The other day I had my guitar out and Yordi held up some music and demanded that I play that song for her. Never mind the fact that she had never actually heard the song before... what was important was that she found this treasure in my guitar case and therefore it needed to be played that instant.
So I start strumming and singing.
"God Bless America..."
"Wait Wait Wait!!!" Habtamu came rushing in, elbowing his sister out of the way. "America read where?" he said scanning the page. "You tell me" I said, "sound it out," and pointed to the first word. "Guh-haw-dih... guhawdih... GOD! Buh-leh-ee-ssssss... No Daddy I don't know!" "You got it! Buh-less! Bl-ess! Bless! You know that word." I reinforced. "Like 'Bless You' after a sneeze." I think expending all that effort and not getting to 'America' drove him away to less strenuous activities. It was either that or Yordanos who was now stomp-marching around the room singing, "GOD *BLESS YOU* AMERICA!!!" at the top of her lungs.
The kids and I have been having pre-dinner wrestling matches when I get home from work. We don't have a whole lot of room or rules, but it usually involves someone getting pinned and then tickled. Repeat, repeat, repeat until either mom calls us for dinner or someone gets a knee to the face. Anyway, H and I were in the midst of some variation on this theme that basically involved him trying to sit on the couch and me trying to keep him off. After two tries he finally got his keester on a cushion. He jumped up with his arms triumphantly in the air, "I am Strong!" he proclaimed. "Yes," I said, "You are very strong." He did a short victory strut, turned back to me and announced, "I AM QUEEN!!!" this time giving me the gun show. "Yes," I said nodding, "You are queen. Go tell your mother."
Tonight, Yordanos, while totally not focusing on the boardgame that she picked out, discovered that she could attach and support small objects in her braids. While I was trying to find the quickest legitimate path to ending the game, I heard, "Daddy look!" to my right. I looked up to see my daughter with a pink fuzzy cat ball dangling in front of her left eye. "That's great honey," I said, "Pick a card now." Habtamu just shook his head and waited. "More," she said tugging on her other undecorated braid, "Cat toy again." "We don't have another pink cat toy like that," I sighed, "Only a blue one. It's your turn." "Where blue one?" she asked, her eyes looking everywhere in the room except at the game board. "I don't know," I grumbled, "Ask a cat." My comment was totally lost on Yordi, as the front half of her body was already buried under the couch. Habtamu smiled and giggled. "Ask cat" he repeated.
I think that's the first time he's understood that kind of joke in English. We kid around a lot but it usually involves faux-miscommunication and/or physical humor. Like if he says a meal is, "Excellent, very good," then I might lean over and stick my fork in his food and say, "No like? Ok ok Daddy will help," with a big grin on my face. That passes for funny at the dinner table. But this time I was tired and frustrated so there was no vocal cues, nor did I point to a cat to reinforce the concept.
He got it anyway and he thought it was funny.
I like him.