6.06.2008

Out Of The Mouths Of Babes...

Discretion is the better part of valor... or not, if you're in our household. The girlies have had an interesting time readjusting to life in the Unites States, and many things have completely astounded and amazed them. Here's what each of them have said in the past few days.

After getting our cell phones and walking out of T-Mobile, Riley very seriously asked me, "Mommy, why was everyone in there speaking English?"
As we're driving, Riley wanted to know why the traffic lights here don't turn yellow before they turn green... as they do in Israel.
We were at the mall today when Matt took Riley to look at the water fountains. Riley asked why there were so many Shekels (Israeli coins - the equivalent of a quarter) in the water. Matt told her that they weren't Shekels, they were pennies. She then asked what a penny was.

This morning we took the girls to breakfast at Coco's to celebrate my 35th birthday (a shameless plug for all of you who didn't remember...).

While waiting for our food, Sheridan loudly remarked, "Mommy, look at that lady's big tushie." I had to turn my head away so she didn't see me giggle, which left Matt (who was sufficiently mortified) to discipline her.

Sheridan cried for just a minute before she followed up her last remark with, "Hey mommy, look at all the old ladies at that table over there..."

While it's interesting to experience Riley and Sheridan's observations of American culture, it reinforces our understanding that these kids lack a sense of cultural identity.... especially when Sheridan points to the U.S. flag and calls it the Israeli flag...

We have a lot to discuss this summer. Until then, I wonder what they'll say next.

65 comments:

DS said...

Belated Happy Birthday, Jill!

This reminds me of when we were posted in Central America, my neighbor who came from Hawaii, had a 3 year old who went to the local school. They were taught to sing the national anthem of the host country; every time he sees the flag on TV he stands up and put his hand on his chest, and he occasionally also sings the host country's national anthem, but had yet to learn the American Anthem.

Emily said...

Happy birthday!

karey m. said...

aww! happy birthday! and i know what you mean about culture shock...when we go to the states, the girlies are SHOCKED to see people wearing shorts {gasp!} and tank tops.

Connie said...

I think it is a great fun to take my kids (5 and 7) back to the US to see what they think of it, we've been in Egypt for nearly 4 years. Once we were in a cab in DC and my (then 3yo) asked me why the driver kept stopping? I had to explain traffic lights! The looks the driver gave me were priceless.

Mom24 said...

Happy Birthday! Hope it's a great year for you.

Those comments/questions are priceless. It must be so interesting to see the US through fresh new eyes, and see what strikes them as different.

Eve Grey said...

Is a cultural identity really important though? What about just being a citizen of the world & having a familial identity? I don't know, haven't really thought about it but sounds like a very interesting life for the kids.
Happy Belated Birthday!!!

artistgirl252 said...

very interesting views of the US!

i am curious- did your girls learn/pick up much hebrew during your time in israel? i have been learning hebrew myself since i was 3, and i'm very jealous that you got to live there!!

mary said...

Happy Birthday, fellow Gemini girl! (Mine was a few days ago.) Great little stories about your girls. How interesting!

Michele said...

Eve Grey asked "Is a cultural identity really important though?"

IMO, absolutely yes. Having a place to call home, a country "of your own" is vitally important and becomes more important as the years go by. Recognizing your country and its culture, and feeling a sense of -belonging- to it, is a a top concern for so many third culture kids who can grow up feeling they can adapt to anything but don't belong anywhere or fit anywhere.

Nap Warden said...

Happy Birthday!

American in Norway said...

Happy belated... Cheers!

Andrea said...

Happy Birthday! I'm new to the blog but it is interesting to see how repartition is going. We moved when my son was 4 (now 6 1/2) and he doesn't remember much about America. Our total is four years here so *if* we move back to the US (hoping for Asia transfer :) he will have lived here as long as he lived there. Weird.

Diane Mandy said...

What an interesting post and comment! I've never given the idea of cultural identity much thought, especially as it relates to children, but I have to think your kids have plenty of time for that. And the experiences you are giving them-- I think these will be so valuable to them in life as they move forward. Think of how much better the earth would be if people could see the world from a different point of view (whether or not they agree) and to have been able to spend some time walking in the shoes of others!

Diane Mandy said...

And HAPPY BIRTHDAY. 35 is such a great age--as I recall, at least.

Hyphen Mama said...

Your kids are going to be so well rounded, culturally speaking. They are getting a million dollar education in diversity and understanding. That is so great.

Tenakim said...

happy belated birthday- we are the same age. That must be fascinating seeing how they react to different cultures!

EmmaP said...

ok - absolutely love this post. first, it reminds us of the simple things we take for granted. i love that she wondered why everyone was speaking english, but didn't catch on that those around her were more like her than where you were.

and hope you had a great 35th, btw. i'll be hitting it this year as well...december!

Rhonda said...

What incredible experiences for your children!

justjuli said...

How funny! It's interesting the little things we take for granted in our culture.

Happy SITS day!

Creative Junkie said...

This is fascinating to hear how children adapt to other cultures ... it's surprising to see that the things my children just take for granted come as a total surprise to others.

What A Card said...

Wow, that's so funny! And now a whole new culture. Kids are funny. And happy extremely belated birthday (or perhaps just happy SITS day!)

Heather said...

How utterly fascinating to think of American kids experiencing American culture as a culture that isn't familiar to them! Thanks for sharing!

Cheers!

Shannon said...

You wonder where kids come up with the stuff they say!

Enjoy your SITS day!

Lula! said...

Utterly adorable!

Kat said...

Again, I am so fascinated. What do your kids think of being nomads? Or I suppose that they don't know anything different. Do they pick up much of the language? And I wonder if they'll hang on to it for the next destination.

I am not sure that I could mentally handle unpacking all that stuff...knowing that in 3 years I'd be starting the process all over again. No wonder your husband is a minimalist :-)

Melanie said...

Very cute. I think you are giving them a great cultural experience that most of our kids could never even dream of. They can figure the rest out as the go. It's great.

Nessa said...

That is so interesting. It must be exciting for them as well as for you to be experiencing things anew through their eyes.

AJ said...

That is so cute!

Congrats again!

At Home Redesigns said...

Interesting...kids are already learning so much, and a new culture, too. It's neat to hear their take on stuff.

PhatMom said...

Kids say the darndest things! My son hasn't been exposed to different cultures and still says those kinds of things about people.

EmBee said...

*whiplash!* So now you're back in the states? I'm confused?

Hot Tub Lizzy said...

Happy Sits day and happy early birthday for next year.

Those are interesting things posed by your kids.

Ren said...

Happy SITS day! It's amazing the things that come of out of our angels mouths.

Mekhismom said...

Wow, do you have any ideas on how to help them establish an American cultural identity or are you just going to let it manifest when they get older?

Melissa Lester said...

Love the one about speaking English. With my non-techno-savvy brain, I could easily be in a store like that and not realize they were speaking English. So I guess your daughter is smarter than me, and an international traveller on top of that!

Amy said...

It's so scary to think what will come outta the mouths of babes! :)

thotlady said...

A friend of mine was in line at a grocery store, when her then three-year-old blurted out...mommy that lady (standing directly behind them) is really ugly!

Yikes! What do you say after that?

WheresMyAngels said...

Glad they posted this one, so I didn't miss it. Too funny!

Katy Lin :) said...

wow! it just goes to show how much they pick up on! i bet it's amazing to see them adjust to so many differences as you move from place to place! they will have a truly global perspective!

Vicki @ notsosahm.wordpress.com said...

Oh, that's so funny. Isn't it amazing though at what kids just pick up and what becomes their reality?! Hopefully experiencing these other cultures so fully will help them better appreciate American culture and freedoms.

Ronnica said...

They're definitely third culture kids! I love your blog and the passport theme...I'll be subscribing!

Party of 5 said...

LOL How funny.

Congrats on your SITS feature.

Sunshine said...

That is sooooo funny! I never thought of it the other way around like that! Awesome.

You do lead an interesting life!

Lisa@BlessedwithGrace said...

Some day, your daughters will be very thankful all of these experiences and opportunities that they were given. Neat.

Rhea said...

I think it's incredibly hilarious and wonderful that your daughters are getting such an international education.

dddiva said...

I think it's great you are giving your kids such a diverse upbringing. Hehe guess kids wherever they are raised will do their darnedest to embarrass their parents, though. ;)

Insane Mama said...

Your kids are having the best experiences that they will remember forever

Elizabeth said...

visiting from SITS...I love it when kids make observations,they always have a fresh perspective!

Hairline Fracture said...

I think they will be much more well-rounded than typical American kids. Probably more culturally sensitive, too, although it may not seem like it now. All kids have the potential to say embarrassing things out loud!

Tracy P. said...

Some friends who live in Turkey came to visit this summer. Their two-year-old asked me to "open the light". I laughed so hard telling his mom about it-she knew that I knew that's the way it's said where he lives, and he had translated it. But I thought, "Oh, those poor grandmas might have quite a time with that!" How do your parents and in-laws handle it?

sassy stephanie said...

That's so funny. I guess a side I have never thought of. I had a friend marry a native and when they moved back from Israel, her daughter was still only about a year old. That would be pretty entertaining to see this!

wendy said...

I love to experience the world through my children. Always an eye-opening experience. They sound precious.

Stephanie said...

That is so cute! It is really interesting to see how children assimilate the world around them - especially when they have been living in a foreign country!

Michelle said...

Well first a happy belated birthday to you! And what fun to be able to capture their impressions of life in the States -- and yes, there are LOTS of big tushies in the States, a fact I was reminded of today while at the State Fair! Keep writing them down.

wehave9 said...

How cool it must be to experience life in such different cultures. Hopefully your children will have some great memories of it when they grow up.

cricketphx said...

Great story! I'm sure you're children will be richly blessed by the diversity you are allowing them to experience!

Patty said...

I can't wait for my kids to start talking (I'm sure I'll live to regret this statement). But I hear so many cute things from other moms about what their kids say. Can't wait for my own funny, err embarrassing, stories of my own.

Karen said...

When my daughter and her family moved back to NZ from the US, my oldest granddaughter wouldn't eat the cheese, because 'It's not yellow like American cheese, Mummy!!'

Great story about your kids!

Congratulations on being SITS Queen for the day :-)

Laurel said...

After Chennai I bet they will look at clean tap water with wonder and amazement on your next trip home:)!

Melissa said...

I love the innocence of children. They are so honest. My son love the push on my "mushy" tummy. He thinks it's hilarious, I think is a call for a tummy tuck.

mrsmouthy said...

I guess that's one thing that's best about being in a foreign country--they can ask away and chances are, no one else understands them!

P.S. My friend just spent 2 years in Israel b/c her husband is a government employee. Actually, I guess it's been 2 years now. Just thought I'd share. :)

Camille; Ponytail Challenge said...

Happy Birthday. I am here- a little late from SITS.
Such a neat experience for your family to have lived overseas- I hope your kids always remember it.
AND, most of all, I LOVE that your kids use the word "tushie." We may just have to adopt that in to our family vocab.

Cristin said...

You're kids are so lucky! I'm sure they'll appreciate it one day!

Rela Pantaleon-Manigsaca said...

Not that you need more to keep yourself sharp...but as they say "out of the mouth of babes..."

Untypically Jia said...

Oh that is too funny!

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