Back in December when Kakasii took me on an overnight kid-free retreat as my Christmas present, we spent a lot of time talking about what our priorities were for our life together. Of course, our children ranked high on that list and we decided we wanted to focus on providing our children three things: 1) special family outings; 2) meaningful holidays and celebrations (e.g. birthdays); and 3) encouragement and support in pursuing education.
Some of our special family outings are as simple as making a impromptu trip into town in search of peaches (which we did earlier today). Max and Elly love to ride in “daddy’s truck” and see the sights as we drive down the busy and often crowded streets of Arusha. Other family outings are (or will be) incredibly elaborate like our plan to some day take the Mother of All Road Trips and visit every single national park in Tanzania.
This weekend fell somewhere in the middle. On Saturday one of the international schools in Arusha was hosting an International Music Festival. The school, International School Moshi, is one of the potential schools Max and Elly will attend when they reach school age so it’s nice to visit the campus. The festival featured student music and dance performances and some community performers as well. The most exciting performance for Max and Elly was a cultural dance and drumming troupe. They loved the movement and rhythms and colors of the performance.
There was one particular part of their act, though, that Max found especially fascinating: the fire eating. Without saying anything out loud, Kakasii and I simultaneously had the same thought as we saw Max’s eyes frozen on the dancer as he put the flaming torch into his mouth: Max is going to try this at home.
So we talked a lot after the performance about how the kaka (brother) eats moto (fire), but Max and Elly don’t. And we reinforced the message by letting them eat ice cream as better option.
After Saturday’s fun outing, on Sunday we decided we’d go out again. Our original intention was to go to a nearby restaurant with a playground, but then Big Sister Brenda uttered the magic words: swimming.
So we grabbed our swimming suits and towels and went to a lodge not far down the road from us that had both a playground and a swimming pool. This was the first time Max and Elly had been in a big swimming pool since our visit to Nebraska last summer.
I hope to find a place that offers swimming lessons in Arusha for Max and Elly, but in the meantime, we’ll do our own version.
Max and Elly both tried putting their faces in the water were pretty good a kicking. After a while, Elly got tired and hitched a ride on Brenda’s back.
And both of them liked having Mommy hold them in the water–at the same time. (This was actually a pleasant break from their earlier insistence that I show them–multiple times–how Mommy can swim from one side of the pool to the other.)
I was totally wiped out after the swimming but Max and Elly, being 41 years younger than me, still had plenty of energy. So we moved to the playground. There were lots of slippery slides and swings, two trampolines and this cool pedal-powered merry-go-round.
I thought this would be a great way to help Max and Elly develop some foot coordination in preparation for the bicycles they’ll be getting for their 3rd birthday in July (shhhh, don’t tell them), but Max was much more interested in pushing than pedaling.
It was nearly supper time when we were finally able to drag Max and Elly away from the playground. I thought for sure with all the activity, sunshine and fresh air from the weekend they would be ready to go to bed early. (If you’re a parent, I know you’re laughing right now.) Of course not! They were much too exited from all the fun to sleep. I don’t know what time they finally went to bed because this tired Mommy left them in the care of Daddy and I hit the hay!