Thursday, September 3, 2009

Am I a Bad Person?

Oh, probably yes in so many ways.

First, I am sitting here, typing this. Instead of swimming laps at the gym.

I like the gym. I really SHOULD have gone to the gym this morning.

But I didn't.

Because although school started this week, today was the first normal day with a real, all-day school schedule. And it is so quiet in the house.

So nice and quiet.

All summer long, even though I was at the Summer Dacha in My Ancestral Village, I was looking forward to the moment when the children would go out the door.

And it would be quiet.

I have not done the dishes yet. (Although Muscovites are advanced and civilized people, we happen to not have a dish washer at our place except for me. This is not typical, nor was it my choice. It just is.)

I am still in my pajamas.

Haven't even bothered to brush my teeth yet.

Is it wrong to be happy the children are out of the house? Because, while I like them, if I have to have one more conversation involving SpongeBob, I honestly think I will go mad.

As an aside, while I was fixing breakfast this morning, Baboo came in to tell me she had a SpongeBob song stuck in her head. And while she spared me the actual melody of the song, she proceeded to recount everything that happens in that particular episode of SpongeBob leading up to the singing of the song. The Spouse, passing by the kitchen heard that we were talking and, before he was able to actually make out what was being discussed, said to himself, "How nice. For once Baboo is talking about something other than SpongeBob."


While I am on the subject of the children, I will say that although I probably had just a little too much togetherness with them over the summer, I did see them at their best and got lots of nice feedback from friends and family about how pleasant the girls are.

I cannot take full credit for that, but I will hold on like grim death to as much credit as I can.

Since motherhood, generally, is a rather thankless job.

There are no yearly evaluations.

No performance bonuses or even cost-of-living raises.

The product takes forever to launch.

It seems endless.

So this was as close as I get to any sort of customer feedback or project plaque from my boss.

Seeing as the girls are the only thing I feel I have produced in, say, the last 11 years (I don't count dinners and clean laundry), that was nice to hear.

Made me feel good even.

And while I spent the last week in the Ancestral Village not-totally-looking-forward-to-the-thought-of-returning-to-Moscow, I did spend that week reading a book called The New Global Student. Although the author is mainly addressing parents of high school students, what she said did reassure me about what we are doing to and for our daughters.

Namely, that making them uncomfortable a lot of the time, by forcing them to live outside their native culture and comfort zone, is largely responsible for making them the poised, charming people their American friends and families found them to be.

If you can navigate a foreign mass transit system in Cyrillic, a college interview, heck, a job interview, should be a piece of cake.

At least I hope so.

There has to be some reward on this earthly plane for what, let's be honest, isn't always lots of fun.

The book also reassured me about my decisions to do less with my kids. By that I mean that I don't have much scheduled for them outside of the normal school day.

Because I think having to attend school in a foreign language while living in a second foreign language is enough.

So I shouldn't feel bad that it is difficult (either because of transportation logistics, price, or my language limitations) to arrange things like swim team and horseback riding lessons. Things their cousins in the US or friends in the UK have and that I sometimes wish I could provide for them. I may even put cello lessons on hold this year since Baboo's school day is now as long as the average American adult's work day.

You gotta have time just to be a kid, and after speaking French at school all day and Russian on the street, well, it's nice to chill out and just watch a little SpongeBob.


bfedup said...

My kids are quite similar - british parents, children born in france who therefore use french as their first language, both currently in their 3rd year at a russian school. I quite often feel guilty about what we're putting them through ( i spent my first 18 years , same house , same friends etc). They too are great fans of "bob l'eponge carre" but this year my son was given a dvd of "wacky races" he watched ten episodes in 1 day and told me about them all!

Tina in CT said...

I fortunately am spared Sponge Bob but the girls love watching the Disney channel when here. Disney is great but where do they come up with some of the rotten shows (IMO)?

I remember being at the bus stop the moring my daughter went off for her first day of kindergarten. While some of the mothers were practically in tears, I was elated. I actually was going to have the morning all to myself and could actually grocery shop alone.

TRex said...

My worker drove me by a Rec Center/Pool today. I broke out in a sweat!

Luna said...

Hear! Hear! You rock. As do your kids. And who cares about not having your teeth brushed yet, or the dishes not being done! If you were doing shots of vodka when the girls left for school, I might be a tad bit worried. :)

Who cares about riding lessons? The girls are getting the best experience ever and will far outshine their American-never-left-the-country counterparts!

Wish I were there and we could meet at the Starlite and bag the dishes 'til tomorrow. :)

Dawn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dawn said...

I agree with Luna, who cares about the dishes or your teeth, kick back and relax once in while, you do a great job of mothering and have two of the most polite young ladies I have ever met. I dont think they are missing horse back riding and such, they have so many other wonderful and unusal experiences to draw from. How many other kids have travelled the world by age 10? I too wish I could meet you for coffee, but would rather it not be in Moscow!! LOL:)

hka said...

hello twin sister, I always liked you a lot, but now I like you even more!

valentina said...

Oh your girls are great, although I tend to be a bit prejudiced on their behalf...But they are more than polite, they are poised, yes, but are also kind, expressive and empathetic. And they are smart AND lovely. So what's not to be proud of? WE all give you feedback accordingly do we not? You are a great mom and Da is a great dad. You are also fortunate to have healthy normal children with minimal health issues, Skittles' migraines aside and I do not underestimate the pain they cause having been there also my whole life. BTW how are the new meds working? And the strawberry jam solution? Good I hope. Nope they don't need more lessons, more stuff to fill up their time. More time to veg yep... to pet the cats and read and paint and have a general slug fest now and then, yes. To do a few chores around the house,yes.

To just be kids before the whole menstruation thing kicks in and they have to start dealing with the hormone square dance, yes.

Feel proud! And happy! and celebrate your good fortune to have such lovely, happy, well adjusted kids. Congrats! xov

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