Meet Little Explorer and His Budding Independence

Meet Little Explorer and His Budding Independence

I still don’t know whom I prefer between calm Mandla and playful Mandla considering I miss his antics immediately he goes down for a nap. Mandla loosely means Strength. And boy does he have it in its entirety. A scheduled sob session, tea in hand, shock absorbers in close proximity, chuckles on the side and plenty free time is needed to explain just how befitting it is  As for today, meet Mandla my little exploring machine.


toddler sleeping

At Calm City  


He is 1 year and 3 months but in my best first-time mom voice, 15 months. The growth, exponential.. the development, a wonder.. the energy, insane. Gone are the days he would fix his gaze at something and chill the whole time until he remembers to cry. Nowadays you don’t have to wake him up for anything. Always on the move, we’re left wondering how moving forward we shall handle his high energy and smarts.

Kids are naturally bright. They can spot that 10 bob coin you hid in a hurry so that they don’t get to swallow it. And when they do, they will alert you in coo language on their next move which is usually putting anything that’s not food in their mouth. You will rush to take it from them but they’ll be laughing at you. Or worse, try to fight their way into withholding the coin.

I love kids. The ability to send you into disarray every waking minute all while showering you with affection is unmatched. Mandla has mastered this. He fusses his way into things. His toddler meltdowns are funny yet painful, a glimpse into the terrible two crisis already in motion.

The teething monster won’t let up. Right from his first eruption on his 6th month, boychild has not had a break. The swollen gums, the irritability, the loss of appetite. One of my lowest mom guilt moments.


Early Milestones
in a malindi classroom

At Kid City


No complaints here only proud moments. I got to see him achieve all his milestones quite early. Right from his head control days (when I would find myself in the hot seat answering as to why I am “mistreating” child with tummy time) to now taking to his heels immediately he sees me preparing his bath. The benefits of tummy time clear and underrated but he’s my proof that it actually works and with amazing results.

For a mom who thrives in taking brain dumps all the time, you wouldn’t expect me to answer off-head when exactly my baby achieved certain milestones. I rely too much on Trello which is a shame. I remember taunting moms in the consultation room to give the timelines when the baby achieved each and every developmental milestone.

The majority would do it with such ease, I cannot say the same on my end. I’d have to pull out my notes for that. Notwithstanding, I am happy with where we are. I know he might take some time with speech but I hope I won’t fall into the dreaded comparison traps with his peers. Every child hits milestones at his or her pace, no matter our input. My job here is to applaud and encourage all his efforts while letting him make his mistakes to learn.


 Exploring Independence
first birthday

In Wanderland


The Mandla way is the only way to handle things in his world. So some floor action on the tantrum show is a good enough skit for him.

He does not want to be fed, and if he is fed it’s on his own terms. Every food intake has to undergo his special squeeze test which entails picking with his fingers, squeezing the juice/soup out of it, staring at it for another minute then depending on how he feels about it, dipping it in his mouth. Before he accepts a type of food, he has to have a meeting with himself.

He uses his teeth and sometimes his knuckles to press play. If it fails, he will hunt you down with a remote to do the necessary.

He wants to read books at his own pace and tear them for good measure. He basically controls the Tv stand and coffee table section, no books in sight.


Jonah in Disguise


He assured me that my phone is his and he can operate the buttons whichever way he wants. YouTube is his love language.

He’s always ready to help me wear my glasses if he sees them lying around. Glasses fascinate him, but what excites him the more is seeing me in them. A giggle here, a pat there from mama for being that caring.

Baby Center insists that I let my child explore the world. I do a lot. but I know when not to. Like when he comes rushing to my bedroom phone in hand wanting the next favourite nursery rhyme, yet the only visual I have is of him dropping the phone so hard his previous episode would be envious. I know that’s my cue to swiftly take my phone back and let him cry it out. He’ll forget in the next 2.

Sometimes he doesn’t. So we enter the vicious cycle of me saying No and him agreeing to disagree until he gets bored. I love watching him enjoy his toddler life which is basically eat with difficulty – play full time – sleep when necessary. I love seeing him plot moves from morning to evening. I love our shouting match whenever I am on phone coz he’ll make it known he’s the loudest in the room. I Love Him.


Dream City will absorb him



  1. Moses Ocharo
    March 17, 2018 / 1:09 pm

    You never cease to amaze me. You’re surely blessed. Well written.

    • lila
      March 19, 2018 / 6:19 pm

      Thank You Moses. Good to see you here

    • Lila
      June 27, 2019 / 10:56 pm

      Tell me about it. I get stressed every time it happens

      • Lila
        June 28, 2019 / 1:02 pm

        Oh I’m so sorry. It will pass soon

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