Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Sandy Hook Trip

Sandy Hook beaches.Today was the last day of September, and it was sunny and beautiful. I am happy to write that it did not go to waste for our family. The three of us plus Danya’s parents went to Sandy Hook in NJ.

Alёna and Arosha are walking down to into the sand.We left shortly after 11, and it took us about an hour and a half to get there (it would have taken us a bit less time if we did not have to stop twice for Arosha’s bathroom break). At the park itself we stopped in three different places.

Concrete barrier.The first one was on sandy beach. Aroshka climbed onto some old concrete barrier which ran alongside the beach, and had a lot of fun walking back and forth. He also liked sand, beach vegetation, and seashells and did not want to leave.

Sandy Hook. Dad.Our second stop was at Fort Hancock, which is located on the Sandy Hook peninsula. Danya and his dad took a few pictures, Aroshka and his grandma laughed and ran around playing hide-and-seek, and I just felt extremely happy being with all of them someplace outside of Brooklyn.

 Fort Hancock.The third stop was close to the Northern tip of the peninsula. There is an observation deck with a beautiful view of the Verrazano Bridge, the southern shore of Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Sandy Hook tip.It was around 3 PM (Aroshka’s normal nap time) when we finally got into the car and headed home. Since everyone was hungry, we stopped at one of the local rustic restaurants, Bahr’s Landing. This place had a beautiful view of the water and a good selection of seafood along with a seasonal Octoberfest menu.

Bahr's Landing.We got clam chowders/lobster bisque and mussels to warm up, and a variety of Octoberfest meals as our main courses. Everything was pretty delicious, but as usual the main meal portions were too big. This restaurant reminded me greatly of our Maine trip.

Arosha with a piece of cactus.Aroshka slept almost all the way home, but was cranky for over an hour after we got home since his nap was too short for his liking.

Looking at some flowers.All in all, we had a wonderful day. It felt as if we drove much farther from Brooklyn than we really did.

South Brooklyn, Manhattan. View from Sandy Hook.On a side note, I am very proud of Aroshka in terms of his control over certain bodily functions. He was diaper-free all day today, and he only peed in his pants ones in the car (luckily, we put a absorbent training pad on his car seat, so it did not get wet). We started going diaper-free outside about a week ago, and he is doing better and better. He even told us that he needs to do #2 while we were outside today, and to me it is a big accomplishment!

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Monday, October 8, 2012

Arosha — 26 Months

Arosha.Aroshka is 26 months old today.

We’ve made a lot of progress with а potty in the last few weeks. He’s been going on the potty at home when not wearing anything at the bottom for quite a while now, but somehow underpants threw him off and he kept peeing into them. A few weeks ago, however, we conquered this issue, so it was time to go diaper-free outside.

Arosha on a potty.The first day it was just one accident after another, but on the second day, surprisingly, things have gotten much better. We still have to change outside at least ones every few days, but he mostly tells me when he needs to go, and I am really happy with our progress. He still sleeps in diapers, and I think it might be a while before he’ll be ready to take them off at night.

I also started giving him probiotics a few weeks ago, and they seem to help to regulate his digestion. We’ve made an appointment to see a specialist in regards to this (at some point he started doing #2 too often), but this is another thing which helped me not to be afraid to go outside without diapers.

Arosha and an orange cone.Arosha is doing very well with his language development. His vocabulary is growing and syntaxis is getting more complex with each day. He only speaks and understands Russian for now, but I hope that by kindergarten he’ll have at least some rudimentary English as well. I try to speak English to him sometimes, but he does not like it and just plain asks me to stop. He also does not like watching cartoons in English, although when Danya and I watch morning news in English during breakfast, Aroshka does not protest.

At this stage in his development, his loves asking questions about the opposites (not sure how to better frame it). For example, I would say:
– Ароша, этот дядя очень хорошо стрижёт. (Arosha, this guy makes great haircuts).
– А кто плохо стрижёт? (And who makes bad haircuts?)

– Ароша, посмотри какой большой автобус! (Arosha, look how big this bus is!)
– А где маленький автобус? (And where is a small bus?)

Arosha under a crabapple tree.He is still a quite adventurous eater. Mussels? Miso soup? Seaweed? Spicy carrots? Chili soup? No problem, mom! He especially likes going to restaurants, although usually he is too active to sit too long in one place, so I usually have to eat fast and then walk around with him.

He started waking up at least ones a night almost every night after having a cold a few weeks ago. I usually give him milk and tell him one short fairy-tail, and he goes right back to sleep. I just hope that it will stop at some point. Not that it’s really hard to do, but sometimes it takes me up to half an hour to fall back asleep, and when I have to get up twice, that’s an hour taken from my precious night rest.

Climbing a light pole.Aroshka is also at a stage of a strong attachment to me. He always wants me to be close, and gets upset when we leave him even with his grandparents (we do it sometimes for half a day on Saturdays). We’re not planning to send him to a daycare for now, but if we did, I thing he would have a very hard time adjusting. I just hope that when he gets a little older, separating from me will be easier for him.

One of the things that Arosha really likes right now is hiding under our big bed comforter. I pretend that I look for him everywhere, and then eventually he shows up and I “find” him. Laughter always follows. He also loves to jump on our bed, but he wants me to jump with him (I pretend that I’m jumping though). He usually asks me to say the verse about “horses” (I add an extra verse about “кошки” (cats)):

Eating an Arosha-sized apple.Далеко, далеко
На лугу пасутся ко…
Кони? Нет, не кони!

Далеко, далеко
На лугу пасутся ко…
Козы? Нет, не козы!

Далеко, далеко
На лугу пасутся ко…
Правильно, коровы!

Пейте, дети, молоко —
Будете здоровы!

Enjoying a grass field.Arosha also loves running around, preferably on grass, whenever we’re in the open space. He wants me to catch him, and if I’m not fast enough, he will slow down and even fall to improve my chances.

He really misses his friend Evelina. She left to visit her grandparents at the end of August and will not be back until the beginning of December. Aroshka asks about her often and tells me that we should invite her over when she comes back. He does not socialize with other children on playground, and if he does, he prefers older girls — up to 2 years older than him.

Arosha near a gate.Arosha also got his first professional haircut this month. I already wrote about it, but just wanted to say again that to my surprise it was quite an enjoyable experience.

Aroshka also really likes his daddy’s iPad. We’ve downloaded a bunch of games for him. I don’t know if they have any educational value, but nowadays electronic devises like that are necessary evil. I limit his media time as much as possible, but we let him play a little almost every day. His favorite games include things like washing virtual dishes, or helping a toddler to go to the toilet, or doing virtual puzzles, or feeding monsters by picking up food from a refrigerator and then cooking it using different kitchen utensils. If you know any good games for 2 year olds, please leave a comment.

Running.Arosha knows his colors pretty well. His favorite is definitely light green (салатовый). He loves light green clothes, light green potty, light green balloons, etc, etc. The other day we went to an eyeglass store to get my glasses fixed, and after looking at all the different frames and sunglasses, he picked a bright light green one and suggested that we buy it.

We went to Brooklyn botanical garden this Saturday, and Aroshka had his first encounter with cacti. Despite Danya and I telling him not to touch them, he did. Moreover, he picked the worst possible one to touch — there were no visible spines, but after he touched the cactus, we discovered a lot of micro-spines stuck in his fingers. Aroshka was not happy about this, but I think that it was a good lesson (he remembers his experience).

Checking out a pond.Overall Aroshka is a great kid. He is smart and funny and spirited. There are daily challenges of dealing with him of course. He pretends not to hear me when I ask him to do something that he does not want to do, and sometimes after repeating the same thing gazillion billion times to no effect I have to either threaten him with some action (if you would not stop playing with a water fountain, we’re going home!) or yell.

I try to control myself and not yell at him because I don’t think it’s effective, but sometimes I just can’t help it. To his credit, he usually tells me “Mama, don’t yell at me” (мама, не кричи на меня) and it almost instantly calms me down.

Taking a pause. A short one.Arosha still very much likes when we read books with him. He became much more patient when it comes to longer stories. He definitely has his favorites, but I try to introduce new stories whenever he lets me. Right now among the stories that we read the most often are “Краденое солце” Чуковского, сказка “Как цыплята солнышко искали”, сказка о снегурочке, “Дракон Комодо” Д. Биссета, “Жил на свете слонёнок” Цыферова, сказки Сутеева о зайце и яблоке и о снеговике. Well, and many other ones!

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