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.
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.
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.