American in Spain

State of the Offspring Address - December 2012

December 28, 2012
Silly Glitter Face

We've reached a very rebellious stage lately. There are some days where it feels like every single thing we tell Nora to do, she says, "I don't want to!" Depending on how much time or patience we have available at the moment she needs to, say, wash her hands, I vary from giving a lecture about germ theory to the "sometimes we have to do things that was don't want to do" to the parental cop-out of "it doesn't matter whether you want to or not" to actually physically grabbing her by the arm and dragging her into the bathroom to wash her hands. I really hate doing the last two, but sometimes there's just no time available for negotiations…and sometimes it's the ten thousandth time she's refused a perfectly reasonable request that day. Nora Pastora

One day this month, we were just in the car, and Nora said, “When we get home, I want TWO pieces of doughnut, okay, Mommy?” Her mother said, “Okay, you can have two pieces.” Nora immediately said, “NO! I want three pieces!” There\'s nothing worse than trying to haggle and the other party accepts your first offer. You know you\'ve been an idiot. Somehow she knows this intuitively at age three.

And another time in the car, she said, “I think that every time we ride in the car, I should drive and you tell me where to go, okay?” Um, no. Just after that, someone let her press the button on the key to unlock the car remotely, which she decided was fantastic, so now she demands to be the official car locker and unlocked.

Nora's never been all that into coloring or drawing, but she is quite fascinated by scissors and cutting. She will turn a piece of paper into confetti with the utmost glee. We've done a pretty good job of sandboxing her behavior, so she knows which paper is allowed for this play and which is not. She's miraculously never cut herself yet, but we did have one incident.

Nora Cut Her Shirt


Nora Cut Her Shirt

I told the story of the cut shirt to a friend, and she said that she, too, loves idle paper cutting, that it's something to occupy her hands while her mind is active, much like doodling.

She spends a lot of time when she's at home, when she's not being interacted with by us or the television, mimicking what her teachers do at school. She'll announce, "Okay, boys and girls. Everyone sit down please." or "Okay, ready, set, go! Everybody go!" or "Hold on to the child in front of you, everybody!" or "Do you know what [nonsense word] means? I'll tell you. It's a thing that does this and that." The whole exercise is pretty cute.

Santo Tomás in Mondragón

Nora with her Aunt Belén, who was dressed up for Santo Tomás, an annual pre-Christmas celebration in her town of Mondragón. What beauties!

For Christmas, Nora got an apron, some chewing gum, a photo of her grandparents' dog, and some mittens and a hat. But the biggest present was a shiny new bicycle. We'll have to do a lot of bicycle practicing in the coming months.

Wrapped Bicycle

Pretty good wrapping job, if you ask me.

Princess Pony Girly Plastic Stuff

I have a really visceral reaction in toy stores now where I feel physically ill imagining all the plastic crap cluttering up my house. It takes a lot of effort for me to see toys through the eyes of a child and not a lego-stepping parent. I would never in a million years buy something like this pony and princess set, complete with lots of little interchangeable hats for for the pony and brushes and grooming tools. Luckily, that's what aunts are for. Even though she'd never have asked for it either, Nora really loves this toy and plays brushing the pony's mane for hours. In fact, two separate aunts bought Nora this exact same gift, prompting Nora to bluntly say, "Oh, we already have this."

When we went to Mondragón for Christmas, we accidentally left behind a present we'd bought for Nora's cousin, Chloe. Nora told this to her aunt, and her aunt told Chloe, "Oh, did you hear that? The Olentzero (Basque Santa) has another gift for you!" To which Nora replied, "No, Mommy and I bought it in a store in Colindres." The Basque tradition of claiming/insinuating that all Christmas presents come from the mythical breaking-and-entering gift giver will surely make it even easier to suss out the holiday ruse.

As we finish up this year of 2012, I can say with confidence that the state of the offspring is strong!

Silly Glitter Face

…and sparkly!