This morning by 8 a.m. I had so many thoughts and emotions brewing internally I didn’t know what to do with them all. First of all was – is – Illyria’s food drama. Things were going pretty well at her new school, until we had a 3-week mid-year recess. This past week was her first week back and it was really rough. Friday when I went to pick her up she was crying because, she said, “the teachers want me to eat and I don’t want to.” I had a long talk with her classroom teacher who wants me to learn to cook Colombian dishes to feed to the children at home. Well, it seems logical I guess, but I don’t think it’s going to happen… first of all because I don’t do the cooking, Gimli does. 


There are so many culturally-based assumptions and ideologies about parenting, about food, about how to handle cultural differences on both those axes – I can tell you that my empathy for the immigrant families I worked with in the US has magnified a thousand-fold. I mean I was pretty empathetic before this experience, but now I feel it to the quick, how hard it is to feel judged on a completely different scale than the one you use to judge yourself. And when the expectations that seem so clear and obvious and natural to the school feel weird and uncomfortable to the parent. 

The teacher also thinks we should speak only Spanish to the kids at home, even though research shows that a strong foundation in the mother tongue is critically important to second-language acquisition and fluency. But why would she know that? As far as I know, there’s only one other expat family at that school. 

So, I spent the weekend looking with Illyria at food groups charts, and talking about why we feel it’s important for her to at least TRY to eat the lunches at school (which I know to be healthy, fresh, and balanced nutrition). She is so picky. It is SUCH an effort to get her to try new things. And she has expanded her repertoire so much this year already – tomatoes, rice, chicken…. I want her to know I am proud of her and I Love her no matter what. I fear that I’m setting her up for an eating disorder. I feel so conflicted about this whole issue. 


My dissertation buddy is in a tough spot and I spent a while this morning writing an encouraging e-mail. I realized a lot of it was also a form of self-talk. My goal is to submit another chapter at the end of this week. Which means I need to organize my work obligations well. 


Gimli has organized our kitchen so we can both go on the Zone diet for a while. We did this shortly after we got married and really liked it. We’re much less physically active now than we were then, but at least we can give it a go. I’ve been having a lot of dizziness lately, I attribute some of it to poor sleep, but I know I’ve been lazy about keeping salt out of my diet and preparing all our own food will help. He is super excited about it!


There are a bunch of little things at work and at home kind of gnawing at me, that I have to figure out how to process/cope with/answer in some way. I really enjoyed this article about tree-planting, I think it applies to almost any kind of work – without the trench foot though!


One Response to “Brewing”

  1. Rachel Says:

    I’m sure your daughter will be fine. Food is complicated and some kids are just picky anyway. I have a great adventurous eater, a picky eater, and one that falls somewhere in-between. I think she is at an age where talking to her will help but she may still be reluctant to try new things.

    I think navigating a different culture while trying to raise a family would be very difficult. I’m certain you are handling it well though.

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