Friday, June 7, 2013

Play time is over

Our time in Kampala is almost over and we head back to Karamoja tomorrow. What have we been doing? We've been introducing the girls to new things, bonding, training them to have boundaries (they know the words 'Don't touch' well by now), hugging them often....but mostly...we've been playing. 
Every Sunday, we got together with their uncle Hillary. He is going to university in Kampala and enjoyed seeing the girls on a regular basis. It's important to the Ik family (and to us) that the girls stay in touch and know where they came from. On this particular Sunday, we took the girls and Hillary for a boat ride on Lake Victoria. It was a first for all of them. The girls LOVE water and were dizzy with excitement about being in a boat on the water.
Most of the trip was spent with one of us holding the girls over the side of the boat so they could touch the water and feel it rushing by.
We also took them to the mall quite often where they enjoyed exploring. The escalator was a hit. On one particular evening, they wanted to sit on a statue of an elephant. It's funny how the things we never noticed before (like a stationary elephant) seem to be the main source of attraction for the children. It brings a different perspective to our worldview. And I now appreciate the places that are child-friendly and educational. 
I've taken the girls swimming several days a week for the past month. They usually get cold pretty quickly, but they're still growing in their swimming skills. At first they were afraid to put their heads under water. A month later, they were jumping into a deep pool with floaties on. 
And then there is the playground. It's the best babysitter I've ever known. The kids were entertained for a long time and I could sit and chat with a friend. Janet, our daring child with a drive for adventure, loves to climb and hang. She would fall from 6-7 ft on occasion and it wouldn't phase her at all. She'd just climb up again and try to do better. 
 Lemu also likes to hang but is not quite so daring as Janet. ;-)
They both enjoyed the slides and the 'rush' from sliding fast. 
Then they would come and check-in with me before running back to play. I hear this is a good sign of attachment in children. 
Terrill and I reflect on a fairly regular basis that this thing called 'parenting' is not what we expected. For some reason, we expected quiet and pliable children who go where you go and sit nicely while you do your business. Maybe it takes a few years to work up to this...but we are definitely not there yet. We're learning in the school of hard knocks that it takes work to raise children. If we want good children, we have to be good parents. They're not mail-order ready. Looking back at my life before children, I realize how naive we were. I look at parents and children in a new way now...and when I see a healthy, well-rounded child, I know how much work has gone into them. I can only pray that the Lord will provide us with what we need to be the kind of parents who raise healthy children (spiritually, physically, emotionally & mentally). I also pray they learn to love others more than themselves. 

Terrill keeps telling me that he never wanted to be a babysitter....
I told him 8 years ago (when we got married) that I never wanted to go to Africa. Maybe it's the things which we avoid that are the best for us. God knows...and he gives us what we need. Just as Africa has stretched and changed me, so parenting will be a sanctifying work in both of us.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Comic relief

Sometimes when I'm having a difficult day, looking back at old photos will cheer me up. Today was not a bad day but I was searching for a photo when I found some knitting examples. When my friend, Kate, visited in fall 2011, she showed me how to knit hats. The hat that Akoro (below with Kate) is wearing is a good example of a finished product.
 I didn't quite get the instructions right for my first hat and this is how it tuned out...
Fortunately, the hat still protected her scalp from the sun. I can't help but giggle at my early attempts at knitting and look forward to when I can knit again.