My baby is a chameleon


I’ve been having a running tummy.

It began Monday evening, in the digs. I’m writing this on Thursday, which makes it three days since – and counting.

I’ve found myself in a pickle whenever I’ve been out of the office or the digs. The ugly fear at the back of my mind is, where will I run when my running tummy begins to run?

Public toilets aren’t friendly when you have a running tummy, because you’d have to squat for Lord-knows-how-long, and your thighs and calves will eventually cramp, then without even realising it, you’ll succumb to the pull of the toilet bowl and slump in a pile to the relief of 500 of your body’s muscles.

That was me Tuesday. And Wednesday. And today, Thursday – I’ve sat on far too many public toilets than I’m willing to admit. I’ve shit in comfort, granted, but now I’ve picked up a UTI. A goddamn UTI! It’s a few days to Easter weekend and I won’t drink with the others ‘cause I’ll probably still be swallowing antibiotics.

Speaking of which, there’s a chap who appeared on ‘Shark Tank’ with a business idea to redesign the modern toilet. He wants everyone to squat comfortably when they’re taking a shit.

He called it the Squatty Potty. Google it, I’m not making this up.

He says it’s better to squat, because it’s more natural and healthy and it’s how it’s really supposed to be done. Modern toilets have gotten in the way of how our insides were built to function.

Turns out there’s a muscle near that rectum that tenses up when you sit or stand. This muscle, whatever its name is, makes sure you don’t make your business in your pants when you’re going about this town running your business.

The muscle relaxes when you’re in the loo, ready to go. But because you’re seated, it takes some indefinite waiting and cajoling to loosen it up. Maybe that’s why you should take your phone with you, or a book or magazine, to the loo – so your attention can be elsewhere and your muscles won’t feel the anxiety to perform as they’re being waited upon.

The world is already full of anxiety, your ass muscles don’t need any more.

Just so we’re clear, this isn’t a story about the shittiness of my week because of my running tummy. This story is about how Muna did in her first term as a pre-schooler.

Hang on.

I’m a ninja. I don’t go to hospital unless I’m teetering on incapacitation.

Us women are generally more stubborn with disease than men, don’t you think? GB sneezes and the next evening, he’ll come home with a large brown bag from Aga Khan. And in there is syrup, paracetamol, anti-allergy pills, nasal drops and that large plastic tube doctors use to open your airway. I don’t know what its name is but it’s definitely not Stoicism.


Anyway, I’m told there’s a reliever I can pop. It’s sold over the counter of any pharmacy. Some sort of minty pill that you suck on and it stops immediately the runniness of your runny tummy. They call it Imodium. I’ll look for it.

We were at Mum’s on Sunday for lunch.

Mum is my mum-in-law. I still call my own mother Mummy. Because somehow, when I’m around her, I act like a needy baby. I’m 34 but she obliviously extends this confusing maternal aura that makes me behave as if I’m three. As if I’m Muna. I whine and refuse to eat my food or take a bath, and I want her to carry me on her back when she’s going to see her cows.

I don’t want to say it’s Mum’s food that’s making my tummy run.

It can’t be. She’s a foodie. She breaks her back fixing us these elaborate and thoughtful Roman Feasts. Included in this Feast is a choice of two meats, four minji-based platters (with maize, with warus, with minced beef, another with all these other three) and watermelon. Because what’s a kuyo feast without watermelon in the mix?

Watermelon for starters.

Rice and beef with a side of watermelon.

Tea, mandazi and watermelon.

For dessert is watermelon with a topping of watermelon.

Pack for the baby some watermelon, for her to eat on the road.

You can’t go to your Mum-in-law’s and indulge in a feast as this then have a runny tummy. It doesn’t work like that. The laws of foodies and marital equilibriums don’t work like that.

There’re some fries I had the Friday before at Sonford on Moi Avenue. Fries, two sauces, kachumbari and ‘fresh’ juice. (If this city ever catches fire and burns to the ground, our nolstagia will keep Sonford standing. Everyone in Nairobi has a story about Sonford.)

It must be the kachumbari that’s making my tummy run.

The bacterial bastards incubated for two days then imploded in my tummy Monday night, under the cover of the dark heat of a Nairobi night, when little else roams the sleeping streets but misdeeds and mistakes, debauchery, amorphous personal demons and gothic creatures looking for a place to roost. Creatures of the Notre Dame.

I shall survive this, though. It too shall pass. Like literally, pass. Get it?

We’re at Muna’s school for a parent-teacher sit down. One of those end-of-term chats where they show you how your baby coloured the hippo purple and the abstract art she drew when they scribbled, making you wonder if she has the expressionism of the Renaissance artists.

The meeting is at noon. I got here at 10.40, and no sooner had I sat at the admin’s reception desk waiting than I needed to hit the loo.

This was the third time – second time in less than an hour – that I was sitting on the throne to become the queen of the castle.

The admin pointed me to the washroom. It wasn’t too far behind from him. What I mean by ‘not too far behind’ is, if he wanted to sign a receipt or something, and didn’t have a biro pen near, he’d turn around slightly and bark, ‘Throw me a pen, Bett!’ And I’d throw it from the loo. And he’d catch it.

I could throw him a pen if he needed one, and he could hear the racket I was making back there. He heard me wincing. And groaning. And that embarrassing pa-pa-pa-pa-pa sound of the loose air amplified in the toilet bowl, as if there were gunshots. He heard me push my hands against the wall and by Jove, he heard me sit on the toilet bowl and run my bum sore and tummy dry.

Everyone in this town – CEOs and tea girls, suited associates and mama mbogas, put-together urban mums and high-achieving dads – lose their decorum when they’re in the toilet battling a running tummy. It’s all thrown right out the window. You’re stripped of your dignity, sophistication and social demeanor.

I bet the admin must have covered his nose and thought to himself, ‘Jesus, what the f…?! Is that Mama Muna?’

That wasn’t the embarrassing part, though. The embarrassing part was that the air freshner had ran out, and the loo wasn’t flushing properly. It was one of those Moi-era loos that uses a lot of water and doesn’t flush clean at once. What’s worse, the water tank takes eons to fill up – Obama would have completed his terms in office before the tank had filled up enough for another flush.

So by the time GB got to the reception, I was there hauling a large bucket of water from the tap outside, near the playground, to the loo behind the admin’s desk. The poor man, he couldn’t be undone. He had already seen – and heard – too much. He had looked directly into the sun.

GB and I go into one of the back rooms to listen about Muna.

Teacher Ann says Muna is independent; she puts on her own shoes and puts her bag in the cabbie. And she’s obedient; she doesn’t run back to the playground when play time is over and they’ve been asked to go back to class. Plus she’s mannered and listens; every kid in her class has sat at least once in the blue chair of the naughty corner. Everyone except Muna. She loves singing and dancing class and colouring.

What we need to work on, is her self-confidence. Teacher Ann says, “Like one day she wanted to go to the toilet but she couldn’t come up to me and ask, so she susud on herself in class.”

I shake my head and laugh. I laugh mirthlessly and pitifully.

It’s not Muna I pity. Or those shoes she peed in – her Adidas sneaks, it’s been a month since and they still reek of pee. She’s going to have to keep wearing them like that, I’m sorry.

No. I pity Teacher Ann and I. Muna has played us both. For an entire three months of first term, she has played us.

How do I put this gently? Muna is a highly emotional and intelligent social manipulator with the personality of a two-horned chameleon and the survival instincts of a jungle predator. That girl is a street thug.

In school, she’s obedient and doesn’t have self-confidence.

At home, she’s over-confident and isn’t obedient.

What the hell would you call that?

Words fail me here. Let me borrow an image from that movie ‘Sing’.

This is Muna in school.

And Muna at home.

I’m naturally patient but Muna pushes me to a cliff where I’m about to tip over, a cliff of her own making. And she does it knowingly and deceptively. She tests me and my abilities to be a good parent. She doesn’t even want to see my attempt to navigate this parenting puzzle. She wants to see me stumble and fall. Then she’ll stand at the edge of her cliff and point at me laughing when I shatter into pieces.

Like I said, that girl is a thug.

When we’re in the digs catching some Trevor Noah on Netflix, she’ll go, “Mummy? Mummy? Mummy? Mummy? Mummy, look!”

And I look. She’s in front of the TV doing a horrible headstand, her feet haven’t even left the floor. “Oh, wow! Good job, Muna!”

Or, “Mummy, see Mummy? Seeee, see! Mummy. Mummy. Mummy, seeeee…”

“Oh wow, Muna riding scooter fast. Go, go, go!”

Other moments she’ll zip around the living room, “Mummy, mummy! Mummy? Mummy look at meeeee… Loooook!”

“Muna has set herself on fire. Very niice.”

I’m all about the glass being half-full. Even with my sociopath of a toddler. Her being overconfident at home means she feels safe and comfortable around me. That she can take down the decorum and untether her personality. I get the more engaging colourful version of her alter ego. The upbeat queen that rules our castle. Surely, that counts for plenty, no?

She is with me as I am with you here – I can tell you a lengthy useless story about my running tummy, and I know you’ll hang around to listen to the end.

And you just may tell me, Good job.

Chinese eyes
Lunch money

Comments (3)

  1. Angie

    Sphincter muscle. UTI’s are a bitch….get well soon Mama Muna.

    • Bett

      Ahaa, sphincter muscles! Hahha. Now I won’t forget again.

      Thanks for get-well love. I told the pharmacist I didn’t want antibiotics, he gave me some cool fizzy-like mix called Citro-Soda. Has cranberry. I should be OK soon.

      Thanks again, and have a blessed Easter weekend!

  2. Angie

    Blessed Easter weekend to you and your family too. Asante

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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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