Archive for September, 2006

Melkam Addis Amet


Happy Ethiopian New Year!

We celebrated with a big family dinner last night.  Everyone cooked different Ethiopian foods.  Rose was very happy, and put down about two pounds of red lentils and injera like you wouldn't believe.  Everyone looked to her for technique on eating the food, and she has serious technique.  You wouldn't think it would be difficult to eat with your hands, but it can be kind of tough to do it gracefully.  The food was great, though, and we nearly missed beating the all-time most people at family dinner record with 30 people.  It was weird, though, five 'regulars' didn't show, so we should have smashed the record…  Not that I'm competitive.

We tried to take D & Rose's pictures before dinner because I dressed them in the traditional outfits we brought back from Ethiopia.  Rose got hers as a parting gift from the orphanage and we bought D one.  It was a disaster.  I was in a couple of the pictures and I think you can see my level of frustration skyrocket.  Why in the world I thought I could get one decent picture of two children with 28 kibitzers behind the camera, I have no idea!  (My apologies to the kibitzers who read this.)  There was one picture where you can actually see both me and Chuck pinching Dillon because Rose is all smiles and he picks that moment to totally zone out and not listen to anyone.  That was the last picture, I called it after that because I don't normally resort to anything approaching physical reprimands with my kids and when I feel the need to pinch them, you can pretty much tell I need some space.

Aside from the unfortunate pre-dinner photo episode, it was a lovely evening and we had a great meal.  

We ate leftovers tonight, which actually went over pretty well for the second time around.  But it was still Ethiopian food, so I figure I am still respecting my daughter's cultural heritage by serving it.  I pretty much literally cooked all day yesterday just making two dishes to bring to the dinner, so I really didn't have time to do much cooking after work today.  Particularly because my kids are ready for dinner at 5:15 pm, and they don't much like to wait.

Despite the reason for a festive occasion in Ethiopia, I felt pretty down today.  Clearchannel or some big media corp. was playing some sort of 9/11 tribute after I dropped D at school and was looking for a traffic report.  I was sort of compelled to listen, and despite some issues I had with the content and delivery, I still cried during some of it.  

I saw the planes hit pretty much real-time.  I was watching some stupid morning show like maybe "the View" and they flashed over to the news as it was happening.  I wouldn't normally have been home at that time, but I was still on Maternity leave with Dillon and was breastfeeding him in front of the TV.  I was sitting in a big comfy chair, sleepy and zoned out with a 20-day-old baby and this crazy thing happened.  I called Chuck, he was at Strive.  Then I called my mom, worried about my aunts who live in NY.  Then, probably like almost everyone else in America, I just sat there pretty much glued to my television while we saw the scene replayed again and again.

It makes me sick just thinking about it.

I bought Mordicai Gerstein's book, 'The Man Who Walked Between the Towers' for Dillon a while ago.  It's a children's book, written after 9/11 about a tightrope artist and walking in 1974 between the towers.  It's a wonderful story, but I haven't given it to Dillon yet.  Because there is this line: "Now the towers are gone." on a blank page.  It wraps up sweetly, about how they will live in people's memories.  But I'm not ready for the inevitable question that will come up when I read this book to Dillon.


Lab Results


So some preliminary results are in and it looks like Rose had/has Hepatitis A.  We're waiting on the specialists to read the results and tell us what the next steps are, but the good news is that means we probably won't have to run all of the additional tests for parasites and other terrible conditions you don't want to think about your kid having…

What a cute little boy!


Okay, so my #1 pet peeve today is people thinking Rose is a boy any time she is not dressed entirely in pink clothes.  Now, I don't have anything AGAINST boys, but this child is obviously a girl.  This is irritating for the following reasons:

1.  It sincerely bothers Dillon, and often when he corrects these people who say this, and these types of people (cashiers, servers, people at the library, etc.) don't actually listen to him.  So then he looks at me, upset, and I have to re-correct the people.  

2.  Rose won't leave the house without her pink converse all-stars.  Don't get me wrong, this doesn't totally make her a girl, I tried to buy a pair of these for Dillon but Chuck wouldn't let me.   But even if she's wearing a purple or blue shirt (which I know can be confusing to those with need-to-make-a-gender-assignment issues) she still has PINK SHOES!

3.  It's not like her clothes are gender-neutral. Almost all of them came as hand-me-downs from her cousin Monica, who is a beautiful kid but totally wonderfully girlie.  I am a pretty progressive mom, but I probably wouldn't send Dillon to the playground in boot-cut jeans with pink butterflies embroidered up the leg.  Or in purple capri-pants with "Old Navy" on the butt.  

4.  Not all people with short hair are men.  Or boys.

5.  Her hair isn't even all that short anymore, it's kind of a cute pixie-cut thing!

6.  Most of the time Rose wants to dress entirely in pink, but when I can convince her otherwise, I don't want to have to stop every stranger from calling her a boy.  I rethink fighting her into a green shirt (with pink flowers on it) because I know I'll be spending my day correcting people (at least, I will if Dillon is with me, otherwise I just grin and bear it).

7.  I just wonder if there isn't some white-people ignorance under this, and that bugs me.  A sort of "all those people look the same" thing.  Because only white people have made this mistake.   Maybe white girls with close-cropped hair face the same thing, but I wonder.  

Anyway, that's my rant for the day! Thanks for reading!

Olive Juice


Today was, in fact, the first day of K-5 for Dillon (see yesterday's post).  And of course, it doesn't go nearly as smoothly as yesterday would have.  Rose stayed up way too late, and I was trying to stay up late to make sure she fell asleep without incident.  So Chuck and I overslept.  We jump out of bed at 6:30, an hour after I wanted to wake up and a half-hour after I wanted to wake up the kids.

We are efficient enough to still make this work, though we ate cereal for breakfast rather than homemade blueberry muffins, pancakes, etc.  There was a bit more scolding and "hurry up!" than I would have liked, but you do what you have to in order to get your kid to school on time.  

D was great, so happy to be back he kissed his teacher on her cheek and gave her a big hug.  Rose sobbed when it came time to leave him.  But she perked up after a while and we had a pretty pleasant morning. 

At least, until I had to bring her to the doctor.  We were hoping for some test results, but didn't really get anything today.  We'll hopefully get the Hep A results by Friday, either way I made D an appointment for a vaccination and immunoglobulin since he may have been exposed, and the two-week prevention window closes on Friday.  But the pediatrician said they are moving towards everyone who lives or attends school in Milwaukee to be required to get that vaccination, so I won't feel too badly if it turns out she didn't have it and we've vaccinated him for no reason.

Rose was so happy to pick up Dillon from school.  We played for a while and then Rose colored while Dillon helped me make Berbere sauce (it's like a bajillion spices, including two kinds of chilies and cayenne and jalapeno peppers) because we're going to do some Ethiopian cooking on Sunday to celebrate the Ethiopian New Year, Enkutatash.  (Posting some info from wikipedia or somewhere below.)

Enkutatash is an important festival in the lives of Ethiopians. After three months of heavy rains the sun comes out creating a beautiful clear fresh atmosphere. The highland fields turn to gold as the Meskal daisies burst into flower. When Makeda, the Queen of Sheba, returned to Ithiopia after her famous visit to King Solomon, her chiefs welcomed her forward by giving her "enku" or jewels. Enkutatash which means "gift of jewels"' has been celebrated ever since in spring. Meskerem is seen as a month of transition from the old year to the new. It is a time to express hopes and dreams for the future. 

We had a good time cooking the Berbere because it's measuring like 100 teaspoons of different spices, so it's a very Montessori exercise!  Dillon particularly enjoyed grating nutmeg, though it took him approximately ten years to grate about a quarter teaspoon.  Yeah, he's fifteen now.

While we were working, Rose had a lot to say.  Dillon started this "I love you more" / "No, I love YOU more" game with her.  I don't know where he got this idea, but it was super-cute.  Especially because Rose was saying "olive juice ma" and very earnestly saying "no", which is the one word that we know she COMPLETELY understands.  Every two-year-old has that one down pat.

And now she's in bed, again, just singing songs to herself instead of going to sleep.  Dillon did this for years, but I hope she goes through that stage a bit faster than he did!