Sib ntsib dua

Every day since he’s started preschool, my son has demanded that I see him all the way to the classroom.  About once a week I’ve suggested I let him off at the front door to the school, in the foyer, or at the first or second turn in the hallway. He shot down those suggestions with a “no,” and a shake of his head, every time. I would see him to the classroom door and set a symbolic toe across the threshold. He would say “Sib ntsib dua,” (“Sisidua,” out of his mouth),  which means goodbye in Hmong. I would say it back.

Yesterday as we strolled in he looked at the wet sidewalk and wondered why there weren’t any worms, remembering a time last fall when the path was littered with them after a rain. I shrugged and said I didn’t know. Then he stopped.

“Dad, I think we can start saying sib ntsib dua at the door.”

“You mean right here?”


So we stood just outside the door and he said “Sib ntsib dua” and I said it back. He said “I love you” and I said “I love you.” He said “Have a fun day at work,” and I said “Have a fun day at school.” As I walk back up the path he’s still standing and holding the door open. I don’t look back because that’s a huge part of parenting.



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