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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Kids are people too

Both Husband and I try to give zaiki autonomy: they get to choose between two outfits (only two!), they get to pick shoes to wear and they don't have to clean their plates at every meal. I understand that, when you need help to wipe your own hiney or put on clothes, having control over some decisions in your life is important, even empowering. This article is exactly how I feel. You know when you meet a distant and somewhat creepy relative and just don't want to touch them? As an adult, we have an option of a handshake or a wave, but we generally think it's acceptable to make our children give hugs to all the relatives. "Oh, how cute!" we say as our child is gripped in the clutches of a distant uncle they don't know or a great-aunt with halitosis. But I 100% agree with the author: kids should own their bodies, and if they don't feel like hugging, they don't have to. They are people too, and they should have a choice in how they express themselves. Having a choice lets them know that they are respected and their feelings are taken into account. So kudos to the article author for eloquently expressing thoughts that lazily hung in my own head. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Zaiki turn 3, or how did we get here?

I was going to write a post about life, changes, children growing up and other sappy stuff, but I am too tired and don't feel nostalgic/romantic/sensitive enough. Instead, I present you with a photo gallery that can only be titled
 "How did we get from this":



 To this:

 To this:



 To finally, this:



Monday, June 11, 2012

Out of mouths of babes

So Papa was working this past weekend, and I was left to entertain zaiki on my very lonesome both Saturday and Sunday. Not an easy task, I have to say, but some amusing moments make up for the back-breaking labor that is zaiki-care.

For instance, this past weekend we decided to change things up and feed goats/deer/geese at a local park's zoo. Basically, it's a bunch of cages in a park with very sad-looking animals. I actually feel bad for poor creatures, but zaiki find it facinating. After scaring baby goats with delightful squealing, shooing off an overly enthusiastic rooster and washing deer slobber off zaiki's hands, we went over to the playground. There was a very cute Russian boy, maybe about a year younger then my girls, with long blonde hair down to his shoulders. Sonya inspected him up and down, turned to me and asked: "Mama, is it a girl?" I said no, that is a boy. "No Mama, it's a girl". I reassured that no, it is, in fact, a little boy. "Mama, but he has girl hair". Solid logic, can't argue with that. Some time later, a very obese girl about their age appeared, Sonya inquired: "Mama, is that a baby?"...I just sighed, scooped her up and moved her over to another slide.

Later, on the drive home, the following exchange took place in the back seat (backstory to it is that zaiki's Papa is a policeman, or "peaceman" in zaiki-speak and that last week Maya broke sunglasses he takes to work with him):
Sonya: "Maya, I'm really MAD at you"
Maya: "Why sissy?"
Sonya: "YOU BROKE MY POLICE GLASSES AND NOW I CAN'T DO MY POLICE WORK ANYMORE!!!!" 
Maya: "Humf, I AM MEAN ON YOU TOO!!!!"
Both: "MAMA-SHE-IS-TEASING-ME-WAWAWA"

Yep, terrible threes are looking stormy...

Friday, June 8, 2012

Happy 12th anniversary to me

Wow, time flies! It's been over a month since I've written anything in here. I guess I'd make a shitty Carrie Bradshaw. :) Anyway, I have a good reason to revive my blog today. Besides being a wonderful cool Friday night in June and the fact that my zaiki are in bed, and I'm sitting in the living room enjoying a nice cold Blue Moon, it is also a 12th anniversary of my coming to the United States. Epic!

 It's a date that usually falls off my radar, especially since we've had kids and most days I'm lucky if I remember to set my alarm clock, but tonight it hit me: June 8th, 2000 is the day I landed in New York City.

I came to the US to work in a summer camp and was scheduled to go back in August same year. I never did. The funny thing is that, a week before I left Russia, my girlfriend and I were joking about me falling for a square-jaw-baseball-playing-gum-chewing-American, getting married and staying there. In the end, my American husband does not play baseball or chew gum (thank you Jesus!) but he is square-jawed and handsome non the less. :)

I was very naive, young (like not able to buy liquor young) and full of hopes. Watching soapy American touchey-feeley movies where all the right doors open and everything is wonderful also played into my delusions that life will be easy for me once I get to the States. And things did work out, but it was pretty rough for the first few years. Like am I going to make it or am I going to disappear in the underbelly of Russian/Ukranian Massachusetts underworld rough. The craziest part of it all was deciding to stay in the States and leaving behind all the life I knew. I still can't talk about things that I lived through. I just can't. Words just don't string together. The first year in the US was truly the darkest, the most difficult time in my life.

I believe that there are many paths in life to choose from and our choices make us who we are (yes, it is a cliche, thank you!). One day I will tell my zaiki about the choices I had to make, and the happiness and heartbreak that came with them. How those choices made me tougher, but also made me almost lose hope, and taught me patience and humility (not really, still working on it!). How there are good people willing to help you, but there are also those who are looking to take advantage of your helplessness, and how to tell the difference. How difficult it is to live as an undocumented immigrant, to put your dreams on hold and to see precious time and opportunities slip by. How it is so hard not to see your mom for years, or miss your younger brother grow up. How without me making these choices they would not exist.

But tonight, I simply raise my beer to the day when my life changed irrevocably and forever and enjoy my quiet Friday night. Cheers!