Call Me

Mikias was 5 when he celebrated his first Halloween.  When we told him that he could dress in a costume, knock on our neighbors' doors, say 'trick or treat' and be given candy ("For free?"  "Yep, for free!") he stared at us in disbelief.  As we headed out, his delight quickly turned to disappointment.  Most of the 'free' candy was chocolate and Mikias does not like chocolate. At every house, in spite of us telling him to just say 'thank you' and nothing else, he would blurt out some variation of  "Thank you! Is this chocolate?  I don't like chocolate."  Often followed by (if we weren't quick enough to pull him away) "You got any Skittles?"  It was embarrassing.

The next year was better but not great.  He now said "Thank you!  It's okay that this is chocolate.  I don't like chocolate but I am not disappointed."

This year was his best ever.  Not only did he thank everyone without a hint that he didn't like chocolate he went out of his way to say something positive.  At one hauntingly decorated home, Mikias shook the hand of the woman of the house saying "Well, look at you!  You really outdid yourself this year!  Great job!"  

Mikias is a positive guy and it is second nature for him to give a compliment.  On a recent beach vacation, Mikias spotted a family who had made a sand barrier to shield them on a particularly windy day. "Wow!  Great sand fort!  Is it just sand or do you have some other kind of support in there?"  This was accompanied by hand shakes for the entire family. As we gently pulled him away, he gave them all a thumbs up along with another compliment on the great job.

We never really know what Mikias might say, but we know it will be positive and kind.  Jemberu on the other hand, is less predictable.  Sometime when he is standing next to a girl he will say "I don't like GIRLS!" or to a bald man, "You have NO hair!". It took a lot of strong conversations from us, but Jem's comment making has improved.  We can almost go out in public with the boys with out the fear of them embarrassing us while offending strangers.

Last month, we were at a local restaurant (the only restaurant in our small town) celebrating Jem's 3rd "Gotcha Day".  We saw our pool guy, 'Dan the Pool Man' and his wife, whom my kids call, 'Mrs. Dan the Pool Man'.  Jem got went over to their table to say a quick hello.  As he walked back to our table.  Dan's wife said "Bye Jemby!".  Jemby turned back to her, and responded by putting his thumb and pinkie up to his ear (phone like) and mouthed out,  "Call me".

As he returned to our table I said, "So, you want Mrs. Dan the Pool Man to call you?"

"No!" he responded angrily "I don't even have a phone!  I don't even answer the phone!"

"Well, why did you tell her to call you?"

He rolled his eyes at me, as though I am the biggest fool, and said, "It's just an expression!"

Oh thank goodness, I was beginning to worry that going out with the boys was going to become dull.