Day 672: A (?) Mother To-Be

In the work Lara and I are engaged in these days, I often feel that I'm getting a crash course in parenthood (on obviously a ridiculously part-time level). Learning to discipline, manage time, and come up with endlessly idiotic-yet-creative activities abound. Sometimes, though, I feel like I'm making progress.

Last week in Kenya, Hannah (9) had been begging me to look at her running shoes, which were "not good" and which she wanted to trade in for better ones. After many days of this (we can't just give new ones to anyone), I agreed. She began jumping up and down in excitement, but the second we walked into my apartment to begin the shoe-fitting, she went catatonic, looking at the wall, refusing to say anything. "You must tell me what is wrong with your shoes if you want me to help you," I said. "Use your words," I remembered from some television program in which a parent talks. This has happened with some of the kids before, in some sort of shyness thing having to do with one-on-one attention that I do not fully understand.

This went on for ten minutes, me going crazy, until I had the brainwave to have her write a letter to me. Sitting right in front of me, she wrote the following letter:

Dear Clare:

The shoes I have are big and when I wash them they dont be clean.


I felt brilliant.

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