Wednesday, July 30, 2008

shaking the family tree

We just got back from my in-laws. Lucy had a great time with Nana and Poppa, and keeps talking about them. So we've been having conversations about how we're all related.
Today, Dyami had a (reportedly successful) time explaining that Nana and Poppa are his Mama and Dada. He came inside to have Lucy tell me about it. Here's the transcript:
L: (Seeing some granola on the ground) Cereal! Cereal!
D: Lucy? Lucy! Lucy, who is my dada?
L: Poppa.
H: Wow, Lucy! That's right!
L: Cereal! Cereal!
D: Did you find some cereal?
L: Uh-huh.
D: Lucy, who is my momma?
L: Nana. Cereal!
D: And who is Lucy's momma?
L: Cereal!
H: Lucy, who is your dada?
L: (Pointing ad DYami) Yami. Huh.
H: And who is your momma?
L: Cereal!
D: Lucy, is your momma Heather?
L: Cereal!
Me, desperate: Am I your momma, Lucy?
L: (Shaking her head no.) Cereal, cereal, cereal!!

So there you go, folks. I've been replaced by fruits, nuts, and grains.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

mystery solved

For a while, Lucy has been saying an indecipherable word.
"Awefahn," she says, pointing towards a street she wants to walk down.
"Awefahn," she says, pointing at the toilet, rather than her little potty, indicating she wants to sit on it.
"Awefahn," she says, pointing at her Raggedy Ann.

Awefahn? Translation, please? We tried phonetic parsing and got nowhere. Off-on? Close in sound, but no sense in context. More fun? Kind of makes sense, but when has she ever heard either of us saying "more fun?"

Today, Dyami broke the code. "This one," he said, triumphantly.
"Excuse me?" I said.
"Awefahn means "This one"", he said. He'd asked Lucy if she wanted one thing or the other, and she pointed to the other, and said "Awefahn."
Clear as crystal.
We just wonder how we were supposed to get "This one" out of "Awefahn".
Of course, this may be setting expectations too high. She says "ABC" for "Oopsie" and "Baby soup" for "Bathing suit," so Awefahn is pretty close, all things considered.
And hey, I mispronounce every 25 cent word I pick up reading, so I guess she takes after me.
I'm so proud.

not working

Learning to talk is magical. Really, it is.
Lately I've been realizing that the magic of it has been leading me to some magical thinking. With beings that cannot talk.
Me holding squirming six-month-old. "You want down, honey?"
Me to meowing cat. "You hungry, kitty?"
It's not just me asking the question. It's the question with the expectation of getting an answer.
Next I'll be asking the mustard if it's empty.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

out of context

Me: Hey, guess what I found out?
D: ??
Me: Mommas are women. And daddies? Men.
D: Wow!
Me: Pop quiz! Am I a woman or a man?
D: Wow, that's a tough one. Ummmmm. Man?
Me: No, silly, I'm a woman!
D: Darn!
Me: And you. Are you a woman?
D: Uhhhh...
Me: I'll give you a hint. You're a daddy.
D: Oh! I'm a woman!
Me: Sigh.

Me: Can I tell you something crazy?
Friend X: Sure.
Me: Only babies use diapers!
X: Really? But what do grownups and older kids do, then?
Me: They go on the potty.
X: I did not know that.
Me: Yes. And not only that, they go both pee-pee and poo-poo on the potty.
X: The things you learn!

Me: So, I read online that when you stop using diapers, you wear underwear instead.
My relative: Oh! I'd always wondered about that.
Me: Yes, it's a little-known fact.
My relative: So underwear, then. A lot of people must use that.
Me: Yes, actually, I wear underwear myself. And I suspect you do, too.
My relative: How did you guess?
Me: But babies? They wear diapers.
My relative: So, let me get this straight. When babies get bigger, they become boys and girls, and wear underwear instead of diapers?
Me: Yes! You've got it!
My relative: But then, where do they go pee-pee and poo-poo?
Me: Well let me tell you...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


It's been a hard month for some people we know and love. Someone's father died, another friend suffered a stillbirth after years of trying to have a baby. Another person close to us gave birth to twin preemies, only to lose them both a week later.
Meanwhile, my family is able to go about our lives, go to the pool and beach, sleep in, and enjoy our daughter. I went shopping. I'm cooking fish for dinner.
I'm not quite sure what to do with the news I'm hearing.
I'm not quite sure how the world keeps swirling around and around, with me happily hanging on.
I'm not quite sure how to be a help and a comfort to my friends when I have not gone through the experiences they are.
I was walking to a friends' house for a playgroup this morning, and thinking about the pain these dear ones are going through. Wondering why on earth it has attached itself to people that are so undeserving of it. Some of these people have already suffered other hardships--broken relationships, failed businesses, depression, separation from loved ones. In my own life, I see how sometimes trouble seems to attach itself to people--through no fault of their own, they suffer setback after loss after disappointment after tragedy. I don't understand why.

Well, I have theories. The Bible talks about the "present darkness" we're in, and how there are forces at work that we don't always see or understand. Seeing all this suffering going on in my periphery makes me conscious of these malevolent spiritual forces all over again.

I can't look at these hardships and have my faith unaffected. Dyami and I were praying for our friends yesterday, and I could hear the bewilderment in his voice as he asked God why they are suffering. When my dear, steadfast husband is bewildered with God, things aren't good.

At playgroup, a group member, Megan, shared some materials she brought. She had the fabulous idea of us all getting a "sister" overseas to correspond with and support. She had done so previously, in an organization called Women For Women, and asked if we wanted to participate. The organization provides support for survivors of war. We all said yes, and today she brought the information for our sister.

She lives in Congo, and has six children, and has lost a seventh. No electricity in her hut, displaced within her country, unable to afford medical care for her family. No jobs available to help increase her family's means.

Somehow I wished I already had a correspondance with this woman, to ask how she copes with the obstacles she faces. How do people all over the world who suffer such losses continue to have faith, to sing and dance and serve in the midst of it all? For there are those shining people. People persecuted for their faith who prepare to share it anyway, despite the dangers. People persecuted who have great courage in their suffering. People in war who help others, despite great personal risk. There are those, like these women, are handed a bum deck of cards and yet do things like reach out to an NGO in the hope of some help and support. Who keep moving forward, doing what needs to be done for their families.

I often feel I have a charmed life (sometimes this feeling has me ducking, waiting for the other shoe to drop) but never more so than this morning. Sometimes it seems to me as though our odd middleclassness in the United States is itself an anomaly, our way of life, our expectation of safety and health and education and control is the abnormal thing in our world.

I was glad to be sistering this woman today. Perhaps if we are all a bit more acquainted with suffering, we can be of help for those close to us who are going through it.

Perhaps that has to be enough for me right now--since understanding and enlightenment as to why this all happens is a very open question for me right now.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

the litany

When we get up in the morning, we hear:
L: "Singee? Fris. Shurch! Tar! Kids! Shoes! Doctors!"
We smile. It's the litany, repeated at least four or five times, everyday. Unless it's Sunday, and Lucy picks up on the vibe. Then it's:
"Singing? Fris. Shurch! Kids! Shoes! Doctors!"
Yes, Today Lucy.
"Singing? Fris. Shurch! Kids! Shoes! Doctors!"
"Singing? Fris. Shurch! Kids! Shoes! Doctors!"
We tell her that Fris, (Chris, our good friend) will be coming after her nap. We have to pray that he's not out of town.
Then it's time to get in the car. When we get closer:
"Shurch? Singee?"
Yes, L, it's time for church and singing.
Then we rehearse for the worship service: I sing (singee!) and Dyami plays bass (tar).
Kids! Shoes! Doctors!
I have to keep her from running out of the sanctuary, because the kids are right outside.
The childcare, that is. Where they serve shoes (juice) and doctors (crackers).
Once we get back in the car after bedtime to go home, she asks again. "Singing? Fris. Shurch! Kids! Shoes! Doctors!"
No, Lucy, not till next week.
It can't come soon enough. For any of us.

Monday, July 7, 2008


I try to be careful with language around Lucy, because she is at the mynah bird stage. However. One can only be so careful. Many words that you wouldn't think are perilous...are. Some examples:


And there's no going back, either. When I taught her "Dildo," I said, "Oh, I meant--it's an aardvark! Can you say aardvark?"
Lucy, proudly: "Dildo!"
I have no idea if an aardvark and an armadillo are even in the same genus, but hey, zoological accuracy was not a top priorty. Luckily, it's unlikely to come up in polite conversation. Or impolite for that matter.
However, with my luck, someone will mention that funky shirt that the armadillo has on, and it'll all be over.