May 23, 2012
Missing out on a normal childhood
Sometimes I wonder if my kids are missing out. Are they missing out on the awesome adventures of childhood by living in China? Are they somehow deprived because we've been led to China? My kids will never get to experience Chuck-E-Cheese birthday parties, trampolines in their backyard, a car seat (or seat belt), hot dogs, S'mores, T-ball, Fun dip, Kool-Aid, Sno-cones. The list seems endless.
It's hard at times as I begin to imagine my kids' lives in America. They would be surrounded by familiar things. Well...they would be surrounded by things that are familiar to me, not them. What's normal and familiar to my kids it quite different.
I remind myself of this every time Kanyon gets excited about eating a Chinese hot dog filled with corn. Or when he gets super excited to eat cucumber flavored sunflower seeds or seaweed flavored chips. Or when he is beside himself because we bought him a cheap plastic sword at the park. Or when he prefers tofu and rice for supper. Or when he draws a large crowd, poses for pictures, and receives free gifts/candy as we walk through the subway. That's his normal and who am I to poop on it? I must get excited too because that's all he knows. That's his normal.
Case in point. For months Kanyon begged us to play at the "rip-off toys" near our apartment. We've walked by them everyday as Kaynon goes to school or as we go to the local market. For us, they are "rip-off toys" because they are old, dirty, rusty and mostly just a tetanus shot waiting to happen, but to Kanyon they represent kid heaven, a paradise island. We went and played all morning. The kids were super excited. So excited they couldn't decide what to play with first and changed toys every few minutes. It was normal and fun for us all.
I do realize they are NOT MISSING OUT on anything. They are in fact gaining so much by living in and experiencing another culture. That I would not trade. But there is something nostalgic about my kids experiencing some of the same things I enjoyed as a kid (hot dogs, s'mores, and baseball).
It's also quite hard to smile and nod and get excited every time my kid offers me another sample of his favorite new seaweed flavored chips. I hope they never like to eat chicken feet! :)