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Waiting…and Turning it All Around

February 6, 2014 Leave a comment

I don’t like waiting…it takes too long, my son says at least three times a day.

Hmm, delay of gratification, I’m thinking. An important skill…

We all have to wait sometimes to get what we want. Most of the time we have to wait to get what we want. Before you even finish … [singing Mary Had a Little Lamb, counting to 20, etc.], we will be … [home, or wherever]/you will have … [Mommy’s attention, etc.]. I’ve said a version of this statement to my son many, many times.

And only recently have I started thinking more about my own relationship to waiting.

I don’t like to wait. Who does?

On a larger scale, I’ve never had difficulty waiting, though. Waiting for the realization of some kind of a goal while working towards it. That has never bothered me. Par for the course. Accomplishing big things takes time. Months, years, in a few instances decades. Fine by me. That’s what I want, and I don’t have a choice but to work towards getting it. Period. (This attitude brought me to a pretty high level of misery while I was a student in Belgrade.)

But, what I am talking about here is “small” waiting, short waiting, everyday waiting. Wait until I finish chopping an onion to tape your cymbal to the drum. Wait for your fiend to arrive. Wait for my appointment. Wait for something to start.

Over the years, I came to love this kind of waiting. Sure, I will take you to the parade, and no need to worry about the parking, I will just park illegally, stay in the car and wait. Sure, we can go skiing, although I don’t ski, I (or Andrei and I) will just hang out in the lodge. Sure, I can take you to your appointment and just wait for you to be finished, no big deal. Read more…

Reflections on the Month Gone By

January 15, 2014 2 comments

It’s finally over – Christmas, New Year’s, celebration, stress, lights, the tree. Even those last random needles are off the floor. It’s good. I am enjoying this unusually cold January that, surprisingly, doesn’t feel desolate at all, only beautifully, delightfully, comfortably calm.

Now, this is how everything started way back, maybe even before Thanksgiving: Look at that – decorated Christmas trees – and it’s not even Thanksgiving yet. Isn’t that a bit too early, I thought.

Then, a few weeks later: Did you do your Christmas shopping? Do you have a tree up? Andrei, what’s Santa bringing you for Christmas? Are you being a good boy, ah?

Wow, do I really have to deal with this, I thought. All I wanted was to take things slowly. Calmly. Thoughtfully. After all, my husband and I had to figure out this Christmas thing. Neither one of us is religious so we were sure we were not going to celebrate and introduce to our son the birth of Jesus and similar material. We were clear on that. But, like in the previous years, we wanted to partake in the cultural aspects of Christmas, and we knew that even this limited introduction of Christmas to our son would most likely be greeted with a number of questions that we will have to answer. And we knew that this year the questions would be more challenging than they were last year (as posed by a four-year-old instead of a three-year-old) and that we needed to clarify our vision quickly.

Just like last year, we got a tree and decorated it. We decided we were going to buy our son a few presents and put them under the tree. We were going to enjoy an abundance of family time, everything calm, simple, stress-free…

Well, that  was our vision. What we failed to take into account was the magnitude of the impact of our surroundings on our still pretty young and excitable son. Maybe I forgot how crazy people are about Christmas. That, in general, in the month of December, people can’t seem to stop thinking, planning, shopping, talking, asking questions about – Christmas. And that we simply couldn’t avoid dealing with the question of Mr. Santa.

Does Santa exist, my son asked me early on. Read more…

Circle-and-Line Whistle, Three-Two

December 13, 2013 Leave a comment

I want my yellow whistle, you know, the circle-and-line one, three-two, I want it right now.

Andrei, you can try to look for it some more, but mommy is not going to look for it any more. I tried to help you find it, but I ran out of ideas of places where the whistle might be. If you really want a whistle, maybe we can buy one in that store next to the train station, they must have whistles.

We can’t go to that store and buy a whistle, a circle-and-line whistle, because eighteen hunters came from a forest and killed all the stores and all the whistles. They really did.

So, what does that mean? We have to look some more for your whistle?

Yeah, the hunters killed all the stores and all the whistles. Read more…

The [Damn] Alien

November 26, 2013 Leave a comment

My son always knows what he wants. Today – the black shirt with a skeleton. Tomorrow – the grey sweater. And the blue boots. And the striped leg warmers. And the green belt. And the big rabbit. And the big motorcycle that plays music. And the blue car with eyes. And the shoes with lights and not the shoes with laces. And the gummy fish, not the oatmeal raisin cookie today (I love oatmeal raisin cookies, but I don’t want any now).

Always specific. Always clear. Always certain. About what he wants.

I think that’s good. I want to support it. This ability to hear the voice inside him calling for something and to be able to read it, without editing it…That’s all good. Read more…

For Now…

October 31, 2012 Leave a comment

One morning this past week I woke up and realized it was time to put an official end to this blog. Maybe temporary, maybe not. Most likely temporary. One morning in the future I know I might wake up and know it’s time to resume. And resume I will. But now, it feels like it is a good time to stop.

At least a half of the time when I dig my little black journal out of my backpack, it is still to jot down a thought related to the blog and not to my stories. The blog has become an important part of my life. A tool to share and connect, a tool to comprehend, sort out, express, a tool to keep the words flowing.

In the past month or two, I thought about the blog frequently. My son, my husband, and I went through a big change: Andrei started preschool. Full-time. From never being separated from me to about  thirty hours of preschool a week away from me.

No, it was not what we originally  planned. We thought it would be a good idea to start slowly. A few days, a few hours a week. But looking for a preschool turned into this serious and largely draining journey. After we toured tens of preschools that felt either too new and not well-thought-out (while still outrageously expensive)  or inaccessible as they had a three-year-waiting list (which would have meant that I should have put Andrei’s name on a few preschool lists before he was even born), we saw an ad for a preschool that was under the umbrella of the Settlement Music School of Philadelphia, in existence for over twenty years but accessible only to those who qualified based on their low income or special needs until this past summer.

Within a day Andrei and I toured the school. I fell in love with the arts-integrated curriculum (four classes of music, four classes of art, and four classes of creative movement a week) the school follows, called my husband, and said, This is it! I try to do a lot with Andrei, but I can’t give him what this preschool can.

The only problem was that there was no part-time option. There was only one option: five days a week, six hours a day. You are in, or you are out. Read more…

More and More Baffling…

September 6, 2012 1 comment

While building and expanding on his sense of self, my three-year-old absorbs and imitates all sorts of people. Mostly us. It’s scary sometimes. You don’t want to see your most funny mannerisms in your kid, or find out how many annoying phrases you tend to use in your imperfect everyday speech.  But what’s even worse is when you can’t even track down the  role-model for a specific behavior, or if you do, you know you can’t eliminate it from your life as it is simply part of the larger environment.

My son suddenly likes to pretend he is smoking. Now, I have never smoked a cigarette in my life, and my husband quit smoking a year before Andrei was born. Andrei doesn’t watch television, but we live in a big city and he has definitely seen numerous people on the street smoking. So now, he pretends he is smoking.

My husband and I tried to explain (as simply and clearly as possible) that this is a dangerous habit. We also tried to simply ignore it. Nonetheless, Andrei still “smokes” at times. And he definitely does a great job of imitating typical smokers’ mannerisms and “blowing the fire out” as he calls it. Read more…

Rewards, Stickers, and Praise

September 6, 2012 3 comments

Sometime ago I wrote about my wish to instill internal motivation in my son. Indeed, it is so important to me to raise a kid with a strong sense of self, who will not spend his life looking for other people’s recognition of his abilities instead of simply enjoying those abilities and letting them lead him. And in this context, I try hard to reduce the amount of praise I offer to my son to force him to discover that place within himself that will feed him and offer him all the praise he needs.

But here is my problem. So many childrearing advice is based on some sort of a reward system.

You ate a good meal, you get to EAT/HAVE whatever.

You behaved well when we were out, you GET whatever.

You did your pee-pees in the potty, you GET whatever.

Read more…

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