Today I went over to the Jones’ house after class so Ousman, their driver, could help me figure out what was going on with the Smylies’ tire pressure meter on their car. Turned out that it was a very simple fix… and he probably rolled his eyes and muttered some comment under his breath about what a stupid American woman I am. No – he’s pretty cool, but I really did feel dumb.
But that’s not the point of this blog post.
I stayed at the Jones’ house so I could get some quality-people-time in and do some homework. And it’s never fun to be in an empty house when you’re feeling under the weather. We’d just finished eating lunch and Darla began – with an inordinate amount of enthusiasm – to tell us about the life of… you guessed it: John Denver. Her two older kids and I good-naturedly ribbed her at every turn of the story. All of us, Darla included, were having a pretty good laugh when all of a sudden it became quite apparent that Cecilia wanted everyone’s undivided attention. U-N-D-I-V-I-D-E-D attention. So we put our game faces on and directed our gaze toward the whiteboard that she’d filled with orange-markered gibberish.
She began her professorial-like lecture by asking deep, probing questions such as, “Can you tell what letter this is?” and “Why do you think that I wrote a number 5 here?” or “What do you think this means?” We answered as best we could, but we soon realized that we were no match for the intellectual prowess of her agile, 5-year-old brain. Seriously, she’s a pro. As she neared the end of her highly sophisticated equation, she paused at a small box-like figure that was topped off with a long, skinny rectangle. It kind of looked like a squashed cupcake with a candle on top. Her rambling went like this:
“…and this is the letter ‘t’ and then ‘h’ and, um… what’s that again?…. Oh yeah! The finger!!
Darla, Lissa, and I immediately busted up laughing. We laughed so hard that we were doubled over, slapping our legs or the table, and turning red because we couldn’t breathe. The younger kids stared at us because they didn’t get the joke (that’s what happens when you don’t grow up in the States) and then timidly started laughing at us. The harder we laughed, the more relaxed they were as they laughed. Then we heard Cecilia’s little sing-song voice calling out over the din: “The finger, the finger, the finger!!!” That, of course, made us laugh even harder. We couldn’t stop. We cried. We couldn’t see. Our abs hurt. We had even more trouble breathing. We hooted and hollered. It was awesome. Through our tears, we looked at what she drew again. Sure enough – and unbeknownst to her – it truly looked like a balled-up fist and The Finger. By this time Cecilia was so pleased with herself that she was hopping from one foot to the other giggling and every so often, she chanted, “The finger, the finger, the finger!!!”
And that set us off again. It took us a good 5 minutes to stop. Ah, the innocence of a 5 year-old!