Yes, that's right.. my favorite kid (David) addressed me by name a year ago to the day at Awana, and what did he say? "Leslie, Rick [another kid] pushed me." So then I had to lecture the other kid about how pushing people (whether into chalkboards or anything else) just wasn't very nice behavior at all.. I made him apologize, too. (I look after a bunch of church kids on Saturday afternoons; Awana club, for those of you who might know what it is... if you don't, it's basically a program for kids age 3 and up to learn about God and the Bible)
Now for a lot of background (sorry, but it has to be done!)
I first met this kid about four years ago, when his mom was a newcomer to the church I attend. He was about two and a half, while his older sisters (Quan and Hien) were about eight and five. When I was trying to get to know the three of them, the first thing Hien said was: "You know what? My daddy died when my brother was still in my mommy's tummy." :( Not much to say to that one! (David wouldn't talk at all, even though I said hi to him and everything, but I figured he was shy) Then Quan remarked: "It isn't fair.. he gets an English name and we don't!" Not too much to say to that, either.. except that I thought their names were pretty. All David would say to me was the typical blabber that three-year-olds do. Not much to be understood in that!
As time went on, and I got to know them a little better, David did talk to people that he knew. After some time, he finally talked to me.. it was surprising to hear his voice talking to me! I guess in time he became attached to me, as well.. if asking me for gum at every opportunity was any indicator! A couple of years ago, I started looking after him while his mom had choir practice; it worked great for me since I had to wait for my sister to finish what she was doing. (and it was better than being bored out of my mind of a Saturday morning with only a book to read.. and I LIKE
reading!) So those mornings were time well spent with someone I liked a lot (who was my favorite), and eventually, he talked to me. Not a whole lot, but enough for me to know that he was getting used to me, and over his shyness. I also found out that his birthday was just two days before mine, which I thought was really cool. (Separated by 19 years, of course, but who's keeping track of these things? Not me! :D )
Last April, his sister Hien got hit by a car (she's fine now), so I talked to David about that. (figuring that he'd have enough vocabulary in English by then to tell me what he felt and stuff) My friends and I thought he looked a little bewildered (with those big brown eyes, he looked sort of like a Precious Moments doll), and well he might! It was around this time that I discovered that when I asked him a question that other people had already asked him (like where his sister was; at home or in the hospital?), he would answer. He'd answer me, but not the other well-meaning people around church! It made me feel special in a way. :D
Now, of course, he will talk to other people... Anita is his Sunday School teacher, and told us that when the class started in September, she actually had to tell David to be quiet because he talked too much! (and this is from a kid that was formerly VERY quiet and shy most of the time) Sometimes he'll talk to my sister, but usually he's not feeling too chatty towards her, so a typical encounter between the two of them will start off with my sister saying: "Hi, David!" (sometimes patting him on the head.. we all like to do that, since he's so cute!) It will usually end right then and there, because David won't talk to her... instead, he'll run off and do something else! o_O
My sister thinks this family is "tragic enough," as she puts it: not only did the kids' dad die (of cancer or something, a fairly short time after diagnosis, too), and not only did Hien get run over by a car while she was crossing the street to get home (her mom saw the whole thing, too), BUT apparently Hien had a twin sister that died at birth or something. (I learned this from Mary last summer) And some time ago, when David got his hand caught between some escalator stairs while trying to play with it (NOT a good idea when the escalator is moving), that only confirmed my sister's impression.
Spending time with him is a good way to get to know him, even if he DOES rummage through my bag for candy, gum, food, chips, lollipops, candy canes, stickers, etc. Of course, he does ask me for these items on a regular basis; the only one I will usually have is gum! (stickers, as well... but I try not to indulge his little passion for them TOO often, hehe) I talk to him, help him with spelling, ask him to read things to me, play games with him (Tic-Tac-Toe, Hangman. etc.), watch as he writes Chinese words (most of which I cannot read, so I have to ask him what the word is.. shame on me for not knowing my written / spoken Chinese better!) on the chalkboards or paper, chase him around the room sometimes, etc.
There are times when he won't acknowledge me, but he needs to warm up, generally. Then there are the times that he hides from me in the boys' washroom... I *know* he doesn't need to use it! (I suppose it's a good thing that nobody else really needs to use the washroom while he's in it!)
At times last year, he would insist on leaving the (stall) door open when he DID need to go: so I asked Hien about it one day before Sunday service was about to start. Apparently, he did this when they were out at one of the shopping malls (Metrotown, for anyone around this area who reads this), even when his mom or sisters stood guard at the washroom door! (not at the stall!) He even did this at home when they had company over, even though his mom scolded him about it! Luckily, he's stopped this behavior now (at least in front of me)... though there was this one time last year that I opened the washroom door and found David grinning at me, with his pants pulled down. o_O Needless to say, I quickly got him to pull his pants back up and told him that it wasn't very nice. (to say the least) When his sister told me that he left the stall door open in the mall, I was concerned that somebody up to no good would be in the washroom and see him, even though his family was right outside. (who knows what would happen inside, right?)
It's still a surprise to hear his voice sometimes when I'm walking around minding my own business: "Gum and stickers? Please and thank you!" (last summer, I was trying to teach him to say those things whenever he wanted something... of course, he still needs reminders from time to time, but putting them together is probably the best way he has of remembering them right now)
My friends say I spoil him... I was in denial of that particular point for some time, but finally admitted that I did. As Chrystal said to me, "You do spoil David, but that's okay because he's so cute!" I totally agree with that!
For some time now, he's known what my name is, but refused to tell me what it is, preferring instead to joke around about it: "Your name is Vanessa!" I remember asking him what my name was once: "Stephanie!" (my sister) Then there was the time that he told my sister that her name was "Nothing," haha. o_O A few months ago, while he was rummaging through my stuff (as per usual), his sister Hien asked him what my name was, and he actually gave her the correct answer! He's asked me how to spell my name (while asking me how to spell many other different words that he will then write down on a piece of paper or the chalkboard); once, he got distracted by the other kids, and his sister had to complete it.
So what's the point of this post, other than to share my joy with you all that this cute kid finally addressed me by name? Well, why ever not? I do like most of the other little kids at the church! (David just is my favorite.. no rhyme or reason for it, but it's a good thing, really it is!) :D
Labels: awana, books, candy, chinese, chrystal, church, fellowship, food, friends, games, life, mary, maxed-out tags limit, quan, reading, spelling, steph, stickers, vanessa, words