Island Parenting or How to Buy Your Kid a Beer

A standard move—divide and conquer.  We’ve used the technique so many times, how could it possibly fail?  Ah, Grasshopper, how young is your understanding of these new worlds.

This morning Clint took the girls horseback riding in the jungle while I ran errands in town and spent some time alone on the boat.  I got a little recharge time and they had a wonderful experience.  Clint rode Judy, Marley rode Ginger, and Evyn rode Hot.  The girls came back all smiles.IMG_2568IMG_2593IMG_2586

Hurricane Maria has devastated Dominica.  I fear it may have set the island back decades but I’m keeping my fingers crossed.  Locals tell us it feels now like it did 25 years ago.  Apparently it was a very different place before last September.  They have such deep potential here, though.  Today, after contributing to the local economy through our tourism dollars, our family met back up to take some of our hoards of books to shore for donation.  IMG_2602We have tried hard to instill in our children the importance of giving.  These lessons have come in many different forms.  Today it felt great to be able to walk up to the bookmobile and hand over a large box that hopefully will serve children and adults here well.  Clint and I walked away feeling pretty good about our parenting.  A bit smug, even.  After all, we just taught our children such a great lesson!  Then, BAM, parenting reality sank in.  (At least for Clint!)

Our bellies were empty so we sought out a local place selling roti.  Three of us wanted the roti; one of us wanted the fried chicken across the road.  Evyn and I stayed to purchase the roti and walk it across the road so we could all eat together on the porch at the fried chicken bar.  I stress the word bar.  It becomes important, you see.  Clint took Marley across the road and, by the time Evyn and I arrived, Marley was elbow deep in her chicken.  IMG_2598As we sat down and doled out the roti, Clint offered to buy Evyn a drink just like the ones he and Marley had.  I paid little attention until Marley suggested I try it to see if I wanted one.  Well, sure, I’ll have a sip of your drink, little lady.  IMG_2255Mmmmm, that’s good, that’s…..wait, what the heck?!  That’s beer!!  Yup.  My nine year old daughter handed me her bottle of local shandy, 1.2% alcohol.  Half-empty already.  Purchased by my husband who was blindly drinking one just like it next to her.  Did I mention what the heck?  I sputtered and asked Clint why Marley was drinking beer.  He looked at me blankly.  Then he blinked.  Then he asked how long he was going to have to hear about this one.  A long time, buddy.  A really long time!  IMG_2256The waitress laughed and said she was wondering, but please note that she didn’t refuse to serve my child or even question my husband on his choice for her.  And Marley?  Well, she said she knew it had to beer because it just didn’t taste right.  Please don’t forget that half her bottle was already gone!  Of course I took the rest of the bottle.  Clint tried to make it all better by quickly asking the waitress for a new drink for each girl.  This, as the photo shows, did little to redeem his value.img_2257.jpg

Parenting is interesting in the islands where you don’t know the food and nobody really cares if you buy your young child a beer for lunch.  Dominica, we’ve made some memories on your rich soil and dark waters.  This one will be told for months, probably years, to come.  Cheers!IMG_2248


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