Pro: celeb status
Every toubab toddler thinks (s)he’s famous. It’s wonderful having kids in a culture that loves kids. It’s not just the moms and grandmothers that ooh and aah over your baby, but also men and other children.
Con: no parks
Not that I really want him playing in the local sand, but it would be nice to have an outdoor play area we could go to.
Pro: sponge-brain soaking up languages
On a daily basis he hears English, French, Wolof and two Sereer dialects.
Con: no stroller-friendly sidewalks
There is actually one strip not too far away, but it’s on a really busy road where people drive crazy. So I don’t count it as ‘friendly’.
Pro: Senegalese food
I don’t know why, but it seems babies of all nationalities are born loving ceebu jen and yassa. Then again, maybe I do know why. Have you tasted it? Yum!
Con: no carseats in taxis
Of course, some toddlers consider this a ‘pro’.
Pro: drums and dancing every day
Pape has more rhythm in his chunky pinkie finger than we do combined. I love it.
Con: no arts & craft stores
There may be craft stores of some kind downtown, but I don’t know where they are or how to find out more. So I’m going to cross my arms and pout about no craft stores. (Feel free to enlighten me!)
Pro: Pinterest #totherescue
Life in Africa makes you creative. So I get on Pinterest and do valuable research to find ideas that we can use or adapt. So far the biggest hits are homemade playdough, shaving cream painting on the glass doors, ice cubes dyed with food coloring in the bath tub and dry pasta noodles in a muffin tin. Don’t ask me why, but that last one was a big hit.
Con: no changing tables in public restrooms (and sometimes no public restrooms!)
Fortunately, we’ve never had any blog-worthy incidents or accidents. But it does make for a huge diaper bag packed for every eventuality.