A Reason Not to Die

Lelia: Why your tattoo is still there after you shower?
Me: Because it’s a real one. It will never go away.
Leila: Even when you die?
Me: Yeah, even when…
Leila: But I don’t want to die. I want to see snow.
Me: Oh really, you want to see snow? You will probably be able to see snow one day.
Leila: I want to make snow with white paint on black paper.

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Dreams

Leila just waking up: Mama. In my dream I had up slippers (high heels). And they were lighting up every time I walk.

How time till I can have real up slippers?

Waaaa Waaaaa, I want up slippers.

Me: Well, don’t you complain about your neck hurting, and your legs hurting?

She nods.

Me: High heels would only make it worse. (We go through the high heels discussion many times a week.)

Rahul wakes up.

Leila: In Rahul’s dream he had a ball.

Rahul: No I didn’t have a ball.

Leila: Yes he had a ball.

Me: You mean in your dream Leila, Rahul had a ball?

Leila: In my dream I had up slippers and Rahul had a ball.

This morning –

Leila waking up: In my dream
I was eating a cake. And then I see’d teta (grandma in Arabic) maked a chocolate cake. With insects on it.

Me: Oh really, was it yummy?

Rahul: I like chocolate.

Leila: Nooo, it wasn’t yummy.

Related: Cinderella Shoe Trend: DSW, Louboutin Take on Princess Heels

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“Can I have a up slippers and a dress like this little girl?”

A Doctor and a Dragon (part 2)

To explain where stories come from, we helped Leila and Rahul make their own mini-books. I transcribed their stories.

Natasha Visits Dr. Leila
by Leila

Doctor Leila goes for a walk.She goes to the nurse’s house.
The nurse goes to Dr. Leila’s house.
They do a blood test for Natasha.
They check Natasha’s heart. (L and R both demand I draw a heart on this page!)
They heard dook dook, dook dook, dook dook.
Then they checked her lungs.
Dr. Leila and the nurse sent Natasha home.
Natasha became better.

THE END

 

The Dragon and the Princess
by Rahul

Once upon a time there was a princess who was stuck in the dragons cave.
And one dragon said, “Who is here?
The dragons blow fire at her.
She called the prince. He faught the dragons with his sword.
The dragons threw fire on the prince as well.
The dragons left the cave.

THE END

 

Wonderland
by Rahul

Once upon a time there was a dragon and a princess.
The dragon blew fire on the prince and princess.
Then suddenly, the nice fairy appears and fights with the dragon.
And the dragon flew away.

THE END

 

Nemo the Shark
by Rahul

Nemo the shark bites everyone. But he is scared of the dragon.
One day Nemo met the dragon in his house! (R: Mama put an excamashun mark)
The dragon blew fire on Nemo. It hurt a lot. (R: draw a dragon here. Blowing fire. – I managed a dragon brontosaurus dog with whiskers blowing a sock.)

THE END

 

 

 

 

Translating Bullshit into Bullshit

Rahul and Leila chopping play dough vegetables.

Maher: Qu’est ce que tu cuisine Leila?

Leila: Uhhh, I’m cooking mothika.

Maher: Ah bon. C’est quoi “mothika”?

Leila: Papa, ummm, en francais c’est lita.

Wemember Me

First day back in Chengdu after a month.

Leila hesitates before descending a slope.

Leila: Mum. [Re] Member me, I fall down here?

Me: How the hell did you remember that? I remember Leila!  A few months ago, you fell down this steep slope.

Leila: I cry mummy.

Me: You’re bigger now. You can do it this time.

——————————

Maher buys bread at a bakery / café. We wait outside, with Rahul asleep in the stroller.

Leila: [Re] Member me, yesterday, I eat cake with you here. Inside.

Me: Oh yes now I remember! You and I came here one afternoon.  Many months ago.  We shared a piece of cake.  You chose it.  We sat there. (I point at the corner table.)

Leila: Big cushion, mama.

Me: Yes that’s right! We put a big cushion on the chair so you could reach the plate.

Leila: No Wrahul, No papa.

Me: That’s right, it was just the two of us. You and me together.  Rahul was at home with papa.  And before we left, you chose a cake for them.  And the ayi
(aunt – lady behind the counter), packed it in a box.

——————

As we walk by our favorite Japanese restaurant.

Leila: Hey mum! Wemember me, Wrahul, you, papa, Imad, Pascaline, Liu Yan, Marwan go here to eat. We sit down. We eat a lot.

Me: Yes my love, we ate here many times. We sat together and ate lots of noodles, fish, and spinach.

Leila: Many times.

—————————————

Leila looks at the weighing scale.

Leila: Wemember me, I baby, I lie down here. And Rahul also.

Maher: Oui, bien sur mon bebe, je me rapelle!

Leila: Wrahul cwy, Leila cwy.

Maher: Oui c’est vrai, quand vous etiez tout petits vous pleuriez quand on vous pesait.

—————————————-

At a fountain in our housing complex.

Leila: You wemember me, Leila and Wrahul sitting here, on the step. Wrahul stick. Leila eating.

Me: Yes I remember baby girl. You were sitting next to each other. Rahul was playing with a stick.

My Little Lady Leila

I’ve never carried a purse that way. A purse?! Never worn pink, Winnie- the- Pooh high-heeled slippers that light up (flashing-red bling). I don’t own a flowery hat, or a flowery dress.

She’s two. Doesn’t dress like this every day only because she can’t have her way.

A Zimbabwean yoga teacher, MoT, sister who’s lived in the Middle East for several years claims to have figured it out, “It’s definitely her Lebanese genes!”

I remember the first time we went to Lebanon, she was 9 months old. Leila was mesmerized by an older woman on the plane, fixing her make-up. Wow! My insecurities came rushing up to the surface.

Another yogi friend looked me up and down today, looked at Leila styling, then said, “Yeah, of course she’s gonna be the girly girl. Just to, you know..?” and she winked at me.

She calls herself princess, and even tried to crown me. I resisted initially, I’ve never thought of myself that way. But hey, what’s the big deal if she wants me in her kingdom. Lucky me!

Blowing in the Wind

A week ago at the Koh Samui Airport; the four of us are rushing to our plane in an open air buggy.

Leila pushes me. She shouts, “WOW! Mum. Look’t Leila hair,” as she runs her fingers through her hair.

“Yes! Your hair is blowing in the wind.”

“Rawul awso,” she says, pointing at her brother’s hair.

She looks at Maher next, “Papa NOT.”

And then at me, “Mama Yes.”