The boys are huge fans of the You Wouldn’t Want to… book series.
For those of you who have some how MISSED these gems, they include such greats as You Wouldn’t Want to Be a World War II Pilot: Air Battles You Might Not Survive (currently on our shelf), You Wouldn’t Want to Be an 18th Century Convict: A Trip to Australia You’d Rather Not Take (No offense to my Australian readers – ie. Von.), and You Wouldn’t Want to Be Mary Queen of Scots: A Ruler Who Really Lost Her Head.
Check your local library. They’re awesome. Especially for boys.
But anyway. Fred and I – but especially I, ’cause I’m prone to such things as extensive geneological researching, and also spend nearly all my time with said children — have been very conscious of the fact that giving them a thorough connection to their own roots is very important.
And that that means doing some extra research. Because their roots are not our roots (though they’re welcome to partake in all our Euro-straight-to-U.S.-American fun-and-games, of course!)
So we’ve read about Guatemala, TRAVELED back to Guatemala, read about the Maya, CLIMBED their pyramids, studied Spanish… I’m still looking for a socially acceptable way of asking some of the Latino men I know just what it is that they’re wearing that smells so good, so I can buy it to put on the boys (who frequently smell like sweat and “tootle”)… but I digress… Read the rest of this entry
It’s still early Fall, but we can tell this is the school year to start the in-depth conversations with the boys about discussing their race with others.
They know about race, have been able to rattle off from the age of three that they’re Latino; that their ancestors and Fred’s and mine came from different places on the globe (even before they really understood what “ancestors” were); and that that’s why our skin and hair and eyes are different colors. As we’ve studied different countries of the world, they’ve learned that people in different regions look different, eat different foods, have different customs, but also have many global similarities.
But how to “explain themselves?” No, we haven’t covered that yet. Read the rest of this entry
Three summers ago each of the twins climbed up on my lap at the computer and picked a little boy his age in Guatemala to sponsor. Those were the heights of their Go, Diego, Go! phase, so that’s the name of the little guy Bear picked: Diego. And José picked another José who has been permanently dubbed “Otro-José” (Other-José) in our household for clarity.
In the years since, the boys have sent pictures and received pictures. When they’re a little more sure in their writing, I’ll have them write the letters, too. For now, I do that, but everything’s in their names.
We’re not the only family I know with this idea. Sponsoring children, families, and communities is a great way positively to impact at least one small part of the world and and to put a visible picture before our kids of the needs that lie outside our country.
For our kids, it just happens also to be a way to give to their own birth country.
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A while back I mentioned a particularly pushy check-out clerk who felt free to probe about exactly why my kids don’t look like me. I hit another one of those cringe-comments at church this weekend. From a great person, one who’s known me since I was a little girl, one who meant to be encouraging me, no doubt.
“I think it’s so great that you adopted them.” ["THEM," meanwhile, are standing right next to me.]
And as I’m thinking “Oh, no! Shh!” she continues about how great it is that Fred and I have brought the boys here and are “giving them such a great chance in life that they didn’t have before. And that you really love them like your own.”
And while my brain was firing red flags every which way, my mouth just wouldn’t work.
However, I plan to be ready with a reply next time because… Read the rest of this entry
School’s winding down for the year, just in time for me to busy myself with the gardens and some home-improvement plans we have for the summer. And as soon as I step OUT of the learning picture, all of a sudden our kids can ride two-wheelers with no training wheels! In one afternoon of no-help-from-me (other than “you’ve gotta stay balanced, like you do on your scooters” – as I edge our front garden beds), they’e taking off on their own! Read the rest of this entry
Being home with the boys all day, every day, I sometimes can’t see the big picture of what it is I’m doing for all the dishes, laundry, handwriting pages, cleanup, and playtime. But tonight as I was changing to go for my Post-Chico-Bedtime Run, I overheard the twins in their room and had to grab Fred AND my camera.
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About 20 years ago a young girl who was determined to compete with all the boys in every sport or outdoor activity asked her parents for a set of hockey sticks. A few years and a good number of street-games later, she made the varsity field hockey team. Time passed and she gave away most of the other toys she had outgrown, but somehow the sticks kept landing in “Keep” pile. Maybe she’d have kids who would like them as much as she had, one day.
They moved with her 4 times and finally leaned against a wall in the garage.
There they stood, untouched.
Until this week, a silly little tomboy-dream came true… Read the rest of this entry
Got a postcard in the mail today, advertising a parenting conference our church will be hosting in May, and it took me back for a few minutes to the time before we had any kids. Ah, the freedom… umm, er, I mean… oh, yes, I remember.
Fred and I didn’t realize at the time how much of a blessing it was that we felt called to adopt first (and had no idea we’d probably be adopting “only!”). Because by adopting, we knew we were in unfamiliar territory. So being the nerds we both are, we scrambled around and got as much information as we could about what it would mean to rear children. We spent time with all our already-parents friends, attended a few seminars, read numerous books… Oh, and I got a masters degree that involved 2 years of child therapy. So yes, we were armed when the boys finally came home. Read the rest of this entry
Right before Fred and I adopted the twins, we went through a season of reading up on parenting, attending workshops, stalking observing parents we knew and really admired, and then talking through everything we’d seen and heard to develop a plan for how we felt we could best parent these little boys who were coming.
And we knew we’d be hitting the ground running, since there were two of them and both squarely in the “terrible twos” phase. (Turned out their twos were delightful; the threes were more challenging, but still not that bad… brag, brag, our kids are awesome.)
Something that stuck with me in the midst of all that – and in my career at the time, since I was a manager of two departments at work – was the idea of developing a short list of core values we wanted to pass on to our kids.
Successful businesses all do it. Many people do something similar every New Years (whether or not they keep up with them in the months to follow). So why wouldn’t we, as parents, want at least one fixed target, something we could measure, when it came to rearing our kids? Read the rest of this entry
Anyone who has ever dined with our family knows we lay claim to one of the pickiest eaters known to childkind.
For the last nearly-three years, we’ve let that slide for the sake of building our relationship with our son, fostering secure attachment, majoring in the majors, and all that. But we’ve reached a point now at which we’re asking our little man to muscle through something new (or something he usually refuses) at least one night a week. At all other times, our rule is generally that you may stop eating whenever you’d like; you just don’t get snacks between meals unless you’ve finished the prior meal.
Now while our little son (who shall remain nameless but whose cover is pretty much blown in the picture below) has a remarkably good attitude about this new change in our mealtime policy, it truly is hard for him to eat certain things. Primary among his nemises: vegetables. Any veggies, really. The only one he feels safe with is raw baby carrots. Just raw, not cooked. Read the rest of this entry