#MulticulturalFamilyLife · bilingual · multi culti family · multicultural · Scotland

Multicultural Family Life – Meet The Poop Rainbow Family

Because of the fact that we are a family made up of two nationalities, I am always interested to hear how other families in similar situations live their lives. And I thought you might be too. For this month’s installment of Multicultural Family Life I asked a fellow blogger to share with us how she and her family survive their multicultural family life. 

The Mama from “My Kid Doesn’t Poop Rainbows” survives, sweatily, in Bangkok Thailand with the Mummy, the Baby and the Dog. The Mama is a part-time amateur blogger, a part-time teacher and a full-time toilet humor enthusiast. She started writing “My Kid Doesn’t Poop Rainbows” as a way to share the funny which happens to her family on a regular basis and give other exhausted parents a laugh or two. She trained for a year as an illustrator in kindergarten and decided to put these hard earned skills to use with her blog. She loves connecting with people from all walks of life, so be sure to stop by www.pooprainbows.com and say hi! You can also connect with the Mama on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook.

1. Tell us a little about your family’s background – where you’re from, where you’ve lived, where you are now?
When I qualified as a teacher in 2009, rather than scrabble around with the other NQTs for a much sought after teaching position in Scotland, I looked further afield. I spent a year and a half in Spain, three months in North and Central America and then I kind of accidentally found myself in Thailand. The second weekend I was there my new friends and colleagues set off for the beach while I stayed in Bangkok to attend a LGBT party I’d been invited to. There I met my soon-to-be wife and the rest, as they say, is history. That was four years ago and I’m still here, now married (although not legally recognized in Thailand) with a 16 month old son.

2. What languages are your children exposed to and how do you juggle these? Do you have a family language you speak at home or does each parent have one language they stick to?
  When I arrived I learned how to direct a taxi in Thai. About a month later I learned a few sweet nothings to whisper in my girlfriend’s ear. I’m ashamed to admit my Thai hasn’t progressed much since then. My wife speaks great English so that’s the language we use together and she speaks to our son in Thai when I’m not around.

3. What have you noticed about your children’s language skills? Have they picked up on both languages equally well?
  Our son understands simple instructions in English and Thai…but that’s not to say he always follows them. I worry that between our family language being English and our planned move to Europe this summer his Thai might suffer in the future, but I hope not.

4. Do you or your other half have any of the stereotypical traits of your nationality? Has this had any effect on your life in Thailand?
Oooh, lots! My wife believes feet and shoes are dirty and gets quite stressed if people forget to take their shoes off when entering our home. It took me ages to remember this when I first moved to Bangkok. She’s very quiet and finds it embarrassing when I am being loud, usually after a large glass of wine. It also drives her nuts when I refuse to complain about anything or go to the doctors unless I’m knocking at death’s door.

5. How different, if at all, would your life be if you lived in the UK rather than Thailand?
I imagine if we were in the UK my son’s favourite food wouldn’t be wonton noodles. He’d also probably own a jumper or two and some jeans. I’d take him to the park or for a walk in the woods instead of searching for air conditioned venues.
 I also wouldn’t lie awake at night worrying what would happen to our son if I died because my wife isn’t recognized as our son’s legal guardian in Thailand and she would most likely be denied a visa to raise him in the UK.

6. Have there been any child-rearing differences between you and your wife based on the mentality of your home countries? 
Thankfully my wife is quite open minded, which balances my stubbornness. She was willing to listen to my objections to some Thai customs. For example Thai people prefer to put their babies to sleep on their stomachs so they don’t get a flat head. We always had our boy on his back (and his head is a bit of an odd shape). My wife told me that for her it was normal for children to sleep in their parents’ bedroom until they were at least one.  Our boy moved into his own room when he was 6 months old so we could all get a little sleep. It also is a bit of a challenge for my wife not to be too overprotective. I give our boy a lot more independence and space to explore than she feels comfortable with.

7. Are there any Thai customs you’ve adopted in child-rearing or anything else?
I try a lot harder to control my temper, eat fewer potatoes and take more showers since moving here. I almost always forget to bring the pushchair as there are so few opportunities for us to use it. I am more used to eating with a fork and a spoon than with a fork and a knife.  I think with regards to child-rearing I am still very much the same, as all the research and reading I do comes from either the UK or the USA. 
Thanks for sharing your family’s story with us, The Mama. It sounds like life worked out well for you by looking further afield for work as opposed to remaining in Scotland. 
It is great that your son can understand both Thai and English at sixteen months. It would be a shame to let the Thai slip once you move back to Europe. 
It is interesting to hear that your marriage is not recognised in Thailand and of your concerns should anything happen to you. I think all parents have worries of the “what if I die?” nature, but in your specific case there is the extra element uncertainty due to your family’s legal status.
Best of luck with your multi-culti family and your relocation to Europe next year. Maybe we’ll return to you in a year or so and see how life is going with another language in the mix!

[Are you interested in joining the series? Contact me on the contact form on the right. I’d love to hear from you.]

19 thoughts on “Multicultural Family Life – Meet The Poop Rainbow Family

  1. Thanks for sharing their story! I would love to speak another language but my family are all terrible at them :p plus we never moved around – at all! I am trying to learn (and teach) my son sign language though so lets hope that sticks! #twinklytuesday

  2. Oh great. Good luck to you both with sign language. It is a great skill to have. My cousin is really god at it from volunteering in a home for the disabled. It must be very rewarding to be able to communicate with someone you wouldn't usually be able to speak to.
    Thanks for dropping by from #twinklytuesday!

  3. What a great interview Fionnuala & love your answers Mama! It will be interesting to hear about life's changes after your move! Being able to get outside in a jumper will be really nice! x

  4. As a fellow expat I am always interested to hear about other families living the expat lifestyle. I love reading how people are raising their kids bilingually or not. But then I think I would find it hard to answer the questions as so many things you just take for granted, as your normal but they are so not normal for others. Great interview. May think about signing up too. #twinklytuesday

  5. I love that too – findout out how other families deal with same situations that we have or even the issues they have that we don't, or whatever it may be.
    I understand what you mean about answering the questions. But if you would like to join in, then by all means give me a shout. I'd love to have you along.

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