This coming summer Kimmy will follow in the steps of her big sister by taking a language program in France. The organization that we are using for the second time for this purpose, SPI, invited me to contribute a guest entry for their blog on the topic of why we are sending our child to study abroad. That entry can now be found at this location.
Update: If you went to read the post right after I announced it, you may have seen a picture of unfamiliar girls on Siena’s famous Piazza del Campo. That picture was added by SPI into my post. After I pointed out to them that it would be better to actually have a picture of my own child, they replaced it with a photo that I myself provided.
Our eldest is off to Brussels for a semester of study abroad. Although she has traveled to foreign countries on her own in the past, this will be the longest and likely the bumpiest of journeys. We are all excited for her and obviously just a smidgen worried.
She promises to keep a journal of her adventures, resurrecting her long-dormant blog. The first post just went up there. Anyone who is interested, feel free to go there (or use the link on the menu) and give her your love and best wishes. And help us keep her from feeling lonely by coming back to the blog, checking it out and commenting. She’ll appreciate it. I will as well.
Demands of varied kinds did not leave me much room to flex my artistic muscles in advance of the Bat-Mitsva celebration that Kimmy enjoyed this past weekend. I only had time to quickly string together a slideshow of 150 or so pictures that charted her growth from a little baby to the Amazing Tween that she is.
Don’t expect special effects, captions or narrations. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it nonetheless!
I’ve heard it many times in the past that performing at the Carnegie Hall in New York always features among the major highlights of a musician’s career. Well, one of my children have gotten it out of the way at a pretty early stage. Becky and her high school choir participated in a program at the Carnegie Hall earlier in the week. With her name in the playbill, she officially arrived…
Here is a less-than-perfect mobile phone photograph of what the auditorium looked like before the show.
I suspect that there will eventually be videos of the performance available through the usual sources. If/when that happens, I will be sure to link it.
It is a bit disorienting when one day your youngest child is 3 months old, and then a few days later, your eldest hits 16 years! I feel old and young at the same time.
I am re-learning a well-forgotten language nowadays. It manages to convey a vast range of thoughts and emotions via usage of just a few syllables – “aye”, “goo”, “uhm” and the like – with facial expressions playing a critical role in differentiating between homonyms. I am very busy trying to regain my fluency in it.
When family with children is going to visit relatives who live about an hour’s drive away, Dad’s responsibilities do not really start until around the time of departure. Prior to that, Dad might indicate several times that he is annoyed at being the only person who is ready. But only when the same level of readiness is exhibited by all members of the traveling party, will Dad spring to action. He will check the doors and the appliances. He will put the necessities into the trunk. He will carry the baby in the car-seat and make sure it is most securely attached to the base. He will, after all, do the driving.
Mom, on the other hand, will get ready for departure by feeding and dressing the baby, helping the older kids with outfits, hairdos and snacks, packing the diaper bag and the breast pump, keeping track of things that need to be brought along or undertaken along the way. She won’t be ready until everybody else in the house is ready. And her “ready” does not really include getting ready herself.
Only when the driving starts and the baby is strapped in, Mom has a chance to relax… and get ready.
She will finally do her own hair, put on some make-up, eat a yogurt or a banana that pass for her breakfast. In other words, she’ll do all of those things that are not really pre-requisites for leaving home in the family minivan.
Being a passenger in that minivan is the only time Mom can spend on herself.
Or so I hear.
Admit it, all of my one-post-a-week schedule aside, you keep coming back to this blog because you expect pearls of wisdom from me that you cannot get anywhere else.
I’ll give you one: This whole thing called parenthood is awfully hard.
There she is, just a few days old, lying on a blanket and moving both of her feet and arms according to some inner beat that I cannot hear. She eats, she poops, she sleeps. She is quiet most of the time, but starts crying for no apparent reason at random points in time. Is she hungry? No, she just finished eating not long ago. Does she need to be changed? No, I just changed her diapers a few minutes ago and the new one still looks and smells pristine. Is she uncomfortable? Is she in pain? What does she want? I’ll do anything, just tell me what it is that I need to do.
She can’t tell me.
I’ll pick her up, rock her for a while, make silly sounds at her or try to reason with her as if she could understand my words, drive myself crazy for a while without making any visible impact on the little person’s disposition, and then suddenly whatever bothered her is gone and she falls asleep. Or her mother decides that it’s been long enough since the last feeding.
I only lost a few billion of my nerve cells in the meantime.
I don’t do well to the extreme when one of my children is in any sort of physical discomfort. I feel helpless. I hate feeling helpless. Especially when I don’t know what is going on. And she won’t be able to tell me for a while.
Of course, now is one of the easiest parts. Caring for a newborn is, after all, fairly straightforward and has little variation. Wait till she starts walking [tripping, slipping, falling]. I should know, I already have well-developed examples of my own…
When parenthood first happened to me nearly sixteen years ago, I half-jokingly told everybody who asked that I did not feel ready to be a father. I have a nagging suspicion that I did not manage to get ready in the intervening years. Emotionally, at least.
Somebody is awake. Gotta go.