Thursday, January 12, 2006

Not drowning

I have to say, it is a damned exciting time to be in the world of Xan. First, the big leap to two feet yesterday. Today, I had to go shopping for a variety of things at many supermarkets. I decided to do this, of course, toward the end of the day so that I could pick Angela up from work as well. I also decided to carry Xan around instead of put him in a cart since that would mean that (a) I couldn't be tempted to buy more stuff than I could carry along with a child, and (b) because of that I wouldn't spend too terribly long in any one store. (Plus, he's now heavy enough to function as an exercise weight. Got to work on those shoulders, finally.)

We met all sorts of folks today -- Kyla and her mom and the dad of a 3-week-old in Target, colleague Brett @ TJ's, a tween and her mom smiling at Xan being serenaded by his parents singing and dancing along to the Human League's "(Keep Feeling) Fascination" piped in at the Tenley Whole Foods -- but the stand-out for me is a man named Mamadou. He is a cashier at Trader Joe's in Silver Spring and I assume he is African (primarily because he spoke to another cashier in a language I didn't understand, and I can at least identify quite a few these days). He probably doesn't even realize what a momentous thing happened today, because what happened was so damn simple.

Xan and I got to the line and I put our purchases down on the counter. Mamadou smiled broadly. Xan looked up, saw Mamadou and smiled back. Mamadou laughed and held up his hand, extending all five fingers before wiggling them back and forth. A wave.

Xan then picked up his hand and extended his fingers, smiling broadly.

And I think, Oh, dear God. My son just waved back.

I was completely dumbfounded. I kissed him all on the head. I told Mamadou that I think this was the first time -- at least while I was around -- that he recognized that this was a salutation that, jeez, my son was actually communicating. I was floored. I mean, the kid can't even walk yet.

Then again, maybe it was a one-time fluke.

I paid. I got the bag. We started to leave. Mamadou waved again at Xan. Xan waved back. Again.


The heart really does keep expanding. Can't friggin' believe it. Can I please not go back to classes next week?


Anonymous said...

Hi Jeff! It is Gosia from Poland.I hope yoy still remember me. i am Angela,s friend. I thought about both of you lately and here I found this blog. I am so happy that you have Xan!I have 2 sons. igor was 3 months old when Angela wisited us here in Poland. Our second boy is Hubert and he is 2 months now. They are both adorable. Igor is a very clever and intelligent boy. Can you imagin he can read! He will be 3 in March. I will drop here from time to time. Once again my congratulations. Xan is beautiful and he has Angela's eyes:)

Anonymous said...
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Holly said...

What a wonderful, adorable story! And what a sweet kid!! In my experience, that vaclempt swelling-of-the-chest feeling really does keep growing. Amazing!

We're swelling with pride as our 25-month old woos Lima with "besitos" and his trick of shaking hands and saying "mucho gusto." Although the moment when he spontaneously gave a hug to a smaller child who was crying on the playground (insighting the collective sighs of at least 20 other parents) was surely a top contender for the 'burst' feeling.

Of course, those things only happen when he takes a break from living up to his reputation as "el destructor" or playing his favorite game of 'running in circles until I fall down.' But I guess kids have to mediate their cuteness somehow.

Rusty said...

As a former Whole Foods employee, I can tell you that Mamadou is a stand-up guy. Unfortunately, Whole Foods workers sign an employee manual (called a GIG) that states that working for a competitor (ie the Silver Spring Trader Joe's) is grounds for termination of employment.

Way to get Mamadou fired.

Middento said...

Dude, he'll only get fired if someone from Whole Foods tells on him.

Plus, perhaps in Cote d'Ivoire "Mamadou" is as common as, say, Russell?