State of the Offspring Address – October 2015

October 31, 2015 By: erik Category: Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos

Halloween 2015The Raslets made some good progress in October. The biggest event was Nora starting French lessons. We had been searching around for a potential French teacher for some time. Pretty much the only language that anyone is interested in teaching children in Spain is English; all the French classes are for older people. Someone directed us to a woman who lives in the building adjacent to us who was going to give French classes to students at a local school, but, as is often the case in public education, the funding dried up at the last minute and she ended up not doing it. I spoke to her, and she said, “Hmm, well, I’d need to brush up on my textbooks from school, but I could probably teach some basics to a six-year-old.” Not quite what I wanted to hear.

State of the Offspring Address – September 2015

September 30, 2015 By: erik Category: Family, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos

Carlos V in LaredoSeptember was a good month, but not nearly as milestone-laden as August. The highlight of the month was the visit from my parents, which greatly boosted Ian’s English. The biggest steady improvement over the month was Ian’s language and potty skills. The other major event was Nora starting her scholastic career in first grade.

State of the Offspring Address – August 2015

August 31, 2015 By: erik Category: Extremadura, Family, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos

Summer SonTo say that August was a month of milestones would be an understatement. The kids spent almost all of August in the little town of Higuera de la Serena, in Extremadura, in southern Spain, where their maternal grandmother is from. They had a blast, with the lack of schedule and structure that accompanies many memories of summer vacations. The milestone that most excites me is that Nora finally learned how to ride her bicycle.

Textbooks – Spanish Schools Are Not Free

August 19, 2015 By: erik Category: Complaining, Parenting, Spain, USA

First grade Spanish text books.This September, my six-year-old daughter will embark upon her academic journey as a student; she’s starting first grade. When I was an elementary school student in the United States, I remember going to school on the first day, and finding each desk with a stack of books on it. Almost always, each book was old and worn, and part of the fun of the first day of school was to open the front cover to sign your name on the list of previous students who had been assigned that book. Sometimes you even knew the previous one-year-older kid who had had that book before you.

State of the Offspring Address – July 2015

July 30, 2015 By: erik Category: Family, Golf, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos

Cereal for BreakfastJuly has been a pretty full month. The biggest event in the children’s lives was that Nora started her two week summer courses: skating and crafts. Every weekday we go to Nora’s school at 10:15 to begin getting her suited up for skating. She has knee, elbow and wrist pads. Her skating class is from 10:30 to noon. At noon, she takes off all her gear, stows it in the school lobby, and goes up to what will be her English classroom for the next six years to do manualidades, which translates to handicrafts, until 1:30pm. She made some bracelets, a coaster, and some wall art made of little pieces of foam. From what I can tell, she likes the class a lot. There was one day, however, in which she said that two of the older girls had been singing songs about her, not nice songs. Ugh? This already? I told her that anyone who insults her is being silly, and that if they do it again, that she should tell the teacher. We haven’t heard of any incidents since.

State of the Offspring Address – June 2015

June 30, 2015 By: erik Category: Family, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos

Sharing a mostoPlenty of milestones this month. Nora finished her third year of preschool and is now officially a First Grader. It was pretty emotional, since she’s had the same amazing teacher, Viky, for all three years. I’ve been a fan of hers since the beginning. All the parents got together and organized a book of photos and had each kid do a drawing, and then one father spent probably a dozen hours building it into a book of which copies could be ordered.

State of the Offspring Address – May 2015

May 31, 2015 By: erik Category: Family, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos

Saturday morning with DaddyThe highlight of this month was an eleven day visit from my parents. As always, they got along splendidly with their two grandchildren. Just as expected, Ian’s English improved considerably. A skeptic would still consider a lot of what he says to be little more than parroting back the last few syllables he’s heard, but he does an increasingly better job of pronouncing those syllables. At dinner with my parents, he concocted sentence constructions as long as “More tomato please, Grandpa!” The boy can’t get enough tomatoes.

State of the Offspring Address – April 2015

April 30, 2015 By: erik Category: Family, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos

Ian in SusinosWith her sixth year firmly under her belt, Nora has had a good start to her seventh. Meanwhile, her adoring and adorable little brother finished his second solar lap in style. Ian continues to babble in increasingly coherent ways. Sometimes when he’s bored, he’ll test out different sounds, like a child learning to speak. He’s already got some good solid English phonemes, like when I say “bridge”, he repeats “-idge”, which is a sound that’s tough for native Spanish speakers learning English.

State of the Offspring Address – March 2015

March 31, 2015 By: erik Category: Family, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos

Ian WritesMarch has seen several major milestones hit by the offspring, pretty much all by Nora, and I’m not even counting her sixth birthday or losing her first tooth, both of which were amazing sources of pride for her. Ian is still plodding along being adorable, friendly and so curious that he gets into trouble. He’s just finally started getting out a third or fourth syllable to his thoughts, like “Let’s go, Nora”, or “Daddy, jacket!”

El Ratoncito Pérez – The Spanish Tooth Fairy

March 18, 2015 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Parenting, Spain

Ratoncito PérezOn a previous post, I mentioned a list of parenting vocabulary that I had never had the occasion to learn in Spanish until becoming a parent. When my daughter, Nora, was about two, either through some cartoon or a stuffed animal, she and her Spanish grandparents began talking about el Ratoncito Pérez, and every time Nora saw anything resembling a mouse, she would exclaim that name. At the time, I had no idea what that name meant.