"Mom, K'non door open mine window?"
(Can I roll down my window?)
-Willa, just now.
Have I mentioned that Willa is pretty much delighted all the time? All the time. As my mom says, thank goodness Saffron has given me a run for my money or this would all be too easy! Of course, Willa brought her surrogate mom/comfort zone with her, and she's too little to understand the magnitude of what she's been through, so it's easy to see why her transition is easier. But that's not all: the other half of it is that this girl naturally has the sunniest disposition I have ever seen. I'm not saying she doesn't also have a black belt in pouting-- she does. She just doesn't choose to pull it out very often.
Here are some typical daily Willa-isms:
1. Mom, look (she says 'look' constantly). Jasper ticklish me everyday!
(she looks at me like, 'what are we gonna do with that silly boy?')
2. Yes, today.
This is Willa's interpretation of 'yesterday' which can be used to refer to many various time periods.
3. Mom, look. My room...my room...my room clean big. Me small.
In other words, the mess of my clothes on my floor is just too big for me to clean. Oh well.
4. Mom, me everyday nice. Me everyday funny.
A self-rxplanitory example of Willa's confidence.
5. My dad hit. Look, my dad hit Willa. My dad nice, then wait, then no nice.
This to the neighbor, who--luckily--was smart enough to realize she was talking about Ethiopia Dad, not Steve. Willa's life is an open book, and we just go with it.
6. Dad, you said me pizza bread. Pizza finished!
No, Willa, I said have a piece of bread.
Ok. (She then rips a bite-size piece off a slice of bread and looks at Steve like 'This is a pretty lame snack, but whatever you say.'
7. Me ja-lock-it yes!!
Willa says this all the time, about everything she likes. This comes from my saying a sloppy, 'Willa, d'you like it?'
She especially likes to say this to try to win points when one of her siblings refuses to eat something. Willa eats everything.
8. Me I see no!
Don't look at me! Especially when she's waiting to jump out at me.
9. Ok. (zonk)
If Willa wakes up in the car and I tell her to go back to sleep, she's like a robot--she zonks obediently out right away.
10. Mom buckled yes?
Mom, is your seatbelt buckled?
Willa remembers a surprising amount, for her age, about when she first met us, and the first days in Addis. Especially since she didn't say a word or smile and seemed to be in shock, you would think it all might be a blur. She remembers that the necklaces we brought them with their
English initial were a gift from Dad, specifically (I thought this was just a casual touch I added as I handed them to them, so that the man behind the camera would get a little credit). She rememebers what she wore, and what clothes we gave them.
One thing she doesn't remember but I do distinctly, and we always laugh about it. When we sat at lunch at our guest home on that first day, Birhane (Willa) sat next to me. Because neither of the girls had uttered a word or showed any signs of trusting us with even a smile, I was shocked when Birhane suddenly tapped my leg and whispered a nearly inaudible word sounding something like "ka-ka.". "Umm," I said to our translator. "I think she needs something. It sounded like...kaka?" Oh yes, they told me. That means poop! So, Willa trusted me enough to tell me she needed to
poop. And this was her first word, we like to say.
This post is brought to you by the letter I, as in 'I,' an extremely useful word to master in English, but inconvenient for kids to learn because it sounds like 'eye.' Just yesterday Willa finally made the big stride of progressing from 'me hungry' to 'I am hungry.'