Friday, June 29, 2007

The Graduate

A lot of people tell me the first time they felt as a parent was when their child started either a kindergarten or a first grade. For me, it was when David started his school last year. There were a lot of firsts this past year ; David's first school day when he didn't even realize I was gone, his first holiday performance, his first teacher, Ms. Qiana, my first PT conference and a lot of new illnesses that David endured.

Today was another first for all of us. Our little boy had his first graduation day. Yes, he graduated his Primary class. He and his classmates performed for over 100 people. Seth and I had expected David to panic and throw a tantrum in front of all these strangers. But instead, we witnessed something that shocked us. David not only remained in his spot looking a little bit surprised seeing so many people, but he was the only one among dozen or so kids who was actually performing. While his teacher, Ms. Qiana was singing and dancing, he imitated her every movement. I can't even express how I felt when I heard people around me pointing at David and saying how adorable he was. Later his teacher said he did a superb job! Needless to say, I shed a few tears today.

If I sound like a very proud parent that's because I am. We were so proud of David today. If I had doubted my decision of placing him so early in the school, then all my doubts vanished after watching my son tonight.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Celebrating Daria's 1st Birthday --
Manhattan style !

This past Sunday we celebrated my adorable niece's 1st Birthday in Manhattan. (I told you a lot of our family's babies were born during the summer!)

Reluctantly, Daria opened her gifts, some of which were taller than she is!

After some snacking (while our kids might have only snacked, the adults enjoyed a full course meal ) we headed to the Central Park, which is a must if you are in the city on a nice day.

Right away our kids were drawn to a street performer who let them touch some of his instruments as well as play them. David danced a bit to the beat of music attracting even more passer-bys, while Julia kept clapping.

Julia couldn't stay still for minute. Just like her brother, she wouldn't have minded covering the entire park by foot.

Daria didn't even get a chance to blow out a candle as both boys rushed to it as soon as it was lid up. Once it was out, they rushed back to a playroom without even tasting the cake. Of course, I was relieved as it meant more cake for me. Happy Birthday, Daria!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Avid Readers

Lately, Julia and David have been able to entertain and amuse themselves for longer than a minute at a time. I think David started enjoying having a playmate in the house and they like playing together although it always ends up with either one of them crying or David going to his time out spot.

One of the activities they share is "reading" or as I call it -- looking through the pictures. Since Julia can't ask for a book yet, she gets her point across by doing this.

I thought I'd never get 15 minutes of peace in this house, but I might have been mistaken. Will it ever last longer than 15 minutes? Stay tuned.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

This blog has been brought to you by
the number 1, and
the letter P(ee)

This is a pair of underwear that's been lying in David's dresser for a few months now. Yes, I was very naive and hopeful that my son will be potty trained by the time he turns 2 years old. And I tried, unsuccessfully I might add. I'd spend up to an hour entertaining him while he would adamantly sit on his potty. Once I took my eyes off him to take care of Julia and he'd be gone! So, I gave it a rest... for a month.

Last month I decided to put him on a potty as soon as he woke up in the morning and after his nap. Seth or I jump out of bed as soon as we hear him in the morning and while sleep walking we bring David to his potty. I am very happy to say it's been working. As soon as David is done, which takes him a min or two, I'll scream "yay!" and dance around. I look like a total fool, but David seems to be amused. He insists on pouring it down the toilet, flushing it and saying "bye, bye" to it.

We are far away from David asking to go to the toilet or him using that pair of underwear, but slowly - very slowly - we are moving in that direction. But for now, I am off to Costco for 2 more boxes of Huggies; one for Julia and one for David.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Who said that a museum can't be fun?

David woke up really late this morning, 9 am to be exact. Seth took him out for a walk last night and they got home late, so David went to bed around 10 pm. It rained this morning, so I wasn't in a hurry to take the kids out. As much as I was tempted to invite some of his friends over for a play date, I decided against it as David is still feeling under the weather. So, once he was up, we read, painted, played until David started playing roughly with Julia. At that point I knew it was time to get out of the house. Seth found a coupon on line for a free admission to the NJ Children Museum and that's where the three of us headed. I don't know what I was thinking by bringing David and Julia by myself, but I believe both of them had a good time.
As soon as they walked in, they were literally attached to the fence that separated the visitors from a moving train. It took a lot of convincing to get David to move along.

Lucky me, there were more trains. I soon realized I had to find a chair because we were not going anywhere for a long time.

We missed a puppet show because David wouldn't leave the train station. Twenty minutes later the kid finally moved to another room and was he rewarded for that! The entire room was filled up with musical instruments including some small rattles for Julia. Everyone was again happy for awhile.

But serenity didn't last for too long. David found a stroller in one of the rooms and off he went. I just rolled my eyes, picked up Julia and started following him. If the reason we came to the museum was for David to push a stroller for the remaining time, then I was out.

Fortunately, David's curiosity took over. He would rush through the rooms, something would catch his eye, he'd "park" the stroller, play at one of the stations and was off again. I lost him dozen of times since Julia wanted to walk and of course, she'd go in a different direction David was pushing the stroller.

I am going to refrain myself from making a sarcastic comment about this picture.

The kids had a blast, I... not so much. It's exhausting to take both of them to a public place by myself. Hopefully, we'll have a nicer weather tomorrow and can spend the day outside.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to Seth, Taras and Michael!

On this father's day, our kids don't make any efforts to act any more appreciative towards their dad than on any other given day. They are still too young to express their gratitude to their daddy with a signed hallmark greeting card although David's been working on his own card.

These days it is my pleasure to honor Seth and thank him for being a wonderful father to our kids.

People say that being a stay at home mom is more difficult than going to work. But I feel so lucky being able to play in the park with the kids while their father is stuck in traffic on the way to work or splash in the pool while he is at the office missing on all the fun. Neither one's job ends at 5 o'clock. As soon as Seth walks in the house, the first words he utters are "Hi, I am home! What can I do?" and rushes to kiss the kids who are absolutely delighted to see him. After helping to feed David and giving bath to Julia, he takes David to see the train and plays with him in the park until it is too dark to see anything. He plans the activities for the weekend at least 3 days ahead and spends a lot of one-on-one time with David either taking him to the Central park, across G.W. Bridge or to the local parks. It's been an exhausting year for all of us, but Seth's managed to work harder to help me and spend more time with both kids. I truly believe, that it is quantity and not quality of time that's important for the children.

Thank you, Seth, for being such loving, caring and fun father to David and Julia. I am looking forward to watching your relationship with them grow and I am positive that soon you'll be receiving plenty of cards from them with the words of pride and love for you.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Happy Birthday, Marko!

We love summer and not just for the obvious reasons such as a warm weather and longer days, but also because a lot of babies were born into our family during this season. Today we celebrated my nephew's (Marko) 4th birthday. I can't believe it's already been four years since his birth. Time does go by fast. Marko didn't like the attention he got on this day, but he sure loved opening the presents.

In celebration of Marko's birthday, we gathered at the Liberty State park in Jersey City early in the morning to enjoy the bbq,

let the kids run wild

and have our share of junk food (although a lot of healthy choices were available, mmmm... homemade guacamole).

The youngsters caught up on the latest gossip.

Gravity couldn't hold down this kid

or even her brother.

Even though the day wasn't without any adventures (David hasn't been feeling well for the past week or for the past 6 months for that matter), we truly enjoyed the outdoor party and looking forward to many more!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Cars, strollers... so overated

When I moved to NJ from Queens some 5 years ago I noticed that no one walks in this state. It probably wouldn't bother me so much except I didn't even have a driver license. Believe it or not, I hadn't needed it so far. I moved to US when I was 16 years old, since then I lived either in Manhattan or Queens thus no need to drive. I finally passed a driving test and got my NJ license; more for the purposes of having id than driving. When my son came along, my husband was commuting to work by a car, and since we had only one car, my son's main way of transportation was his stroller. I didn't mind taking him in the stroller and walking around to the parks and to the supermarket. In addition, I had read in one of the parents magazines that walking was good exercise and since I was a new mom trying to lose "baby" weight, I couldn't find a better excuse for not using a car.

Two years, two kids and a double stroller later I still prefer walking through town. Walking with both kids in the stroller has become increasingly difficult since the combined weight is approximately 80 pounds. Then, after my son turned 2 years old, he decided that he preferred walking rather than sitting in the stroller. I wasn't surprised; he is my son after all. At first he insisted on pushing Julia in her umbrella stroller all the way to his school. Although the sidewalk is bumpy and not easily traveled, he's determined and he managed the route in 15 minutes.

David also insists on walking to the town park while I am pushing Julia in her stroller. He stops at the street light, waits for the light to turn green or for me to say "go" and only then will he start crossing the street. Today, for example, he walked 20 min to the park, ran around there for 2 hours, walked back home and still had the energy to take Julia's Fisher Price walker to the balcony and run with it back and forth. I, on the other hand, was exhausted, dehydrated and my feet ached. Nowadays I am so tempted to use the car, especially in this heat, but David refuses to get into it! He wants to walk! So, we usually end up walking, and David will point at all the buses and trucks passing by, shouting out their names as they pass. Meanwhile, I secretly hope that all this physical activity will lead to a sport scholarship for college. (I can dream, can't I?)

Friday, June 8, 2007

The power of a friendship

"Thank you", said David to me today after I handed him a banana and he proceeded to eating it. I froze for who knows how long until I heard Julia screaming demanding the rest of her lunch.

Why would I mention this in a blog? After all, children thank their parents all the time. But I am talking about my son, the same boy who two months ago would throw a tantrum every time I'd ask him to repeat any word. And today he thanked me without being asked, begged or bribed.

After realizing that my hearing didn't play a trick on me, I started questioning how David knew how to apply this phrase in the right context. It is true, I've been nagging him to use "thank you", but when was the last time he ever listened to me? I then recalled that he's been repeating just about anything his pal, Olivia, says and even "thank you" a few times after they had their snacks together.

I've always known David enjoyed Olivia's friendship, but I never imagined it was also going to be an educational one.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

The fate of a younger sibling

David and Julia are 17 months apart. Having such a small age difference between the kids has its pros and cons. It is a lot of work to take care of two little babies as a lot of people know, but the rewards are endless. Somehow I doubt Julia would agree with me though. She is a younger sibling and there don't seem to be any rewards in sight for her. Here is a peak into her daily sacrificies.

Julia gets woken up earlier from her naps or skips them altogether because I need to take David either to a daycare, classes, play dates or speech therapy.

She tags along everywhere David goes. He basically commands her schedule.

Julia occupies a back seat of their fancy stroller which means little to no view except her brother's back.

She is stuck eating chicken almost every night for dinner because that's the only protein that David eats (not including peanut butter and eggs). I cook two dinners every single night, one for the kids and one for me and Seth, so making a third one for Julia would be ridiculous (although making a separate meal for the kids is bizarre). Luckily for me, she doesn't mind stuffing her mouth with a whole drumstick.

And there is always the physical abuse. As soon as David sees her in the morning, he runs towards her screaming "Baby! Tickle!" and there is no escape for the poor girl. The mistake she makes is laughing non-stop when he either squeezes her hand, tickles her or shakes his head with a head full (not so full anymore) of hair in her face. It encourages him to do it again and again until she gets fed up with this and doesn't think it is funny anymore.
(It is obvious why the picture is missing).

The meaning of sharing is non-existent for David. Not only won't he let her play with his toys, she can't even touch her own either.

Lately, he's been getting better at letting Julia play with one letter out of his alphabet puzzle.

But sometimes, a moment like this happens ...

and I think maybe Julia doesn't have it so bad after all. Speaking from my own experience, I've always liked having an older brother, but I can only hope my son grows up to be half as good to Julia as my brother has been to me.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

We are ready for the summer

In our household we don't follow any official starts of the seasons. For us, the summer begins when David's hair gets buzzed off. When I was growing up in Ukraine, I learned that a summer starts on June 1st, fall on September 1st, winter on December 1st and spring on March 1st. I had celebrated my birthday in the spring before I came to US. I still refuse to accept that the first day of spring is March 21st because it would mean I was born in the winter.

David has very thick hair and it seems to grow so fast. Judge for yourself.

We usually give David a haircut once every 3 months. But in the summer his hair gets very sweaty and stinky, so he gets a buzz cut at the beginning of June. Today we brought him to SuperCuts, he climbed onto the barber chair, didn't move or scream and here is the result. Voila!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Happy 1st Birthday, Kayla!

Seth's been trying to convince me to start my own blog for the last 2 years (since our son, David, was born) and so have some of my friends. My excuse -- a busy life with a toddler and a newborn. Well, a newborn is not so new anymore and a toddler loves taking his naps during which, I assume, I'll be writing on this blog. I doubt I'll be frequently posting on this site, but I'll try my best to keep everyone updated on our munchkins' busy lives. Seth's been doing a great job posting the pictures of the kids on, but it is not as often as both of us would like. The original website is active and will be updated by Seth once in a while.

There is no better topic to start this site off than wishing a happy birthday to our kids' cousin, Kayla, who is turning 1 year old this coming Tuesday. But we couldn't wait till Tuesday, so we celebrated her Birthday today and what a Birthday party it was! The Birthday girl looked adorable as she always does, but it didn't hurt that she was really dressed up for the occassion. Here she is posing with her mommy, Uncle Seth and Julia.

The festivities started off with testing some of the Birthday presents and I believe they were a hit with the kiddies. Bubble bottles and the ride in an oversized wagon! What's next? What's next?

Next came the lady with a guitar hanging over her shoulder and pretty cool musical toys. For those of you who know anything about my son David, know that he loooooves listening to the music, playing instruments and staring motionlessly at the people while they are singing. Here are some pictures to prove my point:

The party wouldn't be completed without bubbles of course!

David had an incredible time and it didn't even matter that he attended a 45 min music class this morning. He never gets bored of jumping endlessly to a musical beat. Thank you, Aunt Samara and Uncle Glenn!

Julia was busy "chatting" with her Uncle Jared who visited from the West Coast to attend the party.

Laughing at Daddy making silly faces

She is sure a happy baby!

On the way home Seth kept saying how adorable David was and how lucky we are to have such good kids. We truly are, but it is always easier when other people entertain them.