Saturday, December 3, 2011

The wisdom of Dr. Seuss

I keep wanting to update, and then it seems overwhelming, there is so much to catch up on and so little time, it seems.

On October 29th we completed our first entire year here. Can it really be a year?

Looking at the year in retrospect, can't really be done today. I have spent all week with a late-spring flu, horrible body pains on Monday and Tuesday, fever and chills and profuse sweating during two nights, then a cough that has kept we awake ALL frickin night for 3 nights in a row, and the cherry on top was waking up this morning with pink-eye. AWESOME!! There is no other word for it.

I also seem to be writhing in some kind of ... should I say it?... mild depression. There I said it... no worries though, everything is under control. Ok, that is not entirely true, but I'll be fine. I think.

I was reading Oh, the Places You'll Go! last night to the kids and a few stanzas stood out.

And when you're in a slump,
you're not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself
is not easily done.

and then...

I'm afraid that some times
you'll play lonely games too
Games you can't win
'cause you'll play against you.

and I think I got a little teary-eyed. That Dr. Seuss was one wise dude.

Speaking of the kids... they have adapted great. After their year in Kindergarten and pre-pre-school, immersed in Spanish, they speak almost like little natives. It has been amazing to see how they went from speaking a few isolated words to speaking in full sentences, telling stories. They don't speak perfectly, and sometimes they get genders wrong or I'll hear "Yo me gusta", which is not grammatically correct in Spanish, but it is somewhat consistent with English "like" structure... so interesting!

Now the kids even play with each other in Spanish and do some of their solitary-play-talk in Spanish, which is fascinating. We still speak English with them at home though.

They both still struggle a little with "saludos". Here in Chile, like in many Latin American countries, you greet and say your farewell with the cheek-to-cheek kiss. They do ok sometimes, but others, they just can't be bothered. Especially when saying good-bye, which they are normally not happy about, they don't want to kiss anyone. I can relate, though, so I don't push it. But it is interesting to think about how social norms, just like language, have to be acquired.

It has been great to see how they have developed bonds with family here. G has a cousin her age. They have such different personalities that it took a little time, I think, to learn how to negotiate that relationship, and since families spend a lot of time together, they were forced in some ways to deal with each other. But now it is so cool to see how they resolve conflict and how they join forces against "outside threats"

Nico: is it a stage? is it the age? is it because he is a boy? Dealing with him has been slightly complicated at times. He is so whiny and so needy; he is somewhat sullen; he is stubborn; he is defiant. I am afraid to report I often have less than sufficient reserves of patience to do something as simple (seemingly) as brushing teeth.

But he still looks just as edible when he is sleeping quietly.