A few days before Auntie Sarah got married we went to Andrew’s work party, which was also my mom’s work party, and my brother’s work party (but he didn’t come). We joke that the library is a family affair—Andrew’s dad and uncle worked there during their undergrad; I worked there as a student as an actual staff member; my brother David took over my old job after he graduated and I quit to have Rachel, he also worked there as a student; Patrick works there; Emily works there; Andrew worked there while he was an undergrad student and now he’s working there again as a quasi-staffer. As you can see, staggering numbers of people in our family have worked there. It’s just the place to be.
The party was supposed to be a luau, with leis and palm trees, and a sad, sad attempt at Hawaiian haystacks. They had a fishing pond and parachute games for the kids as well as a Polynesian dancer who used to perform at the Polynesian Cultural Center in Hawaii. Oh, and a playground.
Whenever we take Rachel to the playground she stands awestruck, too scared to attempt anything without clinging to my leg. I find myself excusing her withdrawn behavior to other children.
“Where she grew up there were no public playgrounds, can you believe that? So she doesn’t quite know what to do with herself.”
Meanwhile, Rachel screams at me—even though I am right there, holding her hand—that there are holes on the floor. Holes the size of marbles, yes. Holes big enough for you to fall through, no.
I don’t know what the problem is. I mean, she’s three years old and is perfectly capable of walking up stairs and climbing ladders, and it’s not like we never went to the playground—we had the Maadi House. I guess the whole idea is overwhelming for her right now but I just can’t wait for her to get over this phobia and play.
It surprised me, then, when she dragged me over to the fishing pond and held the pole and everything. She “caught” a little, pink watch thing. And then she suggested we go over and play with the parachute, which she wasn’t quite as successful at. It was too scary.
What was even more surprising, though, is that she willingly went to the little dance class they had after watching the girl dance. She sat on my lap at the beginning of the performance and kept whispering to me about how pretty the girl was. By the end of the show she had run off with some friends’ kids so I thought she had lost interest but when they announced that the girl would be teaching a fifteen-minute class for the little people and any “brave librarians,” Rachel ran right over and joined in.
She accidentally followed the boy part instead of the girl part and was really too shy to do very much dancing at all but I was impressed she went up there.
She even gave the teacher a high five at the end and she never approaches strangers so that was amazing.
This is what she did when they told the kids to strike a pose at the end of the dance:
Very dramatic…and revealing that her clothes are getting much too small. Luckily we found a nice, big box of clothes that Auntie Kelli had left for us at my mom’s house so now Rachel’s tummy doesn’t show when she dances and this outfit is tucked away for when Miriam gets bigger.
We also found out that our friends Maggie and Don got married. I worked with Maggie in the library before I had Rachel and Don was in Jordan with us in 2006. Small world.
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