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Showing posts from December, 2012

Being a kid

I was looking at pictures that a girl from the orphanage had posted on a social networking site, and was seeing this weird dichotomy, but couldn’t put a finger on where it was coming from. The pictures represented her as your average teen girl who aspires to be on a magazine cover…13 going on 30.

I guess I wouldn’t have thought twice (though it makes me sad) if I hadn’t known her in a different context. This was the girl who dreamed of being adopted. She had a loving grandmother, but the grandmother was getting older, and put her in the orphanage.

Lena desperately wanted to go visit an American family for Christmas. She had been interviewed and was on the list, but she didn’t actually find out until the last minute that she could go.

Fast-forward to a few months later, where I saw her again in the orphanage, and this time she had an album full of memories of her “American vacation.” I guess I have mixed feelings about whether or not these trips are good. I’m always glad to hear that …

Lessons, Part 4

On falling in love with a child...

While I loved David from the start, I do not remember feeling “in love” with him during the early days. In the beginning, he felt like a stranger. He didn’t seem to know me, and I didn’t feel like he was my child. It wasn’t like I felt unprepared and was expecting his “real” mother to show up. I just didn’t feel very bonded. However, when he seemed upset or in danger, I definitely felt a motherly instinct kick in, and I guess that’s how I knew that I loved him.

People talk about cherishing those first moments and snuggling with the baby a lot. Well, he was not very able to be snuggled for the first week, as he was in the NICU. We were actually allowed to hold him, but it wasn’t the coziest environment. And we had to “scrub in” each time, wear a smock, etc.

Once at home, it seemed like he wanted to EAT all the time. Whenever he was done eating I would generally hand him off, because I was afraid that being near me would make him want to eat again! Sup…

Lessons, Part 3

On "survival mode"...
Seems I used this analogy not too long ago. To medicate a cold, or not to medicate? Either way it will heal in about the same time.
Well, this time it’s about new babies. As it turns out, the same rule applies here. You can either try a myriad of remedies, or you can wait until it goes away. This is true about things like post-partum healing, learning to breastfeed, learning basic newborn care, and baby sleep habits.
-Once you’ve figured out how to sit comfortably, you’re almost better. -Once you’ve found the perfect nursing garment, you’re used to doing it in regular clothes. -Once you’ve figured out how to entertain the baby while changing his diaper, he’s not scared of it anymore.
And then with sleeping, babies seem to be ready at various ages for sleeping longer stretches at night. Do all the routines, swaddling, “sleep training,” and other advice make a difference? 
It was really helpful to hear about newborn babies not being susceptible to "…

Explain that again?

Advent! After drawing up some ideas, my husband executed a Jesse Tree banner from the felt we had bought together. I’m glad he did such a good job because now we can use this every year. In fact, we are thinking of making more for other times of year because we like the look of the felt banner so much. (The emblems are another story as painting on felt has proved to be difficult...we may need to make new ones next year)

Andrei asked a good question, though: Why did they choose these specific passages?

As I mentioned before, I don’t like Advent readings that aren't obviously related to Christmas. So what does the call of Abram, for example, have to do with the Incarnation?

To me, the typical Jesse Tree passages that I've seen in reading schedules are just bursting with the harmonious thread of the Gospel that runs throughout the Old Testament. I remember the first few times doing the readings with my then-roommate Jenya, and just being newly in awe about how God fulfilled His …

Lessons, Part 2

Another thing that was surprising was how many times I had to hear certain pieces of advice in order for them to stick.
One example was when people would say that my main job was “to feed the baby” or “keep the baby alive” or something similar. It took me weeks and weeks to be able to adjust my daily expectations.
The problem is that I kept thinking my plans were fairly modest and reasonable.
Was it too much to ask to be able to brush my teeth before noon, take a shower every once in a while, cook a simple meal? Everyone was saying “no (new) mother can do it all.” Well, I wasn’t trying to do it all. I thought I had planned pretty simple activities, and they were still too much to handle.
I have to admit that social networking played a role here. Mothers, I’m not blaming you, but the newborn photo shoots are hard to look at! Not the photos themselves, but the idea of it. You got the whole family dressed and dolled up and maybe even out the door to a studio somewhere, and the baby beh…

Around the Table

Andrei and I purposely sought out an apartment with a kitchen that was big enough to SIT in. Of course, in Russia, people will squeeze into a kitchen of any size-that's where the best conversations take place! But here we have an actual dining area. We have a living room, too, but often just end up in the kitchen. Maybe it   feels cozier.

Andrei is a big fan of the works of Francis Schaeffer and of the L'Abri idea. Our small group has been meeting at our place recently, but it's been a little disjointed. Out of the many members, only a few show up each time, and it's a different few. We're happy to see those who come, but where is everybody else? We're not really doing a formal study at the moment. Either we read a book of the Bible and have some free-form discussion, or sometimes asks a question about faith in daily life, and we discuss that. And then pray.

I'm inclined to enjoy the moments when the group is small and each person gets to speak his/her min…

Lessons, Part 1

Some surprising (to me) observations about the parenting experience…

After a baby joins the family, the mother will go through a certain emotional reaction. Of course the father has his own emotions, but all the hormones and everything are happening to the mother.

Soo…a few weeks after a baby has been born, the mother may experience the “baby blues.” For me this was a feeling of intense sadness mixed with disappointment that my status as a heroine had dwindled and that all energy now needed to be focused on the baby (just quoting my journal here).

Lots of crying. New parents may feel emotional for different reasons. What surprised me was that I began to think a lot about death. While struggling with feeling like I had been abandoned (though surrounded by loved ones 24/7), I began to think about future milestones in the baby’s life. I think partly I was trying to give myself some bright moments to look forward to.

I pictured him growing up and going to school and going off to college a…

Our Advent

We got to church today (over a snowy terrain) just in time for Andrei to open the service by lighting the first Advent candle.
From the back of the room I saw a seat up in front occupied by a friend of ours who just finished his year of compulsory army service (it was 2 years back when Andrei was serving). His mother entered the room a few minutes later, beaming with joy. What a blessing for him to be home.
Looking around, it took me a few minutes to realize that about 50% of those in attendance were children, and also that I didn't know many people in the room. Nope, I wasn't at the wrong church service. A local Christian children's shelter had arranged to visit on this, the first Sunday of Advent. A few of the kids did a little musical act and their counselor later did a presentation on how their ministry is going. And other people were just visiting, I guess...I never did find out!
In front of me, two boys (non-visitors) were fooling around all through the worship and …