Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Whistling tunes we're kissing baboons in the jungle

All you Peter Gabriel fans recognize that line.

So here we are in lovely Arba Minch, Ethiopia, enjoying an afternoon siesta in our bungalow. Emmy is on the front porch, humming softly to herself, and enjoying the bright Africa sunshine while Colleen lounges on the bed with the front door open so she can keep an eye on Emmy.

Emmy casually turns to look at her right, leaps to her feet, sprints into the bungalow, slams the door behind her, and braces the door.

Colleen, alarmed now, bolted from bed and asked Emmy what is wrong. Emmy responded, cool as a cucumber "Mommy, get a camera because nobody will believe me."

Colleen looked out the window to see an adult Baboon enjoying fresh flowers from the garden no more than 15 feet from where Emmy had been sitting.

We almost vomited with the thought of what a baboon could have done to little Emmy. We notified the park ranger who told us the reason the baboon did not bother Emmy is because she did not have any food with her. What a miracle, because the kid is always snacking on something.


Before we left for Ethiopia, Emmy had a lot of congestion and sinus issues. Colleen was using different OTC meds to clear her up before we had to fly.

One night Colleen had given Emmy the usual regimen and then remembered "Oh, yeah! I wanted to try this new one! I'll go get it."

While Colleen was downstairs, Emmy leaped into my arms in a full blown terror panic. "No Daddy. Don't let Mama touch me. I don't want her medicine. Don't let Mama touch me. Promise you won't"

The poor kid was sobbing and trembling. When I finally got her calm enough so she could speak coherently, I asked Emmy why she was so afraid.

"You know why, Daddy. This is just like they did to Micheal Jackson! Too many medicines!"

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Death in the Family

We lost my Aunt Joy this week, the first death in the family since the kids arrived home. We had long emotional discussions about death, heaven, funerals, etc. The kids decided they could write notes (actually little books) to their parents in heaven and have Aunt Joy deliver the notes to their parents. The notes are adorable and heartbreaking. We want to keep them for the kids 'lifebooks', but we are afraid they will feel betrayed if they later learn we did not put the letters in Aunt Joy's coffin for delivery to heaven.

Here is Emmy's:

Dear Mom and Dad. I miss you. I was crying cause you died. I will miss you. I wish I could celebrate your birthday. I love you. I hope you like heaven (drawing of heaven). You will be in my heart always (drawing of heart). I have wonderful cousins and uncles and aunts that love me (drawing of peace). My favorite things is math (drawing of Emmy in school). Love Emmy and Emnet

Here is Marin's:
Dear Mom and Dad. I miss you and I love you. My favorite sports are soccer and basketball (drawing of two balls labelled soccer and basketball). My favorite food is injera and fruit (drawing of injera and fruit). My favorite subject is math and reading (drawing of two schoolbooks labelled math and reading). My favorite teacher was Mrs. Cohen (drawing of Marin and Mrs. Cohen). I have good parents in America. I have a good family in America and a new baby cousin (drawing of family). Here are my new parents and me and Emmy (photo of us pasted in). Love Marin and Meron

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fools Day

So proud of Marin. She has been planning this elaborate trick for weeks and pulled it off like a champ today. About 4 weeks ago, while driving in the car............... Marin: Daddy, when is April Fools Day Me: About a month, why? Marin: I know what I want to do for a trick and I need you to help me, but you have to promise not tell anybody. Me: OK, what Marin: I want to break my leg. Just pretend, though. I need you to get me some crutches. So I make a few phone calls, find a leftover pair of kids crutches, and I dug up one of my leg immobilizers from when I used to be a jock. Voila. April Fools trick. So Marin hobbles into day care this morning (schools were closed for snow) and starts hamming it up. I knew she got the caretakers because they suddenly started arguing over who would get to stay inside with Marin while all the other kids went out to play in the snow. Marin looked at me in disbelief at how easy it was to trick people. She had a grin a mile wide. Finally, Marin holds the crutches up in the air and yells "April Fools!!!". Then one teacher said "No, it isn't. You have a temporary cast. You can't just go get one of those anywhere" She still believed!! Marin face expression was "Crap, now what do I do. This dumb teacher doesn't even believe that I tricked her."

Tooth Fairy

Emmy lost her first tooth. And she demanded compensation. This created a little rift in the children's bedrrom because, you might remember, Marin had written the tooth fairy a letter asking him (her, whatever) never to visit because Marin did not want strangers walking around her bed at night while she sleeps. Emmy solved that by assuring Marin the tooth fairy would enter and exit via the window on Emmy's side of the room. Problem solved. Next morning Emmy is describing the tooth fairy. The fairy is a her. And the tooth fairy is so small, only about the size of Emmy's thumb, that she could not lift the money out of her purse. So the fairy woke Emmy up and asked Emmy to help her. Then they shared a girl scout cookie together and exchanged email addresses. ( if you're interested) Marin just sits there listening, nodding her head, and finally says "Emmy, I don't believe you. Because if you really helped the tooth fairy lift the money out of her purse you would have taken all the money, not just a quarter."

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

For Christ's Sake

Can I rant a little here?

I am not a religious person. I am spiritual in that I believe there is a greater purpose, there is karma, I embrace the core virtues of most faiths, I believe in justice and I try to live a righteous life. On the other hand, I am a sporadic church goer and I am dismissive of attack dogs who insist their religion is the only acceptable religion.

Because of all the questions and anxiety our children have around death, afterlife, and heaven, we recently started to re-establish a family church going habit. We picked a small UCC church in our hometown that has a good music program and some kids that our kids go to school with.

It's only been a few weeks, but so far so good. The people are nice, the church does interesting missions, and our kids are enjoying the Sunday School. I actually like the Sunday School lessons. For example, Marin's lesson last week was about Noah having to budget, count money, and make change when buying food for the animals on the ark. So it combines bible stories with practical skills. A nice balance that even an agnostic could appreciate.

Fast forward to this morning as we are driving to school.

Emmy: Me and Delana were talking about Sunday School.
Marin: When?
Emmy: Yesterday on the playground.
Marin: You can't do that Emmy. It's against the rules.
Emmy: No it's not.
Marin. Yes. My teacher said. No talking about Christians in school. It's against the law and you will get sent to the Principals office. Right Daddy?
Me: thinking (What the eff? Now what are these knuckleheads talking about?)
Marin: Daddy. Tell Emmy it's against the law. I know it is. All my teachers told me that. And Brady got a red card for talking about Christmas because maybe some kids don't have Christmas.

As if my kids don't have enough 'fitting in' issues to stress about, now they think it's against the law to talk about what they do on Sunday mornings and the can't talk about Christmas.

So it's OK for the Islamic women to wear their full headress at the airport, in the bank teller line, and other places where being incognito presents genuine safety risks - but kids are frightened to talk about Sunday School on the playground and the school goes to DEFCON 5 if someone mentions Christmas.

I have half a mind to phone this in to Rush and Beck.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

opposite man

Santa brought the kids a Wii this year. After a couple of days of demonstrating my incompetence at modern electronics, I finally got the darn thing working. (bonus points - I did not have to buy a new TV for it. We used the TV my brother gave us for a wedding gift 20 years ago- YES!!)

Anyway, one of the first things you have to do is design your Avatar (I'm sure most of you already knew that). Marin designed a beautiful brown skinned avatar for herslef. Then Emmy designed a beautiful brown skinned avatar with big blue eye shadow and big red lips. It was hilarious. Then I designed my avatar to look like me. The kids said "No, make him taller.", then "No, make him skinnier." Finally, I was about to hit the save button, and both kids looked at me, drop dead serious, and said, at the same time "Daddy, aren't you going to make him brown skin like us?"

So here I am - opposite man. A short, fat, bald, white guy with a tall, thin, brown, hairy avatar.