I suspect that Muna doesn’t like me very much now. It’s absurd, I know. But she’s refused to refer to me as ‘Mummy’ or call me by anything that even mimics a real word. The only way she catches my attention is by whining like the baby she no longer is, biting my forehead, grabbing my big toe, wriggling herself into my laps or pinching my nose when she catches me napping.

She uses manipulation and tyranny to start our conversations – this feels like scenes from that Idi Amin movie, The Last King of Scotland. GB says it’s because she’s on the home stretch to terrible two’s – she’s a year and eight months now – but I’m convinced she’s done away with me and cast me aside. I’m like a broken jembe she no longer has use for.

Muna can talk. She can! She has a growing list of colourful and easy-to-pronounce words that help her communicate. I taught her those words, Nanny Viv and I did: Muna can say ‘No’, ‘Papa’, ‘Aunty’, ‘shoes’, ‘water’, ‘noo’, ‘tamu’ (for food, Nanny Viv’s choice) and ‘nyonyo’ (to breastfeed when she’s bored, when she’ll viciously bite my nipple then smile like the devil when I shriek ouch). She can say ‘book’, ‘night’, ‘nooo’, ‘open’, ‘sit’ and a host of other words she catches fairly quick.

Yet for all her thesaurus, Muna has refused to say ‘Mummy’. My beautiful baby measured me against all those silly objects and useless to-dos, and concluded I’m not worth a word. It upsets me. What makes it the worse is that I – not GB – I went the extra mile to read to her.

Words surrounded Muna since before she was born. GB and I both like to read books, so there wasn’t a shortage from our bookshelf. I read aloud to her when she was still in my tummy; I started when she was seven months old, when Baby Centre alerted me that she could hear sounds and remember voices. I read her this children’s novel by Frances Hardinge, Fly by Night.

I remember buying it at a discount from Uchumi Hyper on Ngong Road. I bought it before they stole everything from themselves – first they stole the money, then they stole whatever was left on the shelves, then they turned to us shoppers and stole the shopping points we’d collected on our U-Cards. Much later, they stole their self-esteem and respect then finally our sense of humour – we can no longer laugh at the Uchumi story; it’s not a practical joke that went a little too far; it wasn’t some economic experiment that boiled down to some bizarre results.

Now the only thing left to show they ever existed are these vacant supermarkets that loom off highways and in non-descript dusty streets in tao. They echo with the ghosts from their past, like some haunted house from an old movie.

I read the book to Muna as often as I could, and continued to after she was born. When she was two months old and could lie still in her rocker, I read her a collection of poems by Tupac Shakur, The Rose That Grew From Concrete. I think it’s my sister-in-law’s book, I’m not sure. You read it? Oh, it’s brilliant. Tupac wrote it when he was 19. Do you remember what you were doing at 19? I must have been chasing boys who looked like Tupac and wondering what I could change about myself to make them like me.

We finished Tupac then I eased her into Maya Angelou’s short stories, Even the Stars Look Lonesome. It was cool. A tad too preachy for my taste but insightful and entertaining nonetheless. It was odd, but all through the read the image in my head was of Maya Angelou smiling at me in that smile of hers, the one which looks like she’s crying and laughing at the same time. That actress, Angela Basset, has the same type of smile.

I loved how Muna always stared at me as I read to her – fascinated, wide-eyed and clueless. She loved me then.

At four months, we graduated to a novel by Paulo Coelho, The Witch of Portobello. It’s GB’s book, and was quite a difficult book to read out aloud. What rescued me from its long sentences and clunky words was that Muna had learned to wiggle out of her rocker or lunge without warning. She could even rip pages out of the book. I shut Coelho a few chapters in and instead sang to her from her cardboard baby books. I still do.

Hands down: I fed Muna the letters that shaped the words she speaks. I am the voice inside her head. I am in her words. When she adorably curls her lips like the mouth of a trumpet so she can say ‘oh ohh’, it’s my bloody trumpet she has imitated. Muna owes me a ‘Mummy’.

Last Sunday – like I have countless times in the few weeks before that – I sat her on the couch to teach her this elusive word. I knelt in front of her, drew her in my arms and had her bare feet rest on my knees. My eyes were inches away from her. It was a gorgeous Sunday with the sun out. Nanny Viv was away on her day off.

I said with unnecessary cheer, “Muna, baby? Muna? Say ‘Mummy’. ‘Mummy.’ ‘Mummy!’” She stared back blankly, as if I’d asked her to repeat a difficult word like osteoporosis or discombobulate.

I tried again. “Muna, say ‘Mummy’. ‘Mummy.’”

Muna shifted her gaze from my left eye to my right then to my mouth and said, “No, noo, nooo.”

I wasn’t letting up. “Say, ‘Mummy’, Muna. ‘Maa…mm…eee.’ ‘Mummy.’”

She giggled. I can imagine what a baboon she I thought I was.

I figured ‘Mummy’ has too many syllables so I chopped the word down. “OK, Muna. Say ‘Mum’. Say ‘Mum’. ‘Maa…aa…mm.’ ‘Mum.’ ”

Her mouth twitched and I sensed the atmosphere shift – she was getting impatient with my badgering.

She moaned, “Papa?”

I cussed. Papa, my ass. I’m told it’s a special daddy-daughter mother-son affair. My pal Vicky has a boy a few months older than Muna and the first word he said was ‘Mummy’. I envy her. Others tell me it’s name confusion; different folk have a different name for me – some call me Bett, others Florence or Fra, very few others Love – so it’s difficult for Muna to zero in.

Majority tell me to simply give her time. That she’ll come around in her own time and once she says it, she’ll never be unable to unsay it. That she’ll say it so many times – Mummy? Mummy? Mummy? Mummy? – that I’ll want to stuff a sock in her little ‘o’ of a mouth. I don’t have time, damn it. I want her to call me Mummy right now. I want her to bother me with her Mummys when I’m sending an urgent email, or nursing a hangie and want to catch a quick nap, or when I’m in the loo and she’s banging on the door.

“Muna, Muna, Mu –” I said, panicked, as she whimpered and struggled to unknot her hands from mine. “Muna, say ‘Maa…aa…mm.’ ‘Mmmaamm.’”

She was about to throw a tantrum, I had to act fast. “OK, Muna. Say ‘Ma’. Say ‘Ma’. ‘Maa…’”

She kicked her feet in the air and threw her head back, “Noooo!”

I rolled the dice and chopped the word further down to one letter. I was desperate now. “Say ‘M’. Muna, say ‘M’. ‘M.’ ‘Mm’! Say –”

I’d lost her. She jumped off the couch and hared down the corridor toward the bedroom. I looked up to see the tail of her onesie bouncing up and down her diapered bum. She was calling out from the pit of her tummy, “Papa! Papa!”

You realize what this means, don’t you? I must have three other kids – all sons – so I don’t go through this heartbreak again.

An edited version of this story first run in the August-2017 issue of True Love Magazine

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Florence Bett-Kinyatti


Columnist Saturday Nation Writer Craft It Author of best-selling ‘SHOULD I?’ and ‘HOW MUCH?’ ~ Guiding word: Overdrive Subscribe to our Newsletter👇🏾 eepurl.com/igmN8P
  • Dear God, 
It’s me again.

I don’t pray as often as I need to, You know that. I don’t kneel by my bed in child-like humility, as Muna does. I don’t whisper a prayer in the morning. Or at noon. Perhaps just in the evening. 

This going-to-church habit is a constant false start. So is reading the Word. 

I’m often guilty but I also know: You and I have a language only we can understand. 

I speak to You through this gift You bestowed upon my Kale shoulders, this gift to write in colour. It’s a gift that sometimes feels like a curse, a burden I have no choice but to pursue. 

Yet other times – most times, actually – it’s the very breath of my essence. Everyday I sit to write, when the words flow from my head and heart through my fingers to the page, I feel You next to me. 

You are here, Lord. Hovering. Lingering. Swooshing about in Your regal robes, like a character from Bridgerton.

Sometimes You get so close I can feel You breathing on my neck and I’m like, ‘Err, God, do You mind, personal space?’

And You chuckle uncomfortably. ‘He-he, of course. Of course.’

I’m here to tell You, Thanks!

I hosted my first in-person event last March, Lord, thank You to all the lovely ladies who granted me their time and full attention. 

I’ve carried them in my heart since and every day, my prayer is that You bring them closer to the life of abundance they each seek. To their own version of wealth. 

I always call them by their name: Becky. Purity. Lindsay. Wangui. Naomi. Shiqow. Mercy. Liz. Winnie. Polly. Nduta. Lynet. 

And Mike. 

Dear Lord, I’m prepping for my next in-person event in June, Inshallah. 

Walk with me as I get there. 

Love always,

  • Highlights from our first-ever in person event hosted by Craft It and @financialfitbit 
Thanks to all the lovely ladies — and gent, hehe — who honoured us with the privilege of their time and attention. And colourful energy. It’s been weeks since and it’s only now that I’m coming down from the high. 

Thank YOU!

🎥 @mikemuthaka 

#craftit #author #MakeYourMoneyMatter #personalfinance #money
  • I am a woman.

I’m strong. I’m brilliant. I’m like a comet shooting across the sky, I’m so bright you have to put on shades to see me.

I’m almost 40, I’m almost fully realising myself as a woman and the power of womanhood I possess.

I’m so powerful that if KPLC connected me to the national grid, I’d power up this country and we’d never have another blackout.

Ho! Ho! Ho!


To recognize and celebrate International Women’s Day today, I’d like to recognize and celebrate eight women.

I have eight things to give away to each of these women:
a) Two tickets to my upcoming event on March 18 with @financialfitbit Theme is ‘Make your money matter’
b) Three autographed copies of my book ‘Should I?’
c) Three autographed copies of my other book ‘How Much?’

To participate:
1. Like this post
2. Tag women who deserve a win of either event ticket or book (tag as many women as you like)
3. Tell us what you’d like her to win and why she deserves the win
4. Make sure your tagged women follow @_craftit and @financialfitbit 

Here are the rules for the giveaway:
— One woman, one win
— Winners will be contacted via DM
— Giveaway closes at the end of this week, Inshallah, on Sunday 12 March
— Only open to people living in Kenya

All the best!

(Swipe right to see the women I’m celebrating.)

#craftit #internationalwomensday
  • My 2022 word of the year was Wholesome. 

Wholesome meant engaging in moderation and in pursuits that didn’t leave me feeling yucky.

An example: there’re weekend nights I’d go out then have too much to drink. On the drive home, I’d tell GB to stop the car every half mile so I could throw up on the side of the road. Then I’d take three working days recovering. 


No more of that nonsense.

Now I have only two doubles of Singleton whiskey and chase it with water. I eat less food and I eat better. I take my supplements. I treat myself to an early bedtime and arise with my body clock, no alarm.

I spend a lot more time hanging with my kids, Muna and Njeeh. 

I buy fewer things. 

I play the piano. 

I created a disciplined routine for my work and take Thursdays off. 

You catch my drift…

Wholesome has become my lifestyle. 

(By the way, I was asked, ‘Where does this word-of-the-year come from, Bett?’ I don’t know about other people but for me, the words present themselves when I’m journaling. My spirit tells me what it needs; I must be still enough to listen and brave enough to obey.)

My word for 2023 is Overdrive.

My two books have unlocked new opportunities for me as a writer and creative. As an urban brand. I’d honestly not foreseen them. 

I know that if I adjust my sails to where the wind is blowing, these opportunities will translate to wealth.

Last Friday, I listed all the work I’m already doing and all the new opportunities – potential and realised – knocking at my door.

I asked myself, ‘What am I taking up here and what am I dropping?’

The response, ‘None – we go into overdrive and smartly pursue them all.’

#craftit #urbanguide
  • Years ago, my best friend said to me, ‘Bett, we’re almost 40 – forget makeup, let’s take care of our skin instead.’

I had to laugh because this was coming from Terry. Terry my Kisii pal, this fine gyal with skin the colour of honey, the only practising SDA in my circle. 

Terry had spent her 20s and early 30s sleek with Arimis. That’s right, the milking jelly with a lactating cow on its logo. 

Arimis addressed all her skin pickles back then. It was her problem fixer. Her Olivia Pope. It’s the one thing that always said, It’s handled.

Now here she was preaching to us about a consistent skincare regimen in the AM and PM.


It wasn’t until Terry shared her selfies on our girls WhatsApp group that I stopped laughing. It wasn’t until we stood next her – and took these selfies – that I reeally stopped laughing: Terry’s skin was youthful and toned, plump. Hydrated. Moistured but not shiny. 

It looked like it had been kissed by the Greek goddess of radiance. 

So we gathered around her feet and said, ‘Forgive us, master. We are ready now. Teach us everything you know.’

She did. 

Terry and I now spend plenty of time before work and before bed squeezing out little portions of expensive skincare products from expensive tubes, we layer them on our face in a calculated measure.

This serum here is for the circles under my eyes and the fine lines around my mouth.

Turns out I’ve been giving away too much of my face: I’ve been looking too hard, laughing too easily.

I’ll have to spend the next year into my 40s with my eyes half shut and laughing little. I'll have a resting bitch face.

Don’t blame me, blame the retinol.

And age.

#craftit #urbanguide #urbangirl
  • I’m Bett. I’m the author of your favourite books about money. I’m hosting an in-person event in March, Inshallah: This is my personal invite to you.

#craftit #moneymaker #moneyinkenya
  • I am hosting my first money event this March, Inhsallah. It’s the first of quarterly events I have planned for the year. 

(Give me a moment here so I pull myself together long enough to write this. I’m smiling very hard right now, ha-ha, I look like a donkey.)


The event will be in-person. On a Saturday morning, a loose three hours which, I am certain, you’d have burned on some other pursuit you couldn’t account for later. (I’d probably be oiling the hinges of a squeaky door or decluttering my sock drawer.)

My guest host for this edition is Lynet Kyalo. 

Lynet is a personal finance coach under her brand @financialfitbit She also hosts @getyourbagrightpodcast 

Buy your tickets from our Market.

Early bird tickets are discounted until the end of this month.

Limited slots available. 

#craftit #millenialmoney #moneyevent #moneymaker
  • Sometimes I sit down and read my own book. 

Odd, huh?

Reading my own stories is like an out-of-body experience. Or getting introduced to myself again. An outward journey inward.

It’s fascinating.

I also read because I need to improve my writing for my next project.

We call them the Elements of Craft: things like sentence structure and punctuation, word placement, story length etc, they all inform your reading experience.

This is what makes the book easy to read, and has you turning the pages.

Cop your autographed copy and #betteryourmoney 

#craftit #howmuch #millenialmoney #moneymaker

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