The Great Congolese Caper - Day 6 - Kinshasa

Posted in Family , OldBlog with tags Mireille -

Kinshasa - Day 5

It’s a hotel day - all day at the hotel. It’s a good and a bad thing. Getting out would be nice simply to stave off the boredom, but it also allows for a very concentrated, focused time for just hanging out with your child - something I’m not sure I ever did so much with the boys, or at the very least don’t do it anymore…

Today started out much better than the last few, mainly due to the fact that I got a full 8 hours of sleep under my belt, which was sorely needed! Mireille even cooperated for the most part. She did fall out of bed around 11:00, which caused passed out me to catapult from the bed, vaulting both my iPad and iPhone onto the floor. I have a smallish dent on the corner of my iPad, which is the only thing I can see.

Once Mireille woke up, she looked over at me - I was up. She came over and crawled into bed with me for a couple of minutes, which was nice. Then we leisurely got up, brushed our teeth, and started breakfast. Today we had eggs, cooked in vegetable oil with cheese, a big difference from a couple of days ago. We also tried toast in the oven instead of frying it in a frying pan - way better. I’m getting better at this Kinshasa thing.

After breakfast, we just kind of hung out in the room. All day. We tried to swim once, but Mireille is terrified of the pool. She also goes into a shell pretty much any time we leave the room, the left thumb going directly into the mouth. Later in the day she did manage to start coming out just a little bit outside, but it’s a slow process.

Highlights from the day - Mireille is quite the little blabber mouth once she gets going. All (or most) of her phrases are Lingala, though, so I have no idea what she’s telling me. Occasionally she gets upset with me, but eventually just points or walks me to what she wants and eventually gets her way.

I started writing down the phrases that I hear from her and when she says them. Here is a sampling:

  • bu tu nana te (pointing across the room)
  • ma (when handing me something)
  • do dah doh (singing)
  • bee doh (more singing - kind of like the Minions)
  • matoh (hot?)

She continues to be excellent at disassembling the pantry and reassembling it on the floor somewhere. She also LOVES to take out little snacks, give them to me, then steal them back from me before I can eat them. This gives her much amusement. She doesn’t so much laugh as she shows a wry little smile and peeks at me out of the corner of her eye. She’s a stinker!

After lunch I was doing the dishes, somewhat of a tradition now. I prepare the meal while getting Mireille to start eating something cold, then I eat quickly and help her to eat some of the more difficult parts, then I do the dishes while she destroys the room. Tonight the dishes are unwashed and will remain that way until the morning - I’m spent! Anyway, while doing the dishes, I couldn’t find one of the spoons that I knew we had used. I looked around a bit but didn’t see it anywhere. I really wanted to find it, especially since Sunny Day is out one of their plates after Mireille decided it no longer needed to exist as a whole plate any longer. Just dropped it right on the tile - well, really threw it. Ah, love 2 year olds! A few hours later, going at the pantry yet again, I hear a clink in one of the items she’s playing with, a ceramic tea pot. Sure enough, the spoon was in there. She loves to hide stuff from me - she must know I am an easy target for that.

On the topic of spoons, she has an interesting way of eating. She actually has quite a bit of manual dexterity and fine motor control. When she eats, she likes to use a spoon. She easily scoops up rice and whatever into her spoon, but then things start to get complicated. She sits so low on the chair that it’s difficult to get a good angle. So she slowly brings the spoon to the space between her mouth and the table, then takes her other hand, puts it on the back of the spoon, then turns it all sideways and propels it to her mouth. She occasionally gets one or two grains of rice to successfully end up in her mouth!

We had planned to video chat with the boys and Jenny before school, which is 2:30 Kinshasa time, so I tried to get her down for a nap right after lunch. It was very hot, so after I changed her, I just left her in her diaper and nothing else for her nap. Well, not nothing else, I suppose. She demanded that I put her shoes on first! The picture is pretty funny.

Shoes for a nap? Why not!

While she napped, I quickly took a shower, then finished up the dishes I was unable to finish from earlier, then I went outside in hopes of wrangling a decent internet signal so I could feed the addiction. After about 5 minutes I heard a baby screaming - just SCREAMING. I assumed it was the neighbor since his daughter has been doing that all week for the most part. After a few seconds I realized that it sounded deeper than Blanche’s cries. I ran inside to find Mireille standing on the floor simply besides herself. I imagine there’s still a significant amount of separation anxiety and trauma she is experiencing, and maybe always will… She luckily is easily calmed - I apologized profusely, but paid for it the rest of the day where I was not allowed anywhere 2 feet or more from her until now, while she’s asleep for the night.

After our successful FaceTime call with Jenny and the boys, we tried the swimming pool once again - fail. OK, pools aren’t for this girl just yet. So we went back and spent the rest of the day in the room for the most part. I gave her a bath, which was surprisingly easy, once again. She is a VERY beefy little girl and has a prodigious stomach. While I was drying her off I got a picture to show Jenny when we get home. It’s quite impressive, actually. I was surprised to find out that she is not only a willing participant in the lotion ritual, she actually likes to help out. She demanded that I keep filling her hand with lotion, then she would clap her two hands together, then wipe them somewhere on her body. It’s actually much easier to lotion her than it is to lotion Quinton (infinitely easier than lotioning Ethan:)) One other thing that she makes very easy is getting her dressed. She knows how all of the things go and knows how to balance herself for each part. I suppose 2 year olds do this, but I was impressed nonetheless.

For supper I ordered the La Poeta pizza from “Kinshasa Pizza Company” (I made the name up, I’m not actually sure what the name is). The neighbor, Andrew, his daughter, Blanche, and us shared it. It’s Andrew’s last night in Kinshasa. I feel bad for him as he has pretty much been at the hotel the entire time since his ground transportation has been completely handled by his agency. I think I’ve convinced him to hire Papa John the next time he’s in town. The pizza was actually quite good. We even managed to get them to deliver us a couple of beers - Heineken, but I can’t be picky. Actually it tasted wonderful in the hot weather, tasting just a little bit of home (despite it being an imported beer, yeah, I get it)!

O Poema Pizza from Kinshasa Pizza Company

Tomorrow is another adventure with Papa John, which I’m looking forward to. After that I have to start thinking of packing for the two of us and prepping for Mireille’s departure on Saturday morning. I’m sure she will probably be excited to see Elisa - that will make me happy, but also a little sad. It seems like we’ve made a lot of progress this week and there’s no way to know how much longer it will be before we get to see her again…

As an aside, I’m writing this in my journal, DayOne, which tags the messages with the Lat/Long coordinates. It sort of makes me giddy to see 4.3… deg S. That’s South of the Equator. And only 15.2… deg E. East of the Prime Meridian. That’s almost the origin of the world from a graphing perspective!

Written by Brandon Grady
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