Saturday, September 01, 2007

Fixing Meke's "Game"

It doesn't happen often, but once is way too much. We've not seen it since Ethiopia. We thought we broke Meke of her little "game" that can quickly turn into any parent's nightmare.

Here's what happens. Meke, in an especially playful mood, begins playing "hard to get". Then, before you realize it she's gone. She playfully runs away. WAY away.

She did it twice in Ethiopia. She did it again today.

Our family was in an Indiana Wesleyan student's room getting the grand tour. When it came time to go I asked Meke if she wanted to give Justina a hug. She playfully smiled and stepped outside into the hallway. Not expecting an Ethiopia flashback, I gave the conversation a few more seconds of my attention before following Meke. A few seconds was all she needed. By the time I popped my head out Meke was just a few steps from being out of sight.

I quickened my pace in pursuit, thinking she'd stop at the lobby. I reached the lobby.

No Meke.

She was already outside. Now in a dead sprint I crashed through the doors (cutting my hand in the process) and scooped her up just a few steps before running into the street.

She squealed with excitment! Not good.

Daddy had a serious heart-to-heart talk with his soon to be 4-year-old right there on the spot!

"No, Meke. No run away. Stay with Daddy. No run away. Meke safe with Daddy."

Unlike our first conversation six weeks ago concerning this subject matter, the words seemed to hit their mark. Her happy face turned sober within seconds. She knew she'd done wrong by the tone of my voice. But unlike last time there were no tears. She stared at the ground instead.

I picked her up as she continued to stare. Not able to look me in the eye or speak, she buried her face in my neck and held tightly with her little arms. Still no tears. Still staring.

All the way back to the hotel, Meke stared out the window in silence. When we arrived she silently unbuckled and reached back up to her Daddy to reoccupy her place in my arms.

I hope she's learned.


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