I’m not the sort of father who does not love his children. I love all my three children and I discipline them when they do wrong. That is how I was raised; I was raised with tough love. My father beat me every day because I was a stubborn child when I was growing up, my mother, too did not spare me, I was a little rascal. And it was a good thing they did that because I would have turned out worse than I did. I have many scars on my body to show for it. To God be the glory, today, I am an engineer but for the toughness of my parents, I won’t be where I am.
With the little I have told you about my background, you can tell that I am a man who believes in the rod as a means of discipline for his children.
My daughter, Patience is just like me. She is a very stubborn and willful child and like any parent, I saw many of the things that I did not like in myself in this child but because she is a girl, I decided to quickly curb her so she will be a good woman in future.
Since her childhood, Patience always gave my wife and I a lot of trouble, she gave us more trouble than any of our other children. If you send Patience on an errand, she will lose the money and come back to tell one lie or another, at school, she would fight with one class mate or another or tear their books. I always got calls from her teachers over one misdemeanour or another. So you will agree with me that Patience was quite a handful.
On top of all these wahala, Patience always bed wets. Yes, she bed wets. All her siblings stopped bed wetting at the age of one or two years but she, she must be different. She must be the one to give us trouble and you know with bed wetting, the whole house will be stinking and I really hate that.
When visitors come, it is the stink of urine that will drive them from the house because Patience, even when I warned her not to sleep in the parlour, she would still sleep there and wet the couch. I have warned her several times, ‘don’t sleep on the couch,’ for where? I will come back from work to find her on the couch in front of the TV, sleeping and once she sleeps like that, the next thing is to wet the couch.
And this can be tiring. We are always spreading mattress out every day. We even tried to help her to stop eating and drinking any time after 6pm, so that she will not bed wet, but you know these kids, they will go behind you to disobey your instructions. Many times, I have caught her drinking water and beaten her thoroughly to discourage this act, yet nothing improved. To make matters worse, I lost my job last month and everything just seems to annoy me more.
One day, I was ironing my clothes for an interview when I heard my wife scolding Patience for bedwetting again! I don’t know what came over me, I just unplugged the iron and went straight to the bedroom and I pressed it on her thighs; her two thighs.
I still don’t know what came over me.
Even when I smelt her flesh burning and heard my wife and Patience screaming, the anger didn’t go down. Thank God that my wife stopped me from doing her harm because I was just frustrated.
I can’t really remember what happened after that, but I was too ashamed to have my wife carry Patience to the hospital because I know people will ask her how Patience got burnt with iron on both legs. So I decided we will just manage to treat her at home. So we bought Methylated Spirit and Iodine that we pour on the wound.
I just thought that since she is still a child, it will heal fast. Children have a way of healing faster than adults. I didn’t think that it would fester and become bigger and smell so bad.
Maybe that is when I should have taken her to the hospital but I didn’t. I wanted us to treat her at home and we have been treating her for the past two weeks, it’s just that her skin is not the type that heals fast.
Then a neighbour reported us to police and they came to arrest me.
How old is Patience? She’s four years old.
-Compiled by Peju Akande