Parenting…Roditeljstvo…Parentales

I’ve said it before, and you’ll probably hear me say it again.  I have been blessed… cursed… ok, blessed with really smart kids.  They’ve all been early talkers, able to express themselves with words long before I ever expected them to. I always assumed I was given these chatty Cathys because I was being paid back for being a non stop talker all my life (or at least that’s the curse my mom said she put upon me!)  And maybe there is something to be said for having a mom that never stops speaking… you’d better learn to speak up, or you’ll never be heard!

But as we are now into week three of school at College International Francophone Sarajevo (CIFS), I am truly seeing why I have these communicators.  My boys are in kindergarten (Grande Section- Maternelle) and the second grade (CE1).  Their classes are all taught in French.  The kids are mostly Bosnian.  Most Bosnian five and seven year olds do not speak English yet.  So, in order to play on the playground, my boys have to speak Bosnian.  There are a few kids in each of their classes that they can communicate with in English, but the vast majority do not speak more than the phrases they have picked up from Phineas and Ferb or Spiderman.  So where does that leave my boys?  Often times confused, frustrated and emotional.  These two charming young men, who are used to being the center of attention are left in the wings at times.  And where does that leave me?  Oftentimes confused, frustrated and emotional.  The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.

This was the end of the year performance at CIFS in June.

This was the end of the year performance at CIFS in June.

Tristan was Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk

Tristan was Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk

They studied this story in French, Bosnian and English

They studied this story in French, Bosnian and English

Daily I question our choice to put them in a school with so many challenges for them.  Daily I question my resolve to be the kind of mom who allows her kids to struggle so they can be stronger, better, more.  I’m not going to lie, I have seriously considered that hour long bus ride to the English speaking school, just to make life easier for them.  And really, me too.  My heart breaks a little every time we have “one of those drives home” that end in tears for no real reason other than they are tired of it being so hard to be heard.

But then there are those other times.  Times when Tristan,my second grader, will ask Wyatt, my kindergartener, how to say something in Bosnian, and would you believe this… he actually knows it!  And those times when Wyatt shares with me words in French he learned that day, and Tristan lovingly helps him with his pronunciation.  Days when I watch them play with our Bosnian next door neighbor, not afraid of the fact that neither speaks the other’s language proficiently yet.  Those are the times when I think that maybe we aren’t that crazy. Maybe when we push through this hard time, the end result will be worth it.  They might just reap some major benefits from this culturally rich environment.

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The Eternal Flame

Ultimately, I have come to this conclusion: I am seven and a half years and three kids into this parenting thing, and I still question almost every decision I make regarding these little humans that will one day grow up and become big humans.  Maybe these challenges we’ve forced upon them will give them a bigger view of the world, one where they can really see how they can impact it in a positive way.  Or maybe, we’ve just given them a more languages to talk to their therapists in.  I’ll get back to you on that one.

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What we see on our bike rides.

A Munchkin Turns One

Summer lovin’ had me a blast!  Summer lovin’ happened so fast!

One of the keys to my survival in another country are guaranteed trips home.  It keeps me grounded, rounded and sane!  I feel better knowing my kiddos get to spend quality time with the g’parents and our friends that are more like family.  Praise God for modern technology and the ability to stay connected while we are away.  But there is no substitute for hugs from the heart, sweet conversations over martinis coffee, and our family favorite… Chick-fil-a!  And with the addition of our little munchkin, a birthday party with all the people who love her the most!

The pictures pretty much tell the story of our day celebrating my sweet Lyla Rae.  But for those of you who don’t know her, let me fill you in a little secret… She is a trip.  Seriously, she is her own little caricature of herself!  All those funny faces you see her make in pictures… those are just a small taste of her spiciness!  And I have tried my best to give her hairstyles to match!  (In my defense, her hair has a mind of it’s own, just like her!)

If I’m being perfectly honest, and hey, what better place than in the privacy of my own blog that anyone can read, there have been a couple of moments when I thought, “What were we thinking, having another baby?!?! We have two boys that are beautiful, healthy, and soooo close to independence!  Why did we start back over again?”  Then, Lyla came and it all made sense.  It’s like our family was never without her.  She fits in, in a way that I could never have imagined.  Not to mention that she is super cool.  I know, I know, everyone thinks that about their kids.  But I mean it!  She is funny and silly and intelligent to boot.  And not just bright.  My girl is wicked smart.

So, enough of my ramblings.  Enjoy the party!

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I am no party planner, so really, this is pretty good for me! Please ignore the penant flags hanging willy-nilly from the tray. I had good intentions. Really.

 

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Another reason I miss Target. You can find ANYTHING there! I miss that in Bosnia.

 

These balloons were in flower arrangements that were sent when Lyla was born, a year ago.  My mom saved them so we could put them out again.  We'll see if they survive to year two!

These balloons were in flower arrangements that were sent when Lyla was born, a year ago. My mom saved them so we could put them out again. We’ll see if they survive to year two!

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Cherry and Oreo cupcakes for dessert!

 

 

Bring on the cupcake!

Bring on the cupcake!

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I think she liked the cake!

I think she liked the cake!

She wasn't sure what to do with the gifts.  I assured her she'd figure it out soon enough!

She wasn’t sure what to do with the gifts. I assured her she’d figure it out soon enough!

Lyla was given her first Cabbage Patch Kid.  Her name is Gisele Brooklyn.  We're hoping that's just her stripper name.

Lyla was given her first Cabbage Patch Kid. Her name is Gisele Brooklyn. We think that’s just her stripper name.

What do you mean we look alike?  I don't see it.

What do you mean we look alike? I don’t see it.

This is one of those pictures that remind me why it is so important for my kids to know and love the people in my life that I love.

This is one of those pictures that remind me why it is so important for my kids to know and love the people in my life that I love.

I remember when I left for DC a year ago and I was so worried that it would be too hard to stay in touch with my most important friend.  Then she reminded me that she was there from the beginning.  She saw this child as she was born.  She'd be there every step of the way.  And she expected a prime seat at her wedding!  <3

I remember when I left for DC a year ago and I was so worried that it would be too hard to stay in touch with my most important friend. Then she reminded me that she was there from the beginning. She saw this child as she was born. She’d be there every step of the way. And she expected a prime seat at her wedding! ❤

 

Living far away can be so hard sometimes.  That’s why I am grateful for each of these sweet moments that are shared with those who are closest to me.  Some days it’s just good to be hugged in person.  And a number one with no pickles and a lemonade is pretty great too!