My Best Girls Ever

I had the best time ever with all three girls:). Kira is a miracle child: she is so happy all the time and so calm! Not like she does not have bad days and bad nights, but in comparison, not only with Nadia but with any child, I know close enough. Also, she is very advanced both physically and emotionally for her four and a half months. She tries to stand up all the time you hold her. she tries to crawl and sit, and I think she will be mobile in some way by the time she will be six months old. Just you wait:).
She also has an unbelievable emotional response to others, which is also way too early. She meets people’s gaze; she is upset when either Nadia or Anna is upset, and she ever reacts emotionally at the conversations which are not directed to her. And if you talk to her directly, she would always respond with the broadest smile.

Nadia speaks more and more complex sentences. She loves telling stories, and she likes it when Anna tells stories, imaginable, or real. She is very thoughtful and very compassionate, polite, and considerable of other people’s needs.

And all this is most definitely because of her parents. I do not think I ever had such a level of patience, as Anna demonstrates. And I can tell that her patience with Nadia fosters all these positive traits. Many everyday tasks take longer than they could because she lets Nadia do things by herself, to decide for herself, to do them her way. She always accepts Nadia’s help even when it makes things going three times slower :). And I am sure that John does the same; I just saw less of him this time :).

I am so looking forward to seeing these girls growing and doing great things!

Visiting With My Girls

As Anna put it, we had three visits in one. Anna and the girls came Friday evening. The girls went more or less straight to bed, and Anna and I talked till midnight (which was probably not the best idea, but we didn’t have one on one conversations for a really long time).

It was then a long morning at my house, and then we went to the market and picked pre-ordered bread, croissants and vegetables. Afterward, we visited my mom, and she was very happy to hold Kira and chat with all of us. Then we traveled to John and Anna’s house in Milwaukee, and I stayed there till midday Tuesday. Unfortunately, my situation at work is such that I could not take any additional time off, but we were still happy to stay under one roof for a couple of days.

The weather was not cooperating. It became sharply colder on Saturday, and I was completely unprepared. I was glad that I took a warmer coat, but frankly, I could take even a warmer one. We still went for several walks, but it would be better if the weather would be different.
I already posted some pictures from the Havenwoods State Park, and here are some pictures from the neighborhood – the Halloween decorations there are very elaborate ๐Ÿ™‚

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Family Time

My girls went back home today. We spent a wonderful five days together, going to places, doing things together, and talking non-stop. After they left, I told Boris that I either became too old or out of practice because I felt tired of all these non-stop activities. He replied that he thinks that I am just out of practice, and I asked whether he implies that I should do it more often. He laughed and said that probably yes.

Speaking about activities, we went to the Botanic Garden on Tuesday.

The signs say: Welcome back! We missed you!
Continue reading “Family Time”

Spending Time With My Girls

I took this whole week off work to spend time with my daughter and granddaughters, and all the things we are doing together take all the time I have. Everything is great and wonderful, and I am enjoying every moment of our time together, and I hope they enjoy it, too.

We went to the Botanic Garden, and we drove to Chicago to Millennium Park, and there are still tons of activities we planned for the remaining two and a half days.

More stories to follow ๐Ÿ™‚

House Cleaning

The reason why this weekend ended up being as it was – my girls are coming to visit me tomorrow. Yesterday, Kira turned two months, and their pediatrician allowed them to extend the circle of contacts slowly.

I was planning to come and visit them in Wisconsin, but since the parents, understandably wanted me to quarantine before meeting the baby, and Mayor Lori wants me to self-quarantine myself after I visit Wisconsin, Anna decided to give me back two weeks of my life.

Nadia is old enough now to sleep in her bed, not pack-and-play. That meant that this time, everybody would stay downstairs, where I have two guest rooms. These rooms usually stay ready to host people who come to visit me, but nobody lived there for the past nine months due to the pandemic.

I never entered these rooms for the said nine months, because there was no need. Usually, they would be in use at least once in two months, and I would change the bedding and possibly dust and sweep, and they are ready for the next visitor. I do not remember when it was the last time they were vacant for nine months!

I am walking in, and I feel like I am walking into the cellar, that’s how it smells! There are cobwebs in the corners, and there is dust on the surfaces. The first thing I wanted to do was to open the windows, but there was no window screen in one of the rooms. A trip to the ACE hardware revealed (as usual!) that this size is no longer used. I ordered the “cut it yourself” kit on Amazon, but it will only arrive on Tuesday.

I took all the bedding fro that room upstairs and hung it to ventilate. Then I cleaned the floor and all the surfaces. I also had to put back the railing on the stairs (because I didn’t do it yesterday, remember?)

I called Boris so that I could consult him about drilling the holes and screwing the screws in. This plus a couple more trips to the stores – that’s how my day was!

However, I can even describe how ecstatic I am to see y girls and see Kira in the flesh for the first time! I am so looking forward to all the activities and conversations!

Parenting

Anna was asking me how Nadia is different from her at the same age. I replied that she is different because all human beings are different. But I am finding it hard to pinpoint, what are the exact differences.

Our parenting styles are different. When Anna was two, her life was undoubtfully more structured than Nadia’s. There was no question about what clothes to put on, whether to have dinner or not, and what will be served. There was no throwing away food. There were no reading books on the potty. Part of it was survival, me being a single working mom of three in an unstable economy. But part of it was a starting point. 

I was an incredibly liberal parent by Russian standards those days. I didn’t spend all day disciplining a child. I would let them do tons of things other parents won’t. But by the nowadays civilized standards, it was still very rigorous parenting. 

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About My Stay in Madison

To cover the past two weeks: it was crazy at work. An interesting fact is that it was mostly good stuff. Good things were happening, and some decisions I’ve been waiting for for a long time were finally made and approved. But it was tiresome. When you need to sit at the meetings for 6 to 7 hours every day, and not just “sit,” but actively listen and participate, you are done by the end of the day โ€” so done, as if you worked 16 hours straight.

There was also a lot happening outside work โ€” things related to the December conference in Chicago, which I am heavily involved in. Boris and I were finalizing yet another paper submission. I was trying to make sure my direct report will present our work at another conference, which I am unable to attend. All stuff with my Mom. All things with my volunteering.

And then I took two days off and went to Madison to babysit my granddaughter Nadia. I can’t remember another moment in my life when I would gladly disconnect from my work email, Slack, etc. I checked what was going on a couple of times (literally!), but without any hesitation replied: this can wait till Tuesday.

It still took me some time to relax, but by midday Saturday, when I was leaving, I already felt pretty good.

I returned home to my long weekend to-do list, but I am keeping thinking about everything that happened during this visit, most about my conversations with Anna.
A couple of months ago, I started to write a post about Anna’s and my parenting styles, and then put it aside. I think now I will be able to finish it :).

My Granddaughter Is Two!

Today my granddaughter Nadia turned two. We celebrated her birthday on Sunday in Madison, Wisconsin. The guests were just her closest relatives and closest friends, but it was still a little bit overwhelming for a two-year-old. Anna created an airplane birthday cake, which took a lot of designing and planning, and lots of decorating effort.

After all the presents were opened and enjoyed, my daughter, Anna gave a short speech, in which she said that she is so thankful that through all two years of Nadia’s life there was not a moment, when she wasn’t loved and taken care of. And that she, Anna, is thankful for that.

That was one of many recent moments when I thought to myself: how fortunate it is that I decided to go to America twenty-three years ago! How lucky Anna is that she came along! How fortunate Nadia is that she was born to such a loving family, with so many relatives adoring her. And how this all might never happen, and I wouldn’t even know that something had not happened!

Happy birthday Nadezhda! Happy parenting, John and Anna!

Anna is decorations Nadia’a birthday cake