The adorable kid stories might be endless, but here are a few that make me smile even days later.
Last week I was making brownies for a dinner with friends. Yuh Meh Oo watched as I mixed the batter, and then I gave her a taste. She smiled, gave me a thumbs up, and then pulled a little container of fish paste out of her pocket and took a bite.
Oh my, do we have different palates.
Over time, we have created our own little communication system with the kids. We have words we use for most of our activities: they have learned the English word “color” for when they want to draw, they use Karen for water, and Burmese for please & thank you. In the end, we might be confusing them more, I suppose. One of the words we’ve used since who knows when is “deh kwah” when the kids want to play cards.
We assumed this was some kind of way to say “cards” or “game” in Burmese.
Then Stephen started learning Burmese, and asked his teacher what it meant. Absolutely nothing. Apparently they assumed it was an English word?
Whoops. Now we are working on re-teaching “cards”–and even more specific, “blue cards” or “yellow cards.”
One of the little girls asked to come inside to play cards with me the other night. We had plans out, so I said we could play one or two games and then we had to go. She agreed, and two girls came in to play.
After we played a couple rounds, I said we were finished because I needed to get Stephen. The other little girl looked confused and asked for another game.
The first explained something in Burmese that ended with a beautifully annunciated, “Kelli has to go!”
Lay Tah Oo isn’t much of a talker. He’s here most days, so I have tried to teach him numbers and letters and little phrases. Just since we got back from furlough he has learned “deh kwah” and “auh tee” for water. Before that it was pretty much just “Hello, Kelli-Stephen” and “Goodbye, Kelli-Stephen.”
Then he walked up to me last week, shoved a thumbs up in my face, and shouted, “Good!”
It’s funny to see them repeat the things we say, exactly how we say them. And a little scary for all that we assume they don’t understand!
There was a whole group of us coloring on Sunday afternoon before Stephen & I went to home church. I have been working on a few paintings for the community space, so while they colored I was painting “Jesus loves you” on a canvas. I chose this for a little canvas precisely because I know they understand the concepts of it, and I want them to have an idea of what the other verses & quotes are about. Before long, this conversation unfolded:
Kelli: Yes. Love. LOVE. (with an added hand-motion heart)
Yedi: Oh! I love you!
All the girls together: I love you! I love you! I love you!
A few minutes later, I told them they could color for ten more minutes, and then we were going to church. They asked to color more when we came back; I told them probably not, but maybe they could play cards.
Yedi: Kelli! Kelli! Musana (points to her friend, Musana)
…I love you! (makes hand-motion heart)
…Yshsss (points upward, allowing me to understand this was “Jesus” but she had forgotten the word)
Kelli: Oh! Musana loves Jesus? Kelli loves Jesus, too! (hand motions included)
Yedi: Yedi I love you Jesus!
Meh Meh Toe: Meh Meh Toe I love you Jesus!
Ney Weh: Ney Weh I love you Jesus!
I pray they do love Jesus!
And I do hope they always say the entire phrase of “I love you” in the middle of sentences.