Monday, February 2, 2015

Simplicity & Accountability by my 6 Yr Old

There are really so many other things I need to be catching up with this amazing online course that I'm taking, or finishing my new website. BUT...blogging feels a bit like an old security blanket, and when the post starts writing itself in my head, I know it's time to make the time to sit down, relax, and peck out a story or two.

This afternoon, on our way home from gymnastics, Kaya and I were discussing whether we'd go to the grocery store. Neither of us is so fond of the activity, so there is generally plenty of reason, and resistance from us both, to avoid it. But, as I shared with her, my contact lenses can only water themselves for so long, and our cow is about to run it seemed there was no avoiding a trip this time.

So, after her initial squawking about not wanting to go, she adamantly proclaims, "Dann ich werde ein Treat bekommen!" [Then, I'm going to get a treat!] (and for those non-German speakers out there, I might add that 'treat' is not a German word, but serves to represent the influx of mixing that we're seeing lately). The key terms here are "adamantly proclaims". This is no excited tone of eagerness at the idea that the treat might actually materialize in her hands at the store. To the contrary, she was quite clear what would be happening and who would be making it happen.

Once I joined in the assertion game that she was playing, letting her know which reality she would actually experience under the current circumstances of tone and expectation, we were able to move on to the point that I'm actually trying to get to in this story. She gets the point, changes her tone, and as if by magic, I begin to create my own storyville dreamland of our grocery adventure. I see the pint of chocolate ice cream in my hand, feeling the chill on my skin, wondering which flavor I would choose. Milk, saline solution, cream. Yes, indeed - if she's going to get a treat, then guess who else is, too. "Ich will auch ein Treat," [I want a treat,too] I tell her, choosing somewhat hesitantly to let her in on my dreamland a bit. It felt a bit cathartic, I must say: I've been avoiding processed sugar for nearly 2 months now, doing pretty 'well' despite the urges at times, and it felt good to just be honest about what I really wanted...and give a little window into what I was thinking. I wasn't sure how she'd respond, despite her awareness of my no-sugar adventure. I guess I figured she'd be so involved in her own treatville dreamland that she'd be completely oblivious to mine.

But alas, I was wrong. Instead of letting me continue to bask in the details of what flavor chocolate I'd choose and exactly how I'd go about breaking this personal agreement I'd made with myself (and my husband), she stops me in my tracks. "Aber du wirst kein Treat bekommen, weil du kein Zucker isst..." [But you won't buy a treat because you're not eating sugar.]

I feel like I'd just been caught by my 6 year old with my hand in the cookie jar (after having just called her into the kitchen). The silence rang loudly in my ears after she spoke, until doubt kicked in to clarify. "Ein Treat oder kein Treat," ['A' treat or 'no' treat?] I ask her, checking to be sure that I'd really been caught. There was no mistaking it, however. She called me out. My mind begins to scan for possibilities. What might I say that could counter the point she'd just made?

"Yeah, I know but today I feel extra sad so I'm going to eat."
"That's true, but it's OK to break self-agreements when things don't go well."
"I know honey, but I don't feel like it anymore."

I couldn't do it. There was nothing I could say or do that felt solid enough for me to stand behind...except for sticking to what I'd agreed to and letting her point ring true: I'm not eating sugar, so I'm not going to get a treat.

Sure there was a part of me, that small voice, that wanted to tell her Big voice, that I would do whatever the hell I wanted. That I can have a bad day and eat chocolate when I want. That no child of mine is going to tell me what to do. But my Big voice knows better. She knows when to heed advice from those who thrive on structure. And she knows that there's nobody that I'm really responsible to except myself...regardless of who says what in which car.

So, to the future Kaya who will read this one day, thank you.
To the Kaya who asks me before falling asleep, "Fuhlst du dich besser, Mama?" [Do you feel better, Mama?]
Thank you for being my rock, in more ways than one, for guiding and supporting me --once again-- to be the person that I strive to be in our world.


  1. Hello, Tamara, this is Nina, a non-native bilingual buddy, over at "Bringing Up 8 Bilingual Babies. I was trying to find an email link on your page, but couldn't locate it, so I'll send you a message through a comment. I wanted to feature your family on my website, and wondered if you'd be willing to write up a little blurb about your non-native bilingual experiences. I have a short questionnaire, that i can email you. Please just send me a quick email at Thanks. I hope to hear from you. I love your story.

    1. Hi, this is Diana, a Spanish mum who is raising her 5 year old girl in English ( both her dad and I are Spanish native speakers) So we are doing the same thing as you guys but with a different target language I have been writing about this a lot, I used to have a blog, but not anymore. I have just discovered this blog. congratulations. If you want to send me an email, please feel free! Hasta luego!

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