Papa Talk – Elijah Makes Me Feel Rusty Around the Edges

Bumblebee! The picture you would conjure up with this word is of a black thumb-sized, buzzing, woodborer with a white patch between its armoured head and back.

For us village urchins, it is just an insect. To Elijah – and many of you might get lumped into his category – it is that yellow robot in the ‘Transformers’ franchise.

He knew Bumblebee before he even watched the movie. Then there is the little, red, toothy, yapping lightning, ‘McQueen’ of the cartoon series ‘Cars’ in his cart of favourite movie characters.

I got flipped over on McQueen as Elijah went on and on with total confidence about McQueen while the pictures flashed across our twenty-one inch TV screen. He almost earned himself a slap for being a wise ass over daddy.

Coming to think of it now, his mother had bought him a McQueen backpack for school. To me it was just another bag. To him it was ‘Yesss! I got it.’ I hadn’t even bought them (Elijah and his siblings) the movie. It was just a noted thought on the periphery of my memory. I am often scratching my head figuring out where he gets his updates from – his schoolmates I presume.

Our D player is a 5.1 channel thingy with issues. The children have had its remote seeing better days. It is chipped, cracked and uncommunicative with the player. To me, this marked the end of playing Ds, especially the blue ray ones. Elijah found his way around that.

First, he discovered the remote of the portable D player could go ‘Universal.’ I had to press buttons at random to discover the tricks he kept yapping about, and to my utter dismay, they worked like clockwork. The two remotes are like a Toyota Land Cruiser and a Mercedes Benz side by side.

When his aunt carried away the portable D with its remote, the fellow beat the rigmarole of remote controlling play a blue ray until the menus and icons stage. Press the ‘Stop’ button on the player’s controls twice then ‘Play’… Voila! Gorge yourself with popcorn! A seven-year-old full of ideas? Urrgh! Some child I have.

At technical college, I bombarded my instructor with endless questions. He was supposed to know it all, wasn’t he? He usually tossed back the questions to the class without breaking a sweat. To him, there was always an answer, a befitting explanation among my fellow students. And he was right.

Elijah is not the question type. Neither is he candid about letting me know the aces he has up his sleeve. He just imposes them upon me. Boy, how I always wish he was wrong! He leaves me feeling old, grumpy, jealous and out of his league an old dog learning new tricks from a pup.

We had no TV when I was his age, but a wooden box transistor radio blaring out BBC, Deutsche Welle and Radio Uganda, mixed with howling and whistling noises. Even then, I wasn’t that smart anyway.

Are you a father? What have you learnt or discovered about your youngsters and parenting? Share joys, trials, challenges, successes. Send them in 500 words to

Source : The Observer

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