Monthly Archives: August 2012

Davy’s a Little Blue

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If you have been reading this blog for any amount of time, you will probably realize that I am very dyslexic. Incredibly, and sometimes hilariously so. For many years my dyslexicia has been a source of shame. If I had started this blog in my 20s -you know, before the internet existed- i would never had the guts to “put it out there.”. Now really, I don’t give a shit. If I let my learning disability get in the way of self-expression, I would be a way less happy person. It’s just part of who I am. We joke about it all the time. It’s what makes me um “special”. In a way that makes it have to be italicized. SPECIAL.

Many many many years ago, before the internet, I was getting checks at my local bank in Brooklyn. I had to fill out a form with the addresses that would be printed on the check. I spelled the name of my street wrong. I lived on BERGEN Street, not as my checks we suppose to say BERGAN. The man at the bank caught my mistake. My friend Erica was with me. She also lived on BERGEN Street at the time. Actually in the same building. Here is how I remember the conversation:

Bankman: Do you live on the Bergen Street that is a few blocks from here
Me: uh huh
Bankman: Are you sure its spelled BergAn, because I don’t think so
Me: yup, uh huh it is
Bankman: Well i grew up on Bergen Street and I am pretty sure its spelled with an E
Me: Nope, BERGAN
Bankman: You mean the street with the Bergen Street Subway? That’s right around the corner
Me: Same one
Bankman: Your spelling it wrong
Me: no, no no sir I beg your pardon, but you are spelling it wrong. (I get formal when I am cornered)
Bankman: How about we just leave your address of the checks.
Me: Okay

At this point I was defeated, and had a sinking suspicion that he was correct. Also at some Erica poked me in the ribs and reminded me that my spelling sucks and he was right. Twenty years later we will be sitting quietly watching TV or something and Erica will randomly utter B-E-R-G-A-N. And we will giggle like school girls.

I am telling this story because being obstinate runs in the family. Davy has this new trick. She is learning colors. Right now everything is Blue. You can say, Davy what color is the grass and she will say “blue”. What color is my orange shirt and she will say “blue”. I am not worried because if you ask her to point to the color yellow, she will. It’s just the vaguely open ended question that gets her going. Also we all think her insistence that everything is blue is hilarious so we play along with it. I am pretty sure she gets the joke herself.

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We have a new book. It’s really great, it’s called Shades of People. It’s about how people are not different colors but different shades. From almond, to cinnamon to dark brown and copper. There is a whole section about how people can be different shades from the same family. It’s a great book. We were looking at it and Davy pointed to a little girl and (kind of shyly) “Davy”. The little girl in the photo had Davy’s beautiful reddish brown shade of skin. Then I pointed to someone who was pinky and said that that was momma’s shade of skin. Davy is brown while momma is pink.

The next day at breakfast Davy pointed to her arm and said “brown”. I asked her what color is momma’s arm is and Davy said “pink”. I was so proud of her. Beaming at our ability to openly interface about the nuances of racial issues with my 22-month old daughter, i then asked her what shade Abe and Beti’s arms were (her buddies who are also from Ethiopia). Davy’s answer: Blue.
Well, okay.

How to Kill a Buzz

So, this morning was really a great morning. Andy is out of town. It was just Davy and myself. We woke up early, went to the market. Davy had a bagel, I had coffee we picked up a few things that we needed.

Then we met my friend and her kids at a park in NW Portland. I have decided that Davy’s favorite people are 2 1/2 year old boys. She has two of them in her life and they make her giggle and totally engage her in a magical world of play. I think the boy energy matches her own rough and tumbleness. The 8-month age difference is enough for her to take notes on their behavior and skills, but are still close enough in age that they can play together. She loved playing with my friends son as well as her older kids. It was a great park morning. Lots of swings, lots of throwing wood chips, lots of snacks and kiddy laughter. Cassie is a mom I met when we were in process. She was actually the first of my friends who met Davy in Ethiopia. We always have a lot to talk about.

After the park we decided to have Ethiopian food at my favorite restaurant in Portland. Enat’s Kitchen. The food is awesome, and the owners are so nice. They always treat Davy like a princess, hugging and kissing on her. I was thinking that we have really built a nice life for us in this city that I SO didn’t want to move to. Portland has become home, we have made some awesome friendships and finally feel pretty comfortable here.

I was cutting through the side streets to get home, some of them can be pretty narrow. I passed a woman standing in the middle of the street on the phone. She looked pretty upset. Her husband was sitting on the ground wiping something off of their car. They had just discovered that someone had vandalized their car. They spray painted two swastikas on it. I was very taken aback. That image sends shivers down my spine.

I stopped my car and talked to the guy. I just kept saying “I am so sorry, i am so sorry”. He had a bunch of liberal bumper stickers on his car. Very offensive things like “Lets Imagine World Peace”, and Obama sticker, one of those Coexist stickers with all the different religious signs. He said he was just bummed out because he just moved here. I told him that it’s really not that bad here. They probably just saw his car as an easy target. I was so sorry and little surprised. I mean this is Portland right? It’s one of the most liberal cities on the planet.

I am not naive when it comes to racism. Please, it exists in a million ways. I see it every day, it’s as small as someone patting Davy’s head to feel her hair or as big as some of our pending government policies. I am the daughter and granddaughter of Holocaust survivors. I know what the swastika means and a generation removed, it still made my heart skip a beat or two. I wanted to say to him that it wasn’t sophisticated racism (like voter registration policies). Just meant to elicit fear (which it did).

I looked at my sleepy brown child in the back seat. I wanted to tell her so much. I wanted to tell her about her great-grandfather who had to lie to the the Nazi’s in order to save my father and grandmother’s life. I wanted to tell her about her great-grandmother who lost so many members of her family that sixty years later, she will still cry talking about them. I wanted to tell her about her Poppa Jack and what he went through immigrating to the United States as a kid, and growing up with parents who were so damaged from the war. I wanted to tell her about the history of her own people in this country, about slavery, about how she will be judged differently from white girls. I wanted to tell my sleepy child all of it.

But she is young, and was so sleepy with a belly full of Ethiopian food and blackberry staines on her t-shirt. I would love to shelter her from all the pain that will cause her. I told her that those people were sad because someone had painted a nasty sign on their car. I could have explained more, but I knew at this age she won’t understand. And, selfishly I was glad that she wouldn’t understand. I want to give her as many perfect and happy kid days as I can before we have to have that discussion. And sadly, I know we will have plenty of opportunities.

Unabashed Family Joy

Tonight we went out for mediocre Mexican food. We got a little lost on the way home and ended up near the airport. We were listening to the radio when “I Will Survive”came on the radio. Andy turned up the stereo and all three of us were dancing unabashedly. We were in fact, dancing like nobody was looking.

The car next to us pulled up and started laughing at all three of us, and dancing with us.
I realized it was one of those moments of family joy that I had so longed for and craved when we were waiting.

I have several close friends who are in the process of adoption/fertility treatment. These small, private moments of parenthood are so sweet. I think it is made sweeter by being so appreciative of the process that brought us to our beautiful girl. Hang on tight my dear friends. My brave women. Your moment is coming, and when it does, I promise it will be made all the sweeter.

On an even more serious note. Davy and I have been practicing our dance moves via Yo Gabba Gabba. I am a big fan of the Puppetmaster.

“I Love You Daaaaddddy”

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Davy is crazy verbal. She often speaks in full sentences. It blows peoples minds. She also has a pretty huge vocabulary. Not that I am bragging, but yeah, well I am bragging. The other day she was eating cherries and she said “delicious”. I am proud of of all of her talking. She also can cuss like a sailer (but uses the words correctly).

This weekend were out for dinner at our favorite Chinese restaurant. It’s one of those places where they bring you a giant cauldron of soup and you cook your stuff at the table. Davy loves watching us (um Andy) cook. So cooking the rice and noodles and meat fascinate her. Here is how our dinner conversation went.

Davy: I love you daddy
Me: uh?!?
Andy: She says it all the time
Me (looking exasperated and giving Andy THE FINGER behind Davy’s back)
Davy do you love Mommy?
Davy: uh huh
Andy: Davy do you love rice (we were eating rice)
Davy: I love rice, Daddy
Me: Do you love noodles
Davy: I love noodles
Me: Do you love mommy:
Davy: mmmmm yeah
Me: Mommy lOVES Davy
Davy: I Love you Daddy

Daddy is the rockstar, mommy is the enforcer, i totally get it. Also I am married to the Child Whisperer. But COME ON! Say it Davy! SAYYY ITTTT.

Summer Knitting

I have been trying to knit Andy a sweater since 2002. This summer I was victorious. Sweater finished. He can have another in 10 years. I knit the vast majority of it on our road trip which made it less boring.
He looks very handsome and impish in it.

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I also finished a sweater for myself this summer. I started it last winter. We had a break and then I finally finished it. I am very pleased with the way it came out.
I am also working on another for myself that MAY actually be done before fall. I also need to start my fall Davy knitting. Oh the pressures of August!

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My saucy pose….