“Don’t you want Madison to learn about her culture?” Lynnette asked. “Or do you want her to end up like you?” she continued. You really have to hand it to Lynnette, she can craft these goat logic arguments with the best of them. She dumped this line of questioning on me after I had already agreed to go to the Chinese New Year celebration in Chinatown. As I suspected, the festival was short on educational opportunities, but long on food booths. What does it mean to love someone? To love someone means that even if you are insulted for a lack of knowledge of part of your own ethnic background as a means for your wife to walk down crowded streets while constantly grazing, you smile and say “Okay, sweetheart.”
I told you – just bags of food everywhere. Of note is the fact that I wanted to wear jeans, but I can’t tell you why even now. All I know is that I had hoped yesterday would be as cool and breezy as it was on Friday. It wasn’t. I might have neglected to mention that in yesterday’s entry; Friday’s sky was a gorgeous cloudless blue. It was weather antithetical to the kind which has traditionally accompanied the Punahou Carnival. Yesterday wasn’t too bad, either. Considering that we walked up and down crowded streets in the sunlight and I wasn’t sweating through my shirt, I think the temperature was acceptable. Having huge chunks of shade on one side of the street was also key. And for the second day in a row, I ran into a few old friends. It’s been a pretty good weekend for that, lots of Aiea Little League teammates.
The first time we saw the princesses yesterday, they were taking pictures in the police station. We moved on past them and moved out in search of more food. It was only through plain luck they we came across them again. “Madison! The princesses are back!” I shouted. She stopped dead in her tracks and watched them walk up the street. I wonder what goes on in Mad’s head whenever we run into princesses. We hit up a lot of these kinds of events and actually bump into young women dressed this way more often than I would have guessed. We also met the Fairy Cakes fairy and the mermaid at the Waikiki Aquarium. So, yeah. In my head, they were walking in slow-motion while the Clash’s “Train in Vain” blasted in the background. I snapped out of it quickly enough to ask these lovely ladies for a picture with Madison, and they obliged. I would like to take this time to thank them. I know they must have been melting in those dresses. They handled our request and those of others with such grace.
I am proud of Madison. In the past, the banging and the yelling and the lion gyrating would have been too much for her. She would have been scared off by all the commotion. Yesterday, though, Lynnette told her that she and the Goob were going to put money in the lion’s mouth for good luck. Madison didn’t argue. When we approached the lion, we were in the back of the crowd. We went around the mob and got out in front of the lion. Madison was still somewhat hesitant. As you can tell by this picture, she was never truly comfortable with that tricky lion. I kept shouting at Madison to look at the camera, but I think she was just too concerned with the lion.
“Look! There’s a baby dragon!” she shouted. While Mad was reticent to stick her hand into the mouth of the adult lion, she was much more at ease with this smaller, childish (?) one. I have to give credit to the person piloting the head of this dragon as he has matched the color of his shoes to the colors of the lion’s face. It’s a nice touch. Madison was able to approach this lion on her own, then hold out the dollar bill with an unsteady hand. She quickly jerked her hand away as the lion’s mouth closed around the money, prompting a few onlookers to laugh. She was pretty proud of herself, too, I’d guess.
You know how when you’re only used to seeing people in a certain situation, then when you see them some place else, it’s strange? Well, whenever Lynnette and/or Madison come to Damien – and specifically my classroom – it’s super-duper strange. We arrived on campus a little ahead of a basketball game. I do try to keep my home life separate from my work life, so when they collide like this, it has the feel of an alternate universe. Well, I assume this is what that might feel like, anyway. Madison did a walk around my classroom and said “You did put my painting on your wall,” and “You have lots of pictures of me, dad!” I like to think that this made her extremely happy.
I had no idea she could do this. When I picked up the marker and uncapped it, I could see her eyes widen. I handed it to her and she was off. The first thing she did was draw this flower. She is four, and what really catches my attention is not the fact that Mad is able to pull this off, but rather that I am 28 years older than she is, and this is more or less exactly the way I would have drawn a flower, too. I guess there haven’t been many advances in flower-drawing techniques for non-artists in the past three decades. She also wrote “I love you” on the board. The thing that made me laugh most, though, is when she stood at the board with a marker, then wrote the letter “D” on the board. “How do you spell your name?” she asked me. “What?” I asked. “I already wrote the first letter,” she said. “What, daddy?” I asked. “Yeah!” she said with this look which was a combination of “duh!” and “what the hell is the matter with you?” and “it’s not like you have another name!” So I spelled it out for her and she transcribed it on the board. Then she wrote “Yes” underneath “daddy” on her own. I asked her why she did that, and she said “Because you always say no.” NOBODY TALKS TO ME THAT WAY IN MY OWN CLASSROOM. Except Mad, I guess.