Sunday, September 17, 2006

Life with Children

Life is definitely different with children around. They don’t really have toys to play with, so they play with empty bottles, old papers and anything else they can find. During the day, they just play outside, but in the evening, sometimes it’s tough to keep them occupied, especially when we’re trying to fix dinner. They are a lot of fun, though.

On Friday afternoon, Ian asked to use the pen that I was using, so I gave him my pencil to use and a piece of paper to draw on. Then Brian and Wales each took and turn. When I could see that Brian and Ian could stay on the paper without drawing on the table, I gave them each a pen to draw with. I helped them each write their name on this picture and then taped them up on the wall and made a big fuss over them. My, were those boys proud. The rest of the evening Friday and then all day yesterday and today, Brian has been saying, “Look at the pictures!” and we all make a big fuss over them. Sometimes I think they just need more attention. One afternoon last week, they were really fussy outside while we were working, so I just picked up each one, told him I loved him and just held him for a minute. All they needed was a little love.

At the same time, though, I have a low tolerance for kids who whine and cry for no reason and who ignore everything adults tell them to do. I feel a bit like the nanny on TV as I’ve been disciplining them, but I think the kids are learning. I’m trying to help them learn how to use words to ask for things instead of screaming. I also make sure that they know what I want them to do and the consequences if they don’t, and then follow through if they don’t listen. They get a lot of “Don’t do that,” and “Get down. You’ll fall,” during the day along with, “I’ll beat/spank you.” The worst though is, “Stop that or Sarah will beat you.” When they don’t do what they’re told, though, nothing happens. So, we’re working on that and we’re all learning together. I’m trying to give them both the love and the discipline that they need and they are responding very well to me. They know that I love them a lot, but they’re also learning that I won’t put up with certain things.

This afternoon, I printed some of the pictures that I had taken and gave them to my family tonight. I could not believe how excited the kids were about them. They were shouting things like, “Look at Mama!” “Look at the picture!” Aggrey (my host dad) got out the picture albums to put the pictures in and then the kids looked through the albums for the next hour. They looked at the same pictures over and over, yelling to look at whoever was in the particular picture.

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