Friday, December 30, 2011

The Elephant is a shower: Something I love about Nigeria

(Part 1; Part 2)

What is Nigeria like? Nigerians love children. They are aware of children and talk to them like no other people I've known. When Prince and I were walking through the market for Christmas presents, it was his attention most people wanted. The guards at our place talk to him more than us. Everyone (almost) wants to hold our baby. That means some interesting things at a bouncy castle I wouldn't expect in the US.

All at once, 10 much older children jumped on the same bouncy toy Prince was on, back when only one was inflated. Even though they were rowdy as anything, they were extremely careful about Prince. They would pause their own jumping when he came by. They all learned his name and would call out to him. One of them took him by the hand to help steady him and lead him around and around. In the US, other children on bouncy toys ignored him completely, unless he was in the way.

When other toys were blown up, Prince climbed up the slides. In the US, other kids were upset when Prince didn't go down fast enough. Some kids would push him. What do they do in Nigeria? This:

They put their arms around him and lovingly slide down with him. When they saw me carry him (barefoot on hot ground, protective parenting in action), they decided they would help carry him too! Now, he wasn't a big fan of that as you can see in the video, but they were attentive and caring and friendly like you could scarcely imagine a bunch of American or German kids.

Prince would get tired of a toy when there were too many people there, and run over to an attraction where no one was. Then other kids would notice he had left and go follow him so they could play with him too. When he finished with the first toy, all the other kids decided they were done too, and left. It was very surprising.

After a while, he brought two girls over to meet Mommy and her baby. "This is my mommy!" he said as if he were showing off quite a prize, Joy reports. They were happy to be introduced. (Thanks to his new Mario game where we meet Mario's "girlfriend" Penelope, he called them his girlfriends. Joy has since instructed him he will not have a girlfriend until he's at least 16. But I digress.) They came back a second time to be with and hold the baby so softly.