Remember the Wapenzis? We have engaged them since last year when they shared their dating and post marital woes and learned quite a bit from them. As fate would have it Kwambie chanced upon them recently in a parenting class that they were cofacilitating and they promised to connect with the readers of ‘Wacha niKwambie Uzima’ in their experiences of bringing up middle childhood children with their son Baraka Jr..Kwambie was blessed to have coffee with them at their house in Nairobi and this is the conversation that ensued:
Kwambie: I do not know whether it is too late to wish your family a happy new year, is it? Though we are well into mid February, we have not met this year, right? Happy New Year Wapenzis! Sifa , Baraka and Baraka Jr.:( in unison) Yes!!! Happy New Year Kwambie.
Sifa Wapenzi:We have been following your blog very keenly this month of February and being relatively experienced parents we would love to chip in.
Baraka Wapenzi:Ours has been a roller coaster ride since Baraka Jr. was conceived ten years ago.
Sifa Wapenzi: Yes, Baby we made it past my morning sickness, swollen feet and when Baraka Jr. was born beyond the what seemed to be endless immunizations.
Baraka Wapenzi: Oh Sweetheart past the tantrums at the supermarket, ‘the terrible twos’ where we almost disowned our own flesh and blood many a time.
(As Baraka Jr. interjects)
Baraka Jr. Wapenzi: Hey Daddy and Mummy surely it could not have been all bad.
Sifa Wapenzi: Oh no, you have brought us more than immense joy. Watching you take your first steps, saying your first word, your first day at school. Watching you make new friends! All those moments have been priceless.
Kwambie: So readers, that is a priceless family moment right there I wish I could capture the Wapenzis smiles of joy on camera and share with you. Oh I just did.
Kwambie: So how has it been with Baraka Jr. joining school and being a middle childhood aged child?
Baraka Wapenzi: Kwambie, it has been an interesting experience. One thing is for sure, his physical growth is not as fast as his earlier formative years. But he seems to have overcompensated with his social, mental and other forms of development. We make sure that he has the best medical attention.
Baraka Jr.: Yes, Daddy and Mummy take me to the clinic when I am feeling sick like when my tooth aches. My eyes, could not see Teacher Millicent’s handwriting on the board so Daddy took me to see the doctor and he treated me. Even another time when my teeth were shaking my Mummy took me to the dentist who told my Mummy that my baby teeth were coming out to make room for stronger teeth. Si ndiyo Mummy?
Sifa Wapenzi Jr:Yes, Baraka you are absolutely correct. Baraka can now differentiate between boys and girls and we know that some of his classmates especially the girls have begun exhibiting signs of puberty.
Sifa Wapenzi: Our son is very conscious of his appearance and though he likes family time we have noticed that he has made several new friends in the estate most of them as the same gender as himself. He is becoming a very independent boy.
Baraka Wapenzi: Baraka Jr. is very diligent with his study though it had not always been this way.
Kwambie: What had happened?
Baraka Wapenzi: Turns out that our son was a victim of bullying that really dented his self esteem. However, once we were able sort that out , we are glad to say that we are proud of his performance. He can read and write fairly well and can talk through problems that he may be having.
Baraka Jr.: Mummy and Daddy even let me help me out in the house and sometimes give me allowance when I have done a very good job.
Kwambie: So proud of you Baraka Jr., please keep it up! You are going to be a very wealthy boy some day (as Kwambie affirms).
Sifa Wapenzi: We are also trying to instill values in our child. Values like honesty, hard work and patience.
Baraka Wapenzi: Absolutely, Sifa. And we have realized that the best way for our son to learn is through example.
Kwambie: Tell me about physical fitness is it important for this age spectrum?
Baraka Wapenzi: Our son is not the traditional sporty boy but we nudge him to engage him in some sport to keep him physically fit and avert childhood obesity.
Kwambie: Tell me about it, my preschooler is crazy about his bike!!
Sifa Wapenzi: We have also limited his time with the TV and limited programs to only those that are in tandem with our values.
Baraka Wapenzi: One more thing I need to add is the need for open communication with your school going child as it sets the pace for tumultuous adolescence. And it does not have to be structured communication all the time. Say for example when in queue in line talk to your child instead of being hooked to your cell phone. We always stay engaged and try to attend all his school activities. We try and read books to him above his ability every once in a while to challenge him.
Kwambie:Amazing stuff! So inspirational. I am taking notes seeing that this is the next stop in The Champ’s development.
Might you have anything more to add Wapenzis?
Sifa Wapenzi: Children are a gift from God brought into custody into parents’ life for a moment before they gain wings to fly so treasure the moments!
So there you have it readers of Wacha niKwambie Uzima, bringing to an end the week when we focused on school going children, also known as middle childhood; the six to twelve year old spectrum. Looking forward to next week when we go through the motions of tumultuous teens and emerge as triumphant teens!