Archive for March, 2014


March 13, 2014

So just a quick update on the school situation; after a weekend of agonizing over it, I had a calm and centered conversation with Illyria that eased my mind a great deal – I realized I was way more upset than she was, and that the teacher had not used force in feeding her and had backed off when Illyria refused to eat on Friday. Then Monday I talked with the teacher at length and also got a different picture from what I had been imagining; anyway, it was just good on both ends to clarify what we are thinking and feeling and overall our goals are the same, and even though I think there are clear cultural differences in the ways we look at food and eating and young children, the situation wasn’t as bad as I thought… so we carry on… and this week got back on track with trying new foods and so on. I still think that in April we will start to transition her to a kindergarden classroom in the nearby school; whether or not we switch to the bilingual school in August, well we’ll decide later. 

Yesterday was my birthday… was traveling most of the day… the team is doing something to surprise me at lunch today but some people didn’t realize it was supposed to be a surprise so I found out yesterday 🙂 Gimli gets back from the middle east tonight… lots of drama going on at work (but it’s not my drama)… I feel like giving up on the dissertation… it’s been raining a lot… the best thing about my birthday though was getting a really good night’s sleep last night! Hope that sets the tone for the year!


little earthquakes

March 7, 2014

So apparently yesterday at school, one of the teachers who is also the principal forced my daughter to eat her lunch, and Illyria threw up on the table. 

I talked with the administrator this morning but wasn’t able to get through to the principal during calling hours (10-11 a.m.). I think I don’t want to keep Illyria there past March. We are traveling so much this month that the kids actually only have 4 days left this month when they’ll be in school, and I think I want to transfer her to the new school as soon as we can after getting back from 10 days in Bolivia. I don’t think it will be hard. And I think we’re going with the smaller neighborhood school for now.

I’m so tired. I was talking with a coworker about the situation this morning and during the conversation she said something about sleep training that just set me off and I’ve been a wreck all day, feeling like such a complete failure as a mother. The sleep thing has been such a bitch. I feel like, if I wasn’t able to figure out something that simple, how can I pretend to think I know anything about anything when it comes to parenting? Of course I’ve failed to teach my daughter good eating habits. Of course. 

We’ve also been insanely busy at work so I’ve done nothing on my dissertation for over a week. 

I know there are things that I should and can and do feel good about, today’s just been one of those days. 

More deep breaths

March 5, 2014

It’s been nuts getting the kids out the door in the mornings. Usually Gimli makes breakfast while I get them ready for school – hair brushed, clean clothes, all that stuff – now I’m trying to do it all, plus they’ve been sleeping in later. I’ve never had to use an alarm in the mornings b/c Oz has been reliable to wake me up before 6 a.m. But this week? They’ve both been sleeping til 7:30! So it’s been a little crazy… I will definitely set an alarm for tomorrow. Even when I get them to bed at a decent hour – I think they’re overtired or a little under the weather or something.

Yesterday I went with a visiting “learning tour” group to Soacha, the huge slum area that bleeds into the southern edge of Bogotá.* We visited a project that my organization supports there, a preschool attached to a church. The pastor/project director there was forced to leave along with his family (2 kids, ages 6 and 3) because it simply was no longer safe for him and his family to stay. There are 60 neighborhood kids attending this preschool, 70% of them from families that have been internally displaced. It just kind of hit me – all the anxiety I’ve been experiencing about Illyria’s education, against the desperate hope of these families for whom a school of bare brick walls and concrete floors is a luxury, and children whose one meal a day is all too often the free lunch they get at the school. 

This isn’t to say that I shouldn’t seek to give my daughter the best possible education I can, it’s just putting it in perspective. My kids are so loved and cared for, warmly dressed, clean, and have access to excellent health care and go to a beautiful, fun school. I want them to be mindful of the needs of others. And that is, at least in part, why we’re here.

* and I’m still full of thoughts and feelings on “poverty tourism” and how to keep what we do here from turning into that…


March 1, 2014

I had a great talk with my SIL yesterday morning. I came to the understanding that as long as I am a safe harbor for my children to come home to, where they can rest and regroup, they will develop the skills to handle whatever slings and arrows come their way, whether it be at school or whatever. I know it’s more complicated than that; but the idea that I don’t have to coddle and protect them from everything – which is my tendency and which I know ultimately harms them – it was good to come back to that realization.

In an airport recently I saw an indigenous man with a little boy, about my kids’ age. He kept track of his son but didn’t “herd” him. In fact he didn’t seem to give him any verbal direction at all. When they got to the front of the check-in line, the dad just walked up to the counter with the calm expectation that his son would follow him, and he did, carrying his little bag all serious and small. I couldn’t help but contrast how I “herd” my kids through things like that, always telling them what we’re going to do next, where to go, etc. It’s not that I want to idealize indigenous parenting styles, but it was just cool to see that there are many possible ways of doing things.

Last night Illyria threw up in bed, and it was epic. As I was hanging up the second load of laundry to dry, sniffing at my pajamas to see if I needed to toss them in too, I thought about how I would have felt in 2005 or 2006 or 2007 had I been able to peek through a window into the future, been able to see myself doing just this – cleaning up my child’s puke at midnight. And I just thought how happy I would have felt, and how happy I was in that moment, to be able to do that for my daughter. My daughter. My son. I am so lucky.

It was a nice end to a day of panic/anxiety as Gimli prepared for another journey away from us, 2 weeks in the middle east. Funny to find a moment of peace like that, in that way.