Friday, February 02, 2007

"Even my broken ear?"

Maia climbed into bed next to me this morning. It was cold, and she likes to climb into my bed and snuggle with me when it’s cold. Though not too much. She’s not a kissy-huggy kind of child. The orphanage, I think.

“My beautiful baby girl,” I said. “This is my beautiful baby girl.”

She’s been wearing her hair up in a pony tail, and I had seen her turn her head last night while she was brushing her teeth to look at the little nubs of her ear in the mirror, as though to see how it looks to other people.

“Even my broken ear?” she asked.

“Even your broken ear,” I said.

Then she said something that I couldn’t make out. It sounded like, “Did you catch my ear?”

I asked her to repeat it, and she did, and I still didn’t understand it.

“Yes,” I said, not sure what I was agreeing to.

“Your broken ear makes you very special,” I said. “Very, very special.”

I really do believe that. I’ve become convinced that it’s the problems we have that give us our opportunities for growth, not the things that are unproblematic.

“Like Nemo,” she said. “One big fin, one little fin.”

“Like Nemo,” I said.

And then I taught her how to spell the word, "ear."

These pictures are from the last 12 days--where we're living now, her preschool, and then a private elementary school on the day of her interview there.

That school is not for her. It prides itself on being experimental and non-structured, but the truth of the matter is it's about as socially and culturally conservative as a school can be. It serves the children of the well-to-do and well-connected. It's not for Maia, who really needs people who can reach her where she is, and she's not for it.

No matter. Her way will just be a different way.

This evening, Zack and Cody came on television--a children's sitcom. She said, "They talk nicely. Not like me." And she was right--that school was for the Zacks and Codys, not for the Maias. "But you're learning," I told her.

She's working so hard at this.

John, Friday, February 2, 2007


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