Today, Selam brought bunches of yellow daisies to her teachers and teacher aides at school. It’s Enkututash and she’s been sort of obsessed with that for about a week. I hesitated to do it, as I think bringing presents to teachers early in the year can look kind of kiss-up ish, but since I’m trying to get Selam services of any kind (and ESL seems the most likely for us to get) I thought, why not play up her heritage. Yes, in fact, I am being manipulative. I’ll play the cards I have. Selam’s not being manipulative, though, and it is important to keep up whatever pieces of her culture that we can.
She sprang out of bed this morning and had to be coaxed into her clothes, though she was shivering in her summer PJs. I agreed to make the bouquets before breakfast, and she was so proud to tie the ribbons on them (using those new shoe tying skills!). To make the whole thing a little more peculiar, Selam is convinced that fake flowers are much better than real ones, so the bouquets were a mixture of fake and real flowers. During breakfast we practiced what to tell people who asked about the flowers and the holiday. She stood at the door holding her bouquets for ten minutes before we could leave.
Oh, sweet Jesus, that child’s face! Even her eyebrows smiled as she swaggered into the building, explaining to everyone that “Today is Enkukatash in Ethiopia. It’s New Year’s Day. I say Etopia, because I’m really born there, but you can say Ethiopia because you’re American.Happy New Year.”
The teacher was just lovely about it. Selam stood in the door with her huge grin and the teacher was seated next to the morning message. Selam stood there for a minute with a bit of a coquettish look on her face, and then slowly walked to the teacher with a huge smile. The teacher gasped melodramatically. It was made for off-broadway, and Selam was just so, so, so, so happy.
When I kissed her goodbye, she said, “Thank you for letting me be born in Ethiopia, Mommy. This is fun.”