Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Feliz cumple, Chu!

Chucho, our first baby, turns ten today. We got an early start on celebrating with cupcakes yesterday. Ruby and Natalia, our sitter and Chu's best friend these days, as she is his only hope of ever getting walked, made one especially for the beast. It was gone in a matter of seconds, but he enjoyed the sprinkles afterward, licking them out of the carpet with all the care he usually gives to his vacuuming responsibilities around the house. We're hoping to take him to DQ this afternoon for a birthday treat as well. We don't normally devote this much attention to the poor dog, but ten seems like an achievement.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The list

"Got the list. Might be late." was the text I got earlier this afternoon. Deep breath on my part, as the arrival of the list in Mike's hands is only the first step in a waiting game that plagues the lives of foreign service officers and their families every two to three years. This list contains the jobs available for bidding for our next posting. We've got another year here, but it's never too soon to start packing or purging or preparing in one way or another, and fortunately, the DOS needs all that time to figure out not just where people are going but to get them and their stuff there in a reasonable fashion. This initial version of the list is a bit cruel, as perhaps as many as half of the posts (virtually all of the ones in developed countries with good food, good health care, good education, etc.) will disappear in another week or so, taken by those officers coming out of Iraq and Pakistan and other posts that are considered high hardship places. Then it will be up to us to figure out which of the remaining places work best for Mike's career, our family, the dog, etc. It's a complicated calculus that one could waste hours of one's life worrying about, but it might be smarter to simply say, well, there's a bunch of places that we really don't want to go to and here are a bunch that we're willing to try on for size. Health care matters a lot when you've got small children but maybe education is not so crucial at this point. Would be nice if there's decent food available locally, as I don't care to feed two small children and myself imported mac and cheese for two years. Not sure if we want another Spanish speaking post or if we should head into some new linguistic adventure. I am just going to accept the fact that we will inevitably end up somewhere harder to live than Guadalajara, and I can also embrace the fact that somewhere new and novel rather than a country you are already acquainted with holds a certain attraction, even if it will be more challenging.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

On the sisterly bond

These girls, for the time being anyway, simply adore each other. Iris's first word each morning and upon waking from her nap is usually a querying "Buby?" and Ruby, in turn, can hardly bear to let her sister sleep in or take that very necessary nap for too long. At school, the teachers have confessed that Ruby regularly begs to visit Iris and of course, because she is persistent and because they are indulgent about that sort of thing, she does so on a regular basis. I have also learned of late that Ruby begs the babysitter, who is a sweetheart and reluctant to put her foot down, to let her sleep with Iris. If Ruby had her way, she'd be in the crib with Irie, but they sometimes settle on Ruby in the bed next to the crib. They will share a room soon enough, and I bet that Ruby will sneak down from the top bunk to snuggle.
Summer school has just begun and the girls are together in a group of kids ranging from Iris's age to six. Ruby is taking her big sister duties seriously, as I asked her to keep an eye on Iris with the bigger kids. Two boys pulled a stick gun routine on Iris yesterday, but Ruby put her foot down about that immediately. She was a little disappointed that they then turned their guns on her, but it sounds like she took it in stride as pretty typical on the part of some of her little male companeros. She served herself and Iris their lunches, out of lunch bags they are so preciously proud of as the normal routine is that of a group lunch. Never mind that the tops didn't make it back onto the pasta salad containers when the bags came home. Iris reported, with no small sense of import, that "Ruby sit wif Irie."
They are fast friends and budding co-conspirators, hiding together, plotting together, playing together. I walked into the kitchen the other day to find them chanting "caca caca chucha" to a snappy little tune, which roughly translates to "poopy poopy p_ _ _ y." Ruby took the news pretty well that it was not an appropriate thing to sing, confessed she had learned it at school without having the faintest idea what it meant, and agreed that Iris would soon embarrass us in the grocery store or somewhere else if they kept singing it. We'll see if it resurfaces. In the meantime, we are enjoying the sisterly love while it lasts.