I gave Beth the night off again…
Well, it´s another day in paradise. I feel like this blog is a bit of a broken record, but we went to the park today, again, and played in the sand pit, again. Praise the Lord for this 60 sqare feet of dirt. It is free, and we can easily kill about two or three hours there if the weather holds. We are going into the rainy season, so, as my mother says, the “white fluffies” are slowly being replaced with “grey meanies” in the sky. If it does rain, it is usually just a light drizzle, but it is enough to make us pack up and head for the boring apartment. Beth likes to sit out in the rain for about 20 minutes saying “maybe it´ll blow over” the entire time (she really hates being in the apartment). The good news is, with her strategy, we usually have a built in activity that lasts about 30 minutes at the apartment called “get dry”.
Afterwards, the kids and Beth watched “Madagascar” while the baby and I were put down for a nap.
We then walked to a place called “Del Rodeo” (Spanish for “of the Rodeo”), which was a hamburger joint with a western theme! Being from Texas, I can say they nailed all the preconcieved notions about the place we are from… Every employee was in a vest, jeans, and a cowboy hat, wooden fences between the booths, and pictures of wolves on the wall. We implemented a trick that Dr. Sharon Lee shared with us a few days ago and ordered the kids three adult-sized combos instead of getting five kids meals. We saved about $15 (30,000 pecos) and almost no food was wasted. The best part was, they had a gigantic play area in the center of the resturante. We played for about an hour and a half.
The oldest was “it”, and he chased the other four through all the tubes, slides, and ladders, alst the while bellowing out his best evil-villian laugh. I love it when they play with each other. Partially because it gives Beth and I a break and it reaffirms to us that each kid already has four friends, even though we are here by ourselves.
We love this parenting gig. If I may quote a good friend from work that has been there and done that, “Parenting is the hardest job you´ll ever love. You guys know I like to make lists, so here are some points that have struck us as new parents…
1. ANYTHING can become an arguement! Every night the boys fight over who gets the middle spot in the bed (since they all sleep in the master bedroom in the apartment). Seriously! I told my Mom and Beth that I can make a pretty compelling arguement as to why that is the worst spot on the bed, but it would take way too long to translate that five-paragraph essay.
2. I´ve been caught sleeping with another woman about three times a week by my wife, but it´s OK. She usually has to leave three other guys to find me, so I feel it´s even.
3. When we go out in public, we have a program called “no child left behind”. We take head counts constantly.
4. I realized today that the brand name on our stroller is “Joovy”. It dawned on me that we have two kids in Joovy every time we need to go somewhere. That makes me laugh (but not out loud).
5. Everything is funnier when you are naked. Beth asked the boys to take off their shirts to get a “Muscle” picture, but it wasn´t long before a couple of plastic jumping frogs were being held in front of their “nippies” (as Beth calls it) with outrageous laughter. A few minutes later, when the pants came off for bath-time… well, I won´t share that story.
6. As a followup to number 5, it is impossible to discipline when you can´t stop laughing yourself.
7. Throughout the day, I get so much crap and junk given to me, as if it is the most important thing in the world, and asked to hang on to it for later. Today it was a stick that one of the boys found in the park. Yesterday, it was a bottlecap. I´ve decided there is a statute of limitations on “holding junk” of three days. After that, if there has been no utterance of the item in question in that span of time, I declare it as “basura”.
8. With a group our size, we spend more time counting our toys than we do playing with them. Beth on occasion lets the kids play with five Matchbox cars each. It works a little like the NBA draft. Each kid selects a car, in order. Then, in the same order, each kid selects another car. Needless to say, we have a dumptruck with a bent wheel that doesn´t get much action. Nonetheless, the kids count their cars, over and over again, to make sure they have the right amount. As the living room turns into I-20, certain cars make their way from one owner to another. Then the counting commences again.
9. Gibberish is hard to understand. Spanish gibberish is even harder. Lots of O´s and A´s, but that´s about it. I don´t know what normal parents do, but I just nod, and throw in a “Si” or “¡Que bien!” every so often. That seems to make them happy about 90% of the time. (FYI… did you see the upside-down exclaimation point? I´m getting the hang of the Spanish keyboard!)
10. The trade, or “cambia” as it is known here, is the art of nogotiation as a child. Food, toys, seats at the table, etc… Anything can be swaped as a means of appeasement and compromise. I have noticed that the younger kids tend to be so in awe that they are engaged with genuine interest from the older ones that they tend not to notice that they are getting a pretty raw deal most of the time (i.e. “I´ll trade you two broken sand toys for your one good one… after all two is better than one”).
It´s been a pretty fun adventure, and we are rapidly approaching a month living in a foreign country. Thanks again for continued prayer and support. We definitely “feel” the prayer and we love the words of encouragement via Facebook, email, text, etc… Thank you all so much!
At the dinnermesa,