Wednesday, 4 December 2013

First scar

I'm not sure who the traumatic experiences are more traumatic for the kids or the parents. Four days later I'm still having nightmares about holding Yuri down while he gets his face stitched...
This Saturday he run his face into a table corner. There was a triangular whole in my son's face. I thought my soul left my body for a second when I saw that.
As we waited in the ER room,  I prep talked him to what was going to happen. I told him that the freezing is so strong you can't FEEL anything,  but he will SEE it,  and it will be scary. But it will be over very soon. I said "You just need to live through that".
He looked at me and he said "I know that,  mama. I just don't know how to. "
I was taken back.
My heart squirmed and I was proud at the same time.
It was such a mature way to recognize his fear.
I'm curious how did he remember the events?  How is he going to tell the story when he grows up? Did he

feel enough support?  Did he feel protected and cared for? I guess I'll only find out then. And you never know how it will come out. Past is unpredictable.
In the end,  it's comes down to stories we tell. They make up our lives, yet they are completely perception dependent.
I hope I gave him enough love though this experience so that when he is grown up and he gets scared he won't feel alone and unprotected. I hope he takes the love with him, inside of him.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

The morning after pill

Alissa has been up all night,  once again. I'm tired, my back hurts and the mood is not in the positive range. So, after all the partying,  she wakes up an hour late, takes her snack (that's my breast), then stretches a huge smile for me and yawns Mamaaa.... then crawls on top of me and covers my nose with kisses. .. at that point, my back doesn't hurt,  I'm full of energy,  wondering what was the proportion of caffeine and endorphins I was hit with just now.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Want to be like bro

Yuri is fairly tolerant to Alissa's requests for every toy he is currently playing with. He gives it up once,  twice,  thrice and then he starts the avoidance cycle. He gently circles around the room or climbs up on top of the sofa so he doesn't have to give up the toy unless she starts crying. She on the other hand is vicious in chasing him for everything he has. She wants to be like him in everything. She dances like him,  walks like him,  wants to wear his jacket and his socks. He is the ultimate idol for his sister.
What I find amazing is that he understands and gives her a chance to do that, and she grows from it while trying to keep up.
So, I'm not worried that she won't have her own opinion. She will get there. But right now she's got something more important - someone to look up to.
PS: the picture is her putting socks on top of her pj's because Yuri wears the big pj's with socks :)

Friday, 8 November 2013

My abusive and loving munchkins

The daily drama and hassle is surely draining. No question. Through all that I'm trying to clean, feed, and educate. But it's not all"growth through struggle" though.
Just recently I realized how healing their smiles and happiness are. I physically feel less tired and more energetic when Yuri yells "Mommy!  I love you! " out of the blue.
I find that I suddenly stop worrying about things when Alissa does her grins and dances to Barney 's song.
They use up my energy and then they give it back ten folds in their own kidly and gentle way.
And that is more then reciprocity,  that's love.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Please with a Cheese

Recently I figured out a way to have Alissa not to cry whenever she doesn't get something right away. As usual, I would say that she needs to ask politely with a please. And she does, but still sobbing. Now, what I'm asking her to do is say please with a smile. That's nearly impossibly to do while crying. So, she has to stop, take a breath and then say please. The smile doesn't usually come out, but the point is she no longer sounds like she is pleading. She sounds more gathered up and confident. The a way a respectable lady should sound :)

I noticed that Yuri is more responsive to those requests too. If he has a toy she wants (or if he grabbed her toy), he's more likely to give it to her if she asks with a calm voice. That I think is counter intuitive, because the crying and sobbing causes more distress, so I would think he's more likely to try and stop it by giving up the toy. But the opposite happens. Calm communication seem to be more effective between the kids too. So, babies are serene and mommy is happy :)

Monday, 21 October 2013

Surviving development

I survived three more new teeth. Alissa's teeth that is. Each one means sleepless nights, cranky baby, cranky mama, breast in bloody bruises from biting. Those three still need to come out completely and then there are only one left. Phew. Almost phew. Maybe not even phew yet.

Still pleasant to see the progress after a battle. Tooth out - it wasn't all for nothing!
I can't imagine the kind of pain she must be going through, yet she is strong and always in balance.
Even when she throws a tantrum and screams on top of her lungs, she seems to be in control.
Amazing. Such little body, yet such strong spirit.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Affilicted with tech

They start early. First favorite toy for Alissa was my debit card. Then she started trying to punch in the numbers at the cashier. Now my iPad and phone aren't really mine anymore. The speed of learning measures not even in weeks, it measures in times of use.
I wonder what will their IT future will look like?  What is any future going to look like for the next generation?
I do see a lot of weakness in characters of the next. I also see a lot more sensitivity. I like to think that their responsiveness will help them find a beautiful balance in advance of technology,  spirituality,  business aggression and their self awareness.
I don't mean to get philosophical here. But I do mean to envision a positive future for my kids. It will help them believe in it and materialize it.
So here I am,  seating in a coffee shop,  typing the blog on my Samsung galaxy,  checking email on the iPad and listening to the mp3 player.... while wondering how come my kids are addicted to technology. ..
Well, in either case, I'm still trying to fight the sitting glued habit with interaction. This includes doing ponytails and braids with Alissa. :)

Monday, 7 October 2013

Looking down at the time

"Mom, do you remember how we went to a store yesterday to see a crocodile?... Yesterday.." Asked Yuri. Even at his age the time is very relative. The things we remember well seem to be less distant than the things we don't remember, or don't want to remember. A diary helps keep things in perspective, and also makes you realize how your memories evolve with time. Past is never static.
I believe this very disorienting concept is called "mind time". A concept of time being bendable (just like any other measure in the physical world). Frankly, I'm unsure what is more real: the mind time, with it's elasticity and intensity, or the time of the clock, that we always have to check because it's never in phase with our lives. I chose not to say to my son that we've seen the crocodile in the store about two months ago. The two clock arms don't mater as much as our memories.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Street smart

The benefit of being the older sibling is that you get to develop smart ways of communication with uneasy people (younger sister) at a very early and very intuitive age. So, the first thing Yuri picks up as he gets up from his bed is an extra toy for Alissa - "because she will start crying for mine".
The act of self protection gradually becomes an act of care. You can no longer distinguish what is guiding him when he asks for an extra bagel and cream cheese, an extra sticker with a princess or picks out a nice looking stuffed animal from the basement storage even after she is already asleep.
It seems he thinks of her at all times. It's a habit that will hopefully become a second nature.
Witnessing such care leaves me mesmerized and, of course, makes me appreciate my older brother more.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Drama, drama, drama...

Third day in a row Alissa is putting me out of balance with the morning roller coaster of drama. For no reason and within a split second she starts a scandal as if she just received an insult of her lifetime. At first I bought into that and thought that something might actually be wrong, but it worked as a gasoline on a fire. So, I decided to withdraw any attention as soon as she starts. The result was interesting. She kept going for another couple of minutes and then stopped just as abruptly as she started.

Mind games of the toddlers are surely interesting study case :)

Thursday, 19 September 2013

In sickness and in health

Both kids are sick. Another restless night. By morning Alissa fell asleep on the floor after few hours of nursing/eating/playing. Yuri had to go to the washroom 3 times and couldn't fall asleep after each trip. 

Every time they get sick it affects you and teaches you. They need mommy, they become soft and clingy.

You are there to support,  stay up the nights,  feed, keep warm,  and learn what other part of yourself you can give. There is no strive to be payed back,  no hope to be appreciated as the recipients are too small and are your ultimate responsibility.

And then in the end of it you get "mommy,  I love all of you very much"....

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Early generosity

Seeing the kids learning early to care about each other is amazing. They naturally start thinking about the other when they get something for themselves.
Yuri picks two cars in the store and gives the faster one to Alissa. She asks for a second bagel when she gets hers and asks to put cream cheese on it,  because Yuri likes it with cream cheese.
Not only do they care to share,  they try to give what the other wants,  not what is convenient to give.
Seeing that care in people gives me warmth. Seeing that in my own children brings beauty in my life.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

They won't always be mine

There is a period of absolute ecstasy of knowing that the little people that make me alive need me for their existence. In this period I also clearly realize that they will grow out of it and it will be over. Love for the mother is big, but it's not the most important love in our lives simply because when the influence begins we are not capable of comprehension of it's nature yet and what was given to us. Motherhood
, however, is. It defines who we are more than anything. It promotes growth. It overrides any other influence. It teaches you the root of  your own existence, truth about yourself and about who they are. And every little bit you give returns 1000 times over, immediately and every time.
The fact that I am irreplaceable to them right now is breathtaking. I know it won't always be so and I'm grateful I have this moment still. I am greedy for time with them and try to suck every second I spend with them into my memory. This is the purpose of this blog. To remember. 

Friday, 6 September 2013

Feeding addictions?

It seems the kids go though these stages of addictions: Yuri with trains, Alissa with pandas. I'm not sure how much is too much. I let them enjoy and feed their interest (what else do we have in life:) ), but when it gets to getting hysterical about having to head out when there is a panda cartoon is on I get uneasy feeling. Yes, I had to use a method of distraction to save my ear drums, but I don't feel very compassionate to my child that goes bezerk within a split second when you take away her object of obsession. She begins to realize that screaming is not going to work, but it rarely helps when a coveted object is in question.

So, I find myself in a search of a golden middle of where to allow and where to limit the attachment to an object of obsession. I realize the limitation of contact will not remove the obsession, but it may limit the unneeded outbursts of emotions, hence saving a little bit of nerves for her and me.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

All the directions of development

As humans we have quite a few sides to work on in order to succeed in life. For a child, everything needs to grow: emotional health, mental development, physical coordination and agility to list just the major ones.

I personally never know what ball to catch first. Physical activity leads to emotional health, which in turn leads to better mental development, so it seems logical to keep them active most of the time. Yet I feel they need their breaks.

Too much walks, parks, runs and soccer and they get agitated, cranky and want me to hold them. That's when I know I've overdone it.
Home activities tend to be more soothing and mentally challenging, but it makes them want to speed up a little.

Just like with adults, you strive for a balance between running around, growing in all directions and finding a peace within, and there seems to always be too much in each plate to eat at once. And the time you break it into doesn't seem to be equivalent either: 15 min in the morning is longer than an hour in the evening.

At the end of the day, if I am not sure that my own scale is balanced, how do I know if I balanced theirs?

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Little people, big attitude

The daycare teachers say that Alissa doesn't talk to them. At all. I can hardly believe that since she blubbers non stop with me.
And they can't believe she does talk at home. They say it looks more like an attitude. They ask her a question, she puts her head down and disregards them. Where does she get it from I don't know. She seems to like this daycare and goes there easily. There is no personal influence that she could take it from. She behaves well there.
How does a one year old learns an attitude?
I knew she would have quite a personality when I had her,  but to shine the nature through that early. ..  I certainly didn't expect that.
So there,  my baby starts to display her own self already. Makes me proud and scared at the same time.
I don't mind her looking for her way toward herself. As long as she e
nds up being a good person in the end.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Lost in translation

Coming out of the daycare, having picked up the kids, I hold the door for a woman with a baby in her arms.
She said "Toda"("Thank you" in Hebrew).
I replied "Bevakasha"("You're welcome" in Hebrew)
Yuri turned to me and exclaimed "Mama, eto ne ("this is not" in Russian) English!"


Monday, 26 August 2013

Mom, why is the weekend over?

As I drove kids to daycare this morning, Yuri asked me "Mom, why is the weekend over?" He is in the stage of questions and sometimes I can't find an answer. 
So, I mumbled something along the lines of because weekend is only 2 days and then the week starts. 

Inside I was thrilled he asked that. 
It means he liked the weekend. 
It means all my efforts to have them always occupied and growing are producing results. 

So, I asked him why did he like the weekend. He said, because we go somewhere on the weekend! As usual, I tried to keep them out of the house for the most part. Train rides, parks, Legoland, even just to walk the dog together, still keeps them busy, keeps them active, learning and growing.

On the other hand, it does keep the mom worried about the house chores, but no biggie, I still had them done after they drop asleep before the head hits the pillow.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Live to clean up our clean up to live

After an amazing,  cumbersome and full day with kids,  having put them to bed,  I have a dilemma: do I drop to bed or do I clean up as usual. It is weekend after all.
Clean space is a peace of mind and a feeling of life. Sleep is in constant deficit.
So is it life of constant chores for the peace of life? Or do I need to let go and live some (sleep some)?

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Spider web to independence

Yuri is in his prime "I can do it myself" stage. He tried to go to the top of the spider web alone the first time,  but then stopped and asked me to climb with him. It took one time for both of us to go all the way up and now he gets up there in seconds. Same with puzzles,  games,  tasks,  writing,  drawing. Once he figured out the way the task can be achieved,  he doesn't want to be helped.
It's the road to his independence. Independence from me most of all,  gradually the scary thing will happen. I'll need to let go.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Second set of eyes

After a very extensive breastfeeding session, the baby goes bezerk over me refusing to take her in my arms when I am preparing dinner near a hot stove. Not waiting until she calms down completely, I pick her up after about a minute. My justification to myself is "she needs to feel secure", or "she had a 2 second break from crying", or "I can't let her get to hysterical state". And don't judge me for not distracting her, if Alissa wants something and she is not getting it - it is VERY difficult to find a distraction and most often requires to take her into a different room (at least), leaving a hot stove unattended.

Later I was told that she keeps snapping only because it works on me. I am the one who is sensitive to sounds in general and she is, like all babies, a very good psychologist, who knows I can be pressured by decibels.

Intuition doesn't always work. Sometimes you think you are following your parental senses, but your personal issues start slipping into the process without you even noticing. I'm grateful I have a second set of eyes and hands to help out and show me a different perspective.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Weekend of the birthdays

There were two birthdays this weekend. My son's and my niece's.
The kids were slightly cranky Saturday morning, but they still had a lot of fun at Chuck e Cheese. Yuri was very focused and serious during the cake procedure. He listened to the birthday song as if it was a hymn. And he only relaxed and started smiling after he blew off the candles.
There was an interesting moment with him there. A couple of times he asked me if all his guests are ok. They were spread out all over the place and he couldn't see them, so he asked me to check on them. He was mostly climbing up the tunnels with Cooper, who was afraid to climb up on his own. So, a few times Yuri asked me to help Cooper, cause he is afraid to go in.
I gotta tell you, those tunnels are not for adults. The sound resonates there and gets you completely disoriented, never mind the fact that you need to squeeze into fairly narrow twists and turns :)

But that aside, my point was... I did notice that Yuri had a very carrying nature before Alissa was born, but I think her presence enhances that by a large degree. He learns to stand up for himself, but he also learns to compromise and care.
After the party was done I had the time to recall how I had Yuri. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Even though I delivered in a very comfortable and serene atmosphere at home,  he came out with a storm of sensations and emotions. He turned 360 degrees during the labor and I felt every move he made. I have a feeling he will go through life with the same storm, going forward no matter what life brings to him, melting the circumstances with his strength.

Friday, 16 August 2013

How do you teach them to care

Last night as I was putting Yuri down he asked me if I'm tired and if I feel well. That made me think,  should I show them when I'm not 100%?
My parent's approach was to never show us their weakness. Their philosophy was (and in part I agree) that kids need to know they have firm backing they can rely on. They need to feel secure and protected at all times. It's not their turn to try to protect anyone yet. So, until I was well into my teens and my mom started a horrible cancer fight, I never realized she can get so tired or sick she can't function. Same for dad, Iron man was a joke compared to him. Later it thought me the strength of self control no matter what. That is only after I came to realize that I always had two stable and strong parents, even though they had to raise me in conditions that won't even compare to the problems that I'm facing.
On the other hand,  however,  it feels good to have your child showing signs of carrying at such an early age. Showing him that I'm not feeling well would teach him to care and help,  wouldn't it?
So, I choose the golden middle yet again. If Yuri has a tendency to show support,  I need to try and develop that. I need to pick my occasions when I let him know I'm not well. Other times,  my upbringing will probably win. I still think kids should have the opportunity to be kids, preferably while they are still kids :)

Thursday, 15 August 2013


Yuri is really waiting for his birthday. He wanted to rip a leaf off the countdown twice yesterday. He wanted it so much I had to let him enjoy it. He just won't be able to rip one off today...
He made a plan last night, very detailed one too...
We are going to buy a birthday cake tonight after I pick him up, then we'll bring it to the daycare in the morning and he'll have a birthday party there with candles and a crown. Then we'll go and get his train present. And on Saturday we'll have a birthday party at Chuck E Cheese. He specified who he invited and what games he would like to play there. I'm enjoying his enjoyment so much, it makes my heart melt.

As he woke up today, or to be more exact, after I got him dressed while he was asleep, carried him to my bed and Alissa danced on him for a while so he had to open him eyes to protect himself from being jumped on... he asked me if it's time to pick up the cake yet :)

From parental point of view the countdown idea is a gem. Not only the anticipation will intensify his joy during the party, but it teaches him patience too.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Taking a leap

Yuri likes to climb up onto things and then jump. He makes some reckless plunges that make my hair stand. But I stop myself from trying to stop him because I remember doing the same thing when I was a kid. We loose that recklessness as we grow up because of all the accountability we are taking on. As we become more careful we also slow down and put too much analysis into things before taking a leap. It's the order of nature and the world would be chaotic otherwise. But I don't believe that we should forget that feeling of a fearless jump. That's why I let him have it, even if my heart drops to my knees. I want him to know and remember that awesome feeling of letting go of the fear.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Morning cuddle

Morning mood of the baby is something to live for. It's bright, happy and very powerful. She is happy to be awake no matter what kind of night she had. That sincere smile warms your heart and fills it with joy. It's something no-one else sees throughout the day. Only you know how she can be when she is truly herself.

Friday, 9 August 2013

You don't always have time for the kids

Sometimes it feels that a day passes and I haven't really payed attention to them. I had to run errands last night, so I took them with me to get a stroller wagon for them (so that I would stop breaking my back every time we go for a walk and both of them get tired of walking and want to ride me). Healthily selfish of me :)

So, by the time we got back it was almost bath time and I barely had time to make dinner and feed them let along play and communicate. Doing something else and not spending quality time with them feels like such a waist of time. It's all the running around that I have to do in order to have a treat at the end of the day and enjoy my kids for 15 min. But in the end those 15 min is what counts, what gives me joy and life. Something I look f
orward to when the day starts.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

It's the little things...

Like all of us, kids get impressed with the little signs that you are REALLY paying attention to them. And they remember it. It took 10 minutes last night to make a "birthday countdown" with Yuri before his bedtime. Yet he was lit up inside out when we put the counter on  the fridge and ripped the first day leaf. He went to bed with it. As he was floating to the dreamland, he said, mom, do you remember how you made a flower band in a park for me and then I gave it to Alissa too?.. And I'm thinking, what a grateful child... he does this often, he reminds me of the things I've done for him months and months ago, small things that don't even take an effort. He remembers. Are we all born with that capability to be so grateful? But then again if I think of it, I remember the little gestures of attention for a long time too. In the end, the little things make all the difference in the world. Hopefully, it will make that difference for him.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

waking up in a puddle...

The baby slept through the night and only woke up at 5 to breastfeed. After playing with the source of enjoyment for a while she fell asleep upside down with a nipple in her teeth and her limbs spread out in a star shape... I woke up from being wet. We ended up in a huge puddle of breast milk. Alissa managed to get some in her eyes and on her hair.... And she wanted more as she opened her eyes :) Reminded me of the first 4 months when that was our daily routine.

Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one who breastfeeds after a year...
My son was on the breast until 2 years, I'm planning at least the same for my daughter.
She is 20 months now and we are both enjoying it :)
Is it inconvenient? Probably. Am I tired? Yes. Does she benefit from it still? I believe so. If not nutritionally, then definitely emotionally. Plus she practically don't get sick. That counts for a lot in my books.
On top of that it's the ultimate treat she ever gets at this age. You can give her a toy, play with her, sing to her - it's all temporary and shallow enjoyment. The breast gives her security, warmth, attachment, bliss. You can see it in her eyes that she is so grateful for it.

So, I listen to the good advisors, nod, smile and keep doing my thing. I trust my intuition on this one.   

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

weekend fun

After a weekend I'm coming back to work. People are asking if it was restful...
What do you say to that? Do you start explaining that restful and weekend do not coincide in the same sentence anymore after you have kids?
It's always fun, busy, crazy, intense but never restful.
We played, went to parks, went to LEGOLAND, drawn, walked the dog, did laundry, they spilled a jug of detergent all over the floor, read, unpacked kitchen stuff from our recent move, they fought who gets what cup, spilled their juices, cleaned up together, smashed a huge mirror into small pieces at 5am,  run after an ice cream truck, got blue ice creams, and then couldn't wash the blue sticky ice creams off of them in the bathtub... to name a few...

so, at that rate by the end of the day they were dropping asleep and so was I, but as mommies do, I had to stay up to clean up the remainders of the daily activities. Now I know why my
mom would go to bed at 2am when I was little :)

Unbelievably satisfying, yet I can't feel my toes as the weekend is over.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Alissa's feet

Really concerned about Alissa's overlapping toes.
And it's time to act. I've gone through the big intermediate changes that were causing the delay, so I can find the time now.

Found this study... 
Why did doctor insist we don't do anything about it. He said we should wait and if it doesn't correct itself, we'll do surgery... ????!!
She had it since birth, she is still growing, her bones are not fixed yet... Common sense... tape it!
Chinese circus artists used to cripple their children by putting their feet in a bottle so they don't grow and I can't straighten a toe of a baby without a surgery? At least try...

Found these toe trainers on the internet
they seem comfortable, but they are for adults... can't find anything for babies...
it needs to be comfortable and something quick to put on. Her toes already start to hurt, so she cries every time I try to straighten them or massage them. If it will be difficult to handle I just won't use it.
As far as I understand it's about 3 month to fix it. Making her hysterical twice a day for 3 month is not an option.

First about the to-dos...

Upcoming is Yuri's birthday.
Here are the things to do.
- Call daycare and ask for list of names of children in his group.
- Talk to him this evening and ask him who he would like to see there
- Get small notepad with a fridge magnet and make a "Countdown to Yuri's birthday" with him.
- Add Alissa, Nicolas, and Ella to the list.
- Call Chuck e Cheese, make reservations
- Prepare invites, set them into cubbies on Tuesday morning with please rsvp note
- By Friday get RSVPs and call Chuck e Cheese to confirm
- maybe I should do a home party with an entertainer??
- get present. The Thomas station he liked at Mastermind.
- should I get the party stuff or is it going to be available at Chucky's ? Find out.


I thought it would be easier to keep my mind at peace if I would be able to wash out the current thoughts and to dos. Maybe it will be useful to someone else, maybe it won't. Maybe it will give someone a new perspective or an idea, maybe it won't. In either case, here it is.