As parents determined to raise global citizens, my husband and I were reticent to channel financial resources toward a Disney-vacation rather than taking our children abroad for enrichment. But, there is something that stirs inside both of us when it comes to celebrating the ephemeral days of childhood that made us reconsider.
Here in the US, a visit to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida or Disneyland in Anaheim, California is a childhood hallmark. In fact, I have met parents, who began planning their Disney vacation the moment they found out they were pregnant with their first child.
And even though a Disney family-vacation can cost upwards of several thousand dollars (with hotels, park tickets and flights), it doesn’t necessarily mean that parents will wait until their children are old enough to fully enjoy the experience nor, in some cases, are even old enough to remember it; tots, barely able to toddle, are a common site at Disney theme parks. (more…)
It’s 2013, a new year and of course the air is full of portent: new beginnings, fresh starts, gleaming resolutions to become perfect by February, March at the latest. Gyms throng with new devotees, yoga classes bulge with folks suddenly in need of a little down-dog enlightenment.
2013 marks the beginning of our second year in Abu Dhabi: we moved here in August 2011, so we are slowly becoming accustomed to the rhythms of expat life. My younger son, for example, when we returned to Abu Dhabi after spending the holidays with family in Manhattan, said “basically we just have two homes even though we only have one apartment.” That’s as good a summary as any: we no longer have an apartment in New York, so we’re always sort of perching–a rental, a hotel, someone’s house–and yet New York will always be “home.”
I’d thought that by now, sixteen months into our Abu Dhabi adventure, I’d have gotten further below the surface of this city but I still feel like I’m floating. It’s a city that allows the float: English is the common language, there are people from every country imaginable walking the streets, I don’t have to cover my hair or my skin to go outside, bacon and liquor are readily available even though they are forbidden to Muslims.
I have heard and read lots of discussions and debates about gender roles, and in a book called “First-time Parents“, by Dr. Miriam Stoppard (I have been using this as reference book these last 10 months), there is a section about the differences in behaviour and development between boys and girls and how we should help the baby develop the skills that do not come as naturally.
I read about this when I was pregnant, and to be honest, I hadn’t really thought that much about it since. I was just taking it for granted that, as a parent, I would want my wee lad to be a balanced person who would get the opportunity to play with whatever he wanted to play with. (more…)