Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Paranoia and Parenting school aged children

How did you do it? Send them off to their first day? Please tell me the paranoia goes away....

Toddler C is actually 4 yrs old now , which puts her a year "behind" most other Mexican kiddos, who start "school" at three. I was well aware of that fact, and purposefully didnt send her to school last year for several reasons. Unfortuntely, I can't hold her out any longer, the girl is 189% ready to be in school.

The problemita is not her, it's me. Are you aware of how many ways there are to kidnap a child? I can imagine several hundred, which is in fact the ONLY thing I can think about when I try and force myself to tour another school or two for her. 

I wish I could blame this on Mexico, but  this paranoia thing started before C wsa born, in the safe ole Midwest. My Dad brought inside a "She's Here!" balloon he had put out the day she was born, at my insistence that someone could see the balloon and target our home for babynapping. 

I cried the first time she was out of my sight for longer than the time it took me to shower at the age of 3 days. Dad gently reminded me the nurses said new mom horomones could cause crying.

I bawled uncontrollably when I was forced to leave her (2.5 yrs old) and her sissy (11 months) with my MIL and SIL for 6 ridiculous hours the day I went in for slipped disk (and passed out in the examination room, that pain was worst thn giving birth I promise you!).

My point is, I know this isn't Mexico's fault.

But Mexico does make it worse.

In the States, are people constantly asking you where your children were born? Where you live? Exactly which street did you say? What school do you send them to? Do you have family left in the States? Do you visit them often($$$)? How long are you planning on staying here? Where does your husband work? What hours/how often?

Every single one of those questions would be innocent enough, if not all asked together. I get asked ALL those questions at least once a week by someone new. Doesn't that seem a little odd? I have been told to and have started to lie about the girls nationality. Tat

I have had non-American neighbors before, specifically from Saudi Arabia India , and several Latin American countries. Did I ask them if their children were American? If they had papers? Which school do their kiddos go to? Do they have family left in their country and do they (have the money to) come visit?


So my question is.....

Besides hiring a bodyguard to attend school with my 4 year old, how do I do this? 


  1. First of all, I´m really, really proud of you for looking into schools and taking tours, etc, and not just chucking the whole idea of school in favor of homeschooling because of these fears. (Side note: I´m NOT slamming homeschooling! There are many, many very good reasons to homeschool. Fear of leaving your children in someone else´s care for 3 hours a day is not one of them.) Like I said, I´m really proud of you for taking this step. It sounds like a rather debilitating fear and it´s awesome that you´re taking steps to face it!
    In some ways, you fortunately live in Mexico City and you´re not the only parent who´s more than preoccupied about kidnapping fears. It sounds like you´re looking into private schools? Lots have security guards, right? And even if they don´t, your daughter´s teacher will NEVER release her to someone she doesn´t know or isn´t authorized to let your daughter go home with. Even at my daughter´s public school, I am confident that her teacher would not let her go home with anyone but myself or my two neighbors listed as her emergency contacts.
    I also told Clara and made it clear to her that she is not EVER to go home with anyone who is not myself, my husband, her aunt, or those two neighbors. Therefore, if my confidence in the teacher is unfounded, I´m sure that any hesitation on Clara´s part to go home with someone who is not myself (or on that list that I´ve turned into her 3 times) would ring some alarms with her teacher, who I bet would give me a call to make sure it´s OK that she go home with this person. And again, if you´re looking into private schools, I´m positive they´d do this, as they have to legally cover their asses, as they don´t have the weight of the teacher´s union behind them.
    Good job, so far! Take it one step at a time, and think of all the quality one-on-one time you´ll get with your second daughter once Daughter #1 is at school. She needs some one-on-one mommy time, too, just like your first daughter had with you before her sister was at born (even though she probably doesn´t remember it at this point!) ;)
    You CAN do this, and it will be good for all of you! Take deep breaths. . .

    1. Jill,
      Just wanted to thank you for your kind words. I got caught up in life and havent been on the blog scene and never got to tell you that your comments DID help alot. Citlali is in school now and it was the best decision i have made. She is so hapoy to have friends, we went over to a new friends house just last week - her "mejor amiga" :)

  2. I have to agree with Jill even though I homeschooled for 2.5 years. I wish I would have put them in school and not have been worried about gun fights happening in front of their school or that their education would be worse. I chose to keep them at home sheltered even though a gun fight could have even happened right in front of my house with them playing out front (the school is surrounded by a huge cement wall) and gave them a home education. So when they went back to school this year, they suffered (not bashing homeschool either, just my personal experience) theywere in no way prepared for the responsibilities they had in school. We are moving back to Mexico in December. I will homeschool them the rest of this year, but next year they are going to a public school in Monterrey and I will supplement (English, Math, American Civics) at home. Kudos Mami for sending Toddler C to school! HUgs dear. I promise, it gets easier.
    The next time someone asks you those questions, politely ask them if it is any of their business.Or politely say they are Mexican and change the subject. Nobody has ever asked me those questions, I can't believe the nerve of people!

    1. Stephanie,
      Thanks mami! I have started lying about the girls nationality, even though i would never give up their American nationalitoes i dont have to advertise that fact, do I? People assume we have money even though my husband works at a vulka... ;) So I downplay our Americaness as much as possible and when people ask when we are going back for a visit i complain at length on how much the tickets costs and that we cant afford to go.

  3. My kid went to a public kindergarten and it was a fabulous experience for both her and me. I still have a couple of friends of the other mothers that I met that year (15 years ago). There were 45 kids in the class (could you imagine that in your home country! ?) but the teacher was thoroughly professional. For her that was a normal class size and she handled it well. No regrets about not sending her to a private school. Of course, the public schools might be different in your area.

    All us parents had to have a name badge that had our kid’s name and photo, plus the photos of up to three family members that were authorized to pick up the child from school. If it wasn’t the usual person (whom the staff knew) picking up the child, then the concierge at the door had to check that the person was on the badge.

    1. Margaret, ñ
      Thanks for the encouragment. Our school also does the badge with photos thing, but there are so few kiddos that we dont use them unless it is the nonprimary pick up person. We did end up with a private school, but very small and not crazy expensive. I did visit the public schools nearest us and they just didnt seem to fit. I personally went to public schools all the way theough the university level, so im not against public schooling :)

      Citlali has already made friends, im hoping she does as well with her school as your daughter did. It warms my heart to hear her use the words "mejor amiga" for the first time and know that I didnt teach her that. Her little friend did!


  4. Hello! I found your website through Mexconnect! It is nice to see another mom working it out in el EDO DE MEX. I am in the north of DF as well, but I think I am on the other side... you are in Tlalpantla de Baz? I am between Ecatepec and Texcoco. I also have a 4 year old, a boy who started Kinder 2 this year. I did have him in a small private school for K1, though for most of second semester we were back in the US for a family emergency. He seems to be doing ok.
    I also get a lot of questions, many times questions they should not be asking... I have never been asked exactly where we lived though. People are quite curious as to why we would CHOOSE to live in Mexico. But the question that irks me the most is def. when they want to know what my husband does for a living. My go to answer is that he works in an almacen (distribution center) which is both totally true and totally vague for figuring out income... does he move palettes? is he a boss? They never inquire more, bc that would be obviously rude, and if any ever tries, they will be getting a rude answer back!
    I would like to hear more about your side of EDO de MEX. We are looking to move, while the kinder seems okay, there is a huge lack of educational/enrichment resources here, and your side would be closer to my hubby's work!
    You can find me on mexconnect under babycakes, email me or find me on fb with aliaeli@hotmail,com
    Hope to hear from you!

    1. Elizabeth! So cool to hear from another mama near me! We should get our kids together and force them to become friends so we have an excuse to hang out or get coffee LOL! So many expat stories (good and bad) to share, that onky another expat would truly "get".

      Looking you up on facebook now, so sorry it took forever to get back to you :)

  5. You can read a little bit about me at http://lepefamilyblog.blogspot.mex/ though I haven't posted there in forever!

  6. Hey! I know my situation is a little different but i was a nervous wreck when I had to put my little guy in day care. I toured a million daycares and finally chose one closer to the grand parents incase of an emergency. The 1st week I was in tears daily. But once we got into the routine and I saw how much he loved it and how much he was learning I felt much better. The staff ended up becoming like family. Our little ones are the most precious to us and I think it is natural to want to protect them at any cost. I wish you guys the best of luck with everything. As far add all the questions, I would totally do the same and lie about the nationality. It's nit there business! Cuidate!

  7. Hey lady! I have missed you! It was great to hear from you on my blog! Update needed!! How are things going with you?