There are many ways in which the Foreign Service career turns life into a study in contrasts, the opportunity to immerse oneself in disparate cultures the world over being the most obvious. One of the things we find most challenging – and necessary now that we have two kids – is maintaining structure in the face of the great unknown that always lurks a year or two beyond our current assignment.
Posts tagged ‘house help’
Despite moving to DC in July, we’ve written very little about our time thus far in the nation’s capital. It’s not for lack of things to write about either. On the contrary, we’ve been so busy that sometimes sitting down with a book in the evening feels like a guilty pleasure because of how much there is to research and take care of. From purchasing a car to arranging childcare, finding new doctors, and adjusting our finances, it’s taken a lot of adulting to get us settled in our new home.
At first they don’t do much and you root for them to learn how to roll over, sit up, and crawl. And as soon as they do, you realize how good you had had it up until that point. Years fly by in a constant battle of wits as you try to stay one step ahead of your child’s curiosity and propensity to injure him- or herself. No matter how much you baby-proof the house, it’s a given that, even at one or two years old, your child will outsmart you and figure out how to inflict some self-damage. Three years into our so-called suicide watch with Munchkin, he’s just upped the ante.
For months now, we have been fighting a losing battle in an attempt to keep track of Munchkin’s funny sayings, cute mispronunciations, and imperious pronouncements. Now that he speaks in complete, and oftentimes run-on, sentences, documenting his ever-evolving speech has become nearly impossible. Still, we find the fight worth fighting, as much for the laughs it provides now as for the memories it surely will cement for the future. Half of D’s journal entries these days consist of Munchkin’s peculiarly Russian-tinged, East African-accented, English speech. Most of the below date from the first two weeks in January, before we left on our vacation:
Secretary Kerry’s visit to Kigali and all the prep that it entailed is only part of the reason our blog has been silent of late. We also took our first family trip around Rwanda the weekend before the Montreal Protocol. When we returned to Kigali, S simply repacked her bags, first going to Nairobi for two days, and then traveling back to Washington, D.C. for a weeklong conference.
Another week behind us, another month in the books. Munchkin started school on Wednesday, but that was the only indication that the summer months have passed and September is upon us. One wouldn’t know it by the weather, which remains exactly as pleasant as it was the day we arrived – warm, sunny days alternating with pleasantly cool nights every twelve hours, as regular as clockwork.
Ideally, we would have liked to keep Munchkin at home a little longer, but we don’t live in a perfect world; we live in the Washington D.C. area, where childcare costs are completely out of control. With both of us in language training and our parents far away and still years from retirement, we had no choice but to put Munchkin in daycare, a decision over whose pros and cons we agonized endlessly.
Nearly 15 months into our first foray into parenthood, what’s surprised us most is how each time Munchkin enters a new phase it always seems better than the previous one. And by that we don’t mean that parenting has become easier. In fact, in many ways taking care of a toddler is much more demanding and exhausting work than caring for an infant. It’s just that with each developmental milestone, Munchkin finds new ways to bring us an indescribable amount of joy.