Monday, September 15, 2008

The American dream

There is a lovely woman who has worked at the girls' daycare in the infant room since before E's infancy, so she knows my girls well. She cared for E for nearly a year, she has maintained a warm rapport with E since her graduation to toddlerhood, and now, of course, she cares for L. She's an immigrant from Cameroon whose husband is still there, under a life-sentence of house arrest for dissident activities. He was (if I'm remembering the details correctly) a demographer at a university who was instructed to find a favorable report regarding improved national literacy and health rates, but refused to publish fabricated findings (and goodness, I hope I'm remembering the details correctly). She speaks to him every night by telephone on an extension he shares with the soldier who jails him in his own home, who listens in on his conversations with his own wife. She knows she'll never see him again. She has eight children living on three continents and she knows she'll never see her whole family together in one room again, and she cares for my daughters by day so I can pick them up in the evenings, and after 10 or 11 long hours of separation, reunite my whole family together in one room again.

I went down to daycare this afternoon to nurse L after her nap and found her in her emergency clothes. I also saw a cover missing from a bouncy seat, so I asked if maybe she'd pooped a little? Apparently, L pooped about once an hour all day today. Firm enough, no illness-type worries, but she'd been through her fair share of fabrics. Well, we all agreed, maybe no blueberries tomorrow. L's really been enjoying the blueberries, but maybe they haven't been enjoying her so much.

So I nursed her and played with her a bit and as I left I turned back and said to L, "maybe no more pooping today, huh?" and smiled and waved goodbye.

But as I was halfway over the baby gate that retains the small, mobile creatures all day, that lovely teacher prepared L's retort for her. She turned to L and said:

"Tell Mommy it's a free country. And that means it's a pooping country and you'll do pooping as much as you want."

Embracing the concept of early education: it's never too early for a civics lesson. Pin It