Thursday, July 16, 2009

Meeting new mothers

I met up with some mothers at Maadi House on Wednesday. I didn't personally know any of them, at least not well, but I kind of knew Jenni, who knows my friend Melissa. I asked her if she wouldn't mind answering all my in depth questions about having a baby here. She said she'd be glad to, and invited another friend of hers who recently had a baby, as well as another woman who recently moved here and will be having a baby in September.

They were all super nice. I hope we get together again soon because there are so few children Rachel's age left here...that I know.

The new family is here to work for AUC and they live...drum roll...right next door! That is awesome on so many levels.

They have a son who is 2.5 years old. Rachel had an okay time playing with him, although he did do something mean to her on the playground. No one is really sure what he did. All we know is that Rachel started screaming bloody murder and running across the playground to me. She was so upset that she couldn't even make it the whole way. When she saw me stand up she stopped in her tracks and howled until I made it over to her.

I asked her what was wrong but should couldn't tell me. John, the dad, brought Elijah over and asked what Elijah did.

"She probably just fell or something," I said. She didn't look hurt so I wasn't concerned.

"I don't know," he said, "He probably did something to her."

Funny, that's what Rachel (his mom) told me, too.

"What happened, Rachel?" I asked (my) Rachel again.

"You! You! YOU!" she raged, pointing her finger at Elijah with such intensity that she was shaking. She never did tell me what happened, but I thought it was safe to assume that it probably did involve a little bit of bullying on Elijah's part.

I walked her back to the table the moms were talking at and held her.

"So was it hitting or pinching? Those are his specialties. We don't know what to do about it," Rachel (the mom) sighed.

She's the one having the baby in September. Did I mention that I'm excited that they live so close? Not that we've done anything yet...but we just met yesterday, so we have time.

Rachel will forgive Elijah eventually, I think. She wouldn't go back to play with the boys until we went swimming. Instead she hung around the table, where the moms were talking about labour and delivery, playing with the babies.

Nellie has a little baby girl named Norah who is 5 months old. Rachel fell absolutely head-over-heels in love with Norah. I've never seen her act the way she acted around Norah. It was like watching a little stranger. Of course, Rachel hasn't had the opportunity to be around many babies lately. It was encouraging to see her be so tender and doting with Norah; it gives me hope that she'll get along nicely with her own baby sister.

Of course, I realize that not every day will be perfect...but at least there will be perfect moments!

She rocked Norah's seat, followed Nellie to help change Norah's diaper, and was very concerned every time Norah acted the least bit fussy.

When we got home, Rachel named her baby doll "Baby Norah" and played with her for the rest of the evening. (Baby Norah has a split personality and is sometimes Baby Brother Knapp...I don't know why. Usually, at least for the past 2 days, she has been Norah, but occasionally Brother Knapp slips in somehow).

Before coming home, though, we swam. We swam and swam and swam and swam and swam. I couldn't get Rachel out of the pool. We stayed quite a while after everyone left. Rachel was having too much fun and was behaving so well. She didn't have much fun in the big pool because she spent the whole time worrying about whether or not we were going to visit the little pool, but she did enjoy jumping in a few times and playing with the beach balls Jenni's boys had brought.

When we went to the little pool, Rachel relaxed a lot and started playing all sorts of games.

She stirred the water for quite some time with her arms. I asked her what she was doing.

"I'm making soup! I'm inna soup! I'M SOUP! Mommy's soup, too!" she said and then proceeded to pretend to gobble the two of us up.

She played Ring Around the Rosie. She knows almost all the words now, though not quite.

"Pocket fulla rosie...husha, husha, ashes, husha...ashes, husha, ashes, ashes, husha...all fall down!"

Her "hushas" and "ashes" last for several minutes at a time.

She even fell in the water face first once, and couldn't get up. Usually she can...but she was struggling, so I helped her up after waiting a few seconds. I wasn't really concerned because she just blew bubbles the whole time. When I lifted her out of the water she had a big smile on her face and said,

"Whoa! I went in there!"

It made me wonder if she wasn't planning on standing up on her own eventually...when she ran out of bubbles and needed to take a breath...and if I wasn't just being over paranoid. Oh, well. Better paranoid than dead, I always say. (Okay, truthfully that's the first time I've ever said that).

After being in the water for a few hours, I had to get out to use the restroom. And when I say had to, I mean had to. I am pregnant, let's remember. The problem was, Rachel didn't want to get out.

"You have to get out," I told her, "Because it's Mommy's job to watch you and there's no one to leave you with. You can't stay in the pool without a grown up to watch you."

"Jesus watching me," she countered.

Uhhhhhh...true. BUT...Jesus doesn't like it when parents are downright irresponsible, either. At least, I'm pretty sure.

I explained to Rachel that Jesus is watching her, but that he gave me the job of taking care of her and part of that was not leaving her alone in a swimming pool. I explained further that if she got out and went to the restroom with me and sat nicely while I used the WC and didn't whine or cry that we could get back in the pool when I had finished.

"We come back?" she clarified.

"Yes, if you come now and don't cry we will come back."

She hopped out of the pool and prompted me to join her, "Come on, momma! Goin' potty! No crying! Come back pool!"

I was amazed that she had reasoned so nicely. Yesterday was an amazing communication day. It was so wonderful! She cooperated and communicated like that the whole day.

Today...not so much. Words that describe Rachel today: Wildebeest. Screaming Banshee. Grumpy. I could go on, but I won't.

Still, yesterday was so nice. Another little glimpse into how life will be when she reasons more often than not and life will be speckled with temper tantrums rather than speckled with sanity.

One day she'll learn that relationships are give and take and when she does what I ask her to do I'm much more willing to do what she wants me to do, be it getting back in the pool, going to a friend's house, or anything. One day she'll learn that screaming doesn't help her get her own way. One day she'll learn a lot of things. I hope, I hope, I hope...

Because we're having another one and I hope it learns things, too.


  1. I was saying to Emily that I should have just copied all your totally coherent sentences from our IM session yesterday and e-mailed it to you, and then you would have had this post all ready without having to type it again! :o) Part of it, anyway!

  2. I also can't wait for the day when reasoning exceeds crying/whining. I only wish we were as close to that day with Gareth as you seem to be with Rachel!

  3. Does Brother Knapp know about this?

  4. Brother Knapp is aware of this, yes. :)