Wednesday, January 7, 2015

We Live Together -- But We Need to be Apart

Today, friends, was the glorious, long-heralded day that so many parents look forward to: the day the kids go back to school after the holiday break. It's such a universal day of joy that it's even immortalized in that popular Christmas song "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas":

And mom and dad can hardly wait for school to start again...

You're singing it now, right?

There's no doubt that my rebelangel is the light of my life and my favorite person. But sometimes there's such a thing as too much time spent with even your favorite person. When you've elected to move abroad with said person,  to forge a new life, find new things to do and to generally turn your world topsy-turvy, it means even that grand relationship you've created with your favorite person is going to be challenged. Unfortunately for us, Nicaragua also offers much less in the way of things to do for the kiddos when school is out.

So usually, school is that buffer that gives me a chance to take a break and to go sip bright fuschia smoothies at the cafe down the street, without the guilt of leaving my kiddo home unsupervised and in front of a screen. Today i get to delight in knowing she's back to actually having to speak Spanish to her classmates, instead of sitting home watching English-only shows on Netflix. Today, of course, also means i'm resigned to getting a full day of work in again.

Living the expat life with your child is a wonderful experience they'll never forget -- but i think that the downsides of boredom, too much togetherness and puberty on the horizon were kind of overlooked in lieu of packing our crap, buying tickets and finding the best place to live. So let me tell you, folks, that parenting a tween is naturally hard, but parenting one in a foreign country with just each other for company means you're going to count down the days, minutes, and seconds when school comes back in session.

Hurray for school!

And mom and mom can hardly wait for school to start again....

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And because parenting teens and tweens is a challenge no matter where you live, there are always books that can at least give you a few tools for coping. Bill Corbett's book "The Expert's Guide to Teenagers" combines the advice of numerous other books and experts to give you somewhere to start on this challenging journey.

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