Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Where do they learn these things?

Daniel and I were driving in the car the other day, just the two of us. (I have no idea how that happened. I never just have one kid!) With no preamble, he announced "I want to be a soldier when I grow up." I asked him why and expected him to say something about guns being cool. He was quiet for a moment and then said, "So I can protect you, Mama, from the bad guys."

Why do we live in a world with so many bad guys?

On a different note, I turned 31 this weekend. This birthday will forever be remembered by me as the birthday of four cakes. I may be very far away from my parents, siblings, and home, but my friends really stepped up their game and made me feel very loved this birthday. I received four—FOUR—delicious birthday cakes from friends.

I had some interesting conversations with my kids on my birthday.

Daniel: "Mama, I want to buy you something for your birthday."
Me: "Well, why don't you make me something? You could color a picture or make me a perler bead."
Daniel: "No. I want to buy you something. I want Dad to take me to the store, so I can buy you some makeup."
Me: "Oh. Well, sweetie, I don't really wear makeup that often. Wouldn't you rather make me something?"
Daniel: "No. I want to buy you makeup, so you can look pretty."
Me, laughing: "Well, I almost never wear makeup. Don't you think I look pretty?"
Daniel: "No, you need makeup to look pretty."

Why on earth would he think that??

Then there was this conversation with Jill. (For some background, I stopped shaving my legs maybe eight years ago, and I stopped shaving my armpits maybe two or three years ago, but then on Saturday, I felt like having shaved armpits again, so I shaved them. Jill noticed.)

Jill: "You shaved your arm pits!"
Me: "Yup. Remember how I told you that some women shave them and some women don't, and it just depends on what they feel like doing? Well, for some reason when I got in the shower today, I felt like shaving my arm pits."
Jill: "Are my arm pits going to get hairy?"
Me: "Yes. Remember? When you become a teenager? You'll grow more hair on your body, you'll start bleeding every month like Mommy because your eggs are getting ready, you'll get zits sometimes, and your breasts will grow."
Jill: "Well, when I'm a teenager, I'm going to shave, so I can still look young."

Why does she want to look young? I stopped shaving, in part, because of curiosity as to how long my arm pit hair would grow and what it would feel like. I had never let it grow and was curious what my own body would do. And I also stopped shaving, in part, because it felt like shaving was, in a way, almost trying to become less of a woman and more of a girl. And I know that's way over thinking it, but there it is. And now here was my daughter spouting kind of the same idea to me. She doesn't want to go through puberty and have a woman's body. She wants to remove signs of maturity, to shave, and thus still look like a girl. I know it's not actually a big deal, so I told her she certainly could shave if she wanted to. But I couldn't help but think of shaving later when we were touring the Archeology Museum here and saw a statue that showed the misshapen skulls of ancient, indigenous American peoples who wrapped their skulls with boards to intentionally change the skulls' shape. What will people hundreds of years from now think is silly about us?

When my parents visited, we took the kids miniature golfing. It was the first time that Jill and Daniel were really old enough to play. And, to everyone's surprise, Daniel made a hole in one!!

Jeffrey had surgery a week ago. I spent the night at the hospital with him after the surgery. It was the first night we've spent away from the kids, ever. We should do that again sometime, but actually go somewhere fun. He's recovering nicely. (His surgery was to fix two hernias.) He was really surprised by how painful it was when his body still had carbon dioxide trapped inside. Being told that it would be painful and actually feeling it were two very different things.

Gordon eats everything that we eat now. The other day that included chicken nuggets. He had to have three: one in each hand and one in his mouth.

Sweet, obstinate Alice graduated from two-year-old preschool. Next year she'll be in Danny's class at school. She's pretty proud of herself. She can pour from a pitcher, mop a floor, hand sew a straight line, cut paper, paint pictures, set the table correctly, fold cloths, and wash dishes, among other skills. She has loved being in Comunidad Infantil.

I don't know if it is having four kids or if it is living in Mexico (or a combination of both), but it feels like we have birthday parties almost every week. And the birthday parties very often have face painters, which my kids love.

On Friday, I'm going to sing the National Anthem at the Consulate Independence Day party. Somewhere between 300 and 400 people are going to be there. Wish me luck!

With June coming to an end, I'm going to close with this picture. With terrorist attacks, bombings, mass shootings, violence, and the bad guys that Danny wants to protect me from abounding all over this world, I hope that we can all agree that everyone deserves to live. This picture was taken after the Orlando shootings and specifically references LGBT issues. I wish, with all my heart, that someday the humans in this world will stop hating and killing over race and sexual orientation and religion and gender and nationality and economic status. Life is too precious for all this hate and too short for all these divisions we create.