Sunday, April 15, 2012

New Things

I do have a heavy heart about the significant amount of things my kids face and have faced that children just shouldn't have to deal with. But I was a little surprised by the comments I got regarding what I posted yesterday as it didn't really stand out to me as unusually heavy. That's just our life these days. So today I thought it would be good to reflect on something a little less serious.

Now days it is less so, but in the beginning it seemed like we and the kids were encountering new things every day. Here is just a very small sampling:

Lights - Ryan was fascinated with light switches at first. We would be sitting in our guest house and we would see a light going on off, on off, on off. Usually this would be coming from a different room and we would just be able to see the glow going on and off. Without even looking we would yell out "Ryan stop playing with the lights!" I'm not sure why we didn't just let him have his fun. They had experience with electricity. But this was the first time that they had direct access to something like this.

Baths - They had always bathed in a basin. This means a little plastic tub of cold water which you would squat in and splash water on yourself. Bathing time in Uganda took a full hour for me. They had so much fun! It was a few months before they learned how to change the temperature by themselves. I can't tell you how many times I told the kids to get in the bath only to turn my back or go into the next room for a moment as they got undressed and into the tub only to come in to see them standing at the far end of the tub saying "guy-O-chye!!," meaning hot, at which point I would start commanding "get out! get out!." Given that hot water was a new thing for them, their idea of a warm bath was a little different than mine.

Enclosed Shoes - As soon as we got home to the cold of Spokane, we had to teach our kids how to shove their feet into tennis shoes. 

Tying Shoes - Every parent goes through teaching their kids how to tie their shoes. But not every parent does this within 1 week of their child ever seeing shoes that lace.

Zipping up a Coat - This was pretty tricky. Coats are especially difficult because you have to line up the start just right. Do you know how much time it takes to help 4 kids all put on enclosed shoes, tie shoes, and coats.

Booster Seats - We had been awake for 48 hours. We were in the parking lot at the airport. I was crawling into the 3rd row, trying to get Sarah and Sylvia situated so we could finally go home! Sylvia kept moving her booster seat out of the way. I kept putting it back trying to get her to sit on it. Her English still wasn't so good and instructions about sitting on a booster seat are full of prepositions. We went round and round and round. She couldn't figure out why on earth I wanted her to sit on this weird thing.

Seat Belts - They had never used seat belts before. They had only ridden in cars a handful of times ever. It took a good month or more to get all the girls to be able to buckle themselves. Prior to that I had to crawl in the back and buckle each kid. Then we got to a point that Sylvia and JoAni could do it and Sylvia would then help Sarah. About a month ago, Ryan learned how to buckle his own 5 point harness. I can't tell you how good it felt when just the girls learned how. Recently Ryan learned how to buckle and unbuckle his 5 point harness. It took so much time and effort to buckle 4 kids every time we wanted to go any where.

Forks - The first time they had ever used spoons before was when they came to the orphanage. The first time they ever used forks was with us. We still use spoons a lot.

Biting into Food - The kids were used to food like rice and beans. They were used to biting into food like bananas. But when it came to sandwiches or pizza, they did not like it at all. One time we made sandwiches that we knew the kids liked but Ryan refused to eat his. He was willing to go hungry. I went and got a knife and cut it up into little bite sized pieces and he quickly ate the whole thing. Same thing went for pizza. The first time we had it, it was in slices and they hated it. The second time, Josh and I were desperate. We were exhausted and pizza was the only food we could have delivered. So we made the call. The motorbike arrived with the pizza bungee corded to the back. I distracted the kids while Josh snuck it into the kitchen where he chopped up and entire pizza into little bits. And they liked it! Towards the end of the meal they realized that it was the same food they had before but they were okay with it.

Turning on different faucets, flushing different toilets, what different kinds of soap look like, opening a zip lock bag, using the ice/water dispenser in the fridge door, putting dishes in the dishwasher, what IS a dishwasher, how much soap to use, how much toothpaste to use, how much toilet paper to use, when to flush (yes, at night too), and where clothes go (we had underwear in the closet and shirts under the bed and a backpack in the dresser).

Again, this is just a small sampling of the full list! Lest you think that all of this is normal with any parenting which is true, keep in mind that this all took place over just a few months and times 4 kidse. :) It's been intense. Often funny. Often not. 

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