Nature vs. Nurture

The following is a list of things we have taught Kendi. Martin, our family and I. We strongly believe that we need to teach Kendi what she knows. Yes, she is predisposed to be calm or wild, happy or cranky but we can and will teach her many things:
1. When you’re sleepy, sleep. Kendi can sleep where it’s noisy, in someone’s arms, in the car, on her bed, in the dark, when it’s quiet, and during the day. Pretty much anywhere.
2. When you’re hungry, say. When you’re full, say. No matter how little or much she has eaten, when she is done, we stop feeding her.
3. Dogs are not scary. They are furry and sometimes loud.
4. People are ok, they can hold you. From the moment she was born, we would hand her to anyone who wanted to hold her (after having them wash or sanitize their hands). People would ask, ‘does she like people?’ and we would say, ‘we don’t know, and neither does she, she’s just being born’.
5. Night time is for sleeping.
6. Sometimes the world is noisy. Nobody cares, neither should you. The staff at Sarova Kilaguni thought she was a boy because she didn’t cry when they all came out to sing her a song. I guess only baby girls cry because of loud noises at that hotel.
7. Bathing time is fun play-with-daddy-time.
8. Ride in the car in your car seat. The first time she rode in the car from the hospital, she was in her car seat. She has no other reference. I don’t think she knows that there’s any other way to travel. During the holidays, we went to the Tsavo and Kisumu with Kendi. The world was all the same to her.
9. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Kendi slaps people with both hands on their faces. Not me. The first time she did that to me, I slapped her back (tapped actually, using 2 fingers). It startled her to have both my hands so close to her face like that. She tried the slapping again, and I repeated the action. Now, she touches my face softly, even when I can see that she wants to slap me.
10. No means no. Not maybe later. It doesn’t change to yes if you cry loudly or for long enough. And it doesn’t change even if you throw a tantrum.
We still have a lot to teach Kendi. We also know that the world will teach her a lot that we might need to undo. All the same, teaching and hopefully learning will constantly take place in our home.

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