Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Road trip

The boys and I just got back from a six-day road trip to Virginia and North Carolina. Highlights from the trip (I only have time for bullet points these days):
  • Friday night dinner with a group of parent friends, who reassured me that I'm normal. Thank you!
  • Seeing Buki again. It tears me up that she's not with us, but she's very happy and well taken care of where she is.
  • Seeing the old house, the old park and the old neighbors again, all these images and experiences from our boys' first ten days in the U.S. now put into a proper mental space, aligned, connected. Closing that circle was good for all of us.
  • The remarkable changes from then to now.
  • Playing with our old across-the-street neighbors' kids. They would have been best buds if we'd stayed.
  • Playing with a friend from Gondar, Ethiopia.
  • Fish and frog and snake and turtle and deer with grandparents. Sigh... wish we could live in the country.
  • Riding the bus and the elevators with Keith ("Keith silly! Keith scared!").
  • Playing with friends from our old street in Virginia. They would have been best buds too, if we'd stayed.
  • A last-minute visit to our friends from Burji in Washington DC.
It was a great trip!

Sunday, August 19, 2012


Things I never want to forget about you at this age:
  • The way you say, "Daaaaaangerous."
  • The way, instead of asking, "What are you making?" you say, "Make a _______" and we're supposed to fill in the blank.
  • Your acting ability, including your "shocked and indignant" look and your "authoritative and suspicious" look.
  • The way you constantly palpate my arm. There really is no other verb for it. It's like a poorly-aimed breast exam.
  • The way you turn over the first card on the first turn of the memory game and give a little jump and say, "Before?" No, sweetie, it's the first turn, we haven't seen it before.
  • The collection of sentences that you say over and over, like, "Urchin, step on, ouch!" or "Michael Phelps, long arms, lotta spinach!"
  • The way you string those sentences together to create a train of thought: "Today, Diego, what animal? Maybe penguin. Penguin not just Antarctica. Penguin South America. Indian Ocean far away? I can't reach. Michael Phelps can reach. Michael Phelps has long arms!"
  • The way your voice gets soft and babyish when you're sleepy and you say, "Mommy... my mommy."

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

July / August updates

Beach week:
At the end of July we spent a week at the beach with my family, to celebrate my mom's birthday. We had a great time and A and D did very well. They loved the beach, seeing dolphins, riding bikes, their first boat ride, ice cream on the boardwalk and especially the rides at Fun Land. They got along well with their cousins. They did fine when the week ended and it was time to go home. It was a wonderful week.

Literacy lessons:
When we got back from the beach, camp had ended and I started daily literacy lessons with A. We practice phonics, spelling and sight words, read many little books and do lots of drawing and writing. I'm using a lot of materials from ReadingA-Z, a site I used as an ESL teacher. I've said before that it's very important to lay a foundation of oral language before attempting literacy. I think 3 months in the USA was a good time to start literacy lessons.

Friday, August 10, 2012

What they can do at 3 months

Let me take a shower
At arrival:
Scream, bang on door, cry, bang on door.
At 3 months:
"I'm going to take a shower now."
"Mom, can we play cards?"
I set up the cards for them. I go upstairs and take a shower. When I come down, they are still playing. I go outside to get the trash cans from the sidewalk. A. comes out to report that they've counted up their cards and how many points each one got. This actually happened.

Negotiate sharing with each other
At arrival:
"Yinei! (Mine!) Yinei! Yinei!" Grab. Hit. Waaaaahhhh!
At 3 months:
"I want toy pleeeeeease."
"Wait a minute... OK, here you go."
"Thank you."
"You wecko."
This actually happened more than once.

Let me go to the bathroom
At arrival:
Scream, bang on door, cry, bang on door.
At 3 months:
I'm in the bathroom. D. stands outside the door, sweetly reporting, "I'm waaiiiiting. I'm still waaiiiiting."

Let me make a phone call
At arrival:
Hang on mommy. Scream,"MAN NOW? (Who is it?) MAN NOW? MAN NOW?"
At 3 months:
Exaggerated quiet signs. Loud whispers of "Quiiiiiiiiet! Shhhhhhh!"

Independent play at the park
At arrival:
At 3 months:
"A, you rode your bicycle a little too far. Please stay where I can see you."
"Why you no see me? You have glasses."

What they cannot do at 3 months
Changes of plans:
We plan to take the dog for a walk in the morning, but it starts raining. We take the dog for a walk in the afternoon. The whine-o-meter goes to eleven.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Language at 3 months

Here's what A and D sound like at 3 months in the United States. They are playing a game that has pictures of different animals. They're talking about the animals' habitats, what they eat and how they protect themselves.

D: Alligator! Alligator min din now? (what is it?) Alligator like crocodile. Big lizard. Alligator dangerous. Alligator sharp teeth. Alligator eat iguana.
A: Mom, how about crocodile. Crocodile can eat a lion. I see lion video, crocodile.
D: I want upstairs, I want, in the morning, buffalo lion video.

A: Cheetah now ready run. Now running. I think maybe cheetah big flat place. No trees. Cheetah I think animal catching. Silezee (so), flat bota (place). Tiliq bota (big place) is for cheetah.
D: Mom, grasshopper! Mom, lion eat grasshopper.

D: Lion. Lion dangerous. Gazelle eat. Gazelle, dangerous, gazelle? Gazelle have flat teeth. A duck!

D: D has monkey. Chimpanzee. Mom, chimpanzee dangerous? Very strong.
A: I think chimpanzee hit you. Angry, hit. Touch baby. No, no, my baby! Hit. My baby!

A: Zebra big, like this, grass, maybe.
D: Cheetah this grass.
A: Same color, no. It’s not same. White one.
D: Antarctica, Antarctica!
A: I know. Zebra mix grass, all the way in the hair.

A: Armadillo. Make a rock. Circle rock. Animal can eat it? No.
D: Armadillo circle! Like a ball.
A: Armadillo circle make, jump in a ball.

D: Kangaroo! Australia.

D: Urchin. Mom, step on urchin, ouch! Urchin min (what) eat? I dunno.

A: Hippopotamus close to water. Out and in. Out and in. Lion look, lion come on, under! Every hippo under the water.

D: Two animal, dangerous animal. Jaguar, South America.
A: All the jaguar, South America, no.
D: This North America?
A: Jaguar in the zoo.
D: Mom, Indian Ocean far?