Elvie has decided that she likes food now. This means that when we are out and grab a bite to eat, I either have to get her something of her own or share mine. I'm not going to pretend to be a better person than I actually am, so I'll just go ahead and admit that I don't like sharing my food, particularly if it's a single serving type of item, like a scone or a cookie. I want my own serving, and I want to eat as much as I'd like to have before giving the remains away to someone else. So if I am hungry, I get her something of her own, and then I just have to resist Zinashi's advances. This morning she had a banana berry muffin to herself at the bakery down the street, which she accidentally shared with a pigeon, much to her delight.
I always knew that she would start to eat on her own, when she was ready, and it's been satisfying to see that become a reality. She still can't get everything into her mouth and keep it there, so we're not giving up formula yet, but the key component of wanting to eat is in place, and I have no doubt that we'll be able to continue to decrease the amount of formula she requires as times goes by. I love watching her eat with gusto now after so many failed attempts at offering her various foods. She still won't eat purees off a spoon, and she prefers to put the food in her mouth herself, but the other good thing that has happened is that she's started to trust me to put things that taste good into her mouth for her, so at least I can help her a little bit when something slippery falls right out. This, for me, is the biggest relief. It means she trusts me to give her something good instead of just medicine. I like that. I like it a lot.
I feel like Zinashi continues to find her place in the world. She is still such magic to me, with her layered outfits and her insistence on babywearing her stuffed animals. We are coming up on a season that is usually hard for her, and I'm looking to make a little magic of my own by way of homemade Ethiopian food and a few other tricks I've got up my sleeve. We've been keeping homeschool pretty casual, and most days she comes in pretending to be an animal who would like school assignments. Some days she is ready to learn before I'm ready to get out of bed, and she'll pester me until I figure out some instructions to give her so she can get started without my help.
I've gone back and forth about what our homeschooling should look like, and I think I've finally settled on unschooling. You know, as if I didn't have enough to explain and defend when it comes to our choice of schooling. But here's the thing: the work that Zinashi is doing emotionally and socially requires a lot of self control and focus. At this point, I believe that asking her to focus on a set curriculum is much more challenging than is fair to require of her. My aim is to set her up to succeed, and she has proved to me that when she is interested in something, she can learn it quickly. So maybe she can't say the alphabet in order every time (she fails to see the point, except that it's a fun song), but today she made up a story about a fox who pretended to be giardia and she displayed her knowledge of both foxes and giardia* brilliantly. Her knowledge is quirky, but solid.
With both children holding steady for now, I feel like I can finally take some time to do a few small things for myself. I've started by doing a fifteen-minute workout most weeknights, which is going better than I thought it might. I've made appointments for checkups with eye doctor, dentist, and gynecologist, and I anticipate that each visit will relieve a little more stress. In the back of my mind, I harbor a teeny, tiny bit of hope that maybe this is the beginning of my return to doing more of what I enjoy, as well as what is good for me. I'm not going to count any chickens while the eggs are still under the incubator lights, but I'm crossing my fingers and hoping. I think that's good enough.
*Zinashi has been wanting to hear stories about herself from her time in Ethiopia and when she first came to the US. One story she's fixated on is how we had to give her medicine for giardia. She asked what giardia was, and we looked at all sorts of slides and diagrams online. Now that giardia is involved in stories she makes up, I think we might need to get one of the giardia stuffed toys. Maybe it could go in her Easter basket?