Here is a light-hearted post about what my kids are still screaming and kicking about over here in Africa and what they have accepted… and a list of my wins and losses that does not line up with what is making my kids melt down or throw a holy terror temper tantrum.
Let’s do tantrums first. Not just because we have dealt with so many today but because I always like to end on a good note, as the saying goes.
- Bathing in a tub
- Brushing teeth
- Washing hands
- Opening and closing doors
Caleb is still terrified of or just angry (I can’t tell which) about having to bathe in a tub. It’s not really a big deal, I just sound like I am MURDERING a child every night at 8pm as I try to wrestle him into a nice warm tub plenty big enough for him. One that he LOVES splashing in as long as he has all his clothes on.
I’ve resorted to a half hearted spit bath in the kitchen sink the last two nights, but boy needs hair washed tonight so wish me luck! I would just do without washing his hair while we are here, but the thrice-daily bug spray coats their hair making it oily and just a bit sticky. And I cannot abide sticky stinky oily hair for more than two days. It helps me love them when they smell like sweet clean babies!!! Aubrey enjoys the tub, but I must remember to do her first because if I leave her in the tub to get a diaper and pjs on Caleb, she is DEVASTATED to have missed out on that important interaction with her brother. I count this struggle a win every night I successfully remove the dirty grime covering my children before putting them in bed.
This one is a fail though. I somehow managed to forget to brush the kids’ teeth for the first 6 days of our trip. I blame the travel and jet lag and constant snacking? Terrible I know. Anyway, we are back at it. Caleb must have forgotten all about tooth brushing because he’d prefer to scrub the dirty floor with his tooth brush and make me wash it with soap before using it. Then he yells out, “Torn! Torn!” the whole time because he wants it to only be his turn, not mine, to brush his teeth (so he can happily suck the tooth paste off). I also can’t find the lid to the kid tooth paste because Aubrey dropped it and it VANISHED into thin air!! How does she do that?
We are improving in the hand washing area so it’s a win….but there is still some crying involved. Mine mostly because oh my goodness give me your slippery soapy hand back Caleb (and Aubrey too) and let me rinse it off at one go instead of turning the water off with your soapy hand. Every time.
Doors are the kids’ new stumbling block. It has turned into a disciplinary issue because fingers are going to get squished and bugs are getting into our house.
It started at the Pyatt because there are cool old metal doors (teal metal doors! Love!) that stay open all the time and the food is just always covered with a towel or a lid to protect it from all the flys. So the kids think it is great fun to push the doors back and forth and they each get one. But at our house and the Perry’s and every other door we encounter, Caleb wants it open so he can go out and Aubrey wants it closed after she comes in (or vice versa). It’s a drawn out silent battle that ends in Aubrey yelling instructions and Caleb defending his position with his favorite, “NOOOOOO!” Anyway. We are working on that. I’m calling it a draw for now. The bugs are the real winners, since they can come and go as they please.
The kids have accepted lots of things though!!
- Taking anti-malaria medicine
- Having the Perry girls look after them
- Hearing loud noises all day and most of the night
- Getting to play in the dirt all day long
Praise the Lord we discovered honey for their bright yellow bitter tasting anti-malaria medicine that we need to give them every day. The first few times were brutal and both Aubrey and Caleb threw up after we managed to force feed them the medicine in some disguised form. I am SO thankful we do not have to fight that battle every morning!! Aubrey asks for her honey medicine and both she and Caleb thoroughly enjoy their spoonful of honey with the crushed pill mixed in.
Both of our kids are a bit on the shy side and Caleb especially is slow to warm up to strangers. The Perry clan is big in number and could be overwhelming but oh how my children have fallen in love! Winnie (who is 6) has taken special care of Caleb, and he cried for her at nap time yesterday! I want to be careful not to take advantage of the amazing place their house is! I get to come in and sit down with lovely hibiscus iced tea and have an adult conversation while my kids disappear to go happily play!
I’m always worried about loud noises messing with how my kids sleep at night or nap. Our little guest house is right by the road and we do hear all kinds of sounds (from motorcycles to loud singing) but it hasn’t phased our kids a bit! Caleb has loved seeing all the motorcycles and bikes (he can’t tell the difference) and yells out “yoker-yiker” every time they go past . There are also mangos falling from the trees that sound like gun shots when they land on the metal roofs. It still makes TJ and I jump, but the kids have slept through it. Thankfully we were warned about that in orientation.
The simplicity of playing in the dirt has grown on our children. Instead of being scared of walking barefoot, they are now making dust angels on their tummies. They enjoy making trails through the dust with little sticks and they don’t mind getting it all over their hair either…. The more they rub their dusty hands in their hair the better!
Anyway, we are still loving it here. Tomorrow I get to work at the hospital while TJ manages the kids.