Sunday, January 15, 2012

Conversations with Colleen

I am convinced that my daughters' personalities were fully formed before they were born.  When they first opened their eyes and lungs outside the womb, they are themselves.  Colleen(er), as she often adds to her name, most certainly was internally perfectly developed before her physical body has caught up with her.  She often has the funniest things to tell you in her own way.

Her Earth
She regularly tells us about life in her earth.  She has a sister there, she says, named something like Sesskah.  Her sister tells her scary stories about lions sometimes.  They play together in her earth, or argue sometimes.  Once and a while they fight, but mostly her sister is nice to her.  Her mom, in her earth, makes her favorite foods to eat.  When she likes something she will often say that it is exactly like that in her earth - food, games, clothes.

We watched a PBS show about paper folding, called Between the Folds, fascinating documentary.  She was concerned part way through and asked me: "Why are there not any girl artists?"  I said, "Girls could be artists, I don't know why they haven't talked to any."  She frowned, put her finger to her cheek and tapped it lightly.  After a few minutes, "I am an artist!" she exclaimed and ran to get printer paper out.  For the rest of the documentary she folded the paper into square table-like shapes

This was weeks ago, but has continued to make her paper art, which is getting more complex every day.


From Colleen Gardunia

While Leila was in Abu Dhabi, I made each of the girls help due chores after each meal.  Colleen asked me if she could help do the hand dishes instead of clearing the table.  I shrugged, filled up the sink, and waited to see how long that would last.  She washed all of the dishes.  And there were a lot.  She kept up a steady prattle,  "I am the best dishwasher in the entire world!  I wash them so faster.  You don't even have room for them I wash them so faster.  I am a better dishwasher than Emily!" (This is actually true,  Emily touches the dishrag like it is covered in germs and it would be better if the downstairs maid took it away.)  Ever since, she asks if she can wash the hand dishes, along with the affirmations about her dish washing prowess.

The other night she asked me if she could be an artist and still wash dishes.  I told her that dish washing was a good skill to have as an artist.  She asked if other artists washed dishes.  I told her that I imagine that a lot of them wash dishes for a job sometimes.  Then she wooped and exclaimed, "I am the best dishwashing artist in the Earth!"

Gender roles

From Colleen Gardunia
Lately, she has been very aware of women's roles.  She has asked Leila and I a couple of times about whether girls go to college.  We have always pushed higher education and encouraged our girls in that direction.  She seemed skeptical that girls needed to go to college.  Leila told her of course they do.  She then came to me and asked, "Can girls get jobs?"

"Of course," I said. "Don't you remember Katie that worked with me?"

Colleen scowled, "But she doesn't work with you now?"

"No," I said. "She got a different job"

Colleen brightened.  "Because she had a baby?"

Well, she did, but that isn't why she left." I tried to explain.  "She just wanted to do something different and she found a job with more flexible work hours where she could live closer to her family."

Colleen, skeptically and slowly,  "Right."

I am just waiting to hear what motherhood is like in her earth.

The Future
She has asked multiple times recently, "How many days until I am old?"  Our answers don't seem to satisfy her.  I wish sometimes I could capture our kids at this age and hold them there and they wouldn't have to get older.  But then, I love seeing Emily and Aleah mature and when I glimpse a shadow of the young women they are becoming I am so proud to be their Dad.  Even if that means there are very few days until I am old.
From Colleen Gardunia


Anonymous said...

Brian. Thanks for the great post. Ask Leila to give us the second post on Abu Dhahi, we enjoyed the first one very much. Having problems sending with Google so will send as anonymous. Bob C and Shirley O.

Lisa Orgler said...

This is such a great post. I love Colleen's questions about women's roles...she is so young, but so amazingly perceptive. She has intrigued me with what she'll do (or say) next.