Yikealo and I met my sister Erica and her four children half-way at our new favorite spot in Upper Sandusky, and the kids had a great time on the playground equipment and in the pool. Yikealo liked Malia pretty much right away, which is interesting, because he's mostly ignored other children that are close to his age when he first meets them. He kept himself (and her) occupied for quite some time by chasing her around the enormous kiddie pool and tackling her whenever he could get close enough. He did really well with the Shana, Adrian and Ashton too, but Mimi was the favorite, and he's been wanting to see her pictures ever since we came home.
I also learned today that the other moms hanging around the pool with their little darlings give you very strange looks if you respond "I really don't know" when they ask you "How old is he?" (referring to the little brown boy that I'd obviously been parenting for the last hour.) The truth is, though, that we DON'T know his age. There are two different birthdates in his paperwork: June 12, 2005 & August 1, 2006. We have no way of knowing which, if either, is accurate. It's not something that you ever think about in our culture of calendars and clocks and dayplanners and cell-phones and computers and hospitals and birthday celebrations, and really, no possible way to get away from the inexorable movement of time. In Mihiret's world, though, I'm sure that things are very different...I doubt very highly whether a poverty-stricken woman living hand-to-mouth in a third-world country even OWNS a calendar, let alone any of the other time-markers that we have. I would be surprised if Yikealo was born anywhere near a hospital, and she may never have thought to make a note of the date. To further complicate matters, Ethiopia uses an entirely different calendar - I believe that it is currently the year 2001 over there, and their new year is in September. The birthdate that was chosen for his newly issued birth certificate in June was the earlier one: June 12, 2005, making him four. A few of his actions and motor-skills seem more like four, but in every other area, including size, he is significantly behind many American 3 year olds, and actually, he was very close in size to most of the 2 1/2 year olds that were adopted in our travel group. We'll probably decide to change his age when we go through the re-adoption process required by the State of Ohio -- keeping the birthdate of June 12th but changing the year to 2006, making him currently a fairly new three-year-old. At the very least, that will give him a bit longer to catch up to his peers before we're forced to make decisions about school.
Besides, that would have the added benefit of making him only four days older than his precious Mimi!