24 June 2007 Music Room Antics
Sash recording his deep thoughts (over my deep thoughts)
It rained a lot last night and has continued today (stopping inconveniently only when Steve asked if I wanted to go for a run) so for bonding time, we were inside with our friends and their two babies. One notable difference between two and half year olds and babies is the noise surrounding each. Sasha has a noise level about himself that far outpaces the noise any baby can make. Especially happy babies—these kids don’t cry for the whole two hours they are with their parents!
Small Child, BIG Curtains
The second order of business (after pillaging my tan bag) in the music room is to go behind the enormous curtains to find all the fun stuff. There are great big mats, a puppet theatre and the always popular machina. Our baby friends did not know about the goodies behind the curtain—they come prepared with blankets and yoga mats—so when we started dragging out all manner of items, they were suitably impressed.
Steve, Sasha and the Ladder to Nowhere
Another item behind the curtains is the ladder to nowhere. We believe it is for kids to practice climbing on . . . and it is only slightly dangerous for Sasha. He likes to climb but faces a number of challenges: first he likes to skip rungs. This is understandable. If you skip rungs you get to the top faster. But if your legs are 18 inches long, they often don’t reach all the way past the skipped rung, which leaves you, literally, hanging. This is where his second challenge arises: he seems to let go at particularly bad times. We have seen him essentially fling himself off the ladder and another climbing apparatus outside and, luckily each time, Steve has been there to catch him (Note to self: in addition to protective goggles, pick up small helmet for climbing).
Rolling on the “Matrushka” ball
Also behind the large curtains there are two huge mat-like balls. They are cool because they are like Matrushka (Russian nesting) dolls . . . you can remove the outer covering to reveal another color of fabric . . . which you can remove to reveal another color of fabric . . . which you can remove to reveal another color of fabric . . . which you can remove to reveal another color of fabric . . . can you see where this goes with Sasha? Today I tried to lay him down on the ball because he has an incredible ability to arch his back. It was easy for him to match the curve of the ball with the arch of his back (I am certain my back was never capable of doing this even when I was two), but even more fun, was rolling backwards until his head hit the ground.
Upside down boy
This is another thing Steve and I have noticed—when bailing out of something (the machina, our arms, a ball) or falling head first, he tends to lead with his head. Today we began to put his arms and hands over his head in an effort to show him that those things should hit first. This concept seems pretty simple, but one in which we will not allow the natural consequences theory to play out (Note to self: add neck brace to shopping list).
Sasha and Clay
We are running out of new and interesting toys for Sasha, and he has begun to plunder the bags of the baby parents, so we brought out the last new thing today—clay. He has worked with clay before, and it was fun for him today. The best part was when he took the small balls of clay, put them in an empty M&M bag and called them vitaminas. He proceeded to give me one at a time saying, “Vitamina” with each one. I pretended to eat them and he thought this was hilarious. After this, he, of course, also put one in his mouth and we all jumped to get it out—two year olds are so literal.
All of Us (wishing there were two beautiful girls in the photo with us)
Later we rolled the balls back and forth to each other, and each time I rolled I would say “Skazhjee [say] blue . . . yellow . . . etc.” He would repeat the colors and it was adorable! So far his English words include more, no more, please and he has repeated the color names. The English is not taking off like gangbusters, as we had hoped it would. We speak mostly English to him, sprinkled through out with our own version of Russian—which closely matches Sasha’s—Masha keeps correcting us because we imitate Sasha and apparently his speech, like that of many two year olds, is not quite textbook. No wonder the vendors in the market always smile at our Russian—we are probably saying, “Me please want this thank you five tomatoes hippo.” We will never know.
Reading (and educating Mama on what these things really are)
At any rate, he probably thinks our speech is not quite textbook, either, and that we tend to babble a lot. We know the language will come, but the in between time will be both hilarious and frustrating for all concerned. Today he drank an entire bottle of water so we had two occasions to ask about, then eventually go to the bathroom. He did say “da” to the “Koychish toaylet?” question a third time, but when he had me alone in the hall he dragged me to another “apartment” of another group of kids. The caregiver just smiled at us as we barged in and said “Ahh, Sasha”. He seems to be well known in these parts.
Writing with Papa (Masha is in the background)
We are heading out to try to find coffee—it has been two weeks since my last cup and while it has not been horrible to go without, it would be great to actually have some. I bought a packet of instant “cappuccino” and almost made it until I saw that the ingredients were in English. The list was: “sugar, glucose, hardened vegetable fat (can you ask for a shot of that at Caribou?), instant coffee and skimmed milk powder . . . and a bunch of chemicals I can neither recognize nor type. That is our adventure for today—I will write more tomorrow ~ cheers!