Monday, April 28, 2008

Saying Goodbye

On Saturday, we put our 8 year old cat to sleep. After struggling to control her diabetes, her organs started to fail and we lovingly held her as she took her last breath and slept forever. As we wept over her, our first baby girl, we said our good byes and gave her back to the earth. She lies nestled under the lilac tree to happily chase birds in her life after death.

She and her brother were our first adopted "babies". It took us months to name them both, so one wore a blue piece of ribbon and the other wore pink ... collectively, they were named Baby Boy and Baby Girl. Baby girl finally got a name, Ellis, but most of the time we still called her Baby Girl. The poor girl suffered as we brought baby TN home, not thinking too fondly of this crying, then crawling, then walking creature who'd invaded her space. It was harder to control a toddler than it was her big (physically!) brother. But, every night when the TN went to sleep, Ellis would reappear to snuggle into our laps, nestling her head in our hands as we rubbed her ears. She'd bury her head in the crook of our elbows and purrrrrr as we stroked the softest fur on the planet. Her brother looks for her now, but seems somewhat soothed to lie on the last clothes we wore before laying her to rest. They must still smell of Ellis and bring him some measure of comfort.

So, goodbye our first baby girl. We miss you very much, but hope there are many mice and birds in your second life to keep you happy and content, and a warm blanket on a soft, smooshy bed for you to rest after a hard day of play. We love you.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Language... comparisons and politics

TN's language has developed so fast that it's hard to keep up these days. You'll notice that quite a few of my posts are about TN, talking and language development. Call it a fascination I have, and try not to think of it as a critique, for this is not the intent. Language acquisition is a phenomenal thing to me and TN provides me with plenty of stimulus. Lately, TN has found it enjoyable to compare who has what and to self-correct her word order.

TN: "Mom, Nerys no necklace?"
Me: "No, Nerys is not wearing a necklace."
TN: "Mom necklace wear it?"
Me: "Yes, mom is wearing a necklace."
TN: "Mom? Daddy no necklace wear it?"
Me: "No, daddy is not wearing a necklace"
TN: "Nerys no wear necklace."
Me: "No, you are not wearing necklace"
TN: "Nerys no wear necklace, okay?"
Me: "Okay."

As you'll see in this dialogue not only does she do a lot of comparing: Who wears what, but she also changes the order of her words. Lately it has been a riot to listen to her practice sentance formation and saying things "right". This isn't something we've taught her to do, really. It's just that when she tells us something, we tend to say it back to her in the proper tense and order. Some might call this a reflective listening exercise. Either way, this habit of ours has rubbed off on her.

Also, we're attempting to expand TN's vocabulary. In doing so, we took cues from Hillary Clinton who, on two separate occasions, used the word "excoriate" during her speaking engagements. We've decided that since Hillary thinks that EVERYONE has uber-collegial vocabulary and linguistic skills, then surely our two year old should probably be able to say this word, too. Thus, in addition to using fun words like "attached" (as in, "Yes, mommy's hair is attached", e.g., please stop pulling it out of my head), which she appropriately uses, we also have taught her the word excoriate. She's very close to being able to say it. When she does, we'll send a tape to Hillary... perhaps it will help us send her the message that if you want to reach "The People" who's "voice" she insists on using, that she's speakin' the wrong language. In the mean time, TN will be the smartest, most well-spoken Kindergartner in the whole three years. Thanks, Hil.

Monday, April 7, 2008


TN knows her colors. Yes, all of her colors, but she has a favorite. I don't know how this happened, but my little girl's favorite color is Pink. It's the one color I've dreaded my whole life. I avoid it like the plague. Yes, yes, I painted 3 of her 4 walls pink. And, yes, the crib sheets are pink. But, you know, one wall is brown, and the crib sheets have brown polka dots and striping. She could have picked brown for a favorite color. It seems reasonable that this could happen, but it didn't. The color of choice is pink, pink and pink. You might wonder how we know her favorite color is pink? Allow me to share.

It wasn't just that she went to REI with daddy and picked out hot pink suede Merrell's. It's not that they are the only shoes she wants to wear. It's not that most of her clothes are pink (mostly not purchased by me, for the record!). It's not even that when I did her laundry last week that I pulled out all pink lint from the dryer. No. It's that whenever we ask TN, "What color is ________?" Her first, immediate answer is "Pink!". If we say again, very seriously, "TN, what color is that?" she says, "blue" in a really disappointed way.

There is this sense that she just wishes that everything could be pink! Last week I walked into her bedroom to get her out of bed and she said, "mom shirt orange?" I confirmed that my shirt was orange. TN said, "mom shirt orange. Yuck. Off." I said, "you want me to take my shirt off?" She said, "yes. Orange, yuck, off" I said, "What color shirt should I wear?" She said, "Pink!"

I'm sure her tastes will change with time. After all, she did start eating green vegetables eventually... surely, her favorite color won't be pink forever, right? Until then, I'll continue to pick pink lint out of the dryer and make sure that she has enough pink socks to last each outfit throughout the week. After all, it's important to satisfy the need for our little one's favorite color, pink.

Addis Ababa Time