Sunday, May 25, 2008

Are You Okay?

Over the course of a child's life, they usually have their share of bumps, bruises, scrapes, scratches, cuts, etc. The medical term, I believe, is "boo-boo." When this happens, the response between a father and mother can differ. A father might take a glimpse to make sure everything is alright, wipe off any wood chips or dirt, and help the toddler back on their feet. The mother will usually take the time to first ask the child, "are you okay?"

David and Julia are very active kids, and Nataliya will ask them this very question several times a day. They're also at the age where they can be very impressionable, and this phrase has now become a part of both David and Julia's vocabulary. When Julia gets hurt and starts crying, David will ask if she's okay, but he asks it with the same caring tone that Nataliya does. Whether it's pure imitation or not is in question as well, since he's been much more the loving siblings than we've ever seen.

As I was driving and made a wrong turn, I let out a frustrating sigh. Behind, I heard Julia's soft voice "yu'kay, daddy?"

In any case, it's just one of those adorable bits that we as parents love to see and thought would be nice to blog about and share.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

It's Always a Good Time To Read!

For the longest time, David has loved being read to. In fact, it's one of the ways we had him stay on the potty when we were potty training him. To this day, every time he sits on his potty, he tells me "Mommy! Five big books, please!" I'll end up bringing him ten (or more) books and he'll look through them for 20 to 30 minutes.

Once, when I came to pick him from day care, he was following along to a book on cd called "Go, Dog, Go." When I tried taking him home, he threw a tantrum until I let him finish the story. Seeing how much he was into following along with books on CD (or cassette), we started taking these sort of books from various libraries, and let David listen to them and follow along while in the car. Even Julia started enjoying the stories, and would shout "mermaid!" to request that we put on the "Little Mermaid" CD. Two other books with CDs that he received for his birthday had also become quick favorites for David.

But given the choice, David prefers that we read to him. Lately, his attention span for listening to the stories has gotten significantly longer and we've taken full advantage of that. Early in the morning, Seth will read several stories to David before I even get out of bed. (This tends to leave Seth with no time to take out the garbage and to skip breakfast, so he's been getting to work late more often than not.) We also read before we leave for his day care. We read while David is on a potty before he goes to take his nap. We then read after his nap, and finish the day with a number of books right before bedtime.

While David has been getting a lot of attention, Julia was forced to catch up; otherwise she'd be left to fend for herself. Julia and David will sit together and we'll all read together before Julia goes to bed. Then Seth takes David to our bed and they read there for almost an hour before David's 9 P.M. bedtime.

Oddly enough, with all the extra reading, neither child has asked to watch television. Sure - if we have the tv on, they won't complain, but for a few weeks now they haven't requested or seem to miss it. David now prefers to crack open a book, and although he still can't read, he'll talk to himself as he pages through a story, repeating the bits of the story he's committed to memory and filling in the blanks as his imagination sees fit. And when I step in and ask him a question about the story, he will give me the right answer.

One of the things I love of the Bergen County Community Library System ( is that we can renew library materials on-line. Since we read the same book five (or more) times a day for over a month, there are times when it's so nice to simply renew the same book for another couple of weeks.

The next step is trying to get David to read. He can identify a few words, but it's pure memorization of the word as a picture than the sum of the letters. If his interest in books continue, perhaps it will fuel his desire to learn how to read.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Dueling Molars

We're not entirely sure how it began, but we know who started it. At some point, perhaps while eating, David's teeth rubbed together just right, producing a slight vibration and a distinctive noise. Amused by this, he worked to reproduce the noise to the point that he could produce it at will. And David willed it a lot.

Julia, amused by David's newfound ability and contagious laughter, somehow picked up on this trick rather quickly and became as adept at this trick.

What follows are periods of teeth grinding followed by laughter. It starts out as each child taking turns grinding teeth, but it eventually turns into a grind-fest where both produce the horrible sound in two slightly different pitches. Perhaps I should play some "Dueling Banjos" to accompany this display...

While watching them go at it tends to be amusing, it's a bit worrisome because of what they might be doing to their teeth. Hopefully it's a short-lived thing that will go away if we don't pay much attention to it. However, since both children find it amusing and egg on each other with hysterical laughter, it might take a bit longer than we'd like.

Monday, May 5, 2008

A Glutton For Punishment?

As adorable as our baby can be, there are times when she needs to be disciplined, so we've started implementing "time outs" for her. Unfortunately, she is all-too-happy to oblige.

"Julia," I'll say when she misbehaves, "do you want a time out?"

"Yeah", she'll reply, a bit too happily. She then runs to where she's seen David spend a lot of his time and stays there until I tell her that the time out is over. For her, it's not exactly a punishment, but a chance to do something that her big brother does (albeit a bit too often.)

Even when she's being punished, she still looks adorable.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Tribeca Film Street Festival

Since the beginning of the week, I promised David that I would take him into the city on Saturday, and every day this week, David has been reminding Nataliya and myself... you know... in case we were to forget. We weren't sure if he was more excited of the fact he was going to the city with Daddy, or whether he was going to ride on the bus and on a train.

Having the benefit of a week to plan allowed me to figure out several options. However, the best choice seemed to be a dual festival, The Family Festival Street Fair and Tribeca/ESPN Sports Day, both sponsored by the Tribeca Film Festival. The festival was more fun for David than I even expected, as the festival was actually geared to children. The ESPN Sports area featured various video sports games (which David was curious about but had little interest) to larger events, like hitting a baseball, shooting goals with a hockey stick, bouncing around a bouncy football obstacle course, an X-Games Freestyle BMX Demo, and perhaps David's favorite, watching the NY Jets Flight Crew. (It might have been my favorite, but I'm not allowed to admit such a thing!)

David takes his turn at bat.

Making his way through the NJ Jets obstacle course.

Having fun in the Gazillion Bubble Garden

For a time, David was glued to the main stage which featured all sorts of musical acts, including performances from such Broadway shows as Grease and Legally Blonde. There were a few other things that caught David's attention and many freebies throughout, so it was definitely worth the trip into the city.

By the time we knew it, we'd been at the festival for over three hours and it was time for lunch. After a quick side trip to a bathroom by the security desk of a condominium (don't ask...) we headed to Washington Market Park to eat some lunch and play in the park.

After all that walking, I took David back to my office to relax for a bit before heading out to our next destination. (Too bad I'd only planned the day up to this point.)

David produces yet another masterpiece.

Making some last minute plans, we decided to meet up with cousins Marko and Daria in Central Park.

David wonders where the strawberries are hiding.

Cousin Marko presents David to the playground crowd.

After joining them for dinner, we headed on a crosstown bus, hopped on a B train, transferred to an A train to the Port Authority and then on a bus home. David was asleep by the time we got off the bus and I had to carry him home.

David enjoys the roller coaster-like ride of the MTA subway system.

All in all, it was a fun day, and offered a little quality one-on-one time for both children. For David, he had a great fun day in the city with daddy, and after 12 hours, I'd finally exhausted him! (It probably took a bit longer because he was riding on my shoulders for a lot of the day...)

Tomorrow morning, I know I'll be in a lot of pain from all this!