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Nhabhutu strikes out

African Children's Choir

Image by Yellow Snow Photography via Flickr

Today was a milestone as a foster parent. Nhabhutu actually struck my child in an unprovoked attack. Anna came running to me, screaming bloody murder holding her eye. “Nhabhutu hit me!!” she cried.

“Why did she hit you?”

“No reason!” Anna protested. I sent her to her room and then called Nut-Nut. “What did you do to Anna?” I asked calmly. “I hit” Nut-Nut said just as calmly.

“Why would you do that? There is no hitting anyone allowed in our house!”

“Anna like a lion. I hit the lion just like village. Now lion fear me!” Here eyes showed pure defiance but she is six, so I was not going to let a six year old girl talk back. I pulled out the kitchen chair and set the time for a whopping 5 minutes.

“We do not hit. This is not your village Nhabhutu. You will sit here by yourself for the next five minutes and think about what you have done.” I left to console Anna, who was still bawling as though she lost a limb or something. Malachi came scampering out to put his two cents in and I politely said that his opinion was noted. He left with a look of triumph. If it had been different circumstances, I might have laughed.

Anna stuck to her story. Nhabhutu had struck out for no reason. I told Anna that she was to avoid Nut-Nut for the rest of the day. Nut-Nut had scheduled visits so our house would be quiet for a spell. This was not the quiet jungle of Africa nor was it the urban jungle of New York, but it was as tumultuous.

She is without boundaries and without a capability to realize that actions have consequences. Nhabhutu strives to be sweet, and she is…until she becomes angry. The counselor recently told me that Nut-Nut would begin exhibiting emotions now as she grew more comfortable within our family unit. I figured on a crying jag, but a violent outburst?

Nhabhutu is a marvel to watch. It is as almost she is one year old and we have to teach her all over again what is acceptable and what isn’t. What is safe, and what is not. My wife took her clothes shopping the other day before school starts up and Nut-Nut had no idea about the tags on the clothes. She was in a rush to tear them off, and was amazed that if the clothes did not fit, they could be returned for a different size.

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