Hard-won Wisdom

All my life, I thought it was a great idea to skip breakfast and often lunch, too, and have an enormous dinner instead. And then I discovered that this strategy dramatically increases your chances of developing type 2 diabetes, especially if you are overweight and/or have family history of diabetes.

People, if you are young, don’t repeat my mistakes. Eat three non-huge meals and two small snacks at the same time every day. 

The Latino Race

“This report focuses on a critical demographic in the United States – Latinos. Currently 17% of the U.S. population (more than 58 million people) and the second-largest racial/ethnic group in the nation Latinos are a fast-growing demographic,” begins a study conducted by Yale researchers that is titled “Climate Change in the Latino Mind.”

I can’t keep reading past the first sentences because I don’t understand how Latinos can be a “racial/ethnic group.”

How can one trust a study whose creators didn’t even try to familiarize themselves with a group they are studying? What shared ethnicity or race can an Afro-Cuban, a white Argentinean of Ukrainian descent, a descendant of the Bolivian Aymaras and a mestizo from Tamaulipas possibly have? They will probably (but not always) share a language and a culture. But race? That’s every kind of insane. Is it the “all THOSE people are the same to me” attitude at play?

Growing Up

Klara asked for more milk this morning and I left her in her crib and went downstairs to heat up another portion. When I came back, I heard her asking her bedtime doll Baby in a conversational tone, “Where did mamma go? What happened? Where did mamma go?”

People are stunned by how well she speaks, but I tell them, “Hey, I’m a language teacher. This is exactly like teaching beginner language courses but without any “will this be on the test?” and “I’m an English major, so why do I have to be here at all? I hate languages!!!!””

Many colleagues respond to this kind of outburst by explaining the importance of learning languages but I don’t. I’m not a saleswoman or a guidance counselor. I refuse to hand-hold and caretake at work. If you detest the language requirement, organize with other students and present a collective petition to the administration. When Klara goes, “No pants, no dress, no shoes, no school!”, I spend as much time as I need to entertain, convince, cajole and provoke interest. But I’ll be damned if I treat adults at work like I treat my toddler. If their parents chose not to socialize them into the joys and limitations of adulthood, it’s their misfortune.

The most unpleasant part of parenthood is socializing a child into the system of societal limitations. The danger is that you can either impose too many limitations or too few. And the temptation is always to say, “To hell with it. No pants, no dress, no school is fine because it makes my life easier not to jump around like a trained bunny explaining why you have to do it”. But that’s a way out at the expense of the child. Who will grow up thinking it’s ok to throw tantrums at school or at work. 


N says, “Suddenly, it become a lot harder to take care of Klara. It used to be so much easier.”

“Did it start when I left for the DR?” I ask. 

“Yes!” he says. 

And that’s how we discovered the difference between the primary caregiver and everybody else.

Actually, the hardest time so far when she was between a year and 19 months. That is, in the gap between her learning to walk and learning to talk in sentences.