This is Ismail. He's my third child, second son, first to help when I need it. Ismail could charm the pants off of just about anyone if he tried. And he has a heart of gold...with a taste for ornery like you wouldn't believe. He's been in trouble for dumping a plate of cold eggs off of the balcony and onto the head of the woman who lived downstairs from us. He once decided to spackle the walls of our apartment for us...using 100% pure thick table cream for spackling. He's peed in the oven, scared the neighbor's daughters by wearing a "SCREAM mask", and dumped trash all over the bedroom while pretending to be a garbage man. (It was the kitchen trash can he used.)
This boy is so full of imagination, charm, and naughty that sometimes I forget that he's still the sweet and loving, protective, helpful and hard-working kid that I know and love. He's good with his hands. I once described a wooden step stool that I wanted my husband to build for me so that I could reach the dishes on the top shelf of the cupboard and more importantly, so the shorter kids could reach the sink when they help clean up. My husband told me he'd do it later after he finished some other ongoing project. Ismail happened to be in the kitchen at the time.
He grabbed the tool box and some scrap wood out of the closet (please don't ask WHY we have scrap wood in the closet.) He went out on the balcony and sawed and hammered and banged and kept himself busy for a full hour. When he came back in, he handed me the exact type of step stool I'd just asked my husband to build for me. Granted, I only used it as a shelf to put things on on the counter because he had used plywood for the top piece and it was not very sturdily balanced on the legs. But the fact that he could hear a verbal description of what I wanted and then go and build if for me with no direction, instruction, or supervision at 9 years old?!! That's pretty damn awesome, if you ask me.
Ismail is a neat-freak and helps me clean up without being asked. He does 75% of any errands that I don't do myself and he never complains when asked to do them. This boy is my little bright spot today. He made me laugh when I needed it. We were talking about bacteria and how there are some types of bacteria that are good that we need in our lives. And Ismail asked, "Isn't that Fronteria? The good ones, I mean." How cute. Sometimes I forget that they're learning two languages at once and so don't have all the vocabulary that someone learning only one language would have at their ages. I explained that bacteria is the term used for good and bad microbials and that although Fronteria would be a good word to have, sadly it doesn't exist.
Come on. Look at that face! He's a keeper, huh?