Articles from March, 2012

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

What’s Easter without a Whipping?

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What’s Easter without a Whipping?
This year I saw a different side of the age-old Czech tradition of whipping. Although I've been on the receiving end of the Czech pomlázka tradition (an Eastern European Easter tradition where a whip made from braided pussy willow twigs is used by men to swat girls and women), the gentle swats I've gotten from my husband's family always seem a gesture of hospitality and a matter of custom--never a whipping, in the physical sense. Until this year, being "whipped" never hurt. Though I've listened to Czech girlfriends cite instances where they felt Czech men (even their own fathers, uncles and brothers) took the tradition out of hand, I always assumed that if a woman said she didn't want to be whipped her wishes would be respected.  Read more »

A Multicultural Feast: 7 Fun Children’s Books on Food

Foods embody cultures. And food-themed books are a great way to sample and savor cultures  Read more »

Common Disagreements in Multicultural Families

Raising children in a multicultural setting can be challenging, especially when two cultures say the exact opposite about caring for your child.  Read more »

Fostering Bilingual Education through Two-Way Immersion

This article is an excerpt from the book Diary of a Bilingual School: How a Constructivist Curriculum, a Multicultural Perspective, and a Commitment to Dual Immersion Education Combined to Foster Fluent Bilingualism in Spanish- and English-Speaking Children Fluent bilingualism is commonplace throughout much of the world.  Read more »

Why the Tooth Fairy is American in our Multicultural Home

With six kids from six to 14 years old it is often hard to keep up with all the teeth falling out. Even my 20-year-old last year had four wisdom teeth pulled and seriously resembled one of the Twilight characters, pale with a few drops of blood emerging from the side of her mouth. I have a litany of tooth fairy excuses that I have resorted to when I forget a child’s tooth has fallen out.  Read more »

Passover Craft: Seder Placemat

Passover is the Jewish holiday that celebrates the Israelites' exodus and freedom from slavery under the Egyptians.  The Passover Seder is a ritual feast--full of ceremony and symbolism--that marks the beginning of Passover. It involves retelling the story of the exodus from Egypt together with dinner.  The Seder plate contains symbolic foods, each with special significance to the story.  Read more »

Passover Recipe: Gefilte Fish

Passover celebrates the Jewish post-slavery exodus from Egypt. The holiday begins on the 15th day of the month of Nissan, which typically falls in March or April, and lasts seven or eight nights, dependent on different Jewish sects. Because the Jews fled without warning and thus had no time to let their bread rise, throughout the holiday no leavening of any sort can be eaten  Read more »

Explaining How Babies are Born to my Adopted Son

Last week, we learned that our son Jin has been telling his teacher that he has a baby sister, named Quesadilla. Jin does not have any siblings. He has what in my opinion is a spectacular imagination. For Jin, nothing is what it seems--a purple block is a salt shaker, a salt shaker is a strawberry smoothie and his blankets are his babies. He cares for these babies, feeds them, and rocks them to sleep.  Read more »

Turkish Mosaic Craft for Kids

As the mom of two Turkish-American boys, I’m always on the lookout for ways to expose my kids to their Turkish heritage, especially the amazing arts and crafts. From miniature paintings to marbled paper, hand-woven kilims, carpets, ceramics and mosaics, Turkish artists have a long tradition of creating stunning art. But living in rural Connecticut, we don’t often see real-life examples of arts and crafts from that part of the world.  Read more »

Raising Multicultural Children: A Symphony of Swishing Walnut and Baobab Trees

I was born in a small Slavonian town, the first grandchild to my grandparents and niece to six aunts. We all lived together, in a red roofed traditional Slavonian house, with the requisite walnut tree in the front yard and a continually busy kitchen, where a large pot of beans and potatoes simmered slowly and cheese strudel cooled on the windowsill.  Read more »

Raising Bilingual Kids Talk

I recently participated in a talk on raising bilingual kids over at The Motherhood, with many great co-hosts. We had a fantastic time chatting about different issues we have encountered in raising bilingual kids as well as trading tips and ideas on the topic. The Motherhood put together a great summary of the talk, which can be found here for more information.  Read more »

Linsanity’s Impact on My Son

I missed the first week of Linsanity because I was caught up in fighting the racist China-fear-mongering Pete Hoekstra political ad that aired during the Superbowl. I remember feeling beleaguered at the time, like we still had a looooong way to go until the elections in November, and if this was just the beginning… I was surprised to learn that the mainstream considered Jeremy Lin an unknown who had come from out of nowhere, because even though I know nothing about sports, even I knew who Jeremy Lin was (courtesy of Ryan Higa and Kev Jumba).  Read more »

Why I Won’t (Yet) Deconstruct Purim for my Kids

We recently celebrated Purim, a holiday that commemorates the saving of the Jewish people from near annihilation in ancient Persia.  According to the story, King Ahashverosh of Persia selects a Jew named Esther to be his new queen.  Soon after, the king appoints a new chief advisor named Haman.  Haman is enraged when a Jew named Mordehai (who is Esther’s uncle) won’t bow down to him.  Read more »

Nowruz (Persian New Year): March 20

Nowruz (Nouruz/Nowrooz/Norooz), the Persian New Year, falls on the first day of spring of the solar calendar (which is different from the Gregorian solar calendar). Nowruz is a festivity that transcends religions as it is not confined to any one religious group--it is celebrated in many countries globally including Iran, Central Asia, Turkey and in other traditional Persian communities found throughout the world.  Read more »

Nowruz Recipe: Red Rice with Green Beans (Lubia Polow)

This dish was my childhood favorite; we called it red rice (because of the tomatoes in the rice). It was also my children’s favorite when they were growing up. Whenever I asked them what they wanted, they would say lubia polow. I have included this recipe in memory of my childhood and theirs.   makes: 6 servings preparation time: 20 minutes cooking time: 45 minutes  

Ingredients:
Long-grain white basmati
Rice 2 cups (for this recipe I like to use Ahoo Bareh basmati rice)
Olive oil – 1/2 cup
Onion 1 large, peeled and thinly diced

 Read more »

Nowruz Craft: Sprouts in Eggshells

Editors Note: One of the items found on the Haft Sin table for the Persian New Year is sprouted grains. There are many different types of sprouts you can make. What follows is a fun craft project with kids since these seeds germinate quickly so kids can watch the growth almost daily.   Materials: 12 eggs Cotton dish towel Sprayer or mister Grains such as wheat, mung beans, or lentils (Depending on which you use, the resulting sprouts look different.  Read more »

At a Loss for Words: My Foreign Language Meltdown

I am probably spoiled, being brought up bilingual and exposed to many languages and cultures. Perhaps I just haven't been adventurous enough in my travels, but I don't ever recall finding myself in a situation where I could neither derive any inkling of meaning from the exchange nor express in any terms or gesticulations what I needed to say—that is until now.  Read more »

Holi Recipe: Besan Ladoo

Holi, the Hindu Festival of Colors, is the celebration of spring awakening. It begins on the last full moon day of the lunar month Phalguna (February/March). Typical rituals include throwing colored and scented powder and perfume on participants. The two-day festival allows people to drop societal norms imposed by class, age, gender and caste, thus it’s a time for united celebration  Read more »

How to Raise an Enlightened Child — Part I

If there is one question that I am often asked as a Buddhist minister it is, "How can I raise an enlightened child?" As the Buddhist tradition continues to rapidly grow and influence our culture, I believe that it is a most legitimate question. Let me respond here as both the parent of a wondrous nineteen-year-old son, the spouse of an early childhood expert (my beloved wife of 25 years) and as a practitioner (nearly 40 years) and teacher of Buddhism (over twenty years).  Read more »

Holi Craft: Straw Painting

Holi, the Hindu Festival of Colors, commemorates the beginning of spring and religious traditions. Bonfires begin the festival, but the most popular and joyful aspect of the holiday comes the following day when people of all ages throw colored powders (gulal) and spray colored water (rang) at each other.  If you would like an alternative to this messy (but awesome) tradition, there are a number of creative art options to try, such as splatter painting, finger painting and colored sand art.  Read more »

Breastfeeding Around the World

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends mothers exclusively breastfeed infants for their first six months to achieve optimal growth, development and health, yet globally less than 40% of infants under six months of age are exclusively breastfed. Chances are that if you’re reading this article, breastfeeding is not a matter of life or death for your child.  Read more »

Purim Recipe: Hamantaschen

Hamantaschen (also sometimes written Hamantashan) are the quintessential Purim treat. While the origin of the cookie and its name are in debate, the most taught explanation is that both are derived from the hat that Haman, the antagonist of the holiday’s story who sought to destroy all the Jews, wore. Purim celebrates the salvation of the Jewish people from Haman’s evil plot  Read more »

Holi: March 8

Holi is the Indian Festival of Colors. It is the celebration of the beginning of spring and represents rejuvenation and rebirth through all of the bright colors associated with the festival. During the festival, people smear powdered, bright colors on each other's faces and splash colored water at one another.   Holi is a Hindu festival, typically celebrated in the North of India, and is also celebrated around the world in places like Nepal, Sri Lanka, and countries which have a large Hindu Diaspora like Suriname, Guyana, South Africa, Trinidad, the U.  Read more »

St. David’s Day Craft: Felted Wool Leeks

St. David is the patron saint of Wales and his feast day falls on March 1 . This day is called Dydd Gŵyl Dewi in Welsh, and on it--as on a number of other days in the Welsh calendar--children take part in Eisteddfodau, festival days of music and performance, as well as what may well be a precursor to the poetry slam. A traditional emblem of St. David's Day is the leek.  Read more »

A Marriage That Breaks all the Rules

“I made the white cabbage Indian style and the red cabbage for the kids the Belgian way,” my husband tells me. Usually around 11 o’clock, my husband calls to relay what he is making for lunch while changing our 18-month-old daughter’s diaper and giving our two-and-a-half-year old a snack between meals.  While I have happily assumed the role of financially providing for the family, my husband seamlessly takes amazing care of our two little ones in addition to finishing his masters in psychology at night.  Read more »

Multilingual Children for Money or Love?

My husband and I are the typical young family starting out our journey into parenthood. Like all parents, we want what is best for our children and thus, spend quite a bit of time researching everything from cribs and mattresses to baby food and stimulating toys.  But we also research something else: how to raise trilingual children.  Our ethnic backgrounds set us apart from many other parents around us in Suburban Michigan, as my husband is Lebanese and I am Mexican.  Read more »

Review: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

Inventor William Kamkwamba and journalist Bryan Mealer collaborate with illustrator Elizabeth Zunon to masterfully share with the young reader the story of William’s life in drought-ravaged Malawi and the ingenuity that inspired him to build a windmill—the windmill that came to illuminate his life and the lives of those around him.   William was forced to drop out of school after a severe drought and famine struck Malawi.  Read more »

Growing Up Baha’i in Rural Maine: A Not-so-Secret Double Life

My daughter seemed ill at ease in her first grade classroom. We had recently moved to the town in which we have now lived for more than a decade, a university town in the northern part of one of the most culturally homogeneous states in the union—Maine. It was Christmas time, and the children were singing carols, none of which my daughter knew. “Christmas is for Christians” read a sign posted in front of one of the frat houses on campus.  Read more »
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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
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From Should I Worry about My Child’s Accent in Her Foreign Language?
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From How My Chinese Mother-in-Law Replaced my Husband
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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...
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[…] 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?
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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
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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 ...
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From Five Fun Games from Around the World
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From Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan
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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 -...
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From Why We Need to Read Multicultural Children’s Books
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[…] 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...
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