I subscribe to the UK’s The Sunday Times, which is probably the best publication in the whole world – superior journalism, brilliant writers and great illustrations. On Sunday mornings I normally hide in my bedroom for an hour, away from my marauding (and constantly eating) two-year-old son, and I read The Times with him banging at the door incessantly.
There is a quirky section I always save for last: ‘Small Ads Big Story’. It’s always a punchy, well-written piece on anything from someone selling their ex-wife’s ugly piano to someone looking for an animal trainer to tame his ostrich. I love it. The British are mad. The other day, as my son pounded and kicked my bedroom door demanding to be let in so that he could proceed to pour half of his milk down my pants or touch my computer screen with his butter-smeared fingers, I thought, what kind of an ad would I place in The Sunday Times in this Small Ads Big Story section to have someone take him away from me for a little while?
Header: Frustrated African father looking to dispose of his (African) son. (To be clear, ‘dispose’ here isn’t like what they did in The Sopranos. Just a temporary place, preferably a long way from Kenya.) He’s a healthy, bouncing, baby boy with chubby cheeks and a large forehead like his father’s. Which means he photographs better than other kids. He hasn’t learned to speak much, maybe a little ‘papa’, ‘auntie’ and ‘no!’. He says ‘no!’ a lot. He says ‘no’ even when he means ‘yes’. I suspect he says ‘no’ to spite or annoy or instigate something or to spike blood pressure. He hates shoes, so please make sure he wears his socks all the time because the cold floor might cause him sickness, as his mom always says. He has adenoids, which means he sometimes breathes through his mouth. He doesn’t like tomato sauce on his chips. Don’t give him sodas. Also don’t bother giving him the buns, just the burger. He wakes up earlier than everybody else and demands his milk. He will drink five packets of milk in a day, so it would help if you kept a cow.
There are days when he will wake up and tear everything apart. The ‘terrible twos’. Have a straightjacket nearby for those days. He showers once a day but he loves sitting in a basinful of water out in the sun on the balcony. That’s the equivalent of his yoga. It centres him. He eats. He eats a lot. But you won’t have a problem with what to feed him because he isn’t choosy. Plus he won’t mind eating off the table itself if you are short of plates.
He can change the TV channels, he can fetch your shoes, he will eat your leftovers, he can make faces, and you can always use him as a weight to exercise with on the carpet (like a bench/floor press). At 15kg he’s perfect for building the upper body muscles.
He’s a great kid, but I just need him to be gone for a couple of years so that we can all catch our breath. I can have his adenoids removed and put him on the first ship out of here tomorrow and you can have him with you in a month.