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A Solution Polynesian European and Seasonal

My petite, hyperactive daughter is what I call our Christmas present from God. That's because my husband was raised Jewish, but is Polynesian, which means he was supposed to be Catholic, but never made it into the church due to some vaguely absurdist Biblical reasons. It all worked out anyway, and we all celebrate Christmas together. Thankfully! December 20 of 1994, out popped our little brown bundle of joy, Angela Cristina Peralta, the mommie-described "Prettiest Girl in the World." She's modest enough not to think so, or so she says.

Beauty and charm rolled into one Philippina-American package, except when she tracks in a ton of sand from the beach. We have to hit those universal, Pacific NW-located ocean sides on a regular basis, as that's the only celebration of her most obvious heritage we really can do. Except for the River Dancing. This is because she has ancestry from all over the world. Mine covers both Eastern and Western Europe, and my husband's covers Asia and Polynesia, as well as Western Europe again and who knows what all else.

So aside from being related to Australian aborigines (we have now found that they too are probably distant cousins), Angie's a definite World Class Citizen. And thus is stuck going to her big sister's Irish dancing classes on a semi-regular basis, for strangely enough, her Polynesian half-sister has that as part of her heritage, and is the twenty-six-year-old executive director of North West Irish Folk dancing. So every so often we see our little island princess dancing hippity-hoppity, with both arms straight down at her sides, resembling nothing so much as a mildly demented pepper shaker, with a certain amount of graceful Úlan, when she gets the steps exactly right. But lately, there have been the usual homework woes. What started out as Angie's clear desire to please both mommie and daddie, and to get every chore done and every homework turned in on time, has filtered down to her doing everything at the last possible second, and getting it turned in on "late day." My husband, having all that prior experience with the last three children, of course simply laughs the above off as what he's already been through in a triceling.

"It's just a stage," he says in that aggravating but enormously pleased tone of voice he uses when I start to turn into a vaguely screechy whine directed at Angela's tender pinky-brown ears. "You just have to know him," he says. Reggie, being a Pinoy pidgin speaker, always uses "him" for "her" whenever the active principle is involved, and the reverse when someone male is passive.

He then calls anything male a "she." This took awhile to get used to, and still raises eyebrows in public occasionally. You just have to know "her," and then you understand my Pinoy hubbie. Of course, it hasn't rubbed off on me, and I still am my own man about it?.

I think. Well, to get around to the story, after having given you the background: one time Angela and I attended a movie about a comic-book character named "Daredevil," and she had a hard time getting over the death of the main female character. She reminded her too much of her sissie Jayne, the Irish dancing director. Angie kept talking about how "he died, HE DIED!" and this of course greatly interfered with her homework, too. So although at first I fumed at both her tendency to parrot Daddy's sad mistake about the sexing of our English language, and her leaving her homework until possibly third grade rolls around, I managed to cut my whining down to a slightly embittered wail.

I told Angela, "Just get around to him (did I forget to mention that "its" are usually "hims?") when you feel like it, and whenever you're ready, we'll hit the beach again later. That is, simply do half of him before we visit her (the beach), and do the other half of him when we get home." To make a long story short, that's exactly what he (Angie) did.

We spent a wonderful Sunday collecting sand crabs, mussel shells, small clams, scraps and pieces of driftwood, and heck only knows what else that was smelly and needed lots of washing when we wearily trekked our way home. Angie immediately headed for the bathroom, and stuck both "his" feet into the sink, washing both of them off and leaving me the shoes, which are presently drying in the tub. And I know "he" will have finished all the needed homework in time to turn "him" in for late day, as we "pinkie swore" on it?a quite useful method we have found to make sure we both do what we are supposed to do, involving intertwining two of our little pinkies, and promising solemnly forever to do what's right?and that my little Polynesian princess will muddle on through her homework, and her life, somehow. At least that's what her daddie knows. As for myself, "he" still has quite a lot to savvy.


By: Karen Cole-Peralta


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