Here’s to Chesire…. Here’s to Cheese

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When I was younger I had an album of Pete Seeger singing kids songs. I loved it. I listened to it as a kid and then got reacquainted with the album again in my twenties. Then I forgot about it again, until recently. I was getting tired of the same music I always play in the car (you can only listen to Call Me Maybe a million times before you want to stab your eyes out) and I downloaded the album.

Davy was riveted. On our road trip to California we listened to the Ramona Quimby audio books (19 hours) and she is really into listening to stories. When the song “Here’s to Cheshire… Here’s to Cheese” came on I got goosebumps. It quickly became Davy’s favorite too. I was so happy to listen to it together. We would both sing a long to the chorus together. Really, if you don’t have the album or know the song, you should. It’s really beautiful. Her other favoite is “Henry my Son” which she refers to as the “dead kid song”, because of this:

Where have you been all the day, Henry my boy?
Where have you been all the day, my pride and joy?
In the woods, dear mother
In the woods, dear mother
Mother be quick, I got to be sick and lay me down to die

We are never really in the car that long and we have to listen to the same 3 songs over and over we never really make it to the end. Today I started the album after those songs, so we can finally listen to the rest of the album.

The final song is “This Land is Your Land”. I turned off the music and told the story of how I sang that song to her on the plane as we landed in the United States from Ethiopia. Our tiny baby, our newest citizen, landed in Washing DC the weekend of July 4th. It was a beautiful quiet moment. I will never forget it. As I was telling her this story, I got a little teary. It seems like so long ago, but I can still smell her. The faint oder of Ethiopia, roasting coffee, incense, and diesel gas on her, holding my tiny daughter, singing a song that has meant so much to me. I paused to catch my breath.

She says “moooommm can we listen to the song about the dead kid again”.

alright…..

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Buh Bye Binky

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Davy has used a binky since she came home. She loves her binky. At night she requires three things, binky, blankie and George. They were a trio that fallowed her around everywhere. We have been talking about getting rid of it for a long time. One night, a few weeks ago, she lost it in the middle of the night. Andy (at 3 a.m.) decided “okay your done, no more binky”. It kind of messed her up for a few days. Plus we were going out of town and leaving her for a few nights with friends and I felt like it was too many changes at once. So we decided that she could have the bink when we were gone but when we came back we needed to be done.

I asked her how she wanted to get rid of the binky, did she want to throw it away? bury it? put it somewhere special? She wanted to put it in a box “like Mezmur has” with a dancing woman on it and jewels. Gotta love my girl with her simple tastes. We found the box on Amazon. She put the binky in it. For the first week she carried her binky in a box everywhere. It was near, in its little precious box.

This week she hasn’t even asked for it. Like it or not, my little one is growing up. She is loosing those last vestiges of her baby self. It really does go so quickly.

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We Are Not Outdoor People

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We always joke that we are raising an indoor child. It’s true. We are indoor people. So when our dear friends Erika and Susan asked if we wanted to go Yurt camping on the Oregon coast, we said “um okay, i guess, uh sure” we were that enthusiastic.

Truth be told, the key to vacationing with kids is to bring more kids, the key to vacationing with adults is to bring wine. Ergo, we had a fabulous time, despite our indoor nature. All of us had a good time. We all privately admitted that it was more fun than the horrible San Francisco trip.

So there is something to watching your kid run two steps and tumble into the sand laughing her head off. Getting progressively wetter and more naked as the hours ran on, until she had to ride her scooter back to the yurt in a sweatshirt and bare butt. There is something about feeding sleepy girls hot cocoa by the fire, there is something two having kind, like minded parents in your life who could take you out of your head for a bit. There is something about fresh salty air that makes us all grow a little taller

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Her Own Friends

The other day I went to pick up Davy from school, she was still asleep. I caught her three friends (funny, sweet, feisty girls like Davy) leaning over her, whispering “Davy wake up it’s time to play”.

I love witnessing her growing independence and the choices she makes.

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This

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My friend Autumn took this photo of me least night. Our girls were playing and Mezmur had some tattoos she wanted to share. Davy wanted the tattoo with the purple sparkles that Mez had been saving for herself. Davy couldn’t have the tattoo and she started to cry, at first it was a vaguely fake cry of frustration. Sometimes it passes, and sometimes she forgets why she was so upset in the first place and just starts sobbing uncontrollably. That is what happened yesterday. I put Davy on my lap (she is naked because they were playing in the slip and slide) and tried to calm her down.

I never knew what these moments look like. I never really thought about what they looked like. A few hours when Autumn sent me the photo, I was kind of blown away.

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Dinkenesh, Ages 3-4

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Every year I send photos to Davy’s birth family in Ethioipia. They are simply titled “Dinkinesh ages 3-4”. In it I try to sum up a year in about 100 photos. How do you sum up the essence of who your child is in 100 photographs? This week I started to compile the photographs and I was really stuck by how much change occurred this year. Very specifically this summer we have seen huge changes.

We always say that Davy’s cognitive leaps are so much painful then her physical leaps. At the end of July we took a trip to San Francisco and it was a really hard trip. In part, when Davy acts like a horrible 3 1/2 year old I really start to question my parenting abilities. This was a really really hard week, in a busy city, with a cranky kid. It was horrible. I left me feeling very depressed and like I was the worlds most mediocre mom.

Then at the beginning of August, Davy took a really long nap and woke up so much better. She began her imaginative play, she began making up games with her friends, she began to show empathy, she started telling really long stories. One day a friend made her mad and she got so emphatic, explaining what she did that was wrong. I had to laugh. She recently, she went down to my sewing room and said “wow you like to make stuff” and I said “its what i do, i make stuff for people i love”. She said “thank you momma”. She got it, she is growing up. She know’s love comes in many forms.

Yesterday she took another long nap (now becoming a rarity), and I swear, she grew two inches. That’s how our girl rolls.

Tonight she ate dinner outside, away from the adults with her two beloved friends Abe and Beti. It was so small, but it felt so huge. She is becoming a kid, a peer to her much older friends.

This summer a very dear friend was visiting. We took her and her family to this water park downtown. It is a tiny waterfall that all the kids can play splash in and its a local favorite. Someone had left this giant beach ball, and Davy took off rolling around and splashing the water. She was lost in her own physical self. This tiny girl with her giant ball. My friend said, “remember this image, because that is the best of childhood”. I will never forget it.

So in our 100 photos, I wish that I can explain all these thoughts. That this kid that we share, wakes up and is a different person, that she dances every time she hears Katy Perry, that she can be happy in her own world with a ball and water, that she knows how to be an amazing friend, that she understands that she is SO loved by all that meet her.

I think about going back to Ethiopia every day. Every day. I want them to know her as we know her. Someday we will go when she is ready. For right now, 100 photos will have to do.

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Three Years

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Today was our familivery. Three years ago, we stepped off a plan that originated in Ethiopia. Three years ago, my mom met her granddaughter for the first time.

This year was the first year that davy really “got what it meant”. We decided to make it a special day for us. Andy took the day off work and we went to a magical place called Enchanted Forrest. It is a weird amusement park from the 1970s that still holds a tiny bit of charm, in a Stephen Kind kind of way.
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It was a great day. A really really great day. One for the record books. Davy was totally in her element, dancing and staring at the ancient attractions is wonder. We came home, rested, and then walked to our favorite Ethiopian restaurant, where we ate our faces off. Then she got a Sponge Bob Popsicle and we went home.

Three years ago, I longed for the simple pleasures of a great day with our kid. Not all days as a parent are easy. Not all days are ones that need to be appreciate and are special. Some are andsome aren’t. Today the clouds and stars aligned and we had a really really magical and terrific day. IMG_5194

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