Sunday, September 30, 2012

Prince tells a story

Prince's drawing during scripture time and beyond has taken a large leap forward. He used to copy numbers or letters. Then he started drawing things that reminded him of words or scenes from the bit of scripture we were reading. Now he's written his own story. You can read the first bit on the page on the left; the rest was on a different page.

"The Book of Mario. Mario and Peach lived in a cast[le]. They walked around and then they found Luigi."

Prince had Mommy's help with some of the spelling.

I remember reading before I started Kindergarten at 5. The family remembers my brother reading before I did. I don't think either of us could write a short story at age 4 - certainly not one legible to any but a trained Egyptologist with a urim and thumim. Go, Prince!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Adventures in Medicine: Part 2

I woke up Thursday feeling just fine. A little fragile, maybe, like dizziness could return. But I wasn't dizzy. Hooray.

The AUN clinic sent an ambulance for me the next morning. I sat up front while he drove me around, first to the wrong place on the opposite side of town and then to what is sometimes called the German Hospital and sometimes the Specialist Hospital.

The doctor was ready for me and ushered me into such a clean, sterilized environment as you would find in the US. The needles were all disposable and in the same little plastic bins. They had little doohickies to help with the blood pressure instead of a rubber band.... The pampered, squeemish little foreigner was comforted.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Adventures in Medicine: Part 1

I woke up this morning to a spinning world. Even laying down, the room spun around me much too fast. I closed my eyes and hoped the morning would go away in ten minutes. It didn't. It didn't go away in half an hour either. Nauseous, I cancelled my morning class, found a substitute for another, and warned my afternoon class it might get cancelled too. (How did we live before the internet?) Five hours later, I was okay laying down, but getting up or any movement returned the feelings of vertigo and nausea.

So I lowered myself into a cab that took me to the AUN Health Clinic. Last year we had an Indian doctor who gave free service to the AUN faculty and took wonderful care of us. We loved him. Now he's gone and I get to meet the Clinic for the first time.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Why don't the Hausa cross the road?

There's one main road connecting Jimeta (where we live) in the north to Yola (where AUN is) in the south. I asked my driver a question today: why is it that the banana vendor, the bread vendor, the cassava vendor, the potato vendor, and every other food vendor is on the southbound side of the road and there are NONE on the north bound side? It would be much more convenient to pick up bananas on my way home from work, but the vendors are on the wrong side.

His answer was that the food is grown "in the bush" on that western side of the road. Then they bring the food here to the road. They don't want to cross because it is risky to cross such a busy road with no crosswalks or intersections while carrying their food.

Funny ... that's the same reason why I don't cross the road to them either.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

What's Prince been up to?

Well, for the most part he's been running around wearing one of my or Joy's t-shirts for potty training purposes. As a natural consequence, he's gotten very few pictures lately.

(In this picture, Joy was not very certain about Princess sitting in his lap, but it worked out well.)

But it is definitely time to crow: he successfully managed to go an entire week without any potty accidents. We'll be throwing him a small party next week to celebrate.

What else did he do over the summer? Let me see...

Pop and Grandma bought a "structure" for the kids to play on. I helped Pop (a little) in assembling it. Then Prince and I could play pirates. He also practiced walking up slides a lot.

On July 4 we went to the Elks Lodge where they had some bouncy castles. Prince still loves them.

I blogged earlier about his success at going 4 days without a potty accident. Here is the proud boy at IHOP. It took about 2 months to go from 4 days in a row to 7.

Our first day at Disneyland Prince was very happy to see Minnie again. Even though she came over to our table 2-3 times during breakfast, he was most interested in her this first time outside.

Joy and I took turns attending the Redlands Temple. I fed the kids lunch during her turn.

We went to beautiful Solvang. Prince played with fountains, balloons, sunglasses, t-shirts, trains, and anything else he could get his hands on. A wonderful time was had by all.

One of the things Joy got me for my birthday was a cartoon version of The Hobbit. I had just introduced it to Prince that week. When he saw me open it and tell him it was something for both of us, he suddenly remembered he should give his parents a gift and claimed that this was his present to me!

Joy had forgotten to prepare one for him, so was happy for him to claim one. It was kind of funny.

When I picked Prince up from school to go to the airport, his teacher gave him a Nigerian outfit, sized much too big for him. Normally they would have had time to try it out on him, tailor it, and so forth. But we were leaving a month before the end of term so there was no time.

This is also the very first picture of the new camera, Prince with his Grandma at the grocery store.

Prince loved playing with Grandma on Sundays. They threw stuffed animals back and forth in the family room while everyone else watched the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's Music and the Spoken Word broadcasts. 

Prince also got a scooter and fell in love with skateboards. We brought the scooter back to Nigeria with us, but left the skateboard I had when I was 13 back home. Joy is not at all certain he's ready for it (I quite agree). We'll see how long it takes him to learn how to scoot around without crashing too often.

On the other hand, it seems to me that one of the prerequisites for skateboarding is being an indestructible kid, and there's no one who fits that bill better than Prince the Tank.

15 months of Princess

Being in the States without my computer, I couldn't do this when Princess turned 1 year, but here she is through 15 months.

1 day old.

Leaving the hospital

1 month

Saturday, September 22, 2012

iLectronics problems

I have mentioned that AUN gave all the faculty an iPad for use at work. It's been quite handy and I confess it has addicted me. But there's this problem. It's called electricity. I've commented on it before. Often.

Baby's first words

 Princess has about 20 words that she says reliably without prompting and she's suddenly decided to start mimicking what we read to her. So more are definitely on the way. Here, for our record, are her first 20 25 words in no particular order:

Jesus - her first two-syllable word
Ducky - "guckie"
Guckie! Guckie! Guckie!
D  - for A&D ointment
update: words I forgot

And she's working on "yes" and "no"
Other words she has mimicked: teacher "teetee", Hob nob "hah nah", red bird "re bir", and brown bear "bow bea." Once upon a time, she came out with a perfect Amen, but that's been a long time and not repeated.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

I can haz burfday käk?

Inline image 1
I forgot the most important picture! Cake time!

Busy Week (as always)

Princess' hair is finally long enough for pigtails. They don't stay in very long, though, so enjoy em while you can.

I think things are far enough along that I can admit this publicly: I am the new Economics Department Chair. Our former chair is a dean, an interim dean, AND an associate dean all at the same time. It was felt it was time for someone else to chair the department.

On Friday we went to a party to welcome new faculty and staff. There were a few too many people there for Prince's comfort, so we went outside to play on the brand new playset at the Club.  The #1 thing we were worried about missing from the States (other than family) was a park or playground. We're very happy to see this.

We were very sad to learn one of our dear friends here is leaving rather abruptly.  We and most of AUN are saddened to see him go. He did a lot for this university and will be greatly missed.

Joy got to do the socializing at Friday's party. This was a very good thing since you can see how stir-crazy she has been.

Not really. What you see before you is Joy's latest toy: a mortar and pestle for making pounded yam. You take the bark off these enormous yams, boil them so they aren't poisonous anymore, then pound them in that drum.

"I had a nice Saturday afternoon," Joy reports. "Prince played with our neighbor kids and I visited with the Mom. Princess explored and got to know their little baby. A good time was had by all. We plan on having them over on Fridays regularly."

We hadn't been back long before the bugs welcomed us back. Prince had 11 bites just on his arm in one night. More were on his face and other arm. I sprayed his room, only to come down with half a dozen on my ankles the next morning. When you get bit out here, you really know you've been bit.

I'm teaching development economics again, intermediate macroeconomics for the first time, and two sections of the AUN Freshman Seminar for the first time. I finally have all the textbooks I need (two weeks in) but at least one class is still trying to get hold of their copies.

The good news is that we are now finally all on the same time zone. Derrill has been on Middle East time falling asleep during dinner, and Joy's been somewhere in the Atlantic unable to get to sleep. It was kind of like Bizaro World.

First birthday party

My first birthday was a ball. About 100 of them, scattered all over the dining room floor. It took me a while to figure out what to do with them, but Daddy and Prince showed me how.

The plan was that we were going to go to the LA temple, then visit my great-grandmother, Grammy, for my party. Then we had a flat tire just south of Oxnard.

It took almost 2 hours to get a loaner tire and be on our way. By then we figured it was too late to go to the temple, so we just went straight to Grammy's. That gave her some private time with just me before everyone else descended on her.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Pondering Meat and God

Over the summer, my urologist told me to cut my meat intake in half, avoid all salt, and otherwise pretend I'm 20-30 years older than I am or TRAGIC CONSEQUENCES could follow. How he determined that from five minutes with me, I'm not sure.

For not-the-first time I was stuck between multiple doctors giving me conflicting dietary advice.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Princess: What I Did This Summer

We went to the temple several times. We went to the LA temple. Here we are at the Redlands temple. After going to the Redlands temple, we went to Dairy Queen. The owner gave me a free ice cream I refused to eat. Daddy said those were the oldest, stalest Spanish peanuts he had ever eaten and couldn't finish his peanut buster parfait - he was sad. At least he got to eat my ice cream.

Here are me and my dad at AJ Spurs near Solvang. I climbed up on the buffalo (Daddy may have helped). I liked feeling its rough hair and then sliding down again.

As my brother said, I went to Disneyland for the first time. There will be more pictures later, I hear. Here I am as a pretty princess.

I got to go to the beach. Sand doesn't taste good. I kept getting closer to the waves, and that was fun ... at least until I sat down on the shore and the wave soaked my pants. That water is freezing!

I like eating oranges. I like eating orange peel mostly. Mommy won't let me eat orange peel in Nigeria. I miss it. Mommy tries to peel the orange for me, but then I'm not interested anymore. I liked Grandma and Pop's orange tree. 

This is my first taste of hamburger and Prince's first taste of milkshake or ice cream. I like it! I like food. I like anything Mommy and Daddy eat. I point to what I want and say "This!" or I say his name if I want what Prince is eating.

I felt the prints of the nails in the Christus' feet at the LA Temple visitors center. This was on the day we had the car accident and never made it to Utah. I think Daddy will probably talk about that some more later.

Mostly, I just spent the summer being cute and loving.

I learned how to walk into Pop's office and tell him, "Go!" I taught him that means I want him to take me outside and watch me play. I could tell I was getting better at it, because the last week we were there he came outside with me almost every time I asked.

I walk around our home in Nigeria looking for other people. I can't find Pop or Grandma or Steve or Emie or Lanna. It makes me sad and I need Mommy to hold me some more. Thank you, family, for loving me.

Prince talks about: Disneyland

I liked my adventures in Disney. And I love the ride of Mr. Toad.

"Why is that?"

Because Daddy loves me. I really like the Toy Story ride. Because I love Grandma.

I love Splash Mountain. Because I love Mommy.

I love the Winnie the Pooh ride. Because I love Hyrum.

I liked the character breakfast. That's because I love Daddy again.

"What you do you like because you love Pop?"

I love the railroads, the Goofy ride. [We start helping him remember what we did]

I like IHOP because I really love Lavinia. I love the hotel and I love the Cars land and I love the Mader ride.  I love the caterpillar caterpillar caterpillar ride.

Nemo! Nemo! Nemo! Nemo! Nemo! Nemo! I love Nemo!
[He now starts doing that for every ride we mention, so no telling what else he thinks except...]


Translations beneath the fold:

Home schooling

Prince won't be returning to his school this semester. We'll see about later. But for now that means Joy will be homeschooling our preschooler while toddling after a toddler. So far the plan is to build his schedule one piece at a time.

The first thing it means is that part of his morning routine before breakfast includes writing out the phrase "Jesus loves me" or another appropriate lettering exercise after he says his prayers and before he plays. He is very excited about it. This morning he realized Joy hadn't included lines for Sunday. "I didn't mean for him to do homework on Sunday," she explains. I figured writing "Jesus loves me" was thoroughly Sabbath appropriate, so I drew some more lines for him. He then drew lines for all of next week.

They are planning some reading time every day and an art project.

Joy says, "I plan on keeping it flexible, just things that happen during the day. I think one of the benefits of him being home is that he won't have to have a regimented schedule. We'll do some math because he loves numbers. Derrill's going to work on story problems in picture form with him. We got a LeapPad for some more independent learning activities."

It made a lot of sense, seeing how much he loved the LeapFrog video of learning how to make words. We haven't given it to him yet, though, so we don't know how well it will work.

"We're going back to doing his scripture study with him." He can often read half or more of a verse of scripture with us by himself. We also started reading scriptures first thing in the morning because I'm teaching an 8am class twice a week. The kids are a LOT better behaved at 6:15am than at 6:15pm. I'm becoming a convert.

"Derrill's trying to help me figure out sections of time that I can spend with each of the kids, and to find time for myself too."

And as one of the nice side effects of this practice, this is what he wrote me this morning: I LUV MI DAD. He later expanded it to say "I LUV MI DAD AND MOM AND LUVY AND HYRUM."

"I will also be working with him about 20 minutes a day on flexibility, conversation skills, and sharing."