Monday, March 24, 2014

Junie B.

Tonight on our way home from a day trip to the beach, I was worried that my son would fall asleep (meaning that he'd be up until midnight) in the car, but instead, he was kept awake for over an hour by my daughter reading a Junie B. Jones book to him.  She's working towards gaining minutes for a spring break reading challenge in her class, so while the moment was sweet, it also had another purpose for my competitive daughter.

I have realized lately how proud I feel of my kids a lot of times, like on the way home with the reading in the car.  They also read through the children's book by President Obama, my son reading most of it with my daughter helping with tougher words.  I also feel proud of them in moments when they express genuine joy at stopping by a Subway on the way home and then not asking me outright for soda or chips (just a general, "Oh look mom there's those chips you like" but nothing makes me want to buy them chips). 

I feel proud by how both of them look out for a friend's three-year-old daughter, holding her hand when she needs guidance and smiling at me quietly when she's melting down a little here and there, the way three-year-olds do, as if they never did such things (they did). 

Now my spouse is home from class and talking, and this is my writing career. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Today I found out that in Ethiopia, if you want to compliment a person, you say that "Selam is injera."  Not, "as good as" or "like" but "is."  That's how highly injera is valued.  An elder in my program, when bragging about her son in Addis who has a masters degree and provides very well for his family said (in Amharic), "He is injera."

Monday, March 17, 2014


I don't think I've ever reached out to a comment-maker before, but I will this time to let "Storm" know how lovely your comment was on the post "The Concept."  Thank you!


A fair amount of time in our house is spent on hair.  I actually love doing my kids' hair, especially when my daughter and I have uninterrupted weekend time.  In the last two+ years she has been with us, I have gotten progressively better, even once managing to put in yarn twists that lasted a whole month, surprising women of color that I, a white lady, managed such a thing.

Now that I'm almost forty, I've noticed my feathers being ruffled less and less by things that used to upset me, like the incident yesterday at a loud birthday party in which a lovely Eritrean lady asked me who did my daughter's hair.  I had taken her twists out in the morning, sending her to church with a loosely pinned up "twist-out" with headband.  By the party, it needed attention, so when the lady asked, I raised my eyebrows at her and said, "Oh, I know what you're thinking: 'what's that white lady think she's doing with that black baby girl's hair?'"  She laughed.  When I said I knew it was a mess, she nodded in agreement and offered to bring my daughter over some weekend for braiding.  I took her number and may just do it.

Last night after the party, I put my daughter's hair in two pigtail large twists, Rudy Huxtable-style.  She looked adorable.

This morning my son needed to get his hair combed out and tea tree oil sprayed in since there's been a few cases of lice in his class.   He's gotten the idea in his brain that he wants an afro, or "puffy hair" as we calls it.  When he started to complain about the combing, I reminded him, "You know, if you want puffy Michael Jackson hair, you have to tolerate this combing and spraying."  He stood perfectly still the rest of the time.

Monday, March 10, 2014


I woke myself up last night screaming.  I was dreaming that I was fending off a bad guy with two kitchen knives and no one could hear my pleas for help.  When I went back to sleep, I dreamed that my sweet, simple dog was eaten by lions right in front of me.  We had to leave him behind to keep from getting eaten ourselves.   All day today, I was tired out of my mind.

I bribed my children with the promise of artisan donuts after school if they wore their habesha outfits to school for Multicultural Day.  My daughter's teacher and I texted back and forth this morning about the scarf tied around her head as part of the outfit.  She kept it on.  This afternoon we ate donuts.  My son's pants got ripped.

A funny thing about life is that transcendent moments like the one captured below in this photo of my daughter can occur in the midst of such struggle, within hours of my son, while doing his nightly read-aloud needs to pass gas, so I say, "Look, don't get up.  Just fart into the chair."  He does, and then we take a five-second break from reading to laugh.