Monthly Archives: October 2014

Contrarian

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Davy, by nature is a contrarian. Our bedtime rituals usually go like this,

Me: Hey Davo, lets read Olivia
Davy: No I want to read Thomas

Breakfast time is like this:
Me: Loooook Davy new cereal, I think your going to like it (it was Honey Bunches of Oats)
Davy: (touching it with her tongue) “It’s disgusting”

Getting dressed:
Me: Maybe you should wear your rain boots today, its gonna rain
Davy: No, I am going to wear my flip-flops

I know this is an age thing, but trust me, she is a child raised by contrary parents. We know a fellow contrarian when we spot one. Even when she plays with her dolls, they are contrary to each other.

It’s just who she is, we have figured out ways to trick her into thinking it was her own idea and ways around her contrary personality. We always tell people that when you first meet her, treat her as a semi-feral cat. Don’t look at her in the eyes and don’t’ come off as too needy. You follow those rules you will be fine.

I realize i have made a giant error when this comes to her Ethiopian identify. It’s really really important to us, that she is proud of who she is and where she comes by. I kind of find ways to work Ethiopia into the conversation all the time. I make us go to every Ethiopian event that is available to us, we buy her books and just generally work it into the conversation. It’s on my mind all the time. It’s really not on her mind that often, and i say that, because she is almost four and spends a lot more time thinking about My Little Pony (which is what she should be thinking about).

This weekend we went to an Ethiopian dance class. It was great class, but it totally freaked her out. Mostly, because she gets super overwhelmed by noise and chaos. It some point they were playing a game and she just burst into tears and ran into my arms. It was too too much for her.

It was at the class that I had a kind of epiphany. I realized that I was doing to her, what my dad did to me regarding my Judaism. He took it as a personal affront that I was never that interested in it. I still think he feels that he failed on some level because my brother and I aren’t’ very religious. It was literally shoved down my throat from an early age, and because of my contrary nature, I rebelled. If I am not careful, Davy will do the same.

I need to do a better job listening to my child and honoring her nature. I will still introduce Africa and Ethiopia into her life, but be more neutral about it. Let her come to it in her own time. Last week I bought her three books, Harry the Dirty Dog, This is Ethiopia and another one about monsters. I kept saying “lets read the Ethiopia one first” which, because she is contrary,she didn’t want to do. We read Harry a million times. I think if I just presented her the three books with out any value judgement, she would have eventually picked up the Ethiopia book. Also she hasn’t even gotten to the monster one yet, which is fine. I need to treat the Ethiopia book like the monster book, zero pressure. More neutral in attitude. Not expecting anything from her also separating her version of her African identity from what I feel like she should be experiencing.

Because we all know Davy Beach will get to it, in her own time, on her own terms. After all that is who she is.

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…..