The Many Sides of Yemisrach

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Today has been a trying day with my Yemi, but also a sweet one. Oh, I love that girl fiercely, and enjoy her tremendously. But I also am the most bewildered and confused by that child. She keeps me humble…and a little lost…and smiling. I’m not sure that I ever was interesting enough to do any of those things to anyone! Both of my girls make me feel the full range of emotions, and have personalities far beyond mine ever was or will be. But anyway, I just want to spend a minute writing about this little firecracker/diva/curious george/comedian: Yemisrach (Good News) Abigail (Her Father Rejoices).

Yesterday, my mom took her to KSS, and while mom was shopping, Yemi grabbed a notepad and pen from off the shelf. She began writing her name in it. My mother bought the notepad, and told Yemi she would have to pay her for it later. Yemi had no real answer as to why she chose to do this…She didn’t really seem shocked that she got in trouble, but she wasn’t trying to hide it either.  She has two dollars less now, but I don’t think that means anything to her.

Today, in math, for (literally) the 80th time, I asked Yemi how many months were in a year. Many days she doesn’t seem to understand questions like this. In helping her find an answer, we discussed what month we were in, looked at the calendar, even held the baggie full of cards which have written on them the months of year…but still this answer just evaded her. After several other attempts, we/I landed on the number twelve and we moved on. Somedays these things that you can’t see make sense to her, other days they don’t. There are a multitude of things I truly cannot comprehend that others can (and I’m not being humble, its just true), so it’s not that I think she’s not intelligent (because she absolutely is)…I just don’t know how to get these concepts to become real to her no matter how much we talk about it, act it out, turn the pages of the calendar, and so on.

Then later today at a restaurant where you get your own drink from the “fountain”, while I was ordering she ran off, grabbed a cup from who knows where, and filled it up with fruit punch. She knows we only get water, she has never been allowed to wander over and fill up her cup before, and she didn’t ask. She seemed just as bewildered as me when I punished her for this! I just don’t know what’s going on in her little mind. All day, when I tell her something, she doesn’t appear to be listening, so I’ll say “repeat a little of what I just said, please”. Sometimes she will, sometimes she won’t. I’ve told her she’s not really safe if she can’t listen to adults and remember what they have told her. Could she repeat that back to me? What do you think?

This evening, she found one of her Christmas presents under the bed. We do a few small gifts at Christmas; we’re not the Christmas morning extravaganza type folks. I was really sad that I hadn’t done a good job of hiding it and really sad the surprise was spoiled. I still don’t know why she was under our bed downstairs, but alas…All the Christmas presents have been moved to a better located as of now, in case you were worried. 🙂

Yemi doesn’t seem to notice things that I wish she would, and she seems most interested in snacks and TV shows and getting her way. Everything else is kind of “eh” to her. Take it or leave it.

This is Yemi.

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But this is, too:

I sat snuggling with her, reading the cutest library books ever, that she had picked out. It was truly some of the sweetest minutes of my day, sitting there under covers with that precious little girl whom we sometimes call “our little coffee bean”. One of the books we read was about a school in Chad, Africa, a school where boys and girls had to walk on dirt paths to get there; a school where on the first day of the September, the kids pitched in to build it– from the ground up! The illustrations were beautiful, and we loved them. Yemi noticed some things beyond the beauty though. She said, “That lady doesn’t have any shoes on…and that boy is playing with a coke can…” Then she said, “When I go to Ethiopia, I’ll need to be barefoot, too. I don’t want them to see my shoes and feel bad. I’ll need to not wear any nice dresses, because I don’t want anybody to feel bad. Do you think they have baby dolls? I’ll need to bring mine for them.”

I held her hand, realizing how honest and real she was being, and how it was coming from a heart that was interested in more than when and what her next snack would be.

Then, in typical Yemi fashion, she finished her thought with: “I think I should only stay a day in Ethiopia.” “Why?” I said. “Because I wouldn’t want to leave Pajama Baby alone for too long.” “Oh, okay, ” I said. Then she screwed up her mouth and furrowed her eyebrows and said, “Buuut….Pajama Baby is kinda rude to me sometimes, so it might be okay.”

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