us. Will I hear the baby crying at night? Will I need to pay for another child’s school fees (I already do)? Will Mavis still be able to look after you and us?
But the most selfish thoughts gave way to excitement and hope when I realised how happy this will make Mavis, how incomplete she feels, and what a brilliant mom she will be (she has after all been pivotal in raising one awesome dude).
Immediately we got to the logistics – getting out all your old stuff, going for checkups, other support systems. And then I stopped myself, and said that I’m not the mom, and that Mavis needs to tell me when to back off. That cute bundle will not be “ours”, and our most important “rule” was determined – honesty when either of us oversteps the line.
I have explained to you that Sisi is getting a baby, and you’re excited. You’re still too young to be asking about the hows, but each time you see Sisi you ask where her baby is. We have bought presents, and you chose some wonderful toys for Baby from “you”. Like preparing a child for a sibling, I have told you that Sisi loves you enormously, and will still look after you, and in turn, we will play and nurture when it’s our place. I have assured you that you will not be required to nor asked to change nappies.
I’m excited for us. I’m excited for Mavis.
Feature image via Easionline
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