Put Your Hard Work To Good Use

conversations with hank


Molly: (sick with a cold but well attended with a fresh squeezed orange juice, a yogurt and cartoons chortles at me from her high chair)

Me: (looks up at her from my work) Are you enjoying your breakfast, Amália?

Molly: (groans, guttural chirping, nose wiggling)

Me: I don’t understand. How can I help you?

Molly: (opens eyes as wide as possible, extends her hands at me and in the full vocal cadence of a beluga non verbally attempts communication)

Me: Lovie, I don’t speak whale.

Molly: (throws head back, goes full Chewbacca then relaxes in defeat)

Me: Can you use your words, please? Despite what is advertised no one can read your mind.

Molly: Hurrumph (crosses her arms across her chest in a pout).

Me: I am sorry you’re frustrated, Little MaGoo, but you have the power to ask me for what you need and I would be happy to help you. (pause for eye contact) I can wait. Whenever you’re ready all you have to do to begin is to say, “Mama, please…”

Molly: (stretches her arms out and spreads her fingers as wide as possible) Mama, please get me a cloth?

Me: Sure. (fetch her cloth dinner napkin from the table) What happened, Amália?

Molly: Yogurt here. (pointing to her right hand grazed in yogurt)

Me: Oh, that can’t be comfortable. May I help you clean your hands?

Molly: Yes, please.

Me: (wiping off the yogurt with zero effort) Thank you for telling me what you need so that I may help you. Asking for help is important. You have worked so hard to falar em duas línguas (speak in two languages)! Put your hard work to good use, okay?

Molly: Okay, thank you, mama!

Me: Thank you, MaGoo.


Waffle Time

conversations with hank


Molly: (chirping from her dark room) Papa? Paaaaaapa? Papa?

Me: Chicken?

Molly: (congested) Chicken mama?

Me: Are you awake?

Molly: I wake up. I no sleep. I a widdle bit sicky.

Me: I know. You hardly slept.

Molly: Papa?

Me: He’s sleeping.

Molly: Mano (brother)?

Me: He’s at school.

Molly: Mama, I sick. I no go to Tia’s (Molly’s nanny) house?

Me: Not today, lovie. When you’re sick you stay home so as not to make other people sick and so you can rest properly. You will get better faster if you rest well.

Molly: I stay here. Mama, you no work stay with me and we snuggle?

Me: Of course!

Molly: And waffles?

Me: (giggling) You’d like waffles?

Molly: Yes, please. (tossing off her covers, taking my hand) Come on, mama. (coughing) Waffle time.


Tea Party

conversations with hank


Molly: Tea party! Tea party! Mama! Mano (brother)! TEEEEAAAA Party!

Me: (frantically emailing the embassy) Um… Mama, needs a minute.

Molly: Mano (brother), come on. Tea party!

Me: Um… Molly, your mano (brother) isn’t feeling well.

Hank: (getting up off the couch, taking his sister’s hand) I am not feeling well, but I am feeling well enough for a tea party! Thank you, Amália.

Me: (shutting my computer) You’re right, Hank. My email can wait.

Molly: (pouring our imaginary tea) Tea for you.

Me: Thank you.

Molly: (a hand up in warning) Cuidado (careful)!

Me: (looking over the rim of my cup) Is it hot?

Molly: Yes.

Me: (blowing across the surface of my scalding imaginary tea)

Molly: Mano (brother)?

Hank: Yes, please. I love tea.

Molly: Cuidado, mano (Careful, brother)! (taking the teapot back into her play kitchen, calling back over her shoulder) I go get the cooooookies!

Me: You know, Hank, I don’t know many ten year olds who would stop everything to have a tea party with their baby sister.

Hank: I don’t know why they wouldn’t. She is the cutest and imaginary tea is important.

Me: I agree. Thanks for the reminder. It’s so easy to get caught up in the busyness of life, you know? (making eye contact with Molly, sipping my imaginary tea)

Molly: Here come the coooooookies!

Hank: (knowing full well we only have one kind of pretend cookie) Sprinkle cookies?

Molly: Yah and cakes!

Me: Yum! What a lovely breakfast.

Molly: (extremely serious) Not breakfast, mama. Tea Party.

Me: I stand corrected.