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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

zaiki and co.: Kupi slona or how to annoy your toddlers

zaiki and co.: Kupi slona or how to annoy your toddlers: Parents of toddlers know how annoying the constant whining is. Anything said in a tiny voice over and over and over and over starts to wear...

zaiki and co.: January - the month of the sickies

zaiki and co.: January - the month of the sickies: In case you were wondering, we’ve been sick. Baby germs are apparently indestructible. Something that, in an almost 3-year-old, causes sni...

Kupi slona or how to annoy your toddlers


Parents of toddlers know how annoying the constant whining is. Anything said in a tiny voice over and over and over and over starts to wear on anybody, and I don't care what kind of happy meds you are on. Maya whines and meows constantly. Her newest thing is to say "what did you say?" to anything I ask her to do.

So in despair I opened the dark damp room in my head that are my childhood memories. You see, my brother is 8 years younger than me and we had some interesting times together. When we were growing up, we used to play this game: you start out with asking someone to buy an elephant, "kupi slona" in mother-tongue. When your victim innocently asks you "why?" (zachem?), you say "everyone asks why, but you buy an elephant" or  "все говорят зачем, а ты купи слона?". The beauty of this is that you can countersay just about ANYTHING with "kupi slona". It's awesome and endless. My brother and I did it for hours until someone got tired or voices got coarse.

So, when Maya started with "what did you say?" I was ready. I replied "kupi slona". She got confused and said "what?". Then I had my revenge. And it was glorious. Now nothing stops whining and complaining faster than "kupi slona". I love it.

January - the month of the sickies


In case you were wondering, we’ve been sick. Baby germs are apparently indestructible. Something that, in an almost 3-year-old, causes sniffles for a few days is deadly for tired and stressed parents. The virus started as a pink eye, moved into my nose and then settled in my chest in the form of bronchitis.  Antibiotics are working, but the thing is not giving up easy: it’s been a long January. Plus I can't drink wine while I'm on these meds, and it makes me sad. I have a sneaking suspicion that every flu/cold season is going to be like this.

Zaiki, meanwhile, have grown more independent all of a sudden. “Myself” is a favorite word.

I mean, Sonya pointedly walks with hands in her pockets when we are out. She has also grown feisty, and reminds me of a little pixie with a HUGE attitude. 

And oh help you God if you find yourself between Sonya and the things she loves:

The other morning we were running late as usual. My mornings are interesting. The only way I can describe it, and you'll get it if you run, is like being in the the last leg of really hilly and exhausting half-marathon. You are almost there, your body doesn't want to listen anymore, but you still have to push through, so you start flailing around, lose coordination, trip on a rock and end up on your ass. 
Anywaaay -I didn’t have time to make actual breakfast, so I showed a piece of muffin (excuse me, HAPPY CAKE in zaiki-speak) into their little pie-holes and off to the babysitter’s house we went. Sonya loves-loves-loves her happy cakes and will defend them to the death.

So we pull up and all of a sudden she gasps and asks me with alarm in her voice: “Is Charlie (the big dopey lab the sitter has) in his cage?”
Me: “No probably not.”
Sonya: “Mama, but he will EAT MY HAPPY CAKE!!!”

Once we got in, the dog indeed attempted to sniff what kind of yummy food she was holding. Little Sonya, who can easily walk under the dog’s belly, curls swinging, eyes shining in the righteous indignation, protected her treasured happy cake: “NO CHARLIE THIS IS MY HAPPY CAKE! GET AWAY!!!” Then she smacked him on the nose with the free hand and the dog skulked away. I was impressed. She has no fear and is willing to fight for things she holds dear. Not a bad trait to have, not at all. I’m proud of my little pirojok, I think this will serve her well in the future.


Friday, January 13, 2012

zaiki and co.: Jumbled head

zaiki and co.: Jumbled head: It always happens to me right after the holidays are over - I feel out of balance. It's as if my head has been shaken and jumbled. In a way,...

zaiki and co.: Meat/Shmeat or мясо/шмясо

zaiki and co.: Meat/Shmeat or мясо/шмясо: My friends, meet "shmeat". Or "шмясо" as Sonya and Kevin call it. But let me explain: In the last withering away part of 2011 (say early ...

Meat/Shmeat or мясо/шмясо


My friends, meet "shmeat". Or "шмясо" as Sonya and Kevin call it. But let me explain:

In the last withering away part of 2011 (say early to mid December) I've had unpleasant stomach issues. Aside from making me really really uncomfortable, these issues made meat taste funny for me. I started thinking about poor little animals pumped full of antibiotics, fed genetically-modified corn and then dragged off to die in terror while the doctor Moro-type farmer laughed menacingly in the background.  Then I watched a fun little documentary about how we are killing ourselves with our diet. And this one.

So I decided to stop eating meat and limit animal-based food in our diet. Not eating meat is hard, but not for the reasons I thought.It is very difficult to find healthy vegetarian options and time-consuming to cook them.

After munching on broccoli and kale for a week or two, I've found the thing you see in the picture above - shmeat (as we dubbed it). Shmeat cannot pass for meat. But it's really good and quick. I've added it to my stir fry and it's actually is a bit mushroomy and nutty.  

The most surprising thing of the meat-free existence is how easy my body gave it up. I've been raised on a heavily animal protein based diet and thought that it will be like trying to give up heroin. But not so far. Maybe the meat juices are lodged in my body so much that it'll take me months to get rid of them? Maybe that's when the cravings and sweat will come? I'll keep everyone posted...

We also took up yoga. So "namaste" to you from the "shmeat" and I.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Jumbled head

It always happens to me right after the holidays are over - I feel out of balance. It's as if my head has been shaken and jumbled. In a way, I'm sure it has something to do with coming off the holiday craziness and the beginning of a new year. Also, I usually get sick.

This year was not an exception. We rang it in awesomely: I baked like a fiend, Kevin came home early, we had company, did vodka shots at midnight, I actually stayed awake (shocking!). And then we got sick. Maya started off with some conjunctivitis, passed it along to Sonya, who then passed it to me. In my Russian deficient immune system the virus flourished and blossomed, turned into a head cold and looks like it's getting comfortable.

I just can't find my center.I have very little energy. The girls, meanwhile, are almost back to their normal selves. We hang out, play with "their people" (that's what they call their smallish plastic toys), watch Disney.

The new thing is to play "Snowhite", which means Maya lays on the floor with her eyes closed and demands Papa (or Mama, or Sonya) kiss her to wake her up. And the kiss has to be "on the lips!", otherwise it doesn't work, apparently. Maya is getting funny: After getting her first official haircut, she declared her hair "too pretty" for Papa's kisses. Last night I was told that we need to find a fairy who urgently has to make Maya a big girl so she can then be a mama. Hmm...

Sonya, in turn, wants to be "purple lost princess Sonya" and demands tights. No pants, just tights. That have to immediately come off once she is inside. Having her legs covered inside a residence makes her angry.
Last night they also play "crazy" - running around screaming and flopping their arms. I joined in but it made me dizzy and out of breath.

I hope that this year will be good: not just better than..., but really good. It's a year of the Water Dragon according to the Chinese horoscope, which sounds soothing and peaceful (certainly better than a fire-breathing angry dragon), and it's a year my brother was born 24 years ago. So really banking on all that for some much needed good luck.