Moving 3 Croatian-speaking children to the English-speaking U.S. of A. has been an interesting journey so far.
I thought I’d tell you about some of it. You know, just in case you were wondering what it’s like to uproot 3 kids from their comfy beach life on one continent and move them to another continent where no one speaks their language, everyone has a cow and pick-up truck, and the local folk like to say “Howdy ya’ll”.
For starters, no one can understand my kids. And my kids can’t understand them. You would think this would be a bad thing. It is SO not. Trust me. I was SO thankful at the grocery store when no one could understand when my 4-year-old blurted out in Croatian, “Mommy, I farted.” (How do I explain to him it’s not polite to talk about “bodily functions” in public?) Or when my 3-year-old said every Croatian curse word under the sun while having a temper tantrum on the floor screaming at the top of her lungs while we were going through airport security on the way over here. All 1000 eyeballs were on us, and it was at that moment that I had wished for the 27,346th time since becoming a parent that the ground would have opened up and swallowed me whole.
Another thing we have had to get used to is that peeing in public places is not socially acceptable on this side of the globe. I guess I should have warned Z about that before he decided to drop his pants in the middle of the jungle gym at the park by my parent’s house the other day. All the older kids started laughing, and I don’t know who was more embarrassed – Z or me. Mommy had to tell him that we only pull our pants down to pee when we’re in a bathroom or by ourselves – not in the middle of a packed park. He managed to hold it in and make it to the car where daddy let him pee by the tree <<sigh>>. Poor little guy.
Another new thing we have been dealing with is that Z has become a “big boy” since landing on US soil – specifically, he thinks he’s big enough to use the restroom by himself and not call mommy to wipe anymore. This means that he goes to the bathroom without telling anyone and “wipes” himself when he’s done using the potty. In preschooler land, wiping yourself = not wiping at all = getting #2 on your hands. Yea, it really is as bad as you just pictured it to be. So, I’ve had to “teach” him that he’s still a little boy and needs to call mommy or daddy to wipe him when he’s done using the restroom. <<sigh>>
Not all things have been negative, though.
I have new ultimatums I can give Z & E that I couldn’t when we were in Croatia. Like when they want to skip lunch or dinner and only eat dessert, I “threaten” them with not being able to watch Mickey Mouse on the cool DVD screen in our new car (we definitely did not have a DVD in our car in Croatia). They are so excited about the DVD in the car that they usually clear their plates in about 8 minutes flat.
They also have a new affinity for being clean – specifically, disinfecting their hands wherever they see those disinfectant gel pump bottles. I don’t remember those being in public places when I lived here 5 years ago, but now they are everywhere – Whole Foods, the gas station, church, ev-er-y-where. And they are usually within toddler reach. Needless to say, my kids’ hands have never been cleaner. And those gallon-sized disinfectant pump bottles at our church are magically being emptied at a 1065% faster rate than before (yikes!).
Some of you might be wondering about baby L. Well, she’s only 12.5 months old, so Croatia and America are like toe-may-toe and tuh-ma-toe – it’s all the same to her. One thing that has changed is that she magically wants to sleep through the entire night without waking up. If I knew that all it took was moving to another country to finally get her to sleep through the night, I would have been on that plane a day after she was born. No, seriously.
Ok, that’s all from me for now. My husband and I have been house hunting and getting everything set up in our new home city – Austin, TX (LOOOOOOVE!). Meanwhile, 2/3 of our offspring have been hanging out with grandma and grandpa a few hours away. The other 1/3 of our offspring has been going crazy with us here because she’s been in her car seat all day long while we drive around and get everything set up. My next mission? Finding a good preschool that will teach my little munchkins how to speak English (maybe they’ll actually start saying “Mother” instead of “Mader”)!