Boys need to do dare devil, adrenaline filled activities that bring out the man in them
This past Saturday, we set off to Lukenya where we were to spend our Mashujaa day weekend, intending to get there in time for lunch. For those who know the route well, we opted not to use the Daystar University turn off that’s quite rocky and bumpy, but to use the shorter back route that cuts across the plains and emerges at the Motor Cross.
What I had forgotten was that the night before it had rained cats and dogs and puppies and kittens and all their relatives far and wide of all shapes, sizes and species. And so as you would naturally imagine the route which is off road and home to all sorts of bush and brush, was wet, waterlogged and muddy. And YES, we got stuck in the mud!
About midway between the main road and our destination, the car got stuck in a sticky patch of mud where the road dipped at a bend. And the more I tried to rev and accelerate forward, the more the tyres got rooted in the mud. And the more I tried to reverse the car to get away, the more the back wheels dug deeper into the mud. It took me a while to figure out that we may need another solution……
My sons Gathuru and Thayu aged nine and five years old were thrilled! They were so excited to be stuck in the mud! With every accelerated rev, they gazed in awe at the mud splattering and spraying in the air and all over the windscreen and made excited noises. I figured out at this point that it may be a wise thing to get out and push the car out of the mud. Given that we were in the middle of nowhere in the savannah plains of Lukenya with no other vehicles or human beings in sight, it was just me to get the job done. So I rolled up my trousers, cursed the fact that I had worn sandals, braced myself and stepped knee deep into it. To my shock and horror, my boys started getting out of the car with me. On cross examination, they declared they were getting out to push the car out of the mud!
The mother in me surveyed this situation and did the quick math of having three muddy people against one, and ordered them back into the car. They were devastated. They couldn’t imagine not getting out of the car and into the mud to push. I also weighed the collective strength of the two boys and myself and decided their lack of contribution may not change much. They were crestfallen. I put the car into neutral gear, got down to business and pushed…. NOTHING! Pushed again………NOTHING! It wouldn’t budge….
I gave up that strategy, and eased my mud filled body back into the car. The boys tried to convince me that if we all got out to push, it would work. I gently turned down their offer.
And then I had a light bulb moment! From the depths of the back recesses of my mind, I remembered some advice I’d heard and whose source I am still unable to recall. I put the car into low gear L and turned the steering wheel completely to the right and accelerated hard. The car jumped out a little ahead out of the sticky mud. The boys cheered in glee! I turned the steering wheel completely to the left again and did the same thing, and it jumped out a little further. I then put it into reverse gear and reversed and it moved back a little bit. All the while the boys were cheering on with every little move. I then accelerated forward, turning the steering wheel very quickly alternately left and right and then left again and the car then shot forward sliding left and right without the wheels digging in. The excitement in the car was now palpable with the boys thumping the seats and shouting Go Mummy Go!! Go Mummy Go!!!! I felt like Shekha Mehta and Joginder Singh all rolled in one with my boys as co- rally drivers and with every shout we moved forward and burst out of the muddy patch!!! Victory was ours!!! We did it!!!! It felt like we were thick in the middle of the Safari Rally driving a Subaru Impreza STI N16 and not our teenie weenie Toyota Duet!
The boys demanded we get out of the car and admire our handiwork. The muddy muddy car was met with wolf whistles and ululations of glee. The mud covered windows were the source of deep respect and they were super happy with this adventure. I looked at my two gentlemen and thought – boys will be boys.
Here I was in self flogging mode for having not thought better and used the regular route, and here were my boys enjoying what they thought was the most exciting adventure of their lives! It occurred to me yet again how different boys are from girls. And how Dr. James Dobson in his fabulous book ‘Bringing Up Boys’ talks over and over about boys’ need to do dare devil , adrenaline filled and highly charged activities that bring out the man in them.
And so yes – I am now mud deep in the enjoyment of this adventure and echoing and punctuating with gusto every sentence as excitedly told my boys to whoever cares to listen. And as people look at me in wonder at how I can be gleeful at what should be a serious mal happening, I remember my ace Rally Driver Patrick Njiru moves and chuckle. And who knows…. maybe just maybe there are some Safari Rally drivers in the making right here in my back seat?