The day I failed to define Cp!!

Is she sick? No she is not sick. What is this thing (touching Ziim’s push chair). It is a push chair, it helps me to move her around so that I do not have to carry her. Why do you have to carry her? And you said she is not sick. She does not walk yet. But you said she is not sick, so why is she not walking? Is her leg paining her? Mm…. not really, her leg is not paining her, she has a condition called C-e-r-e-b-ra-l P-a-l-s-y. She looks hard at Ziim, a bit confused. This Celebra pals, is it a sickness? Ok, why don’t you sit down and I will tell you about it. You have not even told us your name.What is your name?  Tanya. Beautiful name.Don’t you want to ask me her name? (I said patting Ziim) Can she talk? Not yet, her name is Chizzy, sit down please. I made space for her. How old are you? Mummy Tanya appears, Tanya says; I am four years old, showing me four little fingers for effect. Mummy Tanya says, she is actually three and half. Hmm, Nonye, how do you give a talk on what Cp is to a curious  three year old? I sratch my head, mentally going through my “lesson methodology”. Mummy Tanya says, come let’s go, pulling Tanya away. No, it’s ok, please leave her, sit down Tanya. Tanya sits, bright eyes darting from me to Ziim. Every other eyes in the room focused on us.

It was Thursday, the 5th of July. Venue was the VFS Global office at Oregun, Ikeja. We had gone to make Uk visa application. No, not for Ziim and I. I took my mum, but of course Ziim had to go with her mummy. Center was on, she would have stayed back, but I was not sure that we’ld get back before Center closes considering that we left a bit late. Ok, truth be said, there was yet another reason. 

We arrived at the VFS office about 12.45p.m, I was a bit worried because in less than an hour Ziim will be calling for her lunch and I do not see us getting out of here before 3p.m. I took a cup of milo hoping that I will get water inside to make a drink of it for her, at least to hold her untill we come out. I stopped right at the entrance gate asked mama to alight while I bring out Ziim, they will wait there while I go park at the car park, about 200meters away. As soon as mama came out of the car, I brought out Ziim’s chair from the trunk, I was about to lift Ziim from the car to her chair, when somebody shouted; madam move this car out of here. I ignored him, he started coming towards me, then he saw Ziim being  lifted out of the car, he stopped. Madam please put her back in the car, the gate will be opened for you to take her inside, then you can go park at the car park. Hm.. He gave instructions and gate opened. Obviously he was an important oga. I thanked him, put Ziim back  and we drove into the compound. There was a long queue of people waiting to enter the office. With this crowd, God, when shall we leave here today, I said to no one in particular as  I put  Ziim down. Of course you can imagine that every eye was on us. I put her down, asked mama to watch her and made  to drive out to the car park. The man came, do not bother to go out, that will be too much stress, they will find a space for you in here TH.A.N.K Y.O.U!!  AND THANK GOD THAT I TOOK ZIIM. Car parked, I dashed outside to those business centers to print out a document that we needed to submit the application with as my printer had decided not to print. That done, I came back to see that mama and Ziim had gone in to the office.

As I stepped into the office, my heart dropped. The crowd was somethingelse. I saw mama and Ziim and I was walking towards them, I heard No.152, I checked the number on my time slip, it says 243, time was 1p.m. Oh my God, we’ll be here till God knows when. I adjusted Ziim and made to sit down, resigning myself to a very long stay. I scanned the room for water dispensers, found none, hm.. a uniformed staff came to me, madam, that’s your daughter? pointing at Ziim. Yees. The next avaliable officer will attend to you. Oh Thank you. Shortly an officer became avaliable, I went to the desk, gave her the form and the documents, she looked through; what about the girl? It is only mama that we are making application for, i said with my best smile. She showed some displeasure, she had thought that Ziim was part of the applicants hence the priority treatment. I quickly told her that she is my daughter, I have to take her along because there is no one to stay with her at home (partly true, but actually I knew I would most likely get express service if I take her along, that’s the other reason why I took her) Oh, she understands, she said. Quickly she went through the documents, said mama and Ziim should wait while she takes me in so that she will inform  the officers inside to attend to me first. From that point everything moved fast. At the bank, I found out the visa fee has increased to N72,900 from N62,000 or there about the last time I was there about a year and half ago. I was almost stranded but a gentle man came to my rescue and gave me N5,000. Thanks MrF.B.

Having done all the documentation, with the biometrics left, I went to fetch mama and Ziim for mama to do  biometrics. You could feel my happiness, I was walking on the air. It was at this point that little Miss (curious)Tanya came to us. How do I explain to a three year old what CP is? Should I describe it as I did here or  there? I was conscious of the fact that a lot people were looking and listening and wanted to know too, but could ask boldly like the young girl. Thus I knew I had to pick my words. Does a three year old know what brain is? I was not sure. Where do I start? Tanya interupted my thoughts. Why is she bringing out spite frpm her mouth? That’s an opening I thought. A uniformed staff came to ask mama to go in for biometrics, I knew I did not have much time. Turning to Tanya, I said something like, she brings out spite from her mouth because her muscles do not work properly like yours or mine. That is one of the effects of this condition called C.E.R.E.B.R.A.L  P.A.L.S.Y CP for short. I tried to explain to her that Cp is a sort of an accident that happens in a part of brain of little babies, how the brain controls things we do. I was trying hard believe me to explain how this makes it difficult for children with Cp to do most of ….. luckily, mama came out, meaning we needed to leave and that means I was rescued!! Time check, 1.45p.m, wonderful, find a place to feed Ziim. Sorry Tanya we need to go now.

Please can somebody tell me how to define Cp or talk about Cp to a three year old or children between the age of three and seven. I need to know for next time I may not be this lucky!

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4 thoughts on “The day I failed to define Cp!!

  1. Little Children are smarter than we adults usually give them credit. You could have gone on with the brain line and she probably would have understood but this is what i do.I explain using a light switch. the switch is the brain, the bulbs are the various parts of the brain. some bulbs are bad so the light wont come on, hence she cant do some things that you can do. Quite simple and they get it too.

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    • Tobi, this is quite good, thank you. I will borrow this and add to my lesson notes. i now know who to consult when i need to talk to children, but of course who else but one who has been walking the road and breaking boundaries for good number of years. Thanks Tobi for stopping by.

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  2. Fr Benjamin, O.P.

    Wow! Good read, and left me laughing all the way! That’s one of the most difficult things to do – to explain really hard stuff to children! Thankfully for me, preaching to children is not as difficult! But it may have surprised you that little Tanya could tell what the brain was!

    Thanks for this! You are in my prayers.

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