In the morning, before the sun is up or the lights are on or anyone is out of bed, she sings. Out of key and off-tempo and loud, but lord knows there’s no better start to the day. Lately it’s been Christmas music. Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and on and on. Last year she got on Rudolph and couldn’t quit it until April, so steadfast was her commitment to the Christmas spirit.
Another one of Idara’s morning traditions is to pick out one of our photo books and look through while we lay in bed. Recently she’s been picking out the book we made when we went to Cambodia. One section of that book is about the Cambodian genocide and Pol Pot, which is surely one of the darkest chapters in human history. Idara has no sense for this, of course. She just sees photos and wants us to talk about what’s in them, whether it’s a picture of a waterfall or a mass grave.
I bring this up because it hits at one of the central conundrums of raising children: the truth. The truth is that over a million people were killed in Cambodia and that many of them were dumped into mass graves. And that sometimes a heavy rain reveals their bones. The other truth is that Idara is three years old, and there is no good reason for her to know that such atrocities are part of our human story. Not yet, anyway. So when? And how?
On a lighter note, there’s Santa Claus. She really got into it this year, and wanted to know how he’d come down the chimney and what kind of milk he wanted with his cookies whether or not he’d be bringing presents. After she opened a doll on Christmas morning she wanted to know if Santa Claus had given birth to it. Somehow she found out about bad kids receiving coal instead of presents (I promise it wasn’t from us) and so Idara wanted to know if he wrapped the coal before delivering it. I’m still wondering this myself.
I have no memory of believing in Santa Claus (probably a product of being the youngest of three children) so I had no plans of convincing Idara of his existence, but she seems to have convinced herself. And while some people might be put off by the idea of lying to their children, surely they just forget that they lie to them all the time. About the Cambodian Genocide, for example.
Susan took Idara to see The Nutcracker and for two weeks leading up to the event and several days afterward, it was all she could talk about. She even demoted her stuffed animals and awarded the top post to a foot-tall nutcracker, which she tucked in next to her bed.
Idara started “school” this year, though it’s really just a place where she goes a couple times of week to play. It’s a co-op, too, so we all get a chance to help out in the classroom.
Idara gained a little brother back in September. Her fascination with him has yet to wane.
We were expecting her to resent Oren for monopolizing so much of our time and energy, but that hasn’t happened. Yet. She still likes to read to him and dress him up and help change his diaper.
Idara and Tia and some kid nobody knows at the music class on Halloween. Later in the day we drove down to St. Paul where we trick-or-treated with my brother and sister and her kids.
Our first journey out of town after Oren was born took us to Florence with our old friends Mike and Liz and their two kids. Here’s Idara and Piper at the beach, digging with spoons.
Idara’s pretty photogenic, if I can say so myself, which I can, because this is my blog and I’ll say what I like. That said, capturing a photo of Idara giving a proper smile is damn near impossible. Somehow this one (and a few others) came out okay.
Gordy and Suellen had some work done on their house by a contractor who was originally from Iran. He had this hat in the back of his Prius (imagine that – a contractor who drives a Prius) and I asked if Idara could try it on. He obliged, then explained that it’s a traditional hat from the Caucausus and also the headwear of choice for Khabib Nurmagomedov, a UFC fighter from that area. The more you know!
It’s not all rainbows and butterflies, of course. Sometimes Idara looks (and acts!) like this.
This photo seems to defy captioning, though I’d happily take suggestions.