This is my world.

Hi. I’m Ayo and it was my birthday this month. I’m four years old now.

Ayo is my nickname. It’s actually my middle name. It’s short for Ayodelé. That’s not English. It’s a West African name that means ‘joy is in the house’.

Africa is those yellow countries, right there in that book. But I’m not African. My skin is white like the snow. And my hair is yellow like the sun. Just like my sissy’s. My maman and my papa gave me that fun name because they say I am called to be a bridge-builder. I like building bridges. Especially over train tracks. I looove trains! But I really love airplanes.

Maman asked me yesterday why I think people have different colors of skin. I don’t know why. But I saw a picture in the “Le Corps” book and I know a friend who has all those different skins. They are all the same inside. Except, just sometimes they speak different languages.

Every language has a color. The language of ‘spaghetti’ and ‘cappuccino’’ is green. What color is your language again, maman?

My favorite country is anywhere there is a big trampoline park. Jing Jing took me to one in the China. My favorite thing to do in the China is to drink ‘zhen zhu nai cha’.

I also liked that big mountain of dessert!

You remember when I went to the China and fell in the water? Why did I do that?!

In different countries, they have different candies. Different colors too.

You take an airplane when it’s too far. Papa goes to work in Indonesia. He takes three planes. That’s far! He takes the blue and white plane. That’s United. My Gramps takes the purple and orange one. And the brown one, that’s UPS for the packages. My friend Klara who lives in Belgium took the white and green one. Wow, I never saw that before!

I want to travel to go to the beach.

My favorite thing to do in France is to play outside. My mamie and papi live there and it takes two blue and white airplanes to get there.

I live in Colorado. People keep telling me but I don’t know what country that is. Some people think it is a problem that I don’t know the name of this country. I just know where my house is when I see the tall buildings. That always means we are almost home. My favorite thing to do in Colorado is to play with my toys at home. People speak French in Colorado. Well, my maman does. Jeanette and Cedric speak German. What’s the difference between ‘Auf Wiedersehen’ and ‘Tschuess’, mama?

I always ask to turn on the German music on Language Stars CD track 46 before I see them so I can prepare to talk to them. But then I get too shy when I see them. But my papa’s language is English.

Papa taught me to start counting from my pointer finger. Maman starts counting from the thumb.

Counting Hands from one to five, isolated over white background

That’s so silly. So, I decided I would count from my pinky. It’s like my own language.

Some people don’t have a bed to sleep in. So I prayed for them to have a bed tonight. Please, Jesus, the purple lady doesn’t have a bed. So I pray for her to get a house and all these things. Amen.

Hey, mama, instead of a book before bed, can I watch a liiiitle something? Like ‘Sam le pompier’?

My sissy’s favorite song is Liang Zhi Laohu. It’s really strange because one tiger doesn’t have any ears and the other tiger doesn’t have a tail. So they run really really fast. My favorite song is Un éléphant qui se balançait. It’s too funny!

I speak Chinese, because it’s really fun sounding. And the numbers look different. My favorite word in Chinese is ‘ping guo’ because I like apples. Can I eat an apple? The Ayis at church talk to me in Chinese. I nod and ask when it is craft time. They didn’t do a craft last time, you know that!? To say no, the Ayis wave two hands. Ayi is like a Tata or a Tia. That’s what my mama calls nice people. It’s not strange to have yellow hair there. At preschool hour with Miss René, they don’t all have yellow hair either and that’s the same thing.

My maman speaks all the languages. Me, I want to learn: Chinese, Tante Jeanette’s language, Tia’s language and a little of each language. Because I know a little of them already.

I don’t know why I want to learn them. To talk to people! I tricked you. I do know!!


You can still talk to people if you don’t know their language, you know. You give them a big smile and a biiiig, nice wave.

{Adapted to fit together from actual conversations with our four year old Ayo.}

3 thoughts on “This is my world.

    1. Aww! Thank you so much, Courtney! I had fun trying to pin down things he says and his train of thought. He assured me today, though, that his favorite Chinese word is currently ‘lan mei’ (blueberry) and not at all ‘apple’. Oh well. That goes to show you that it is worth taking a snapshot of where they are at and how they see the world, before it all changes again. 🙂

  1. Oh my goodness, the finger counting part!! In Portugal they start with the thumb. In the US they start with the pointer finger. Since my childhood was in both places, I find myself using both. I feel a kinship with your son. 🙂

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