Picture 2
Cool kid.

– He answers to three names: one in English, one in French and one in Wolof.

– I weigh him weekly to be sure he hasn’t outgrown the limits on the Ergo baby carrier. But that piece of cloth I bought at a market in 1998? I tie him on my back using it without a second thought.

Picture 3
Multitasking: toddler napping, mom getting some exercise on the Gazelle

– He eats things like fish balls, mutton and rice, black-eyed peas, soured milk yogurt and (for nine months out of the year) mango.

– When he’s quiet for long periods of time, you may find him playing with the bidet faucets or pulling the long straws from the hand-held broom.

Picture 4
Sharing his snack with Abdou.

– His English vocabulary: no, mama, car, ball, egg, broom, block

– His French vocabulary: au revoir (bye), ça (this), chaise (chair), là (there), Aboie (his stuffed dog named ‘bark’)

– His Wolof vocabulary: deedeet (no), am (here/take this)

Picture 6
Our band is really improving, thanks to his African rhythm. A couple more practices and the neighbors will probably insist we play in public venues.

– I bought peanut butter for him at a European-owned grocery store. When I got home, I saw the seal was broken. The only other peanut butter option I had was made by a Senegalese friend, so made from local peanuts and prepared in her kitchen. I felt safer feeding him hers.

– When he wants to go outside, he grabs the carrying cloth from his room and hollers insistently pointing to the door.

Picture 1
Watching the repairman in the hallway

– He doesn’t sit cross-legged like I do. He sits with his legs out straight, one crossed over the other at the ankle. Très Senegalese.

– Every time we leave home, he’s either on my back or in a stroller. So he doesn’t know how to hold a person’s hand to walk down the street. I realized this at a store recently when I put my hand out towards him and he just looked at me blankly.

Picture 8
Sand and sun. It’s what he knows.

– He learned to identify the sound of a horse cart jingling down our street before learning the sound of the airplanes overhead. He gets just as excited about both though.