American in Spain

State of the Offspring Address - April 2012

April 23, 2012

Nora PortraitsThis month included the holiday of Easter, which is considerably more fun (and tooth-rotting) for American children than for Spanish children. In Spain, most people get a week off of work and go on vacation. Nora and her mother went down to the family's house in Extremadura to spend a week lazing around with Nora's aunt and Spanish grandparents. After a suggestion from my parents, I seized the opportunity to travel to the United States to show my face at the office where I am normally only present via the internet. One day this month, when we got to daycare, we could hear a child crying. Nora said to me, "Somebody is crying." Then, she paused for a second and followed up with, "Jimena is crying." Being the Doubting Thomas that I am, I peered into the classroom through the "high enough for adults" window, and sure enough, Nora's friend, Jimena, was the one in tears.


In the mornings, when we are goofing around reading books or playing with toys, sometimes I'll wonder aloud about what time it is. When Nora hears this, she goes to find my iPhone wherever it is (sometimes it's in her hands at the time), and she knows how to exit the active application, lock the phone, and then press the home button to show the lock screen which displays the time. She then holds it out so I can read it, often with a "Here's the time, Poppy!"

Nora has started following the plot of television shows for the first time. She now responds when Dora asks a question, for example. She likes Dora The Explorer a lot, but her absolute favorite program is a Canadian cartoon called Caillou, about a little boy and his family and the adventures they get into. I had never heard of Caillou before, but Nora already has a Caillou doll that speaks Basque very loudly.

We have applied for Nora to start school in September. For obvious reasons, we requested the school that is literally 20 meters from our front door as our first choice. They choose applicants based on a points system, which ranks criteria in more or less like this, in descending order of importance:

  • Does a sibling already attend?
  • How close does the child live to the school?
  • How close is the parents' workplace from the school?
  • …other criteria involving disabilities and household income.

So we score very highly on the proximity criterion, but there are only twenty slots available for the three-year-old class, and we've heard rumors that there is a mass exodus of kids that are wanting to switch from another school to the one we want, so there might be competition. We will hear who got in in May. Our fingers are crossed…

Nora Portraits

The state of the offspring is strong!