“Ora na azu nwa”, as they say in Lgbo.
Translation: “It takes a village to raise a child”, which is an old proverb in the Nigerian Lgbo dialect. (Somebody buy those people a vowel!)
Hilary Clinton borrowed this saying for her 1996 book of the same title. I didn’t read it (which is ok, because she didn’t actually write it).
However, I think I get the gist. Children are best cared for by an entire community, as they have been for most of the time we humans have occupied the planet. The tradition of extended family, neighbors and friends pitching in to help raise our little ones, social outsourcing if you will, has worked for four million years. But now we too often find ourselves isolated in gated communities, socializing via the computer screen.
So what’s a parent to do? Answer: Hire an entourage. Do you think Snoop Dogg has ever changed a diaper? No way. He’s got people for that, fo’ shizzle!
I have a two year-old daughter who is a joy and a delight, but at the end of the day my wife and I stumble around like zombies in “Night of the Living Toddler”. It takes all our remaining energy to clear a path through the blocks, toys, stuffed animals, books, clothing and random kitchen implements just to get to bed.
The solution for the exhausted parent? Enter Entourage Member #1…
Janitor. This could be a full-time position. It would involve things like rolling back the toilet paper onto the roll, retrieving the cell phone out of the heating duct, putting the dog food back in the bowl, sweeping toys into a giant pile, and other future potential duties as your child’s destructive capabilities blossom and grow.
Another essential member: Personal Trainer. No celeb would travel without one! The Personal Trainer would be responsible for keeping baby’s adorable little six-pack abs in perfect shape. Baby fat, begone! The trainer would also be the one to whip the parents into the condition they’ll need just to survive until kindergarten.
How about a Personal Astrologer? Rihanna wouldn’t make a move without hers. Your baby’s Personal Astrologer could assist with important life decisions (Pampers or Huggies?) or maybe provide a warning that since Cassiopeia is merging with Sirius (or is it XM?) today might be a good day just to stay in the crib and chill.
No aspiring A-lister would ever be caught in public without: Paparazzi. Bunches of them, to capture all those Kodak moments when you have forgotten the camera, camcorder, batteries or car-charger, or are simply unable to locate them under the mountain of baby accessories piled up in the back of your SUV behind junior’s car seat. Paparazzi are not only excellent photographers but are also willing to absorb the occasional left uppercut when you, the frazzled parent, feel like slugging someone, provided you have generous personal liability coverage.
Speaking of left uppercuts, don’t forget baby’s Bodyguards! Your little one will never get pushed off a playground swing again! Imagine how cool it would be to have two huge guys in dark suits and shades, hanging around the monkey bars.
Then there are the customary entourage members like drivers, managers, PR people, and of course personal shoppers, makeup, and wardrobe assistants to keep baby perfectly coiffed and dressed. “Excuse me…Miss? Let me adjust that diaper a little…it’s showing under your onesie…VDL!” (Visible Diaper Line). It’s important in early childhood to keep baby on a schedule, and with the proper help she will always be arriving on time and in style.
Last but not least, the Hangers-On. These are the people who are in awe of your child and just can’t live life without being close to her, even if it means losing some of their own identity and certainly their freedom in the process. Hangers-On are great for running errands or making small talk in the interludes between engagements, personal appearances and play dates. Let’s face it, it can be a grind being a super-busy toddler and so it is comforting having people around who do so much for you and expect practically nothing in return except your love.
Like your parents.