When you’re kinda thankful for American excess

It’s been less than a year since we were last in the States, so the culture shock hasn’t hit us as hard this time around.  The kids have made some funny observations and proclamations about the US (“I hate America because it makes my nose bleeeeed!”), and of course jet lag was a beast, but for the most part, I felt like the transition this time around has felt a lot smoother.

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And then we drove past a shopping mall in Colorado and Isla shrieked with joy, “an American Girl BOOKSHOP!!!!!”  A few months ago, my sister sent her some of the old school American girl books, and she absolutely loves them.  So when she saw a huge store full of the books she adores, she was so excited.

I was a bit too old for the American girl craze when I was a kid, but my memory of them is a set of books about a little girl living through an important part of American history.  You could get a doll and the doll had several different outfits to go along with the different books in the set – a Christmas dress, a school outfit, and whatever else.  So I thought we could go in and see the doll that goes along with the books she’s already read, and maybe get her a new book.

Hello, culture shock.  This store is the epitome of the way America can take things to the absolute, most ridiculous extreme.  First of all, the salesgirl had absolutely no clue what we were talking about when we asked her about Felicity, the character Isla has been reading about.  Um, okay.  And then we saw the hair salon.  Four adult women, whose only job was to style their customer’s – A DOLL’S – hair.

It’s a little girl’s dream and a parent’s (read: wallet’s) nightmare.  We made a quick exit and headed into the mall.  At the entrance they had those little cars that you can push your kids around the mall in.  But instead of a steering wheel, so that your child can feel like he’s actually driving the car, there was a tablet.  For your toddler.  To play with.  While you walk around the mall.

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Hello, culture shock.  Hello, America.  Where something that was perfectly fine when it was simple gets take to the extreme.

It’s overwhelming. Super overwhelming.

But to be honest, sometimes I am really grateful for the extreme-ness of the good ‘ole Us of A.

Last Sunday night, we headed to a splash park with some friends.  To make a long, very bloody story short, Isla fell and needed stitches in her chin.

She’s had stitches before and it was an incredibly traumatic experience for her, so even the mention of them put her into a tailspin.  So we headed back to where we were staying so I could get Ruby and Luka dinner and Caleb and Isla headed over to Urgent Care to get her chin stitched.

But she was freaking out so much that they couldn’t stitch her without sedation, so they sent them to the ER.  There is a children’s hospital super close to where we were staying, so that’s where they went.

And this is the part of the story where I’m thankful for the way things in America just can’t be left simple.  As soon as they walked in the door, Isla was presented with gifts – a book and a craft to work on while she waited.  No need for wheelchairs in this hospital, a happy red wagon will wheel you to your room!  She had her choice of movies to watch while she was stitched up, but since she couldn’t settle down enough, a quick squirt of something in her nose knocked her out for the stitches…. and the rest of the night!

Compared to the last time she got stitches in Beirut… when I had to hold my 2 year old down screaming bloody murder because they wouldn’t give her any pain relief until after violently cleaning her wound… this was a dream (said the person who sat at home with the sleeping littles while Caleb did the whole ER thing!)  Now getting the stitches out…… that’s a whole ‘nother (6 hour long) story!

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