Home Maryanne's Tales My Random Experiences Hi, was that you who called my phone and I didn’t answer?

Hi, was that you who called my phone and I didn’t answer?


In recent days, a couple of folks have been complaining that I have developed the unpleasant habit of not picking their calls. That I have bad phone manners. While it is true that many a time I find missed calls, I don’t agree that I necessarily have bad phone manners. Yes I find many missed calls, but I have a very good reason why the calls go unanswered.

For starters, Kitty is a very light sleeper. Very very light sleeper. Any ‘loud’ noise easily wakes him up from his ‘deep’ slumber. For example the volume of the radio or tv. Nowadays we have to watch telly on volume 1. Which is almost inaudible so we are slowly learning to become lip readers. Reminds me of one show that I loved called Sue Thomas FB Eye.
Nowadays, we also cannot hold conversations in the carefree manner that we previously would, and many are the times we have found ourselves whispering at each other. I didn’t know that it was possible to hold long conversations in whispers (and I’m not talking about pillow talk). By the way whispering is infectious. If you whisper at someone – they whisper back at you automatically. You can try that with your colleague right now. Then ask him/her exactly why they’re whispering back.

We have also been forced to be opening and shutting doors so stealthily as though we were thieves in our own home. Would you believe that on some occasion we walk on tip-toes just so that Kitty doesn’t wake up? But now since it’s very cold, instead of tip-toeing we’ve upgraded to wearing socks because you can walk around comfortably in them without making a sound.

I hear that the quickest way to get an infant to fall asleep is while he is on the breast. Only that that doesn’t work with my boy. Sure, he dozes while nursing, but when I lift him up to burp, he bids a quick goodbye to the coming sleep and opens his eyes wide. I think he would actually manage to sleep if only I didn’t move him. But failing to burp him will lead to even greater problems which I don’t want to deal with.

Kitty, like many light sleepers take eons before he sleeps. I sing and sing and sing and sing to him until my voice becomes hoarse, and all the while he is just staring at me and when the song ends he unleashes an expectant toothless smile – waiting for me to repeat the song again and again. And each time, I comply with his toothless smile demand. And each time, no sleep in sight. Many times I rock and rock and rock and rock him to sleep whilst singing the lullabies. But still he does not drift off to la la land. Many are the times I talk to him and tell him “Kitty you need to sleep so that mummy can sleep too.” I even tell him to count sheep. But he gives me the sweetest blank look anyone ever gave me. I even engage him in baby talk, putting on a baby voice, trying to convince him I am a fellow baby in sleepland inviting him to come over to sleepland coz its very nice. No success there.

Interestingly, even when he is sleepy, he musters all the energy he can get to resist shutting his eyes completely and falling asleep. I just don’t get it. He’ll be dozing but when his eyelids touch, he instantly opens them wide. It’s as though he fears that if he falls asleep he will miss out on something very important. What important thing, I don’t know. Like a solar eclipse or something? Like a blue moon or something? Like a Hanna Montana concert or something? I have no idea.

But I don’t blame him at all for I know where he gets his light sleeping/insomnia from. He certainly does not get it from his father. When his father hits the pillow, in less than two seconds he is gone. Gone kabisa. You could even carry him on a mkokoteni on the roughest pot-hole filled road to a football pitch and watch a game for the full 90 minutes and even have fireworks at the end of the game, but he wont stir. But me? When I hit the pillow, I can take up to two hours before I sleep. Me – I can even hear a cockroach walking stealthily in the next room while asleep.

So now why I don’t answer calls. Do you know what agony is? Agony is when I am unsuccessfully trying to get him to sleep, and just as I’m about to succeed, my phone rings. First, my phone is always on silent coz we don’t want the ringtone waking him up. But sometimes it’s on a surface which when it vibrates is even more frightening than an actual ringtone – especially when the vibrating sound catches you unawares. Now, in such moments, I quickly press the ‘silent’ button and put the phone on a soft surface. I dare not answer the phone for it would only make his elusive sleep disappear all the more.

Secondly, they say when the baby sleeps, sleep too. I do exactly that. So when you call, either I’m singing Kitty a lullaby, I’m trying to rock him to sleep, he is asleep next to me, or we’re both asleep. They say kids at Kitty’s age sleep for about 18 hours in a day. The other 6 are spent feeding, being burped, being diaper changed, cooing and babbling, or punching and kicking in the air. So please pardon me when I don’t take your 7 missed calls.

But the good thing is that I always return calls. Even though not on the same day or the day after, I always return calls. Or even if I don’t call, I text back.

So now that he is briefly asleep, let me go through my phone log and return your call. Let me start with those dating two weeks ago.



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Maryanne W. Waweru is a Kenyan mum raising her two sons in Nairobi. A journalist, Maryanne is passionate about telling stories and hopes that through her writing, her readers learn something new, feel encouraged, inspired, and appreciative of what they have in their lives. Maryanne's writing focuses on motherhood, women and lifestyle. "Telling stories is the only thing I know how to do," she says.


  1. Deary, i feel you on the phone issue; and just so you know, it wont get better, tell ur ‘ringers’ to get used to it. I keep telling people i have bigger things to think of than ‘where is my fon, how many missed calls do i have’ etc. and anyways i always think if its an emergency, please text me…

  2. my dear…na bado on the whispering. us guys till whisper 10 months down the line. i soo identify with you on the phone issue…when am in the house my phone is on silent through out…i find missed calls after hours n return the call. i remember when my gals were your sons age…they would peep just to make sure you are still there n have not placed them on their cot. my husband always said they fight sleep its like when they sleep they will miss on something….wacha he starts playing…putting him to sleep will be a task. they are soo sweet anyway n bring one soo much joy u cant afford to get impatient


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