UNFORESEEN CHALLENGES OF SINGLENESS
One day in the village, while I was still living with my coworkers, the girls were planning an imaginary play session. Sidenote: their imaginations are so active, that it is often hard to keep up with which character they are impersonating, resulting in protests such as, “I’m not Isadora! I’m Maria!” (or Ana or Elsa or John or Abbi or Jubilee or some other movie or book or real-life personality). Obviously their identities should be obvious to everyone, right? They know who they are pretending to be, after all. My own character-guessing skills are improving, slowly but surely. At least I can list off the top four imaginary roles of choice for each girl and always know when Lorena is Mahi, her favorite cat character.
On this occasion, however, Isadora was casting herself in the new role of Julia, a two-year-old daughter of missionary friends who had visited us the previous week. Lorena wanted to be another little girl, so they needed someone else to be Misa, Julia’s mommy.
Lorena suggested that I be Misa, to which Isadora immediately argued,
“But Tia Paulette can’t be Misa! She doesn’t have a husband!” As I tried not to laugh out loud, Lorena acquiesced to Isadora, realized the watertight logic in her firm objection.
What a letdown. Never realized my single status could be so limiting, even affecting which roles are available to me when playing with three-year-olds.
THE CUCUMBER FLUENCY TEST
As I made lunch, Isadora wandered into the kitchen to see if she could coax me into giving her bits of something to eat before the meal was served. As she has learned from previous experience, that isn’t very hard to do, as long as she asks politely, instead of demanding.
So I offered her a big fat cucumber stick, telling her “In English, this is a cucumber. Can you say cucumber?”
“Cucumber!” she repeated, a big grin showing her delight in learning a new word.
“Good job! You said that just right,” as I handed her the desired pre-lunch snack.
“Yup! And that means…that I know how to speak English!”
After further reflection on my own language learning endeavors, and a thorough testing of current skills, according to the above standards, I am pleased to announce to all of you that…I already know how to speak Neno! Our language consultant may not agree with Isadora’s evaluation methods, however, so I intend to keep studying and practicing, just in case.
Lorena, the beet lover. Isadora, the brownie batter licker.