In honor of Baylor’s appearance in the Sweet Sixteen today…
Tag Archives: baylor
“She’s throwing up! She’s throwing up!”
Those were the first words spoken to me in the United States in 2 1/2 years. And they were offered by a stranger describing Baylor’s first ever action on U.S. soil. An action I didn’t so much need described, however, as the girl was in my arms and her vomitus was enveloping my clothing and bags. Continue reading
“How long do you think it would take one of us to get to the deep end if Baylor fell in?” Continue reading
Happy Fathers’ Day to all you fathers out there.
Yesterday a South African miner walked up to Baylor and I — while we were playing — and started a conversation. The gist of the conversation: ”What do you think about being a father? It looks like fun. I really hope I have children one day. Is it hard? I’ve got to go and find a wife.”
If you don’t know any South African miners, I’m not sure you can fully grasp the humor of this conversation.
Anyway, for Fathers’ Day I thought I’d post a few photos of my beautiful daughter. But first… a few Fathers’ Day links:
Serbian kids tie up their dads and lock them in rooms until they’re given enough money to secure their release. Sicilians celebrate with fava beans. I myself am partial to the Nepalese observance of Father’s Day; yep, give me a slab of meat, and I’ll be one happy father.
In my mind — and in that of this list’s author — Atticus Finch is the man. Yeah, what a dad. [You know I wanted to name my son (if I were to have one) Atticus, but the wife's not a huge fan. Maybe I can talk her into Boo?] Anyway, To Kill a Mockingbird made the list, and I’m glad it did.
“There’s something new and strange about all this. Today, I feel the powerful force of biology. It’s visceral; it’s real; it’s hormonal, and it’s not in our economic models. I’m helpless in the face of feelings that overwhelm me. Yes, I know that a twenty-something reader will cleverly point out that I just need to count kids as a good which yields utility, or perhaps we need to add a state variable to the utility function as in rational addiction models. But that’s not the point. I’m surprised by how little of this I’ve consciously chosen. While the economic framework accurately describes how I choose an apple over an orange, it has had surprisingly little to say about what has been the most important choice in my life.”
And now the photos:
Have a great Fathers’ Day!
Just a quick note to let you guys know that Christie, Baylor, and I have arrived in Kigali. Christie’s off to her women’s spiritual renewal retreat in a couple of hours, leaving Baylor and I here to visit the doctor, eat ramen noodles, and try to sell a road bike. Internet’s hard to come by, so I’ve decided to take the week off completely from blogging — though I’ll try to check my email at least once or twice.
I hope you all enjoy this last full week of May. Just to make sure you’re not missing out, here’s a little calendar for your week’s celebrations and festivities:
National Backyard Games Week, May 23-30
National Tap Dance Day, May 25
It’s Easter Sunday, and we’ve just returned home from a day with the church in Kasilo village. I’ll tell you more about that tomorrow (lots of photos to download) — but today I thought I’d catch everyone up on what Baylor’s been doing lately. So here are some pics of our little girl. And Happy Easter!
“In other words, you are training your child as if she were a puppy, and doing it in a fashion that would get you in trouble with animal cruelty laws.”
I made the mistake a few days ago of commenting on someone’s blog about disciplining children. One of the responses I received is above. And here’s another one:
“Hitting is hitting, isn’t it? Why is it ok for me to hit my child for hitting his brother but not ok for him to hit his brother?”
Apparently my views are unpopular.
But aren’t all views unpopular when it comes to this matter of discipline in the family? It’s a difficult subject to breach, because everyone’s got an opinion. We’ve all been on the receiving end of some type of discipline — and all who are parents have been on the giving end. Christie and I are currently trying to work all of this out. Here are the horrible things I said that made me such a very unpopular monster of a father:
“growing up i was spanked by my parents, and am glad that i was. it helped me to understand right and wrong — and that there were consequences to these actions. i was not beaten severely or injured, but it hurt. and i began to associate two things with pain: 1) direct disobedience toward my parents or other authority figures and 2) evil and sin (eg. lying, cheating, forging my mom’s signature on a report card in elementary school).
i don’t think spanking is the only way to go; i personally feel consistency is much more important than is the form of discipline. i have a 16-month old daughter, and she understands that some things are wrong for her to do. i pop the top of her hand with my palm if she does those things which she knows she shouldn’t. i feel i’m teaching her lessons that will benefit her greatly in the future.”
I don’t think that’s so bad. I don’t beat my daughter; I give her hand a little pop. And right now those pops are reserved almost only for those things which are dangerous (ovens, cleaning supplies, etc). But I’m certainly open to better parenting methods. And if what I’m doing won’t work — or will cause problems for my daughter — I certainly want to stop doing it and get with another program. One kind man offered me some insight:
“I will note that you have a completely wrong idea regarding the judgment capacity and impulse control ability of a 16 month old. You are not accomplishing anything beneficial and if you are relying on behavior control vs. controlling her environment, are perhaps adding unnecessary risk.”
Apparently he also wrote me up in his little book of bad parents. And probably put some checks next to my name.
But maybe he has a point. Have I misjudged my 16-month old’s ability to understand what she’s not to do? Is she literally incapable of refraining from doing such things? I want to know.
Because it seems to me to be working. Baylor very rarely now touches electrical outlets, the oven, cleaning supplies, and other dangerous things. She does occasionally play in toilet water, and she often places her toys in Christie’s drink glasses (but she doesn’t get her hand popped for those things). I want to protect her from some of those dangerous things which we can’t easily remove from her reach. [It's difficult to baby-proof a house in Africa -- or anything in Africa for that matter.*]
One of the difficulties with these conversations, though, is that nearly everyone’s advice is from anecdotal evidence only. ”This happened to me…” or “Well, my experiences are…” And that’s fine; we’ve all got our opinions and are certainly entitled to them. But I’m struggling to know if there’s some truth out there. What do we actually know?
So… offer some advice if you will. Share your experiences — anecdotal as they may be. How do you deal with discipline? How early did you start with your children? What works and what doesn’t? [Those of you with gray hair are doubly expected to answer.] And I’ll thank all of you in advance for your help.
* I can’t tell you how many times Baylor’s picked up animal poop here. Dog poop we deal with in the U.S. But she’s wanting to play with cow poop, chicken poop, goat poop… all kinds of poop. It’s like she’s studying it. The other day she was chasing a goat, and it was pooping with every step. There was Baylor running behind hands out as if she was trying to catch it. Even in our house we have to deal with the poop of lizards. And of course when we run out of water, we can’t flush our toilets… It’s a hot mess, I tell ya’.
This past week Christie and the ladies on our team attended a women’s missionary retreat in Kenya. That left Baylor and I to fend for ourselves in Geita — or me to fend for the two us, rather. Baylor did little fending. We had a great time of father-daughter togetherness.
Christie took the camera with her to Rondo, or else I’d have pictures to show of all the things Baylor and I did this week. Things like:
- cooking breakfast, lunch, and supper every day. [How does Christie keep up with cooking three meals a day from scratch?] I made it my own personal challenge this week to cook everything in the same skillet; that was fun.
- playing with our two new puppies, Gene and Max. Christie likes to give “old man” names to pets (no offense to any Genes and Maxes who are reading). So she picked Max, which is short for Maximus. I chose Gene — after Gene Chizik, but still in keeping with Christie’s little tradition.
- finding and ordering grass plugs to go in the yard. [And a steal at $3 per gunny sack.]
- picking up 4×4 columns for a building project.
- hiring a guy to make a wooden spice rack and build frames for mirrors. [We've been in the house 13 months now, and we didn't own a mirror until last week.]
- ordering and receiving 3000 liters of water.
- meeting with officials at NSSF (the Tanzanian social security offices).
- observing (and chasing) lots of goats, cows, and chickens.
- reading the first page (and only the first page) of at least 250 children’s books.
Baylor’s not one to stay in the house all day — which is nice. She actually preferred to go into town and run errands with me. That made it easy to get a few other things accomplished during the week. The two of us had a great time together. But we sure are happy to have Christie back at home. And I now have an even greater appreciation of my wife.
Still not home yet. We’re leaving Dar es Salaam in a couple of hours for the two-day drive to Mwanza, where we’ll stay for another night or two before finally going back home to Geita. While we’re in Mwanza, we’ve got to:
- take care of some money, tax, and finance issues.
- see about having some work done to get our new truck ready for the roads and drivers of Tanzania.
- put up some new “truck for sale” signs in hopes of off-loading our older vehicle. [So I'll also be washing, waxing, and "armor-all"ing the old truck.]
- begin checking on flights for our furlough later this year.
Oh, and here’s a link to Carson and Holly’s blog, where Holly highlighted Baylor’s relationship with their son Jude: BFF Baylor. Just because I’m not blogging regularly these days… that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get to see pics of my sweet daughter.
From time to time I get requests to see more of our family’s everyday life in Tanzania. But, not unlike all of you, I don’t carry a camera during everyday life. Visitors do, however, carry cameras. And I’m taking advantage of that camera’s presence. [This post isn't really everyday life -- it's more a family visit.] This is what we’ve been up to this week: