Helga is 2 and a half years old with red hair and blue eyes. She loves watching Mr. Bean and that's it. She speaks no English, and I am terrified of her. She can be cranky sometimes and you never know when she's gonna blow.
Here in Iceland, they have a different philosophy about raising kids than we do in the United States. Hofi was an au paire and she said that parents in the US want their kids to be perfect all the time, whereas in Iceland, they have a more laid back philosophy. So when Helga whines or cries in public, instead of shushing her or yelling at her, they just let her go and try to talk her out of it. It's really different, but I guess it works because everybody here is so nice.
Another side effect of this child-raising method is that kids speak really well really early on. And for that reason, Helga has taught me many important Icelandic words and phrases. For example, I can now say "I want to watch Mr. Bean", "more chocolate", "ice cream now", "go away", "stop doing that", and "you're annoying, stupid American girl" in Icelandic. Only the last one was a joke, the rest she says to me all the time.
Here is a day in the life of Helga:
8:00 AM: Go to school
4:00 PM: Come home from school
4:01 PM: Watch Mr. Bean
5:00 PM: Eat dinner
5:05 PM: Try to watch more Mr. Bean
5:06 PM: Not be allowed to watch more Mr. Bean
5:07 PM: Take off clothes
5:30 PM: Bring all stuffed animals from upstairs to downstairs
6:00 PM: Try to watch more Mr. Bean
6:01 PM: Succeed in watching more Mr. Bean
7:00 PM: Watch Megan and Charlie bring all stuffed animals back upstairs
8:00 PM: Go to bed
Yesterday we made pancakes for our host family with homemade maple syrup that Megan brought from New York (she wins favorite exchange student). Helga had 3 plate-fulls of syrup and 1/4 of a pancake. She just kept licking the syrup off and asking for more. So you think maybe she would like having us around, even if only for the syrup. But later that day in the car, she told her mom that she "forbids her to talk to us." So much for that.
Today we had our most meaningful interaction yet while we were watching Mr. Bean in the living room. She was cranky so I snuck her a Hershey kiss. A couple of minutes later, she says "meira" which means "more". I said "meira súkkulaði?" or "more chocolate?" and she nodded. So I gave her another one. Which means we had a full conversation! And understood each other! That's huge!
Helga also does this thing where she pinches her mom's hand as she's falling asleep. And today in the car she was pinching my hand while my heart melted into a puddle and she fell asleep.
She's pretty cute :)
|Told you she was cute!|
|Small Helga, giant waterfall|
|Accurate portrayal of our relationship|
|Cute pic of us on our way home from a really long adventure yesterday|
|We found horses this week! Icelandic horses!|