Kira made a grand entrance as she really is today! Some of the Aunties who knew her as a tiny newborn weren’t there the first day she visited her baby home this trip, and they so wanted to see her. (Careful what you wish for!) So when the team went to serve in the baby home yesterday she came along. When there is a crowd of people she gets clingy, nervous and defensive. Any time someone new tries to talk to her or reaches out to touch her, she pushes them away and screams, with complete panic. I’ve given up trying to apologize for her. I can’t be responsible any more for the hoards of people who approach her and get their feelings hurt.
I’m trying to understand what she feels and how it manifests in her behavior. At home in America she is approached so often by people who want to touch her and she gets so tired of it. She yells at them too. But here there can be such a crowd around her that it makes her panic.
The way people are here with children is wonderful, unless you are Kira. Anyone eight years or older swoops in on anyone two years or less and picks them up and carries them around. Babies are lifted out of mothers arms all the time. The children in Uganda love it, but Kira has a panic attack.
She’s very clear, “don’t touch me”. And it hurts everyone’s feelings. The aunties looked at me and said, “she doesn’t like me.” I felt so sad because she was a special child to them, the first infant in the home. Her name was written with indelible ink on her crib. She was called Cherish, and still she is cherished.
But she’s two and a half! This is the worst behavior she might have in her whole life! (ok, I haven’t raised a teenage girl, but I hold out hope.) I apologized for her crankiness and promised the Aunties, next year she’ll like you so much more. I hope.
Here’s the interesting detail about Kira, she really likes men. She goes straight to Robert who scoops her up and carries her around and she rests her head on his shoulder. She lets George do the same thing with her, and now our other driver Jack, gets her favor. Here’s what I think about that. The men don’t come after her, they are just there and wait to see what she will do. They are safe and they let her approach at her own time when she is comfortable and ready. She asks for George all the time, and when he arrives she chats with him. She’ll smile and play with the men, but she screams at the women and pushes them away. However, she does really like Phiona now. What a relief.
One of the things about Kira I both love and admire is that she knows what she likes and she goes after it with gusto, and she knows what she doesn’t like and she rejects it with equal energy. She’s a spunky, smart, willful, curious toddler.
And she was overjoyed when I slipped into the room of sleeping boys and she saw Donny. She wouldn’t let him put her down even for a short call to the bathroom. All the other team members wanted to greet him, but she was possessive, and she dared them to take away her Donny. After half a day at the baby’s home she and Donny collapsed together in his bed for a long three hour nap. I’m sure this was the longest nap she’s had since landing on this continent. And what a happy little sweetie she is when she awakes!
She’s blessed with big brothers and a gentle kind daddy, I’m not surprised she really likes men. When she gives us all a hard time, I keep reminding myself, this is the hardest trip I will make with her.