Monday, April 13, 2009

Happy Hunting

Saturday was the big Easter egg hunt. The US Embassy kept calling it the Egg-stravaganza, which was almost enough to make me not want to go. Plus, I thought Dessi was too young. Turns out she was not -- she caught on immediately and had a blast.

Here she is searching ..


... finding the mother lode...


... celebrating (she really was doing a little dance -- so cute!)


and then relaxing afterward.


Happy Easter!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Today was Dessi's first day of school. Not actually school, just, like, a preschool. And not even that much of a preschool, just this very nice and energetic woman who has organized a group of five parents and she holds class at a different parent's house each week. They sing and dance and hug each other and play games like red-light/green-light and learn about things like washing their hands and going pee on the potty and how one should not take other people's bananas right out of their hands because maybe those other people wanted to eat their bananas themselves.

Ah hem.

I cried most of the way there. Other parents drop their kids off, but I sat outside the room and listened for trouble, except for the nine times that I opened the door to peek in. There is another little Ethiopian girl in the group who is SO sweet and cute and is Dessi's first Ethiopian friend. Not that those things matter to such little kids, but these two girls, for whatever reason, absolutely loved each other. They hugged and hugged, then hugged again. (Not immediately, but after ten minutes or so.) I cried. The other girl also is adopted, but her forever mom is Ethiopian, too. Dessi is the youngest by six months. The other kids were so nice to each other and especially to "Baby Dessi." So, so sweet. They would have GIVEN her their bananas had she asked, even.


So, here is our little girl now. She stomped her feet and clapped her hands and twirled in a circle with the other kids. She sat on the teacher's lap to hear a story and play with the puzzles, and she rode her little car around in the circle with the other kids. And every time she saw me poke my head in, she would run right over and say "mama!" and show me whatever she was doing. That made me cry, too. She was amazing, and I was really just so proud of her. We left early (after two hours), and she fell asleep within three minutes of getting into the car seat, and is still sleeping now.

I used to think that I might home school. Seriously. I used to think that kids don't need other kids, kids need their parents. But more and more often I have seen her face and her whole body just light up when she sees other kids. In Florida last month, I could see how much she enjoyed being around her two cousins. It was great for her. So, that's the impetus for this. This pre-pre-school.

Eric and I had actually gone to visit a more official pre-school last week, and I felt all mixed up about it but sort of thinking that she really needed more kids and more stimulation than I seem to be giving her ... and so we kind of half-settled on it, but by the next morning we both had changed our minds. Then I heard about this group, and so, voila.

It's hard to know what's best -- when you're being overprotective and when you're just being reasonable and careful. So, anyway, I was crying only happy tears today, and I think it went really, really well.

We go back on Friday.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Random moments

This is Francie in her newest favorite cuddle spot. It looks hard and uncomfortable to me, but cats are funny.


This is Dessi, clowning



Practicing her kissing ...


And then kissing the ... what is that thing? A groundhog, I think.


My great friend Vasso and her fabulous children, posing with our newly dyed Easter eggs


And us at our little tukul-on-the-lagoon in Saloum Delta last weekend. It was awesome. Quiet, great food, and really fun friends.


Thursday, April 2, 2009

This just in: I suck

My cat, Francie, caught a teeny baby bird yesterday. She brought it in the house with the intention of eating it in a nice safe place, but of course I took it from her and it was still moving around okay but certainly couldn't live on its own. We kept it warm and feed it all day (canned cat food mixed with water, then you eyedropper it into its mouth). It was doing very well, swaying its wide-open mouth back and forth and calling for food all day.

Here it is, taking a little nap in the sunshine.


Last night I just warmed up its cushion (a ricebag) and hoped for the best. It was dead this morning, its little head angled up as if still looking for food. At first I felt just mildly sad -- it was, after all, a very tiny baby bird, and also after all, it's not like I could wake up every night for a month to feed it. It could either live through the night by itself or it couldn't. This is just life, and you can't save everything.

But this afternoon, going outside to bury it, I realized somehow that if it had been a baby parrot or some exotic red bird or something -- instead of one of the most common of sparrows -- that I would have taken better care of it. I would have woken myself up (probably) and looked after it better. I would have valued it more.

I cannot express how bummed I feel that this is me. That I would more value a life that's prettier or more rare -- that I value some lives more than others. That I let the little bird die because it was common.

So, feeling pretty shitty right now.

I blame the cat.