Saturday, September 01, 2007

Foot rubs, intelligence and "tudo muito!"

Streets last night:

We've been walking in a big circle trying to find our friends and end up in our usual spot. I sit on the blanket beside G-, who is hugely pregnant and swears she's only six months along. We are talking...and then she grabs my leg and swings it over her lap and begins to take off my sneaker...D- is making fun of the size of my feet...and G- begins to give me a foot massage, for no apparent reason, right there in the middle of the street! And dang! was it ever wonderful! Pure bliss...even if I was a little uncomfortable...

At the children's home this week:

I'm reading "Matilda" to some of the younger kids. The boys are 6, 8, and 9. The youngest,C-, is 3, but he keeps popping in and out of our reading circle. I am explaining something about the book, how it's very this and very that...and C- pipes up in his tiny little voice, shivering with excitement: It's "tudo muito!!!!" Which is hard to translate, but comes out something like: It's EVERYTHING A LOT!!!!!!!!!

N-, the six year old, has a serious speech impediment. I think it's mostly because no one spoke to him when he was younger and he never learned correct ways to say things. He was also extremely malnourished when he came to us. I had always assumed that he was a little bit behind developmentally as a result, especially since no one could really understand what he said! N- is sitting on my left side and the older boys to my right. The sentence I have finished reading said that Matilda was devouring the library books. Pausing, I asked them what this meant. The older boys give me a look of consternation and offer the idea that she is literally eating the books. N- pops up out of his seat, wiggling with excitement and in his garbled high pitched voice, shrieks: NOOOO!!! She's not EATING the books, she's reading them AS IF she was eating them!!!!!!

Dear Lord. He's intelligent. Now I need to redouble ancient efforts to find a speech therapist, because this kid will fall through all the cracks in the Brazilian public education system if we don't....

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