Monday, 28 October 2013

Can We Do It About Bones?

After giving some thought to today's post, I decided to let my niece, KiKi, write the blog. That is, I'd interview her, and the post would not only be about her, but by her. You might call it her first blog entry via dictation. :-)  

She came on the line this evening quite excited. Her mother had given her the heads-up. 

"Aunty, I'm gonna help you write your blog! Can we do it about bones?"

"What about bones? Do you think you have enough to tell  me about bones?"


"Okay. Sure."

"Say, "Begin.""

"Oh, okay. Begin please."

"If you didn't have bones in your body then you'd just fall down. Wherever the place you are in, you would just fall down. Your whole body would fall down if the bones were out of your body. If you were pretending and you were galloping like a horse, then if somebody took out all of your bones, you would just fall down! Like this!"

We're not moving on until you imagine the fall. Lol!

Done? Okay. Good.

She continued, "And guess what? You know what? You know what? It's guessing time! What protects your body?"

In my defence, I was tired. "Umm, your muscles and your flesh?"

"No. Your ribs!"

"Ok. Great. So, what else do you want to talk about? What do you want to be when you grow up?"

"I would like to be a teacher!"


"Yes! I would like to be a teacher."


"You know why?"

"No, I don't."

"Do I have to tell you why?" 

"Yes." (Given that this was an interview and all.)

"When you are a teacher, you have lots of kids. But your kids might be in a different class."

I'm not sure what the grand idea behind this was. Whether she was looking forward to not teaching her own kids... I got nothin'.

I asked, "Is there anything else that is appealing to you about being a teacher?"

"When you're a teacher, you are helping kids learn and read and do their numbers. That's what happens when you're in SK. But when you're just new to your school, that makes you a JK. You do your shapes. The parents wait in the hall to wait to talk to the teachers. The kids get to go in the classroom -"

"You mean to see what the classroom is like?" I interjected.

"Yeah. If they like the classroom, they stay."

"I don't think they have a choice."

"No. They do not have a choice! They do not have a choice."

"Did you learn about bones today?"

"Let me tell you about my childhood!"

Did she just totally ignore the interviewer's question? It reminded me of a story I'd heard back in high school. A student was preparing for her French history orals and practiced everything to talk about the Princes of France. When she got to the room, the examiner let her know that the topic was about the Kings of France. She replied, "The Kings of France were great...but let's talk about the Princes!" Lol! I love that joke!

Anyway, KiKi continued, "When I was just zero years old, I was just little. I was just a little, little, little baby. And, I was from Jamaica."

"Is there anything special that you remember from your childhood?"

"I was two years old in Canada."

I think we're on the same page.

"I'll tell you something about winter."

Apparently, we're not. "Sure, go ahead."

"I used to like winter. But, now when winter is coming, I hear Mommy, [in her best impersonation complete  with faux Jamaican accent and her mother in the same room] "I don't like di winter. I want summer; I don't like di winter, I want summer." I guess she wants to go back to Jamaica. What I like about winter? I was building a snowman. I said to myself, "Why is there so many [sic] snow?" And then I was digging and I saw grass. It was winter, but the grass was dead."

"Uh-huh. Uh-huh."

"Can I tell you about my holiday?"

"Of course."

"My favourite holiday is Christmas! You know why?  Because of the beautiful lights on the trees. And, Jesus was born." 

Then, I kid you not, Kiki broke into song: 

"There's lights on the tree! 
Lights on the tree! 
Hey ho cheerio,
There's lights on the tree!
And presents are on the way! 
The presents are on the way! 
Hey ho cheerio, 
The presents are on the way!"

I composed myself enough to tell her that was a great place to wrap up, and I thanked her kindly for her time. 

"You're welcome, Aunty! Muahh!"

It was a pleasure to dedicate this month to KiKi. She is a delight to be around. I'm also thankful to her parents - my sis and BIL - who share her with me; with us!

Love you, sweetie! #FeelTheLove


Friday, 18 October 2013

Elmo's Hurt!

Today is Kiki's birthday! She's Five. Uh-huh. Happy Birthday, Kiki! 

She had a great day. I stopped by after work, and she told me so. :-) She said she was smiling a lot when her classmates sang her Happy Birthday. I can only imagine how she was beaming.

The story I want to share happened some time after she turned Three. She had just got an Elmo toy and he was all the rage. Elmo this; Elmo that. As a matter of fact, during the Elmo years, occasionally, one of her aunts would be dubbed her "best friend, ever!" Then, without warning, we'd learn that Elmo had regained his spot as her BFF. Crestfallen much? Nah. We lived and we learned.

On this particular evening, I stopped by to pay her a visit. Maybe I was visiting with her mom as well. That part is a blur. Lol! More often than not when I visited with them, it was mainly to visit with my niece. She has a charming little brother now - another story altogether. So, anyway, we were all there chit-chatting away. Kiki then started asking for Elmo. We shifted a bit in the couches, but, he didn't turn up. She looked around some more, then spotted a piece of him - maybe it was his arm or something - "protruding, as it were" (a line from Monk) - from under my thigh. Apparently, I had been sitting on her BFF all this time. Flabbergasted, I quickly eased myself off Elmo and handed him to her. 

Well, I was hardly prepared for what came next. 

"Aunty! You were sitting on Elmo!" 
"Sorry. I didn't mean to - "
"And, you've hurt him! Elmo's hurt!"
"Really Kiki? Elmo's hurt?
"Yes, and he's bleeding!"
"What? How do you know he's bleeding?

[Wait for it.] 

[Wait for it.]

"Because, see? He's red all over!"

Even as I type this, I'm laughing! Of course, by this time, I spotted the little smile around her mouth as we cracked up. This happened during that period when we always had to reassure her, whenever we laughed at her funny stuff, that we were laughing with her, not at her. But, on this occasion, she knew she had said something funny. I pulled her to me, "Come here, Missy! You know Elmo can't bleed!" Her mom and I told her she had made a really funny joke and we were definitely going to share it. And we did!

Hope it made you chuckle. I'm still cracking up!

(Photo credit: Scenic Reflections)


Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Feel the Love

You may have oft read my stories in which I share a little about my niece. Kiki turns Five this month! #Getouttatownandtakeabus! I pause at that because, well, the time has passed by so quickly. Isn't that something? I'm not sure what, exactly, but, it's...something. And, because turning Five is, as she would say, "a big deal, actually!" I'd like to do this month's posts in recognition of her; in celebration of her life and the joy she brings. And the trip she is! Oh, and, "actually," is her latest flavour-of-the-month. "Actually, Auntie, it's like this..." or  "That's what I was thinking, actually." She finishes that off with raising her eyebrows and nodding her head. Actually.

One of my favourite recollections is of that afternoon when she was egging herself on to get into the car without help. Her little chant to her two-year-old self, "Go, Kiki! Go!" took on a life of its own in our family. I shared it in a blog and in other spaces as well. It was, and still is, truly inspiring.

Two Christmases ago, we'd all got together to have dinner at my home. We had earlier carried out the great tradition of baking a few Jamaican Christmas fruit cakes. Kiki was in the middle of the preparation. Her dad lifted her up to help pour the fruits in the blender; she helped to lick the bowls - a sub-tradition in the great tradition - and, she later was, understandably, very eager for the cakes to be done. Over and over, she asked for the oven light to be switched on so she could peek in. I think we simply kept it on, after a while.

The plan was to have dinner then have the cake for dessert - of course. We took turns explaining the sequence of events. She appeared to have understood. As soon as we cleared the table, she was back at it. "Can we please taste the cake?" We tried again. This time, we explained that, as we had just finished dinner, we'd wait just a bit for dessert. To this, Kiki took centre stage in the living room and, in her assertive tone, replied, "If we don't taste the cake, we're not going to be able to taste the cake!"

We got it. We got it. Funny how some of life's clearest answers can come from the mouths of...toddlers. Whenever we recall that afternoon, her declaration still causes us to nod our heads in agreement. It's true. "If we don't taste the cake, we're not going to be able to taste the cake!"

On another occasion, shortly after she had begun learning to identify letters of the alphabet, she came home from school and was recounting the highlight of that day. As her mom told me, the conversation went something like:

"So, daddy, Meghan and me were at the slide - "
"Meghan and I."
"Meghan and I? But daddy, I am not a letter!?" 

That one still cracks me up!

A few weeks ago, her mom and I (umm, let's move on) took her and her little brother out for the evening. At some point, as we sat next to each other, she reached over for my hand, and gently kissed my palm. Then, in fluid movement, she lifted my palm, held it against my cheek and, in a soft tone, she went, "Feel the love, Auntie. Feel the love." Of course, she held out the "looove."  Lol! I was so touched. And, proud of her. She had come up with this show of affection all on her own and it was something that could be our thing. You know, like the fingers-down-face in Face Off but without, well, the face off? It was beautiful. Next, she had me kiss her palm before she placed it against her cheek. It was my turn, "Feel the love, Kiki. Feel the love."

She is a joy to be around. We are blessed to have her in our lives. And, yes, we're feeling her love. Pretty sure she's feeling our love, too.