so my little girl got attacked by the school’s guard dog

It happened Wednesday, but I haven’t felt comfortable enough to write about it until today.  She is fine now. She is a remarkable child. She is blessed and cursed with having a game face. She is the one who did not shed a tear or cry or moan or groan when she broke her arm las year.  I have to study her to determine her actual level of suffering. She is the strong and silent type when I least want her to be.

The school nurse called, I flew over, got her in a wheel chair and hit the gas all the way to the emergency room.  I pulled up to the entrance and carried her past at least six men within feet of me who watched. I started to stumble as I entered the emergency room and everyone just stared at me carrying my little girl. I had major back surgery so I was starting to crumble and still they stared. I yelled for someone to help me, to take her, I shoved her into a man’s arms.

Soon afterwards the school’s administrator joined me “For legal reasons” she explained. I was too overwhelmed at the time to contemplate the legality of the situation. I wanted my daughter taken care of. While on the hospital bed the doctor asked me about the dog, I directed him to the school administrator. For what felt like an eternity they talked while my daughter suffered in pain without any treatment.  I went out to the main counter and asked the staff if they could at least give her some Paracetamol (Tylenol in the US). Again more stares. Damn you robots and your stares!  Back in the room I saw my girls legs start to tremble from the pain so I distracted her with items I brought with me: a drink, a blanket and an electronic game. I was so pissed that I forgot my little pharmacy. I usually carry my own stash of Benadryl, Tylenol etc. which came in handy when she broke her arm last year. I was able to shove one down her throat back then until help came. I was able to do something.

A lady came in with more paperwork to fill out. There were no introductions. Everyone just wanted my national identity number, phone number and address. “Can someone please help my daughter?” I went out a second time to the counter to beg for any pain killer: nothing.  I went back in and took a photo.

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Eventually her wounds were cleaned and she was patched up with some giant cloth like bandaids that kept the wounds closed.  Anything to avoid stitches. I learned that when I came to the same ER (on a previous occasion) with my son’s head cracked open: they glued it shut.  Stitches were the most popular measure of severity of her injuries when asked about the attack.  So if she doesn’t get stitches then she is fine right?

For the next 48 hours our phone rang off the hook.  I checked her for infections. Rabies was not a concern since after all it was the school’s guard dog. O thank goodness. I should be grateful. Yeah, that is some twisted shit right there isn’t it?

Friends and family were outraged by the concept. Yes folks, the school keeps an entire pen of guard dogs, on campus. Yes folks, one of the guard dogs tunneled out during recess and attacked my little 7 year old. Yes folks, my other child knew which of the dogs it was because he had seen it run around on the school’s field before, during school hours.

I am not angry at the dog and neither is my daughter. We have 3 rescued animals. We pet every dog on the street and in Chile, you can’t walk for 5 minutes without encountering a stray.  I have taken my kids for walks around our town and taught them how to behave when approached by packs of wild dogs and even worse, guard dogs. We have been surrounded by over a dozen at a time all barking fiercely and my kids and I knew how to move without provoking them.   The strays usually want some food and  affection. We happily pet and even give belly rubs to all interested.

You see rarely will you find the kind of dog we would define as a “pet”in the USA. There are two kinds here, the ones who are trained to injure you, these are the ones who are fed and sheltered and then there are the tame ones, starving to death in the public eye.

My daughter is healing at a wonderful pace both mentally and physically.  She does cover her ears at the mention of the incident.  When she hears dogs bark she freezes, hugs herself and shakes. I hold her and make her move on. What of the dog who attacked her?  My daughter told the school director she should train the dog. I am proud of her. While others want the dog shot or removed, my daughter sees a good creature who in her eyes did a bad thing. In my eyes though, the dog did what it was trained  and hired by the school to do.

I understand that the dog escaped. I also understand that having guard dogs near children is like having loaded guns near children. Accidents happen.

 

PS

Please take the time to comment on my blog as opposed to Twitter, Facebook, e-mail or in person for that matter. You can do so anonymously here, just grab a generic avatar and a creative pseudonym.  I won’t respond elsewhere: as I noted in the blog entry, too much “craziness”.  Gracias

Back To School in Chile

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I would love to compare notes with fellow expat parents in Chile.  People often ask me about the education system here, which are the best schools and how to handle many dilemmas. Of all of the adjustments I had to make to a new culture, life as the parent of a school-aged-child was the most challenging.  I still can’t answer questions about the schools here because I am but one parent with kids at one school.  This time around I  do have a much better understanding of how my children’s school functions after getting a degree at the ” University of Trial And Error” consisting primarily of errors on my part.

Within one household my relationship with the school was totally different based on which of my children was involved.  On the one hand everything was smashing and on the other a nightmare.  This is to be expected anywhere as each child’s personality and academic ability present a totally different picture of life at school. Never had I felt so isolated or at times insane, because quite frankly I began to think it was all in my head. Nobody else seemed to have the same problems, then again nobody else had the same child.

Over time I slowly started to learn which circumstances were unique to my child, my child’s classroom or my child’s school.  Now I want to know what is unique to our school population’s social circles, our geographic location, ethnicity and generation (Remember our fellow Chilean parents grew up under Pinochet).

Whenever something comes up over the school year please share it with me in the comments section below.  Any questions, complaints or anecdotes i.e. Supply lists requesting “jockeys”and “panties”. It’s all good. Gracias.

Immigrant Children In Chile: The USA Episode

filming by GringaDchicureo

Chile is doing well compared to most countries, so well that it is no longer a pit stop for business travelers. Families are now packing their bags as well, and staying. Coming from the United States, a country deemed a land of immigrants this is nothing new to me, however… it is here. In an effort to help ease the local population into this demographic shift the decision was made to create a documentary series for the children of Chile by the immigrant children of Chile aka Niños Inmigrantes.
Their efforts are funded by an award from CNTV (Consejo Nacional de Televisión) of Chile.

Niños inmigrantes

Programa que recopila, escucha y presenta las voces de niñas y niños hijos de inmigrantes que viven en Chile. Con el objetivo de buscar la mayor diversidad cultural, sin importar la raza, la etnia, la nacionalidad o el credo, esta iniciativa pretende establecer un canal de diálogo entre estos niños extranjeros y la sociedad chilena con la que conviven. Nos interesa conocer sus historias de vida, sus tradiciones, sus culturas, sus alegrías, sus temores, sus proyectos, en fin… conocer un poco más de la vida de estos pequeños migrantes. Asimismo, este programa busca hacer de Chile un país más amable, tolerante e intercultural.

Dirigida por: Martín Arechaga
Producción general: Macarena Cardone
Presentado por: LovFilms

It began by responding to an ad in the paper . We were sent a questionnaire with such items as “What is your favorite Chilean food?” followed by “Do you understand Chilenos?’ and “Do they understand you?” They liked his responses and called him in for an interview. I prepped him for it since he has Aspergers Light which means I coach him through the details of communication, not the heart of it. Life as an expat, where one has to sort out different cultural norms goes hand-in-hand with life as an Aspie. If nothing else expat parents will finally understand what their kids experience when trying to make sense of communicating in a new social context. Well, it turns out they liked what my son had to offer. That same evening they called and said they would come over in a day or so to my home and film. Wait, my home? Why not film all over the lovely town we live in? Oh dear, what have I gotten myself into? Why sure, c’mon over! Let the cleaning marathon begin!

Upon arrival they went straight up to his room. His room is an opus to transportation: License plates, posters of cars, sketches, model cars…and he made sure to give them a full tour and historical background of anything with a motor that caught their fancy. The producers kept commenting to me that they had never met someone so young with such a vast knowledge of vehicles. He was at ease with the film crew, narrating away for the camera. They said his personality was unlike that of the other children they worked with. Many whom shut down at the sight of the camera or when surrounded by so many adults. Every now and then a member of the crew would ask me about different aspects of our home such as the list of chores I had posted for the kids, a jar of peanut butter, myself wearing an apron and the mural of my children’s school work taped to the kitchen wall.
Since then there have been many visits, phone calls and e-mails. They even provided him with a camera with which to document his summer vacation in the USA. He, along with 11 other children have been chosen for this honorable project. Until production is completed I can offer you this teaser:

Click Here For Teaser

As part of the project they provided him with art supplies and requested he draw some vehicles for the episode.

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Several months have transpired since production of Niños Inmigrantes began. Yesterday’s component involved a 12 hour shoot in my home. The neighborhood kids, gardeners, nannies and even the community guard were excited about the hubbub. I saw it as an opportunity to reach out to my Chilean neighbors, whom are very private. I had no trouble bringing the kids in to have a look, but their parents were another story. I did actually have to take two lovely mommies by the arm and “drag” them in. I convinced them that they were not imposing by saying that everybody else in the world seemed to be in my home, why not them?

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The filming concluded with a camping scene in our backyard. I watched as Chilenos tried and failed for the longest time to start a fire. I, being the tactless expat that I am, poked fun at them. They are after all master “Parilleros”. Grilling is to Chileans as baking is to Martha Stewart. Eventually, after handing them a ball of newspaper to light underneath their visually appealing firewood the flames grew and the director called “Action!” Now I have a large circular patch of scorched earth in my yard with which to commemorate this occasion.

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The producers told me that they originally envisioned a series focusing on children from neighboring Latin American countries and yet were pleasantly surprised to find that people from all over the world were moving to Chile “Even Greece!” they kept telling me. I look forward to meeting the other families participating in this project and learning from their experiences as well. That of course is another episode, stay tuned.