Thursday, February 15, 2007
Our village provides regular checkups for infants and preschool kids. Since they are free and the public health centre is well heated and there are fun toys to play with, Grace often shows up at these events just for kicks. The other day, one of the village health workers was shocked to hear that Grace sits down to dine with us three meals a day. Apparently it's too early. Now, if Grace were getting tubby or soft, I would be all ears. As it is, she's solid. I think the real issue is that these people are afraid of Grace. They pick her up, squeeze her, she squeezes back, and they squeal: "she's so strong!" They probably want us to dribble artificial baby food in her face so that they don't have to worry about being crushed by her genmai power (genmai being brown, unpolished whole rice).
Some of the village people have been speculating for some time now whether Grace's first word or words will be Japanese or English. Some suppose that she will say "papa" or "mama," which could be either language. Nonsense. We never allow the words "mama" or "papa" to be uttered in her presence. If Grace wishes to address Yuko she will say "okasan." If she wishes to address me, she will say "father." Well, perhaps "fahzah" until her front teeth grow in.
Of course, weren't expecting any of this to happen anytime soon, even though Grace has showed a knack for imitating vowel sounds from very early on. So you can imagine how surprised we were this morning, when she repeated the word "amen" after we finished praying at breakfast. If she fails to repeat the performance in the next several days we will write it off as an anomaly. In the mean time, we will just assume that she is an unusually pious baby. And since "amen" is a declaration of affirmation, we will also entertain the hope that she plans to cultivate an agreeable nature.