Monday, September 1, 2014

Anna — 11 Months

In Marine Park.Our little Anechka is 11 months old today! She is such a delightful baby — very serious, but at the same time easily amused. She is so curious about the world around her. Anna loves picking up everything from the ground — be it twigs, stones, candy wrappers or empty water bottles and other garbage.

Anechka adores dogs. Every time she sees one, she stops whatever she is doing, and rashes towards it. She then squeals in excitement, and tries to touch a dog, although she is kind of being cautious at the same time and not really touches it. Anюta also makes high pitched “aaa-aaa” sound when she sees a dog — very similar to what Arosha did at her age. And of course the smaller the dog, the more she likes it. Big ones, even though still very interesting, are more scary. Which makes perfect sense, you know.

In Marine Park.Anechka still is very weary about strangers. She even refuses ice-cream and toys from the children on the playground which are not familiar to her. She does not like when adults other than family pick her up or touch her. I think it’s not so bad, especially for a girl. Arosha was different — more open, less cautious. He is still a conversation starter with anyone who can understand him (who speaks Russian that is).

Anechka’s vocabulary still consists of two words — mama and “dai” (give). I wonder if she’ll be an early talker like her brother was.

She can play by herself for a pretty long periods of time. Enough time for me to do things around the house oftentimes, like start cooking something, vacuum, etc. When she gets bored by herself, she likes to follow Arosha and tries to play with him. Sometimes he does, sometimes he does not. You should hear how those two laugh and/or squeal together sometimes. Their favorite place to do this is the elevator. OH MY GOD! I have to cover my ears sometimes because of how loud they get.

Ready to go.On playground people often comment on how independent she is.

Arosha is starting pre-K next week. I can’t believe it! He is such a big boy already. I hope it will go well. I am so curious to see how he’ll handle being away from me for such long periods of time. I am so curious to see how long it will take him to start speaking English. I hope he’ll get a good teacher and nice classmates.

I think we’re finally done celebrating his birthday. He was lucky this year and got 3 cakes! The first one was on his actual birthday, the 8th. Just the three of us (Anюta was asleep) celebrated. It was funny when during the birthday song he said — “enough already” (he really wanted to blow out the candles). I don’t think he realized that it was a little rude, so we just laughed and finished singing.

There is no fence we miss.The second celebration was with some of his and our friends — Alisa and her parents, Emma and her parents and Misha. Danya’s parents were away on vacation. I did not cook — just made two salads, and the rest we ordered from the Uzbek restaurant “1001 Nights”. This was definitely Arosha’s favorite party. Every time he has kids over, especially Alisa, he has a blast. He proclaimed on numerous occasions that he’ll marry her when he grows up. Alisa said that she does not mind. Those kids are too funny! By the way, when we ask Arosha why he wants to get married, he tells us that he needs a good wife to have children with.

Arosha's guests.Arosha got LEGO sets, school game and money for ice-cream (I say, we got all summer worth of ice-cream covered by the generous Misha) as gifts. Danya helped him to assemble some of the lego things already. I think you can never have too much of those.

Anюta seemed to enjoy all the birthday activities too! She ate well together with everybody and then followed children around and played with balloons and new toys (Ignat and Vika bought her a present too).

Playing.I was pretty tired by the end — Anюta got up really early that day and I did not have a chance to get any rest during the day. I even had to do laundry after putting Anюta down for the night (I wash cloth diapers every other day). Still, I was very glad how the party turned out. I honestly think that at this age celebrating at home with 1-2 friends is much more enjoyable for children than going to childrens’ gyms or a restaurant with a large group of kids for 2-3 hours.

And the last party to celebrate Arosha’s birthday was with his grandparents and aunt Lina and uncle Lenya. We also invited Misha again — he lives just a few minutes away from us and we thought that it’ll be more fun for everyone if he comes. I cooked wine-brased beef and garlic potatoes and a few salads. Danya said that he liked the food more than shish-kebabs from the restaurant that we had a week before.

Our guests.I am not sure how much fun Arosha had without children, but I liked his party still. And the cake, which we don’t have a picture of, was the best from all three. It had lots of berries and a very light cream inside the thin crust.

I am not sure how we’ll be celebrating Anюta’s birthday in a month, but I hope that we’ll contain it to just one party.

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Thursday, September 4, 2014

First Day of School

First day of school.Today was a big day. Arosha has started school. A day that started a new phase of his life. We often talk with him about steps a person takes in his life and school is one huge step. He was aware of it for some time now and when the day was nearing he was full of anticipation.

We, as parents, however (or at least I) was anticipating it with quite a bit of anxiety and only time will fully relief me of it. How will he met all the challenges of dealing with all kinds of situations on his own without us being around?

Constructing something.How will he conquer the language barrier? His Russian is very rich at this point, but his English is very much non-existent. Luckily this is far from a unique problem in our area and Pre-K is the right place to deal with it. To our luck the TA in our class speaks Russian.

How will he deal with aggressive kids? He is a very peaceful kid with a keen sense of right or wrong and he typically prefers to avoid confrontation. He does socialize with a lot of kids on the playground and Alёna lets him deal with majority of confrontational situations on his own. Hopefully that gives him some foundation and hopefully if he cannot deal with something the teachers will help.

School gear.How will he be able to handle being on his own for 6 hours every day (our school does full day Pre-K), considering that he has never been without his close family nearby for any periods of time? Luckily he knows a couple of kids in his class from the playground and his good friend Rachel is in his class as well — although she will start her school next Tuesday. Hopefully the fact that he is not there “alone” will be helpful to him also.

Today we met his teacher — Ms. Lupion. She is a nice Jewish lady who has been teaching Pre-K for the last 28 years. Alёna has heard a lot about her and every parent who had a child in her class gives her endless praises. She is a strict, but a fair teacher. We really know numerous mothers who were very happy with her. We are very happy with the fact that out of three Pre-K classes in our school Arosha ended up in hers.

School lunch. And both teacher and a TA.First day went all right. I don’t know how it will go from now on, but I wish our little boy all the very best in this important journey that he has started today. And I’m sure that he will be able to meet all the challenges before him as all the kids (like ourselves) before him.
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