Articles from January, 2011

Monday, January 31st, 2011

Real Intercultural Family in the U.S.: Portuguese, Romanian and English

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Real Intercultural Family in the U.S.: Portuguese, Romanian and English
Welcome Ingrid and Leo!   Where are you from? Leo: Brazil   Ingrid: Romania   Where do you currently live? Berkeley, CA. (The each hold a PhD from the University of Berkeley).   How did you meet? Leo: At a birthday party of a friend in common.   Ingrid: It's a much longer story than that. He was visiting from Brazil.   Leo: I was escaping carnival. I was visiting some friends and went to this birthday party.   Ingrid: I got lost going to the party.  Read more »

So what’s the big deal about sleepovers, anyhow?

On my 16th birthday, a blond classmate was shocked to discover that I would not also, automatically, be allowed to date.  Read more »

Being a Working Muslimah Mother

Guilt seems to be an integral part of modern motherhood.  Read more »

Chinese New Year Recipe: Yuanxiao (sweet rice balls)

Yuanxiao, or sweet rice balls, are traditionally eaten on Lantern Festival, which is the last day of the two-week Chinese New Year holiday  Read more »

Closer to God: The First 40 Days After Birth

The first time you hold your precious little one, it is hard to imagine that one day this tiny being will be able to speak and share their thoughts with you. I would stare at Amrita for hours, wondering what she would come to care about and what she would be like. For about the first month of my daughter's life, she seemed to spend most of her time off in another realm.  Read more »

Ayyam-i-Ha Craft: Advent Style Banner

Ayyam-i-Ha is the time of the year for gift giving, celebrating and performing acts of charity. Here's an advent type banner with 4 pockets--1 for each day of Ayyam-i-Ha that one crafty mama created for Ayyam-i-Ha. Each morning her kids wake up to a surprise. This post has been reprinted with permission from Carrie over at Tao Of Craft.   Materials: Felt in coordinating pieces Rainbow strip of fabric (or make your own from different color felt strips) Fabric glue Pinking sheers (if you want a pinked edge) Baha'i star template ~ You can download it HERE   Instructions: 1.  Read more »

Stupider Than a Potato: Life With My Chinese Mother

I spent Christmas in Hong Kong with my brother and my parents. It was the first family holiday (minus my two sisters) we had in a very long time. We were walking around in Mong Kok the day after Boxing Day, strolling down the narrow path flanked on either side by busy stalls selling handbags, t-shirts, knick knacks and souvenirs on Ladies Street. The sky was clear and the sun was in our faces.  Read more »

Autism and Multilingualism: A Parent’s Perspective

It happened again last week. I was enjoying a cup of coffee with a colleague when she asked me point blank what language we spoke at home. I often get that question as my husband and I come from different countries and on top of that, we're expats in Turkey. This makes us, for all practical purposes, a trilingual family. But people don't buy that and they want to know which of our three languages we really speak, when no one is watching.  Read more »

Ayyam-i-Ha Recipe: Fesenjan (walnut-pomegranate chicken)

Because the Baha’i faith was born out of what was formerly Persia, Persian recipes are very appropriate for Ayyam-i-Ha. This recipe for fesenjan, also called fesanjoon depending on the regional dialect, combines chicken with pomegranates and walnuts for an amazing explosion of taste.  

Ingredients:

 

1/4 cup olive oil
2 to 3 pounds of chicken, cut into pieces
2 diced onions
2 cups of walnuts, finely ground (in a food processor)
2-3 cups of water (you can alternatively use chicken stock for extra flavor)

 Read more »

Chinese New Year: February 3

The Chinese New Year is the most celebrated holiday of the year in China. It takes place on the first day of the first new moon after the winter solstice in the lunar calendar (February 3rd, 2011). Socially, it is a time for being with friends and relatives and the greater significance is of flushing out the old and welcoming in the new. This holiday, more than any other Chinese holiday, stresses the importance of family ties.  Read more »

Family Evolution: The Meaning of Multicultural

I grew up in a multicultural house. My mother was born in the Netherlands. My father, although also of Dutch heritage, was born in Indonesia and spent much of his early years split between those islands and Australia. He brought with him foods, languages, a love of large birds and a unique accent. I was born in New Jersey but my parents raised me Dutch.  Read more »

Raised Under the Armenian Evil Eye

Growing up in a traditional Armenian home in Southern California, we had many superstitions and rituals. My mother was and still is the queen of superstition. Here are just a few of the many superstitions we followed:   • No whistling especially at night or evil spirits will come. • No cutting your nails at night. This will shorten your life.  Read more »

InCultureParent’s Essential Chinese New Year Reading List

Cat and Rat: The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac By Ed Young (author and illustrator) Review by Frances Kai-Hwa Wang Beautifully written retelling of the story about how the 12 animals of the zodiac were chosen and why the cat and the rat are no longer friends. It really portrays the personalities of the cat, rat, ox, and other animals and ties their personality to how they run their race.  Read more »

Little Buddha at Home

My daughter has recently reached four years old, and has blossomed mentally and physically. What surprises me at this age is how her mind has matured and how she picks up on things that I might overlook. Recently, she started to imitate the Buddha seated in meditation as a joke. I don't know exactly where she picked this up, but in the bathtub she'll cross her little legs, put her hands in the proper mudra (gesture) and sit very straight, just like you see in statues of the Buddha.  Read more »

5 Crafts for the Chinese New Year

There were so many adorable and fun crafts for the Chinese New Year, it was impossible to pick only one to showcase this month. So InCultureParent has put together an overview of some of the best crafts we found for the Chinese New Year. They range from very easy (fingerprint cherry blossoms) to medium-difficulty (dragon mask) and many can be made with materials from around the house (e.  Read more »

Careful With the “R”! Japanese Language Mistakes

A Japanese friend wanted to learn English so she started watching CNN while on the treadmill at the gym to train her ears. It was during Obama's presidential campaign so words like "voters" and "election,” were jumping back and forth among the announcers and repeated all the time, so she was able to catch them.   One day she asked me, “I understand the meaning of "vote" but I don't quite understand the meaning of "election," with heavily-accented Japanese.  Read more »

Cultural Faux Pas From Morocco

The second or maybe third time I had gone to visit my in-laws in Morocco, I definitely felt like I had it down. I had learned many of the cultural rules like to be careful that I don't thoughtlessly put my hand on my husband's leg or my arm around him in casual conversation. I also knew enough to run the cold water when you dump boiling water down the drain because of the superstition that the devil or spirits can live in the drain.  Read more »

My Daughter’s Initiation Into African Hair Braiding

Just before the New Year, my brother spotted my car in the parking of our local shopping centre. He called to find out where I was and as I was at the hairdressers, he popped in to say hello. My daughter (aged 3 years and 8 months) was sat perched on a couple of cushions in the seat next to mine. She had already been sitting perfectly still for over an hour.  Read more »

Language Fail from Japan

Submitted by Simone, Bangkok.  Read more »

Language Fender Bender from Mexico

Do you have your own communication fail in words or in pictures? Please share it with us at submissions@incultureparent.com with "Communication Fail" in the title..  Read more »

Cultural Stereotypes

I have been an expat for almost 13 years or roughly one-third of my life. I grew up in Northern Germany and moved to the South in 1990 so really we're talking about 21 years that I have not lived "at home." (As in most countries, the North and South of Germany are very different.) I think I am so used to it by now that I can't easily say where exactly I come from.  Read more »

Education in Multilingual Families: The Burning Question—Part One

Education. One word, carrying so much baggage. Hope for the future; worries about its quality and quantity. And for families raising bilingual or multilingual children, the language question adds another dimension of difficulty, especially if you are lucky enough to live in a place where you have lots of options. Matthew is four and a half. School starts at age three in France (although it isn't mandatory until age six).  Read more »

On the Hunt for French and Twi Books

We are always on the hunt for books in our family to support my childrens' language acquisition. For French books, this is fairly straightforward. After all, it's the tenth most widely spoken language in the world, with around 130 million speakers, which makes for a lot of books! There is a French Amazon, and the Canadian Amazon carries lots of French titles as well.  Read more »

In the Bleak MidWinter: Teaching Our Children Spiritual Survival Skills

In the bleak midwinter, frost wind made moan, earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone; snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow…   Christmas has passed, but I can’t get these lines from Christina Rossetti’s poem out of my mind. The poem, which celebrates the spiritual renewal symbolized by the birth of Jesus in the middle of winter, was put to music by modern composer Gutav Holst early in the last century and is now a well-known Christmas carol that was featured on many of the radio programs I listened to during the holiday season.  Read more »

Multicultural Art: Learning to Draw Alongside my Daughter

I am not altogether sold on the idea of school. I was before my daughter was born however like so many other aspects of my life, my world view completely shifted with her arrival. My own schooling was entirely conventional: kindergarten, primary, secondary school followed by university and post graduate osteopathy college. In my usual manner, during my pregnancy I had already identified a kindergarten and primary school that I wanted her to attend and then after she arrived something strange happened; I wasn't sure I wanted her to go to school anymore.  Read more »

The Gift of Oranges From a Sister I Will Never Meet

I felt a connection to a woman who had lived across the continent in Ethiopia. We had never met and will never meet in person. She was the birth mother of my three Ethiopian kids. I know it is strange to admit this connection but I can honestly say that I felt a call from her heart to "mother" her children via adoption. Bayoush was around 32 years old and had passed away due to AIDS a few years prior in 2005.  Read more »

Finding Our Way Home

I am not close with members of my family of origin, nor do I live near any of its members. Since my husband is not Jewish, any efforts to raise our four-year-old daughter with a sense of her Jewish maternal heritage rest, naturally, with me. Given some recent difficulties with family members, I have had to take stock and ask myself how much time and effort I am interested in devoting to exposing my daughter to Judaism.  Read more »

Christmas for the Very First Time

This year, I celebrated Christmas in my own place with my wife and three daughters. It was the first time that I did this and I'm 41 years old. Wow. What sounds a little bit weird is actually more due to the way we expats live. When I left my parents' house in 1990 to study 800km further south, I thought it was a temporary move. So like most of my friends I came back "home" for Christmas every year while I was studying.  Read more »

Armenian Christmas Recipe: Anooshabour (Armenian Christmas Pudding)

This is a traditional Armenian Christmas recipe. In the early days, at every Armenian feast, Anooshabour was a traditional must!

Ingredients:
1 c. skinless whole grain wheat (also called shelled wheat berries)*
1 1/2 c. golden bleached raisins
2 c. dried apricots
3 qt. water

 Read more »

Armenian Craft: Weave a Carpet

More than its rich history, artists or cuisine, Armenia is probably best known for its carpets. While carpets are not synonymous with Armenian Christmas, they do represent something typically Armenian, so this month's craft is to weave a carpet. This is a fun project for kids and also good for fine motor skills. Materials Scissors Glue Various types and colors of paper Instructions 1.  Read more »

Armenian Recipe: Tina’s Armenian-Kiss Martini

Pomegranates are the Armenian national fruit and you could easily say that vodka is an Armenian national pastime. Combine the two together and you have an explosively delicious cocktail, rich in Armenian flavor. This is a great one not just for the holidays but any festive occasion.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups pomegranate juice
2 ounces quality vodka
1 ounce cointreau or Triple Sec or Grand Marnier
1 tsp  Read more »

Living in harmony in a great world house on Martin Luther King Day

In Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Nobel Peace Prize lecture, given in 1964, he talks about the idea of a house, "We have inherited a big house, a great world house in which we have to live together--black and white, Easterners and Westerners, Gentiles and Jews, Catholics and Protestants, Moslem and Hindu, a family unduly separated in ideas, culture, and interests who, because we can never again live without each other, must learn, somehow, in this one big world, to live with each other.  Read more »

An Islamic Perspective on Child-Rearing and Discipline

Thanks to a small number of Muslims and large chunks of the mainstream media, Islam has gained a reputation for severity and harshness. When it comes to the way we raise our children this can often be true, but usually due to our cultural backgrounds more than our faith. My parents and grandparents grew up in Pakistan where it was the norm to be smacked by your parents, extended relations and anyone else that happened to be around and in a bad mood.  Read more »
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Why I Travel 13 Hours Alone with My Kids Every Chance I Get

Travelling with children, while definitely more of a mission, contradicts the old saying that “life is about the journey, not the destination.”

A Diverse Book for Preschoolers in Celebration of Multicultural Children's Book Day

A book that honestly and simply celebrates the every day diversity that children experience.

Why My African Feminist Mother Gave Me the Identity of My Father's Tribe

She gave me an identity so different from her own.

2 Children’s Books about Jamaica

Explore Jamaica with your child.

Costa Rica with Kids: Two Weeks of Family Travel

Two weeks of Pura Vida in a country with so much to offer families.

Should I Worry about My Child's Accent in Her Foreign Language?

See why Dr. Gupta takes offense to this question and where children learn accents from

How to raise trilingual kids when exposure to Dad's language is limited

My kids only get 1-2 hours of the minority language per day-help!

What Cultural Norms Around Bare Feet Taught This Mother in Guatemala

Her baby's bare feet ended up being a lesson on poverty and privilege.

Why We Need to Read Multicultural Children's Books

Children need to see the world around them reflected in books.

How My Two Year Old is Teaching Me Thai

I am just another "farang" or stranger until my son starts speaking fluent Thai

10 Things You Should Know Before Adopting a Child

What you may want to consider before sending in that adoption application.

10 Best Children's Books for Gifts

Our Editors favorite multicultural books for this holiday season.

Will Three Languages Confuse a Young Child?

My wife thinks three languages will confuse our child. Is she right?

11 African-American Children’s Books for Christmas and Kwanzaa

Try a few of these from this fantastic selection of African-American holiday books

What I Can Do as a White Mom After Darren Wilson’s Acquittal

How do I explain to my kids the racism that does not come in the form of explicit laws and overt, blatant prejudice?

10 Multicultural Children’s Books that Make Adults Cry

We dare you to read these without a tear

Why This Mom Banned the Word ‘Weird’ From Her Kids' Vocabulary

One approach to explaining diversity to kids.

French versus Italian Parenting in One Multicultural Family

How one mom in an intercultural marriage sees the differences between Italian and French parenting

The Cultural Battleground of Sleepovers

Should they be allowed because it's "normal?" Think again.

Are Parents Too Overprotective in the West and Too Lax in the East?

Would you pick up a stranger's child or is that invasive?

Does Religion Matter? Juggling Two Faiths in One Family

What's the best way to transmit the values we care about to our kids?

Amazing Portraits of Biracial Kids

Smarter, larger, better, healthier and more beautiful? A project that debunks stereotypes.

Dear White Officer, Please Don't Shoot

At what age does my darling black son begin to look like a threat to the world?

A Book that Celebrates Cross-Cultural Friendship

A great pick for back to school season

My Daughter’s 10 Favorite Multicultural Books

Does your shelf have these kid favorites?

I was Diagnosed with Cancer at Age 37 while Abroad with Kids

Illness in a foreign country can be scary but it taught this mom a different meaning of family.

Huge Giveaway for Eid: Tea Collection, Little Passports, Little Pim, Dolls, Books, Music & More

Win almost $300 in prizes from awesome globally-inspired children's products.

5 Smoothies Your Kids Will Love

Healthy smoothies for summer your kids will like.

3 Beautiful Children’s Books That Take Place in the Himalayas

Beautiful children's stories from Nepal to Tibet

Why African Toddlers Don't Have Tantrums

The secret of why African babies don't meltdown like Western ones.

How I Made My Forgotten Native Language My Child’s Strongest

I started off by speaking dodgy Cantonese. No word for remote control? No problem! ‘Pressy thingy.’

Help Us Giveaway a Soccer Ball to Kids in Ethiopia!

Let's donate a ball to kids who need it in Ethiopia. Here's how you can help!

Tanabata Festival: July 7

A beautiful Japanese summer festival

Homemade Art Books for Ramadan

A simple homemade gift for kids

A Children's Book for Global Citizens: Everyone Prays

A celebration of faith around the world through simple text and rich illustrations.

Do I Hold My Son Back to Get into the Immersion Program?

What would you do? Your child won a place in the lottery, only problem is it's the wrong year!

After Her Husband’s Tragic Death, She Embraced a Religion and Culture Not Her Own

This Japanese mom embraced Judaism to give her son a piece of his father
Hi Kim! I am so glad that this article was useful for you and made you feel validated as a parent. It's not often in this judgmental world of parenting we get that, right?! That's the main reason...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
I love reading your work. I can olny imagine what it would be like to have such beautiful customs and true community. I understand why it is so very very important to keep these traditions alive. Be...
From No Kids Allowed: How Kenyan Weddings are Changing
Your mother in-law seems somewhat reasonable. Many Chinese Mother In-laws are not. In their scenario, they would be number 1 to the child and you would be number two. Many want to have a bond closer...
From How My Chinese Mother-in-Law Replaced my Husband
I think Konstantina is actually responding to what is probably more familiar/praised/or preferred socially as well. I was an English teacher in Poland with a distinct accent. I struggled to get Engl...
From Should I Worry about My Child’s Accent in Her Foreign Language?
Noor Kids' title "First Time Fasting" is another great rea...
From 6 Favorite Children’s Books about Ramadan
This article was shared in a community I run to connect globetrotting parents and everyone LOVED it. You should join us! We all relate to your experience. Many of us, including me, are in the same b...
From Why I Travel 13 Hours Alone with My Kids Every Chance I Get
Please help: I Love my wife and my son. I am also EXTREMELY involved as a dad. I had to move to china ( in a tiny tiny town) where I am the only foreigner so that my wife can take over the family bu...
From How My Chinese Mother-in-Law Replaced my Husband
Thanks for writing this!! My baby is 7 months, and I love having her sleep in my room. I don't mention it too often to people who have had kids because they seem a little judgy on it. So tonight I...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
Honestly, it looks like the author married into a very backward and old fashioned family. Not stimulating children's curiosity, differences between boys and girls, and women slaving in the house, wh...
From French versus Italian Parenting in One Multicultural Family
[…] B. Breasts are for Babies? Perceptions of Breastfeeding in Italy. In Culture Parent June […...
From Breasts are for Babies? Perceptions of Breastfeeding in Italy
[…] that “beatings” are not actually spankings. There may be some truth to this because African tribal culture does not support “spanking”. This is confirmed by my own observation in S...
From African Parenting: The Sane Way to Raise Children
[…] Pomlazka, a special handmade whipping stick, is an Easter tradition in the Czech Republic. Made out of pussywillow tigs, pomlazka is braided and then used by the village boys/men to “...
From What’s Easter without a Whipping?
Hi Hajar! I have 3 (almost 4, 10 weeks to go), we sleep on a king mattress with a single beside it, generally I sleep with the 3 on the King and my husband is on the single! (Babies are 6,4 and 1). ...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
Dear Arabic Dad, I disagree with Dr. Gupta's advice to drop Arabic if your children reject it. If you show your children that you are willing to speak English with them, they will not make the effor...
From How to raise trilingual kids when exposure to Dad’s language is limited
How to teach our children, daughters in particular, how to live not as a victim in a world where they are victims? Sigh.... we so much want them to live in the santa clause and tooth faery and ideal...
From What I Can Do as a White Mom After Darren Wilson’s Acquittal
What a wonderful review! If you're interested, we'd love for you to link up this post (or any other that features diverse kid lit) with the Diverse Children's Books Link-up! You can find it at ...
From 2 Children’s Books about Jamaica
This is exactly what I wanted to teach my students. They are learning about traditional games from around the world and I found this wonderful website to get full of useful information! It helped me...
From Five Fun Games from Around the World
Hi there! Once you baby gets past the 3 month mark, it sounds like you still should wear or carry them?! Do you just not bundle them up as much or how do you wear them? Do you have any pictures :) m...
From Why African Babies Don’t Cry
Hi! I am wondering when you breastfeed your baby that long.. 4 years or so.. Do you ever introduce solids to them? Or so they just drink breast milk until age ...
From Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan
[…] http://www.incultureparent.com/2011/12/how-to-raise-confident-asian-pacific-american-daughters/ […...
From How to Raise Strong and Confident Asian Pacific American Daughters
This is a great collection of ideas for Chinese culture projects from some of my favorite bloggers! Thank...
From 18 Ways to Celebrate the Lunar New Year with Crafts, Food and Children’s Books
I wonder also that if your wife's native language (or at least one of the native languages) is Urdu, as she talks Urdu with her own mother, why doesn't she speak Urdu to your children? If you live i...
From How to raise trilingual kids when exposure to Dad’s language is limited
I do call it latvian flashmob: just "break the door" and Come with my family to celebrate somebodys nameday. You Will never know how many guests Will be there....
From The Coolest Latvian Celebration You Probably Haven’t Heard of
I think spanking is the tool of the lazy parent. If you have to spank a child up to adulthood, then it is obviously not an effective form of disipline. Also, call me paranoid, but it seems like all...
From Are French Kids Better Behaved Because They are Spanked?
[…] Muslims fast for 30 days every year for Ramadan, which is one of the five pillars of Islam. Ramadan this year is happening during most of the month […...
From Ramadan: June 28-July 28
[…] What Makes Berkeley School so Great  from Stephanie from InCultureParent […...
From A California Public School Snapshot: What Makes Berkeley so Great?
Both of my parents are white (with roots in Ireland and England). My mother's side is very kissy-huggy, and I remember greeting both my maternal grandmother and grandfather with kisses on the cheek ...
From Cross-Cultural Parenting in Japan: Differences in Affection
[…] are so many incredible reasons to read diverse biographies; they can be summed up best in In Culture Parent magazine found digitally. The authors provided multiple valuable reasons but t...
From Ten Reasons Parents Should Read Multicultural Books to Kids
So glad to see all this and looking forward to doing it with our first come Sept, God willing. I am curious though, I see all these cosleeping articles and comments but have yet to find anyone expla...
From The African Guide to Co-sleeping
Hi all! American married to Egyptian and we are expecting our first in Sept, God willing. After speaking with many girls in the Arabic community as well as ladies married to Arabic men, most seem to...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
This article and some of the ensuing comments was familiar yet frustrating. I have a mother-in-law who takes up a lot of space and has made efforts to run things, but this is not her culture - this ...
From How I Reclaimed My House from My Mother-in-Law
I'm Chris, a reading teacher and father of 4 amazing kids. Forget about everything you've read and heard about how and when your child should learn to read - most of the information out there is irr...
From How Should We Teach Reading to a Bilingual Child?
Hi Mira, Love your list. I would add the following titles: - Grandfather Gandhi, by Arun Gandhi and Bethany Hegedus - The Last Kappa of Old Japan, by Sunny Seiki - Fly Free, by Roseanne Thong -...
From Best Asian-American Children’s Books
I stumbled across this blog today while looking for resources for my, hopefully, multilingual baby. It was exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you so much for capturing what I am currently feelin...
From 10 Things Not to Say to Parents of Multilingual Children
Thanks for this lovely post! I agree completely -- all our kids need to see themselves reflected in literature so that they know that their stories matter too. I'd love it if you checked out my bo...
From Why We Need to Read Multicultural Children’s Books
[…] unity and eating them brings good luck. I don’t have my recipe, but I found a few good ones here, here and […...
From Chinese New Year Recipe: Yuanxiao (sweet rice balls)
[…] Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan | InCulture Parent […...
From Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan
Thank you for your post! I am also working through raising my child with a sense of religious community and ritual without strictly adhering to certain interpretations of religious faith. (And also ...
From Does Religion Matter? Juggling Two Faiths in One Family
I don't understand. I always thought that discipline was a major part of far East culture. (no racism intended of course). So I'm a little confused. Were the examples mentioned in the article consid...
From Cross-Cultural Differences in Discipline in Japan