The city we live in, Bellevue, is an interesting cultural melting pot. I think most people think of Seattle’s Eastside as being predominantly rich and white, but while there are certainly plenty of folks who fall under that category (what’s up, PLETHORA OF RIDICULOUS YACHTS), the neighborhoods—thanks in no small part to Microsoft, I’m sure—are actually incredibly diverse.

A while ago I started noticing how Asian and Hispanic families seem, generally speaking, to have unusually well-behaved kids. I’m particularly drawn to the sight of families walking down 156th (a super busy street), and how even very young children just … walk, like normal humans. In one direction. While staying on the sidewalk. Like, they’re not darting here and there and acting like they have unpredictable, malfunctioning propellors jammed in their tiny rear ends, and their parents aren’t chasing them or barking orders at them or guiding them or reaching out to slam an iron eagle grip on the back of their collar before they step cluelessly in front of a speeding Metro bus. They’re just WALKING. As if they were born with a little COMMON SENSE and SELF-PRESERVATION.

I could give a million more examples of how calm and non-insane these kids appear to me, but I think the gist of what I’m wondering is, are we talking about environmental differences or culture discipline philosophies or what? Why do Western kids—my own, for sure, but also most kids I see out and about—seem so much more hyper and distracted?

You guys, thank you so much for all your comments on that last post. I was pretty worried about putting it out there, and to be perfectly honest JB wasn’t exactly 100% super totally completely thrilled with me for doing so, but I felt like the relief of talking about it and maybe getting some ideas would be worth any negative repercussions. I was right. Thank you for everything you shared with me.

I’ve had a couple of moments with Riley recently that taught me a thing or two. In talking about the swimming freakout together and using the dog metaphor, he said, I couldn’t tell my dog to sit, Mom. I was trying, but he was just yapping and yapping too loud. Oh. Oh, my boy.

Yesterday it was gorgeous and summery and I took the kids to the lake to play on the beach. I didn’t even bother bringing swimsuits, figuring no one would be getting in the water. After we’d been there for about ten minutes Riley had made some new friends and soon he was wading in the water—tentatively, then less so. The next thing I knew everyone, including Dylan, was completely submerged, hooting and splashing and having a blast. And that’s where they stayed for the entire morning.

“Mom! Mom! Look at me!” Riley shouted, waving madly from the water, his sopping clothes clinging to him. His face was brighter than the sun.


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