Archive for the ‘Motherhood’ Category

How many cats do I need to have in order to qualify as a crazy cat lady? I have seven. Up until a month ago I only had one.

In fact since I was six years old I only had one cat at a time. Except for those summers that our cat, my sister, and I were shipped out to our great-grandmother’s rural house 100 kilometers North-East of Moscow. The cat would go insane with freedom and love for all the neighborhood tom cats, and would deliver  a litter of kittens in the middle of each summer. So that’s what kittens always made me think of – childhood, sunshine,  bare feet on a dirt path, eating raspberries off a branch, warm milk that still smelled like grass.

Foster Cats

I blame all these nostalgic feelings on deciding to become a foster kitten mom. I hoped kittens would become my own kids’ nostalgic memories when they got older.

My 10-year old son would probably take all the credit, thinking he had to work hard to convince Mom it was a good idea. I did put up a bit of a theatrical argument against extra cats in the house. I did not want him to think that next I would agree to get a number of other pets.

So now we have five itty bitty feral kittens in a spare room, all hissing and spitting at first, but now making progress towards being tamed and cuddly.



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Friends I keep rediscovering the value of friendship.

Do you know where most people make friends for life? Grade school, high school, college.

I moved to a different country right after college, leaving all my friends behind. For the first ten years I did not think I needed any friends. And I did not know where to find them anyway.  I had my husband, my kids, my co-workers. I could talk to my parents or my sister on the phone all I wanted.

Then came a moment when I realized I needed someone else to talk to, not about work or my kids’ accomplishments, but about what was bothering me deep in my heart. Sometimes it is easier to bare your soul to someone you are not bound to by any official ties of family or work.


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Burning Wood Stove

I have recently been thinking of the positive effects of acts of nature. Of course we have been blessed not to be hit by anything disastrous. Hurricane Sandy only left us with no power and no school for a couple of days.

During that storm a couple of weeks ago our entire family, all five of us, were forced to stay inside and entertain ourselves without any electronics. I had expected whining and complaining. The kids seemed to realize, however, that the awesome power over unplugging video games and TV had been transferred from their parents to nature and National Grid. You could not argue with that. So they treated the experience as an adventure.

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Photo: Scott Bauer, USDA ARS [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Guilt goes together with motherhood, just like the proverbial apple pie.

Working mother feels guilty she doesn’t spend enough time with the kids.

Stay at home mother feels guilty she does not earn any money.

When she does dishes she feels guilty she is not helping with homework or building a pillow fort.

When she is playing dolls on the living room floor she feels guilty about that pile of dirty laundry.


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Portrait of Alexander Pushkin

Portrait of Alexander Pushkin by Orest Kiprensky, exhibited at Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. Link to the source.

Even though I could teach my kids Russian myself, in theory anyways, they do have a professional tutor. To be honest I stink at teaching children, especially my own. I usually have very little patience for their antics and they don’t take me as seriously as a tutor. A bit of an explosive combination. But I digress.

We have this wonderful new teacher who comes to our house every week for an hour long lesson with all three kids. He not only seems to have an ocean of patience but is also contagiously passionate about the language and about Russian history.

Recently, he told me he was going to read a poem by Pushkin, a famous 19th century Russian poet, to the children. Honestly, I was very skeptical.


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