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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Comparing Your Kids to Others

Two young teens relaxing in a park.Our family’s children, most of them moving from their teens to their twenties at this point, fall short in a variety of ways. They’re not so sure about their future plans, they might want to talk back upon occasion, they lack in the area of personal initiative…. But on the whole, when coached, they possess manners, act helpful (even if with the occasional harrumph!), behave well and are decent, caring human beings.

In short, we are blessed.

But unsurprisingly, when we have a friend of theirs up close and personal in terms of proximity, it’s difficult not to compare. Recently, Mashenka reconnected with a friend from a long-ago camp experience, texting and FaceTiming and hence, said friend is living and traveling with us this week.

Rather ambitious for a first outing, I would suggest the two maybe getting together for an afternoon. However, that’s part of the hesitancy of thnew friendship, you might feel you need to wow someone rather than simply get to know them over a Coke at McDonald’s. So, we are put in the position of trying to simplify our family food, which is really not that exotic, slow down our schedule because it’s exhausting for her and allow her to VERY loudly giggle, guffaw and vegetate behind closed doors for hours on end.

It’s been an eye-opener.

The kids eat pasta with tomato sauce and she eats plain pasta, not even with butter, olive oil or cheese. She doesn’t do veggies or salads.  Picky eater extraordinaire.  She choked down a tablespoon of green beans. She prefers pizza and wings. Plain, fried chicken wings— not Buffalo, ranch, BBQ or General Tsao.

thShe eats with her elbows on the table and appears bemused when I eat my solitary wing with knife and fork, or when I indulge in a delightful salad rather than join them on the greasy fare.

I say good morning and good night to her specifically and she doesn’t respond. Okay, it’s all so new to her. She zones out when we have a brief discussion. Still, she is polite and appropriate, articulates well and follows our kids around like a puppy dog… and loves playing with our dogs, as well. A delightful young lady.

I am impressed by her academic abilities and her organizational skills. Though she dresses much more casually than our family, maybe a reversion to rural summer camp days, she has brought along every possible item she might need from beach towel to bed roll. Good job!

I speak with Mashenka, who did not wish to discuss the visit with me ahead of time (?), that maybe she needs to plan some activities for herth friend. Just chatting and laughing in her room, eating snacks and running errands with her father and siblings is not exactly something to write home about. I review a pottery painting activity, some outdoor shopping/cafe areas of natural beauty where they can walk or grab a lemonade, talk about evening fireworks displays or maybe early-morning mini-golf….

Just like the plain pasta, the friend opts for the plain beach. She hasn’t been to a beach in five years and is mesmerized by the uncrowded expanse of clean sand and sparkling waters. Not really a swimmer, they can still walk the shoreline and splash in the waves. I suggest Mashenka search the tide charts and learn when it might be low tide, all the better for walking and exploring. But the suggestions fall on deaf ears.

The girls are too busy giggling to plan ahead. Kinda of a good problem, don’t you think?


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