Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The jitters…

I know my entries have recently being very highly oriented on the parenting side of life. It’s unintentional. The truth is that when you are a parent to little kid(s), you barely get another side. At least I don’t. And there’s been no exciting cooking to report. Unless you want to read a tuna salad recipe… (mix tuna with mayo… spread on toast… voila…)

My mind (and hormones) constantly revolve around the art of parenting, and most of the time I feel like a complete failure. Did you know there are kids out there who read by the age of two? And are already potty trained? And are incredibly well behaved?

Every day I wrestle with a question of what it is exactly that I’m supposed to do. If a kid is adamant about not eating something, do I take a stand? Back out? What am I teaching by that action? Or this one? What if he’s doing something dangerous? Do I yell? Do I punish? How? How do I get through to him the fact that jumping of the edge of the couch onto a ceramic floor is not gonna end well? What am I missing that other people know?

Most of the time I feel at a complete loss. Sometimes I actually pick up the phone and call my dad and practically cry about how terrified I am of this whole parenting gig. My son is changing every day, he’s got an intensely forceful personality, and I always feel like I’m playing catch up.

And right now the pressure I feel is to teach him Russian. Cause everyone I’ve ever met in my life who didn’t learn a language their parents know, eventually asked them “Why didn’t you teach me?” I don’t want to have to answer to that. And I really want him to learn it… But it’s also a language my husband doesn’t understand, and therefore I’m all alone in my endeavor. I can’t be systematic about it, the way most of the net suggests (one parent – one language), cause than dad will be out of the loop. I switch back and forth all the time, and always wonder how much confusion there must be in the kiddo’s head. I spend hours on end looking for educational material, I try to show him cartoons, play songs... He actually understands me when I ask for simple things in Russian. But the words he chooses to say are 99% English… Go figure… What am I supposed to do?

Basically, I now feel that parenting is the most nerve-wracking experience I’ve had in my life. Never had I doubted myself so much. Never was I so scared… Turning around for a second and finding the kid barely balancing on a box I had no idea he knew how to climb – these kind of things make me shake to the bone. It seems like yesterday he could barely crawl, and now he’s into climbing onto anything vertical he can find. And I’m absolutely freaking out… What if I don’t catch him on time?

And I’m about to have two of them… I have no idea what I’m gonna do… Two boys…

I am so terrified I can’t think…

Posted by vasilisa @ 1:59 AM :: (9) comments

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Careful, or I will break…

I have been trying to improve. In the past few days, in no particular order, I’ve made pasta, fried rice, pancakes, sandwiches, and even special fish for the kiddo. I’m pretty happy with that. I have really lowered my cooking standards… But still – something’s better than nothing, right?

On another note…

I’m now a virtual prisoner in my own house. The snow on the roads has convinced my husband that I should not go anywhere near a car, and my parents have decided that me going all the way to their humble abode is too far and too stressful – thus I should stay here, safe, inside, howling from complete boredom. And bye-bye secret project… The vibe around here is that I’m made from some kind of breath-thin china, and could fall over and break anytime.

No, I’m not complaining… I do appreciate the concern. But I find it ironic, though. Because I feel better now than I did in early pregnancy when some people around me kept forgetting that I’m pregnant in the first place. Yes, I’m big, clumsy, and baby has a knack for kicking in all the wrong places. But that’s nothing compared to the never-ending nausea of the first six months. Even though I still get pangs of morning sickness, and I don’t have a normal appetite (which didn’t prevent me from gaining something like 40 pounds, oh my….) it’s all so much more manageable now. If this was all there is to pregnancy, I’d be making babies every year… (kidding, kidding…)

But despite this overwhelming panic that hits everyone when I try to lift a tissue paper from the floor, for the first time in ages I actually feel like I need to do things. I can’t take it easy! I have to buy those giant boxes to finally put all those toys away… And scrub those mysterious stains under the kitchen sink… And attempt to potty train my kiddo (don’t even ask…) My mind keeps telling me that the room upstairs needs to be painted, the bassinet needs to be readjusted, and old clothes need to be sorted. The list is endless, and it all has to be done now, now, NOW…

YOU CAN'T STOP ME!!!

Nesting instinct, anybody?

Posted by vasilisa @ 2:01 AM :: (3) comments

Thursday, January 25, 2007

It's a ....

So… Guess you all wanna know the gender? Right? And… it’s…

...

You’ll have to ask my doctor…


...



Just kidding…

(But that’s what they told me, imagine how that felt…)

Ok, ok…

It’s…

a…






Boy! :-)

Yeh!

My kiddo is gonna get a brother! I’ll have two boys to chase around and freak out about…

Oh, my…

There goes my sanity…

Though, just think about all the up-sides! Boy-newborn clothes? Check! Experience with handling little boys? Check! A partner for mischief for my kiddo? Check! Double freaking out about how to keep my kids away from hockey? Check!

And now, for the grandest/greatest/toughest task at hand – name picking… Arghhh… Don’t even know where to start. For some reason coming up with a name seems to be the hardest thing about having kids for us. We just can’t decide. And it’s unbelievable how different a taste in names two people can have. We really need a divine inspiration right now… And thus my google gonna get a hefty baby-name searching workout…

But honestly, I’m excited. It’s all so much more real now. Especially when I get the not-so-subtle kicks in my ribs…

My little boy is almost here. Just a bit over a month or so...

Can't wait to meet you, little guy...

Posted by vasilisa @ 12:41 AM :: (6) comments

Monday, January 22, 2007

A completely random update on a whole bunch of things...

No more taxi driving, yeah! The position has been delegated back to hubby, and he’s managing just fine…

Winter is here, snow is abound, things are normal, global warming is on TV, where it belongs…

There was cooking! And it wasn’t just spaghetti! There was a whole stewed vegetable thing going on! Am so proud!

I might find the gender of my baby tomorrow. If the docs stop playing games with me. Cause can you imagine a WHOLE HOUR of ultrasound, with a technician making “wow”, “oh” and all the other sounds while the monitor is TURNED AWAY from you, and then she says “I know the gender but am not allowed to say”… What’s up with that? Hopefully she told it to my doctor, cause I’m not one for suspense of this kind if it can be avoided… I NEED to know…

The secret project is stalling, due to somebody getting more and more disfocused, messed up, and otherwise stressed out with the whole “baby on the way” thing.

Pondering packing the bag for the hospital. I know it’s more than a month away, but still… What if I forget something? Step one that has been initiated – told the hubs to bring the suitcase from the basement. That was a week ago. He has yet to do that… So I guess at that rate a month for packing is perfectly reasonable…

We have attempted to explain the purpose of potty to the kiddo. “Attempted” is the key word. For some reason the kid now thinks it’s a kind of car on which you can sit and demand that daddy rides you around the room… Great parenting skills 'r us...

Posted by vasilisa @ 7:58 PM :: (7) comments

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Be careful what you wish for…

Really, be careful what you wish for…

Cause if you wish for some snow, you might get loads of it, mixed with ice rain, just for kicks… So that all the roads/sidewalks/stairs turn into free skating rinks…




It could also happen at the very time when your husband is temporarily not available to drive you around, and you’ll have to serve as a full time family taxi… Despite being 8 months pregnant and barely fitting behind the wheel… And you may also be having a barrage of doctors appointments all the way downtown… Just so driving is not confined to a small local area…

The automatic garage door is likely to boycott you at the same time, and getting in and out of the garage over the heaps of ice, while trying to tackle it manually, is likely to be an adventure rivaling the world figure skating championships… And don’t even think about going through the front door, cause that full inch of ice on the front steps? I mean, don’t you remember “Home Alone”? Well, if you don’t, by all means – give your bum a ride of a lifetime…


PS: But really… Snow in mid-January? That’s normal. At least the world makes sense again… Except I also hear that they got snow down in California. Now that’s weird…

Posted by vasilisa @ 1:50 AM :: (2) comments

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Finally?

This morning when I looked outside I said to myself “finally!”, cause we actually had snow. Everything looked white and wintery and beautiful…

But by the time I got around to snap a picture, half of it was gone…



And now it’s all wet and slushy…

I mean, I don’t mind the warmer weather and all that, but rain and continuous “plus” temperatures in January give me the creeps. There is something weird about it. It just doesn’t feel or look right when your lawn is greener in January than it was in July. At least not for Canada… Aren’t we supposed to be “The Great White North?”

I don’t know about the whole global warning business (though even as a non-scientist I can attest for the fact that it sure feels warmer than when I was a kid…), but global weather is definitely going nuts. My dad is originally from one of the coldest places on earth, a city on the coast of Arctic Ocean, no less. Guess what: they are having “plus” temperatures there too.

I’m beginning to think that by the time my kiddo is old enough to go tobogganing, I’ll have to explain to him why we’re doing it in T-shirts, on wheels, down a flowery hill… Unless we move towards the coastal area and I’ll have to explain why we’re living on a raft…

I really shouldn’t have watched that Al Gore movie… Denial would’ve been so much easier…

PS: On a positive note, my last post has shamed me into cooking spaghetti… Not too fancy, but home food nevertheless…

Posted by vasilisa @ 6:11 PM :: (6) comments

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Confession...

You know the real reason for severe lack of food-related posts on this originally supposed-to-be food blog?

Here:



And here:

(Yup... Endless take-out containers have possessed my fridge...)

And this is the extent of my cooking:

(A cream-cheese sandwich... How creative...)

So, ahm… someone needs to give me a serious pep-talk…

Posted by vasilisa @ 1:46 AM :: (8) comments

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

More about my toddler (cause I really don’t have any other life).

Ok, there is one battle I seem to be winning. I have mentioned here before that when my son was born I bought tons and tons of books that he was absolutely indifferent to. Well, not anymore! He seems to be more and more excited by the day to point out pictures and name the things he knows. In fact, I have all those books with first words, and he had neatly classified all pictures into a few strategic categories, such as “car” = car, plane, helicopter, anything that looks like a machine; or “vava”= most animals, including an astronaut (your guess is as good as mine).

Though to be honest, his vocabulary is getting quite impressive and observant. Did you ever notice that a shark looks very much like a plane? I never knew that until he educated me to that effect -- yesterday he picked up a toy shark from a shelf in the store and was happily running around “flying” it.

(can be found here, among other myriads of places...)

I’m even beginning to wonder if I overdid the whole books excitement. Whereas before I’d occasionally get a chance to sit down on the couch and catch up with the latest TV happenings while he was happily playing with toys, now he demands sitting on my lap and endlessly pointing at pictures asking what they are called. And he doesn’t get tired of it at all… He can point to the same picture of shoes and scream “shoes” 100 times in a row, and I have to acknowledge it every single time. Or else -- goodbye ears...

Maybe that’s the secret to parenting. Patience, more patience… and then you’ll get what you asked for. And even more…

Now if I can only be patient enough to repeat a million more times that a helicopter is not a car, I just might make it…

PS: he also has a new favorite music video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzcjDjfHKgk

I have to have it on the screen if I’m to do any peaceful typing. And as much as I like good-old-cheesy-seventies-Euro-Disco – just try listening to that song 100 times in a row… I dare you.

Posted by vasilisa @ 8:23 PM :: (3) comments

Friday, January 05, 2007

The frustrations of parenting a toddler...

I feel thoroughly unappreciated. Last night I cooked my son a nice dinner, with potatoes, mushrooms, etc… He didn’t even touch it. No way… Wouldn’t even try it… Screaming his most determined “no” ever… In fact, all we succeeded to fill him with were a few turkey cold cuts. So, honestly, what’s the point of trying?

You know, I heard a lot about “the terrible twos”. I thought I have another three months of peace. But it seems that he’s ahead of schedule. All of a sudden I feel like I’m constantly trying to avert a disaster. He climbs everything, screams, demands… (No, not all the time, but more so that he used to). How long do those “twos” last? Cause I’m about to loose my mind. Adding to that the fact that at almost 8 months pregnant and I am more penguin-like in agility than human, chasing this ball of energy is anything but easy. (Oh God, what am I gonna do with two of them???)

There is only one meal he doesn’t fight. The “military pasta”. Why is that? I have no clue. I make it for him again, and again. But I feel this nagging guilt that my kid is not getting adequate nutrition. That I would love to give him all those healthy vegetables. And not feel like I’m auditioning for one of those horrible parenting shows. Luckily he likes apples. And as they say: an apple a day… may keep you from a reality show…

And as I write all this down and get all wired up about it, the kid goes and does something wonderful. Like putting his laundry in the washing machine. I’m not kidding. I took the hamper to the laundry room, opened the machine and he put all his clothes inside. After which he took the hamper back to his room. And then brought me the book I was reading and forgot on the couch.

And now I’m thinking -- I’m such a good parent…

Children… they really make you question your sanity…

Posted by vasilisa @ 10:56 PM :: (5) comments

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Reporting from the New Year’s table…

I know you’re all wondering how we survived the New Year… Well… It was… a smash! No nasty surprises or last minute things going down hill. At 6 pm we stopped all preparations and solemnly (read: screaming like a bunch of crazy maniacs) ushered in the Russian New Year, accompanied by the Kremlin Tower Clock Chimes served directly via the Internet. And then by 10:30 pm we were lazily spread around the dinner table enjoying each other’s company and scrumptious (and pretty traditional) food. By 12 am we felt like boa constrictors – in need to hibernate for about a week – but we bravely got up, and loudly cheered again to usher in the actual New Year as it finally hit our own time zone. After which there was some gift exchange, an amazing feat of stuffing cake into our already stuffed selves, and the traditional movie watching… (Cause honestly, no one wanted to get off the couches.)

And when I say stuffed, I mean it. Cause Russian food is not something that is low fat or low cal or low anything. At least not for the holidays.

As for that flu… Well it gave me a run for my money on Saturday. And I was seriously mad and furious. But then I slept for about 14 hours (thank you kiddo!) and woke up feeling human again. So it was all good.

Now, I’m sure you’re dying to see the table. So I actually took some pictures.

Behold our New Years Dinner Table:


Trying to fit the whole thing in one pic.

THE HIGHLIGHTS:

Chicken and Pork steaks, and baked Salmon (for me)…


The scrumptious caviar sandwiches. A staple. Spread some butter on thin slices of white French bread. Spread thin layer of caviar on top. Bite and go to heaven…


Another staple – cold cuts and cheese. For some reason Russians are obsessed with Deli products. I don’t know why. But if you ever see a Russian grocery store in North America, you can bet that half of it will be a Deli section. Same goes for Polish and Ukrainian stores, by the way. Maybe it’s a Slovak thing… Or an Eastern European in general.


The egg salad spread. Basically it’s a mix of minced garlic, grated cheese, egg and mayo (5-6 hard boiled eggs per 350 grams of cheese, garlic to taste, enough mayo to coat and blend everything). Best way to enjoy is to spread it over a nice slice of thin rye bread. Though some people (notably my hubs) eat it with a fork, off a plate, just like a regular salad…


Ahh… The herring “under a coat” salad… What can I say. If you’re not Russian, you’ve probably never tried anything like this. It’s a layered thing, consisting of shredded boiled potatoes, beets, eggs, herring and mayonnaise. The secret is in the layering and proportions. Done right, it is the most divine thing that melts in your mouth and hits you with just the best amount of salty/creamy/slightly sweet/satisfying experience you’ve ever had. Done wrong, it’s salted fish with potatoes and mayo. And unfortunately I don’t know the secret. The only person I know who makes this dish time and time again to perfection is my Dad. And he did this one too. So any questions should be addressed in his direction.

And this is the view 2 minutes later:
(and you can see the perfect layers... yum...)



The notorious “Olivie” salad. This salad on a Russian New Year’s table, is like Turkey on North American Christmas table. Everyone has it. And the recipe varies slightly from one cook to another. Here is the recipe used in this house:

About 4-5 boiled potatoes (peeled)
1 can of green peas/carrots mix
1 small onion
4-5 hard boiled eggs
10-12 pickles (Polski Ogorki type is the best)
mayonnaise (The amount you’d put in potato salad. Basically enough for everything to be coated in it. Probably a cup or more.)

Cut potatoes into little cubes. Same with eggs and pickles. (Let the pickles be about the same size as the peas). Cut the onion into very small peaces too. (Half, then put on the cut side, then cut that side into thin strips, turn around 90 degrees, and slice again so you get small squares.) Now, traditionally people also add some kind of meat product (also cut into small cubes). It can be boiled sausages (about 10) or bologna, or previously baked chicken breast etc. Our family doesn’t do that since I stopped eating meat. But if you’re a passionate carnivore, you can certainly add some. Just make sure it’s some kind of plain meat in a sense that it doesn’t overpower the taste of the salad.

Put all the ingredients in the bowl, add mayonnaise and mix very well. Let it blend together a little before you eat it. Half an hour to an hour in the fridge ought to do that.

So, as you can see, we had a lot of fun. And now you can join our festive dinner vicariously :-)

Bonne appetite!

And Happy New Year!



PS: Just so no one thinks I’m taking all the credit here – most of the actual cooking was provided by my Dad, while decorations and setting were arranged by yours truly. Though I did bake the salmon and make the sandwiches. And the garden salad. And the mushroom appetizer. And maybe a few other little thingies… So I’m a good girl too :-)

Posted by vasilisa @ 10:50 PM :: (7) comments

About

I'm a 29 year old mom of two! A toddler (kiddo one) and a new baby (kiddo junior). I am also the most horrible (as in I barely ever do it) cook that I have met in my life. This blog is a diary of my attempts to feed my hungry growing family

PS: My name is not actually Vasilisa... But I find that honest reporting comes easier when there is a shred of anonymity. (Apparently, posting pics of my sons doesn't count...)

PPS: For those of you wondering where on the planet I am: I'm cosily tacked away in the Torontonian suburbia of the Great White North (Canada).

The Beginnings

What is all this?

Listening

To music, naturally.

Reading

All kinds of books. Haven't figured out how to post links to them yet.

E-mail me

Yes, you can actually email me:

Vasilia

Real Savvy Mom Blogger