Monday, September 29, 2008

"S" is for Siderodromophobia!?

For some reason, on September 21st at 6AM, Julia belted out a terrifying cry from her crib, jolting me out of bed. I jumped out of bed and ran to her room, already trying to strategize a possible trip to the emergency room without Nataliya around to assist.

Turning on the lights, I found Julia lying awake, eyes wide open and no obvious signs of injury. I picked her up and gently stroked her hair back to comfort and look for any new bumps, I asked her to show me the boo-boo. For some reason, she didn't answer. Hoping I was just asking the wrong question, I asked "What's wrong, honey?"

"Train chasing me!"

It was just a nightmare! I tried to get her to elaborate. "Where's the train, Julia?"

Pointing to the wall beside her crib, she said, "Over there!"

Still holding her, I turned so that she faced the wall, and taking a line from Go Away, Big Green Monster!, told her to say "Go away train, and don't come back until I say so!" As goofy as it sounds, it seemed to immediately calm her down.

Within five minutes, the memories of her nightmare seemed to fade away and she was back to her ol' self. Hopefully the dream is just her way of dealing with a real-life stress and not a fear of trains. I guess we'll find out when we take her to the Holiday Train Show at the NY Botanical Gardens later this year!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Apples, Corn, and Mazes

On the third Sunday of September (and the last day of Summer,) the family headed to the Stony Hill Gardens and Stony Hill Farm Markets to go apple picking and show the kids how much fun you can have with corn...

Both kids enjoyed apple picking. Once David got the hang of it, he just couldn't get enough. If he had his way, he probably wouldn't have stopped until the trees were bare.

Julia enjoyed picking apples as well...

... but she preferred to eat rather than work!

After filling our baskets to capacity, we tried to convince the kids to leave. They were just having too much fun playing among the apple trees.

When the kids finally caught up with Nataliya and me, we paid for the apples... 20 lbs of apples... and headed to the farm market.

We started the trip off with a hay ride to the pumpkin patch.

Then we sent David into a fence labyrinth. (That kept him busy for a while!)

After a quick snack, David led us into the large corn-stalk labyrinth... He was having so much fun running through the corridors and turns that we had to yell for David to slow down and wait for his old parents!

Can I go play with Issac?

Although the farm was about an hour away, it was less crowded than the closer farms we've gone to over the years, and the detail taken to creating the various mazes, including the large corn labyrinth which takes about two hours to complete (which will have to wait until our next trip), this is definitely worth the ride.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Three Year Old and His Homework.

It is not a secret that I haven't been in love with David's school. He's been attending this school since he was 20 months old, and I was hoping that his language skills would be a bit better and he'd be reading by now. I realize it isn't fair to the school and that my expectations are unrealistic, but sometimes I forget he is only 3 1/2 years old.
I must say that I've been surprisingly impressed with his new class this year. He comes home with five or so paintings and other crafty projects every day. He is encouraged to write more. The teachers started implementing a reward system for students' good behavior. Every Friday he actually has homework that's due on Monday. Even though it takes a big chunk of our weekend, I like taking a break from the pre-school work books and doing something more creative with him that I myself didn't have to come up with. Since there is so much time a 3 1/2 year old can concentrate on one task, his homework has to be broken up into a few parts. Of course, as always, with a busy weekend schedule, some parts of David's homework are done just before heading to bed Sunday night.
As I was finishing Sunday dinner, Seth and David were working on "I am special" part of the homework where we had David draw himself, write his name (which he can do it well with his eyes closed) and cut out pictures from various magazines that show things that he likes (such as a picture of ice cream, a book, a tennis racket, pic of Wizard of Oz etc.) and then glue it next to the drawing of himself.

After taking a closer look at the pile of magazines they were cutting the clippings from, here's what I discovered!

So, it wasn't so surprising to me that when it came the time to gluing the clippings to a piece of paper, David insisted on a few pieces that were not very appropriate. "It is my favorite!", he'd scream. So, the lesson I learned from one of his homeworks -- Daddy will have to stay out of school work for now.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Welcome to Neverland

From the hundreds of stories and the occasional movie that our children are exposed to each month, it's interesting which stories they take to and enjoy reading (or watching) over and over. One of those stories in our home is Peter Pan. David has been drawn to the title character, and likes to pretend he's Peter Pan, which is fine as long as he doesn't try flying off the top of the stairwell. Julia occasionally wants to be Peter Pan as well, but Nataliya keeps telling her that Peter Pan is a boy (which will probably confuse the heck out of Julia if she ever watches a live version of the story which always has a woman in the title role.) Instead, Julia is taken to the other major character of the movie - Tinkerbell.

In fact, David has already decided who everyone else in the house is. Nataliya is, of course, Wendy. I'm Captain Hook. Bandit (our pet cat) is the crocodile, Tick Tock.

I'm sure there's a psychology thesis tucked into all this! After all, while choosing me to be a major character in his life, by making me Captain Hook, is David telling me that he sees me as his adversary rather than the protective and loving family-man like the Indian Chief? And is there a sort of Oedipus complex thing going on that he would choose Nataliya to be Wendy, rather than the loving and understanding mother, Mrs. Maradeth “Mary” Darling? And why choose this story over another, like Lilo & Stitch where family is stressed above all else? Is it possible that David feels stressed at the idea of being a big boy.

Okay, take it easy - I'm just having fun with this! But... do a Google search for psychology "peter pan" and you'll get some interesting results... For example check out this excerpt from here:

Peter Pan runs away from his past (repression and denial) and blames Captain Hook for all the evils in the world (projection). Peter's own crusade against evil (reaction formation) stems from his superego insecurities. Peter's Shadow represents his paranoiac tendencies and his persecution complex.

Anyway, this blog entry has gone from cute to scary, so I'll just stop now.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

"Break a Leg" .

The other night as I was quietly eating my dinner I heard Julia saying "Mommy, I want to go pee-pee on a potty". I jumped out of my seat and ran towards her. Well, at least it was my intention. I did manage to get up, but I didn't run too far as my foot got caught in a leg of our dining table. I heard a cracking sound that came out of my toe and I screamed. David ran downstairs from the bathroom and asked me if I was okay. Seth attended to Julia who did nothing on a potty. The pain I felt in my toe indicated that I broke a bone. I placed an ice pack on my right foot and kept it off the floor.
Next morning, I went to the emergency room where a doctor confirmed that my toe was broken, but all she could do is to tape it and write a prescription for vicotin. If that wasn't embarrassing enough, the doctor called a nurse asking her to bring me a special shoe medium size. I whispered to her that it might be too small. The nurse came with women's sizes medium and large shoes. Neither one fit me, so she had to go back and get me a man's shoe. To make me feel better, she insisted that my feet don't look that big. As I was being discharged I was told to stay off my feet, neither cook nor clean. That ain't happening of course.

I would never think that breaking one toe could be so painful and it could affect an entire foot.
For now, the kids won't be going to any parks on the weekdays and taking David to school will take me forever, but everything considered I am lucky it is just a toe.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Girls' Week Away.

We are back from my and Julia's vacation in Canada where we visited my cousin and her family. I am tempted to post every single picture of our time there as each of them reminds me of a week filled with simplicity, quietness and calmness.

We got back home very happy and relaxed eager to see our boys.