Tag: parenting

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It has lately been too hot to go outside in the evening after dinner. Maybe not too hot, but too balmy and humid. Last night, we’d all had enough of this and finally decided to brave the dog days of Philadelphia’s summer and go for a walk after dinner. Dinner was, by the way, a sake and ginger poached chicken breast served with basmati rice and peas. The girls love it and the poached chicken works beautifully in green salad for lunch the next day, too. But I digress.

Walks, I have discovered, are a wonderful way to talk to your kids. I rarely if ever take the stroller and we instead hold hands and stroll. We stroll at the girls’ pace and are sure to discover every nook we come upon. We stopped by the Girard Fountain Park yesterday because the water feature there is so lovely and one almost instantly feels cooler from the sound of running water in the heat of the summer. Trying to keep cool in the heat is why the Moors placed such importance on fountains in their gardens in the south of Spain.

In addition to discovery and exploration on the girls’ part, there is discovery on my part. I get a chance to hear the stories from their day and find out what Sophia and Eliza are interested in, what they did today, and answer questions they may have. Every parent has their shtick, that which they find of utmost importance or the principal that they parent by. Conversations and explanations are mine. I firmly believe that, and I have long preached this on this blog, children should be conversed with as adults. That children deserve and need explanations and not edicts. This may take time, but you are teaching your kids communications skills, vocabulary, logic, and reasoning, and you are also getting to know your children at the very same time.

Some will disagree and say that an explanation is just too many extra words or that a two year old will not understand the reasoning behind this. An explanation is extra words, extra effort, and a two year old may not always understand, but a child will learn. Moreover, the saying that “mom knows best” is true except it is not just mom, but mom and dad. We are, after all, an egalitarian household. As such, when others offer advice and feel that they know better, always listen to their suggestions and reasons, but remember that they’ve had their chance at parenting.

Food For Thought

A meaty topic for a Friday post, especially if you were expecting to see a weekly moment. We are continuing our adjustment to having two kids, to being in Philadelphia, and to being parents of a pre-schooler. Believe it or not, daily snack selection can be daunting! All lighthearted comments aside, I am looking back, feeling the need to introspect, and finding that life isn’t harder than I thought it would be, but harder in ways I didn’t expect.

Expectations are tricky, you see. If you set no expectations, you are bound to not be disappointed. Disappointment, though, like failure, is a part of life. It is good to feel disappointment because that means you reached high, took a leap of faith, or gave someone the benefit of the doubt. Someone I have a great amount of respect for recently said that “… the expectation placed on you changes the expectations you place on yourself …” It seems so commonsensical, but when you really think about what that means, it becomes obvious that this is an incredibly important concept.

I have always placed high expectations on myself and there have been times I have disappointed myself or those around me, but more often than not, I have achieved what I expected to. Expectations have been placed on me from an early age, and I suppose because of that I have learned to place expectations on myself. Extending this to the now—and whether or not we want to—we parent based on what we know. I have noticed that I have started to place expectations on the girls.

Given their ages, these expectations are not anything out of the ordinary. I expect them to behave with respect toward those around them, to ask for permission for certain things, to clean up after themselves in the evening, and to be mindful of the world around them. Perhaps the biggest expectation I have placed on Sophia (Eliza is too young for this) is for her to “buy into” our decisions. I don’t necessarily mean financial “buy-in”, though eventually, that too will be expected. Sophia is fully aware that there are expectations placed on her and I can see now how she is slowly but surely placing higher expectations on herself. More importantly, in placing expectations on herself, Sophia is gaining courage and learning that she can reach higher, expect more of herself.

… and now for some moments…

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Disclaimer: One of those pastries belongs to the photographer 😉

 

Food For Thought Life Moments

Picture a thirteen hundred square foot apartment filled to the brim with toys, furniture and inhabitants both big and small. Imagine a toddler immersed in art, imaginative play, and cartoons. Projects big and small, tutus, tiaras abound, and everything on display. Add to the chaos a fearless, almost-toddler who just discovered the freedom of walking. Nothing and no-one can stop her from independent exploration to satisfy her immense curiosity.

Throw in the mix a daddy who commuted to D.C., three days last week, which is especially aggressive since it was a four day workweek, and you have yourself a solid picture of my week with the kids. The days Evan commutes to D.C., he leaves before the kids are up and gets home long after they’ve gone to bed at 9 PM; It is not unusual for him to catch a ~5 am train. Those days, parenting falls solely and heavily on my shoulders. There is no break or recuperation time between work and parenting in the evenings.

Just a few months ago, I would have been terrified of the prospect of taking care of the kids on my own, and would have begged my parents or mother-in-law for help. This time, however, I decided to man the ship myself. Each evening the kids ate a home-cooked dinner. We played, went on walks, and laid out on the grass at Independence National Historical Park. I took the kids on a treasure hunt to spice up an otherwise typical walk and treated them to gelato.

Someone, who isn’t a parent, once asked me how-come I can’t make time to hit the gym in the morning. Everyone, myself included, would benefit from a stronger core, and a few lost pounds, so I won’t make excuses. But I do know that running after two young ones can be a bit of a workout. That’s my fitbit output from one of those days.


Needless to say I didn’t feel guilty indulging in ice cream after the kids went to bed.

Life

There are days when everything happens on the same day. Like yesterday when our household had a sick Mama and a Papa who took the 4:40 AM train to D.C. arriving back home at 7:45 PM when the kids were bathed and ready for bed. I could have probably manned the decks myself. Probably. Definitely. But I didn’t have to because help arrived with chicken soup (seriously) and a spare set of hands to occupy children who needed attention. I never pictured my dad, a colonel in the former soviet army, as someone who will toddle on the floor with a demanding infant and a rambunctious little girl. But toddle, diaper, feed, and sing he did and with enthusiasm and grace that melted my heart.

DedaAwardOf all the things my father has done in his life, of all his accolades, this one job, the one that doesn’t come with any medals is perhaps one he is best at. Without a doubt, he wins the grandparent of the week, month award. Simply because he was there.

Life