Punk Babysitters

In one or two movies I’ve seen recently, there were punk babysitters with pierced noses, multiply-pierced ears, dyed hair, and in at least one case, a surly attitude.  These babysitters appeared for comic effect, and I’ve always believed that no mother would seriously hire someone looking like that to take care of their kids.  I guess that shows my Midwestern, middle-aged conservatism.

This weekend, I went to Tokyo for Writer’s Day, an event put on by the Tokyo Branch of SCBWI.  It was world class.  Three international picture book writers (actually one, Tanya Batt, bills herself as more of a storyteller) gave stellar presenations.  Irene Smalls had us acting out our characters, and Laura Rennert, of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, had us all dreaming of half a million dollar deals (the kind that she puts together), but she also gave us some very practical advice.  (And she told us fun stuff about her husband Barry Eisler.)

I had a great time, and my mind was at ease because I knew that my kids were safe at my sister-in-law’s.  I trust her, and the kids love her.  She had a few errands, so she told me in advance that one of my niece’s friends would be helping with the babysitting.  I’ve never met this girl, but my kids have, and they like her.  And if my sister-in-law says she’d dependable, then I believe her.

Last night, as I was tucking Lilia into bed, I asked if she’d finished her homework.

“Yes,” she signed.  “B. [the friend] helped me.”

“Wonderful!” I said, liking B. very much at that moment.

Then Lilia pointed to her tongue and made the sign for “ouch.”   A stud??

“Does B. have a pierced tongue?” I asked Yoshi.

“Yes,” he said, “and multiple piercings in her ears.”

This morning it occurred to me to ask Jio about her hair color.

“It’s yellow,” Jio said.  (B. is a high school drop-out.)

“Oh!”

I’ve totally revised my ideas about pierced and dyed babysitters.   Anyone who can get Lilia to do the weekend’s  homework in one day is all right in my book.  Punk babysitters rule!

Bye Bye Bunnies

Today’s activity in Occupational Therapy was to decorate a small box.  The therapist demonstrated by cutting shapes out of colored paper and pasting them on the box, and…voila!  A rabbit!  I thought that Lilia would choose to do the same, since she’s always loved rabbits.  But she shook her head. 

“How about a bear?” the therapist asked.

“No.”

“How about a cat?  Or a panda?” 

 “No, no.”

“What do you want to make?” 

“Sakurai Shou-kun!”

So Lilia lovingly cut out a head, a body, and clothing and made a box doll of her beloved pop star idol.

 

Dream Come True

According to Amazon.com, today is the official publication date of Love You to Pieces.  Reason enough to celebrate, right?

But get this:  Lilia has learned to say “Mama”!

We’ve worked on this for awhile.  For a long time, when she wanted my attention, she called out “Ahhhhhhh.”  And then, after she got her cochlear implant, she called me “baba”.  She could hear the difference, but the “m” sound is really hard for her.  I had her touch my nose while I said “mama” so she could feel the vibrations, and sometimes she could do it, but when she tried too hard, it always came out “baba.”  The other day, she commanded my attention and pronounced “mama”.  She was very proud that she could say it without touching her nose.  I’ve been waiting years for this moment.  No one could have given me a better Mother’s Day gift.