I'm sitting here, under cloudy skies, with a cloudy head. Sick. Boo.
Is it swine flu?!? I don't know, don't care. I'm just sitting inside while it goes away, chasing rotating episodes of "The Golden Girls" around the various cable TV channels. At any point in the day, there seems to be one playing somewhere.
T.L. is very nervous today: he's taking a test for a free English school here in Miami Beach, run by the city. There's a waiting list to get in. And according to T.L., they are "very picky" about who they let in. So he has been practicing all morning, reading aloud from books and magazines and anything he can find that has words on it.
"I go to the school today," he said, "and the man, he say, 'You English is so good!' But why if my English is so good, why you always laughing at me?" And he put his hands on his hips.
I tried to explain, I'm not laughing at you, I laugh because I like how you speak.
"But why you laughing?"
Because it's cute.
"But you no correct me when is wrong," he said. "You no want me to learn English. You think I am estupid."
I don't correct you because you yell at me when I do.
"Is no true."
It's not true.
"See? You think I am estupid."
And so it goes.
I have some children's books, for a kid in foster care I tutor a couple times each week; one of them is about Ratatouille, the Pixar movie about the rat who cooks. T.L., like myself, loved Pixar movies, and he grabbed the book to read aloud. "This is Remy. He likes to make the soup." Although it comes out, "Thees is Remy. He like-a to make the esoup...why you laughing?!"
It has nothing to do with whether I think he's smart or not--obviously he is, if he taught himself the language without ever taking a class--it's endearing to hear him jabber along, as he winds along the thought process of finding the right words. Although...he seems to have plateaued at his current level of learning; hence his decision to sign up for the school. And I think it's a good idea. But there is a little regret in knowing we'll eventually stop using our secret code language, as his English gets better.
Although arguing will get easier. When he is angry, his comprehension drops to almost nil; so as of now I just let him yell, rather than respond and then repeat myself and then explain what I am trying to say. It takes all the zing out of it.