Tuesday, August 12, 2014

After holidays

My little boy just started his day care. During the first week I was with him all the time and it was OK. He was happy and calm and curious about things. He seemed to like the new place and the teachers. Yesterday he stayed there by himself for the first time. Crying of course while I was leaving but later he was fine. This morning it was similar, but I am sure he likes to be there. I like this place. It is small and cosy. And we both know it quite well already. And so I left my two kids in their day cares and when I went out and stand on a street I felt weird, strange. My first thought was what to do? Where to go? With two free hands, without a stroller, no need to go to any playground. Yes. I went to a cafe. I am calm and I feel well about Tomek. I'm so much more confident he is doing there all right than I was those three years ago when our daughter started her day care. I felt almost guilty. I felt terrible, devastated. I think I was too much emotionally attached to her and she the same. We were almost like one body and soul. With our son is different. He was always more independent, he was fine when I was going out without him and so I hope he will adjust faster. And me? Me too. And I will be busy soon. Next week I'm going to sign up for a Finnish course and start yoga classes. And after we all settle down with this new schedule maybe I will start working again. Maybe writing again. Even if not for big money it would be still for some satisfaction. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Hyvää kesää!

This is how people greet you these days in Helsinki. It means " good summer". And it is really nice. I don't know if there is any other country where people greet each other with words strictly associated with a year's season. I think it has a special meaning here in Finland, country where summer comes so late and is taken over by winter soon. You have to enjoy it as much as you can, enjoy it now, every sunny day. This year unfortunately summer doesn't pamper us at all. It is cold, windy and cloudy. So whenever the sun shines a bit and temperatures rise up to twenty we rush outside and enjoy the weather. Last weekend we made a long bike trip around some near by neighborhoods. From Myllypuro towards Hertoniemi through beautiful forested area - Arboretum. If you don't know the place, check on map and go. It belongs to the university, it is a forest with many plant species, very dense and beautiful. It is surrounded by fields and meadows and you can see cows here and there. Country side within a city. So after that experience and a picnic with a sea view we headed towards Hertoniememranta, along the shore. Had a stop at the small beach and play park and later we went through a big park, by a cycling path going along the shore. Funny, but I have never been there before. That path goes all the way to Marjaniemi to the East, but we crossed and headed up via Itakeskus towards home. And now the Juhanus is approaching - the shortest night events. People use to spend this day and night outdoors with sparkling wine and BBQ and huge bonfires, but this year is so cold I don't think we would like to join the crowd. But anyway, hyvä kesä! 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Finnish day care

I probably didn't mention before that we've got a place in a day care for our little boy. This time was so different from the time I looked up places for our girl right after we moved to Helsinki. Because our daughter's day care doesn't take kids less than three and potty trained I had to find another place for our soon-to-be-two boy. And we decided it would be OK to place him in a regular Finnish day care. I applied on-line through e-services, I have chosen few places around Wanda's day care, I payed a visit to one which was my favorite and number one on the list and I waited. The whole application process takes at least four months. I applied early and got the response in May. We were lucky enough to get our most wished place. The day care is a so called family day care, which means very small place for only up to twelve kids and three teachers/nurses. I've already been there with Tomek to say hi and better know the place. And I like it even more. The teachers are such lovely women. You can see that they take care of the kids with love and joy. After summer there will be only children ages one to three and I think it is quite good. I've already made arrangements for the August and during the first week I am allowed to stay with my child. What's more during the coming week I can join the group when they are playing outdoors. At first Tomek was quite shy and reluctant to go there, but after a while he started to play and after I finished talking with the head teacher and wanted to leave, he insisted to stay longer because he was already busy playing with cars and trucks. I hope he will like the place, will pick up the language quite fast and we'll all gain from the new situation. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Cooking Day

Today I made three dishes. Two soups and one main course. I was cutting, chopping, dicing, mixing, stirring, frying, simmering, cooking, blending. Done. All veggies soups - one with white asparagus and the other one with carrots and the main dish mixed: cabbage, rice and ground beef. I decided I need to cook more. I need to feed my family with more vegetables and all the goodies. Less bread and buns. Less macaroni and pasta. Why? I've read yesterday an article about kids diets and how bad it is in majority of homes. And that this is how we adults eat and teach our children those usually bad habits. Yes, it is me, mommy, who indulges herself with a cup of coffee (strong coffee) and two pieces of chocolate (milk chocolate strawberry & vanilla from Fazer). Healthy? Not really. How much better would be to drink light green tea and have a bite of raw carrot. Well, I know myself too good that the latter version is just impossible for me, but one good excuse is that I don't do this with the kids around. But of course they also have the chocolate time to time. They have pan cakes with maple sirup, they eat bread with nutella although I always suggest peanut butter instead. But my point is if there will be always some delicious soup or other dish which is both healthy and yummy they will eat it. Sometimes I am just lazy and instead of cooking I prefer to search the Internet. Sometimes I am out for a whole day (playing with my little boy, so it is not something wrong, but no time for cooking any more), other times I am busy with some mundane chores. But now in spring and summer it will be easier. There are already so many new veggies and fruits. Ripe and tasty tomatoes (finally!), new cabbage, strawberries, etc. Anyway, enjoy your meal! I will enjoy my.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

and summer again...

The climate in Finland always amazes me. It is a country of actually two seasons. Winter and summer. Unfortunately the latter is quite short. But is just has begun. Last Saturday it came. So suddenly because still two weeks ago it was cold enough to wear winter clothes or freeze in spring outfit (lying to ourselves that it is May and we should wear the light jacket). Even last week the temperatures were not above 10C. And all of the sudden - baah! Saturday plus twenty something and sunny. Hot! And as always I am totally surprised and unprepared. For Tomek I don't have any light clothes. My cowboy boots and rain boots are still proudly standing at the corridor. Now I was busy looking for a sun screen for the kids. Bizarre weather. There was no spring. It was cold, cold, cold and then one day just came the heat. No, I am not complaining at all. I love this heat! It's just I have to adjust so quickly. Take out summer clothes, buy some for my little boy, check for Wanda's dresses if she needs something new. Last Saturday we went for a bike trip. Lovely. It was only around our area. We biked to Vikki and Latokartano. But I was again surprised how nice is the architecture in those neighborhoods. All new buildings, new school and sport hall plus outdoor area, beautiful green area nicely arranged with a stream flowing through it. I really admire the Finns for their architecture and design. There were some wooden houses, semi-detached, with huge all wall high windows and terraces. Very natural, modest but modern. So, my Helsinki looks again beautiful and alive. We need to enjoy it now and quickly and with lots of good energy before the next cold season comes.

Friday, May 16, 2014

The other woman

Recently I had a chance to go to the movies and I have seen a very womanish film "The other woman". Hilarious. Light. And actually quite wise. The plot goes like that. There is a guy, very middle age, who has a mistress, but of course he has a wife too. The mistress doesn't know it, but the moment she discovered the truth she decided to quit the relationship. Than the wife when she has learnt about the affair gets crazy, but after a while the both women became friends against the sly husband and lover. And later there is another girl, next lover, and as you can guess, she also joins the women's gang. All in all everything goes smoothly to a happy end. Yes, sounds maybe quite silly, but I was crying from laughing and had lots of fun. But what I would like to say is not the story itself, not the romance nor the girls friendship. No. There was something different what caught my attention. The women themselves, the actresses and their look. Usually is such light movies we have to watch those perfect women with perfect bodies and faces and age too. Not this time. Those women were beautiful but not models style. They were not ideal. One was middle age with good body shape, but not perfect. The youngest one was definitely not a size 34 or even 36. It was something I liked, because so often we watch movies or ads and we think, OMG, I wish I had this figure. And I am really fed up with this pressure from everywhere to have a perfect body. The body from "before pregnancy" or from "before 30." or from college or whatever, but definitely better than it is now. The pressure goes from outside but also from inside. From us. We think we are imperfect and we have this crazy imperative to change it. Why? I mean, it is good and healthy to be fit, to go to a gym, to run, bike, swim, whatever and to keep the body strength and some reasonable weight. We know obesity is bad for us. But between a model like body and an obese body there is plenty of space we could fit in and feel good. Why we don't? I always thought I don't have this problem, but now I think I actually have it a bit. I am definitely not overweight. I was all my life at the low end of BMI normal weight, like 19 or so. Now maybe I would be around 20, which is still perfectly well. I go to the gym regularly. I do my best to eat healthy. Yes, I do love chocolate and wine and coffee, but who doesn't? And you know what? Since I gained around two, maybe three kilograms, I feel uncomfortable. I wear my skinny jeans and I think I don't look good. I even had those crazy thoughts to start any diet or just to watch what I eat. Crazy? Yes. One day I finally understood, that it is crazy. I was pregnant twice, my belly was stretched  twice to an enormous size and I still would like to have my belly look like the one from when I was 21. Same about my other body parts. Fortunately there are recently so many posts and pictures posted on many different blogs about the women's body image and its natural beauty and how unfair we are about ourselves. Looking at all those pictures showing women different ages and different bodies and different stories behind those bodies I finally got the message. I wonder why are we, women, so judgmental about how we look like? What is wrong with us? Why only a woman size 34 or 36 is beautiful and size 40 or 42 or bigger is fat and ugly? But similar too thin is not OK either. If someone is very skinny by nature she gets the label anorectic. It is again women against women. I don't want to blame anyone. It happens to me to be judgmental too: about myself and also about others. Too bad. But I was always surrounded by those beliefs that we should be beautiful and that means we should be slim, wear a make-up and take care of how we look. Like if the good look, the appearance would be more important than what is inside. Now, I have a daughter and my wish is to give her a different message. The message how wise she is and beautiful from her inside and not beautiful because she wears an expensive dress or make up. There was one blog written by a great woman and mother who was wise enough to know it all already and to show it to her daughters. Now I forgot the web address... But I still remember her message. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

My kiddos

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by them. Sometimes I loose my temper. Sometimes I do yell at them. But most of the time I spend with them I hug them, I give them kisses, I chat with them, I listen to what they want to tell me, I play with them, I read to them, I cook and bake with them. I love them. Every day I think how amazing they both are and how lucky I am to be their mother. Tomek started to say "auto". He is a big enthusiast of mobiles, vehicles, bulldozers. Basically all the tough guy stuff. He is screaming that "wow!!!" whenever he sees one of those trucks. In a sandbox he always plays with the trucks and bulldozers. At home crawls pushing a car. I'm always laughing to myself, because I am really not a kind of mother who gives a car to a boy and a doll to a girl. But this is something like his basic instinct or I don't know. But he loves to play with a baby doll too, he likes to feed the doll with a bottle and press her belly to make her cry, he loves to hug his teddybear. And he is totally into dogs. Now more and more he is also into his sister. Whatever she does, he wants to do the same. He repeats her with everything, what she eats, what kind of noises she makes or what she wants to play with. And they do play together time to time. Of course there is lots of fight and screaming and an adult has to be always around. And Wanda? Well, as I said before she writes a book. She is so creative. Recently she made a little boat from a piece of bark she found outside on the yard. She made a musical instrument. She loves to color and draw and cut. She mastered riding a bike. She's my girl. He's my boy. Happy and good feeling.

A day in wooden Käpyla

That is a perfect half a day trip or Sunday walk with the kids. As you could know from one of my previous posts I am a great fan of those old Finnish wooden houses, the remnants of the past. And it is quite astounding how many of those buildings are still enjoying their being in Helsinki. I've read about the time in Finland, around the 60. and 70. when in many towns those wooden buildings or all parts of towns were destroyed and replaced by new but quite ugly and definitely not romantic concrete blocks. But apparently Helsinki managed to save quite a bit of those neighborhoods. So there is Vallila, Kumpula and Käpyla and around downtown you can spot some of those houses too. But Käpyla is so different and so amazing for me. Walking around I couldn't stop feeling being in a different town, some small town somewhere in the middle of Finland and not in Helsinki. It has it's long and broad Main Street with a tram lane in the middle which ends up with a big square. There is a park, a playground and a school building around that square. And other streets are surrounding that place. There is this quietness specific for small towns. And of course being surrounded by all those wooden houses, some of them single family houses and others more like detached houses, made me feel like I would travel in space and time. This time I did some pictures and I promise to upload them, but I need some time to browse though all of them.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

My daughter's a writer

Our beloved four-and-a-half-year-old decided she would like to write a book, a story. So I bought her a big notebook and so she has begun. The idea came actually from her teacher. Recently Wanda had some pretty bad days either at school or at home and after thinking that whole situation over her teacher suggested it would be nice to write about good and happy and funny days to remember what fun it is to have good mood and be a happy Wanda and not to make a drama out of everything. Yes, sort of self-therapy. When I told my daughter about the idea of writing she was immediately in. And so the project started. I decided I would not tell her how and about what to write, she should be the master of her own book. I was supposed to be only the tool - she doesn't know how to write words of course. Now I see this will be a collection of short stories. Today we were working on a second one. She is telling me what to write and I am writing it down. Sometimes I ask a question if I don't get her point, but usually she knows exactly what she wants to say. Her characters so far are two girls having one name (in her first story their name was Rapunzel and in a second Wanda) and one of them is a good one and the other bad. Black and white. Two opposites. Good and bad. When I asked her what does it mean, she said it is like when she gets mad on something or someone, then there comes or wakes up this bad girl and when she is in a good mood there in her head is that good one. As simple as that. But I like how she deals with those two phenomenon in her mind. Those girls are really like one. She drawed pictures and both good and bad Rapunzel and good and bad Wanda look like twin sisters. They are playing together. And you know what, the bad one always turns out to be a nice and funny too. She wants to be good, she wants to play and have fun. And again when I asked my daughter if that bad girl makes something really bad or naughty, she said no, she was behaving bad but now she is happy again. Looking at her characters through the good and bad moments we experience almost every day I see so clearly how she fights with herself. How much she wants to be this happy and smiley Wanda and not this mad 'go away' moody one. I already love this project and will support her in continuing the work.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Cleaning up?

I'm preparing myself (still only mentally) to some spring cleanings and tidy-ups. When the strong rays of sun make our apartment so sharply bright I can see very sharply that here lives a family. And the family lives here for a pretty long time. I can see the signs on the cupboards in our kitchen, in the corners of every room, on the white sofa, on the windows. We do clean, of course, but usually you don't make those cleanings that orderly so to remove every dirt and dust from every nook and cranny and so after some time the place looks worn out. Especially if you have those lovely two pairs of little hands mailing their stamps wherever it's possible. So yes, it would be nice to make the place clean, but on the other hand I like so much better to spend some funny time with the owners of those little hands constructing from duplo blocks some colorful houses, trucks and whatever the imagination brings. Yes, like now, the little hands just brought me some blocks and want to play with me. I'm coming, honey! 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Sad kids

I've read a letter from a Reader published  in a Polish magazine. The Reader was a woman, staff psychologist in an elementary school. She wrote about her every day encounters with pupils and their parents. And it was sad. It was about a lack of love. About loneliness. About acute longing to be loved, to be accepted, to be hugged. She wrote about a little boy, who very ofen is very sad because he knows his mother would never hug him, never kiss him. He is not allowed to play with his sister, because he is said he would always make a mess. His mother yells at him whenever he doesn't behave as she wished him to behave. He is scared. Another boy is sad, because he has heard from his mother several times that she's going to put him to a orphanage because he doesn't behave.
Every time I get mad because my kids do something stupid or not listen or whatever, I feel guilty. Whenever I do yell at them, especially my daughter, my son is still very little, I feel terrible. I know how wrong was I. I know how scared it was for my little girl. The angry mom is like an angry monster. The kid is scared and is vulnerable. As a mother I am learning every day a lot about being patient, about having tons of smiles and hugs to give, about not getting irritated and instead to laugh, about the unconditional love I do have for those two little kiddos and about how amazingly this love is growing every day. And still even with this love I do have bad days. I know it is normal, it is OK so far as we still give our kids love and appreciation and awareness and smiles and hugs and giggles. It is sad that not all parents know it and not all children are lucky to be nourished that way.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I was once in Crimea...

It was in May 2001. The world was so much different then it is today. It was still before 9/11. It was before the war on terror. It was also before some borders in Eastern Europe were forcefully changed. It was in May 2001 when me with few crazy and funny friends traveled by train (several trains) to Odessa and to Crimea. I remember that trip so well. It was a crazy trip with lots of laugh and chats, oh, and Ukrainian vodka of course. I remember trying to communicate with the locals in Russian, but it turned out I remembered just few words. I remember how the people were pointing that they speak Ukrainian not Russian and that it is a distinct language. Yes, we were aware of it. Crimea was so beautiful. So warm, full of blooming flowers, the sea so blue and people so friendly.
Yes. Crimea. What is going on in the mind of that mad man in Russia? I am not political person. I am not interested in politics. But sometimes I get mad. Because although I rarely say my political opinions out loud, I do have opinions. For many weeks now the news about our eastern neighbor are not at all optimistic. They are scary. Scary because of  that guy, who seems to be insane in his imaginations and how well we know it from not so far history, how dangerous those could be for the humanity.
But there is another thing I am wondering recently. I have a Russian friend. There are some Russians in my daughter's day care. Here in Helsinki you see so many Russians everywhere. I wonder what just an average Russian thinks about it. Do they feel ashamed? Do they feel it was fair to get "back" their "own" piece of land, beautiful piece of land, nice new place for spending summer. I don't know and of course I would feel more than awkward asking such a question to any one. But apparently I didn't read in the news anything about what's the public opinion in Russia about the whole issue, what the people of Russia think about it. If they are still allow to think of course. It is so sad in a way, that out there nothing has been changed for centuries. There are only new faces in new political roles of that old, scary czar. Always one person who knows everything best, who doesn't dispute, who doesn't care, who makes whatever he wants no matter of costs and people. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

First spring day

It's spring. And not only according to the calendar, but it really came to Helsinki. I've already spotted some early spring flowers. This year they came up so early because of no snow. And today is so warm and sunny. Warm, I mean, it depends on what you expect of course. For me it means something like +5C and sun and no wind. I spent with Tomek the whole morning outside. After we left Wanda in a day care we went to our favorite park. Tomek feels there at home because we go there for so many months already. And there are plenty of other small kids from serounding day cares. It's funny, because you can hear there many languages. There are kids from Finnish kindergartens, from a Swedish one, from a French place, from Wanda's place, that is English speakers. But it's nice. And after that we walked along the shore, passed Ruoholahti harbor and went towards Eira and the park at the sea side. You can walk there following the now biking/walking path, previously probably some industrial road. And you get strait to the beach. Yes, there is a tiny sandy beach. I missed it so much. I feel such comfort when I listen to the sound of waves, to the scream of sea guls. When I can look at the sea. The powerful nature. Calming and energizing in a same time. And my little boy was so amazed by the sea. He run strait to the water. I had to keep him tight. We were throwing rocks to the water and chased the waves. So much fun.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Upcoming spring's resolutions

I didn't make many New Year's resolutions, I never do. At that part of a year I am not really in a mood to change the world and even my simple life. So I usually just go by and wait for some better moment closer to spring - sun and new energy, to plan something ahead. Anyway, I guess this moment is approaching. And it is thanks to my friends and very inspiring chats we always have and it is also to the upcoming spring. Days are suddenly so long. Today Tomek woke me up just twenty past six (ugh...) and it was light and sunny already! When I take kids to the bath at around seven it is still quite light. Yes, all in all I can feel and smell the change in the weather and in my mind.
My foremost spring resolution is to start working on my English. I wish I could one day be as good in it as to could write a newspaper or magazine article. I still lack those skills but it is simply because I was never trained to do so and never tried even for myself. I should start now. I need more proficient vocabulary, better grammar and advanced structure. I know, everyone can read and understand this blog, but I'm sure for all English natives it sounds 'simple English' kind of with plenty funny errors. So what's the plan? To study as much as I manage from home (now you know the answer: in a meantime and in a nap time after or between cooking and running errands there is not much time left, but my will is still big). And after summer, when our son will go to a day care I could do more, maybe even take some classes.
My second best resolution is to start (finally!!!) working on my Finnish. Hahah!!!! "My Finnish" sounds quite proud. In fact so far, during those more than two and a half years of living in Helsinki I did literally zero do learn something. But now I feel the time came for a good start. So my plan is to start a regular and quite intensive course at the autumn, again when Tomek starts his day care. Talking about studying Finnish. Recently I started to feel almost guilty for not knowing it at all. Sometimes someone asks me how old is my baby or says something like what a cute child, you know, those small things and I don't understand, don't even guess what he or she just said. It is embarrassing for I live here quite a long time and have a permanent resident status. I remember from the past when I still lived in Poland and whenever I met or heard about any expat I wondered why the heck they don't speak Polish. My reasoning was that if they chose to live in Poland, they have a good job and money in that country so why they do not bother to learn the language of that country. I know Polish is not easy but everyone can at least try. And so now, after many years I am myself in this expat situation and I behave exactly as they. And it is not because I don't want to learn, it is because it's quite hard to arrange everything having two small kids, one at home.
Last but not least, I'm going to find a job. Nice job. Interesting job. Paid job. There is no rush here. I'm still at home for the next half a year and after that for another half of the year I'd prefer to have my little boy only part time in a day care unless a great job offer appears. But yes, all of the above is going to help me in my future job hunting. Maybe I could write for Helsinki Times? Maybe I could work in a communication department in any big company? Maybe I could do some other work for any institution which has English speaking environment.

Where do you come from?

I've just read a nice and inspiring post on my friend's blog Halituli.She was wondering about her answer to a seemingly simple question: where are you from? Funny, because not long ago I myself was thinking about my own answer. And it is not that obvious. I am Polish, was born in Poland and lived there for most of my life. But since 2005 I've been living abroad. I spent six years in the US. I went there with my boyfriend who became there my fiancé and my husband. It was the USA where our daughter was born and made her first steps and said her first words. And it was the US where I finally have discovered what I want to do professionally. I mean, I was a journalist before, but only there I started to write about science. But then came Finland and it is now for two and a half years and quite a few to go or who knows, maybe more than we think. This is here where our son was born, where we have our first home in a sense that we have truly invested in nice furniture and decoration and quite have settled down. Our family is very much complete. This is here where our kids get the early education. And when we were traveling to some other country for vacation and one asked where were we from it was a confusing question. Because, well, we are Polish but we came from Finland because this is where our home is. I think this is the best answer. Because I can not say I am from Finland. It would implicate I am Finnish and I am not. For our daughter it is even harder. She knows very well that she was born in the US and has an American passport. Often she says, what sounds so hilarious, that she is American. But of course she is Polish because of us, her parents, although she has never lived in Poland. And now the only country she knows as her home is Finland, cause we left the States when she was too small to have any memories. And for our son? Good question. Anyway, thanks Karolina, for inspiration!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

About fathers

Yesterday I've read an article about having an absent father or simply living without a father who for some reasons decided he wouldn't like to be a father for their already existed kids. The article was about a new play made for a theater in Warsaw, Poland. It was striking because the main character that is a woman who had to grew up without her father was an actress who indeed had grown up without her father. What has really stroke me was that this play's director was a guy who also grew up left by his father but in his adult life he has already made the same mistake and he has hurt his child in the same way. He admitted that they split with his wife and he is supposed to see the kid on the weekends but last month he saw his child only once. He said: I knew I screwed it up. And that's it? This guy even didn't seem to feel really bad and guilty. He just admitted that he is like his own father who didn't teach him how to be a father. Well, OK. Got it, but so what. It is not an excuse for his child. After this article I am thinking about this situation of being a parent after a divorce. Why is it so common that the fathers are absent and not mothers? The most recent Eurostat survey showed that overall in the EU countries there are 3,7 single mothers and only 0,5 single fathers (in Poland even a bigger difference 3,3 single mothers comparing to only 0,3 single fathers). I wonder if any of those fathers thought for just a moment about what would happen to their child if the mother would be as reckless in taking care as they were. The answer is the child would become an orphan, would end up in a foster care or on a street. Right? so, is that what those fathers really wish for their kids? What are the reasons those guys leave their kids? Reasons like 'I am not mature enough' 'I know I screw it all up' 'the life has turned that way' etc. those excuses I would just call 'I don't need you baby, I don't love you baby, I don't care about you baby, you still have a mom baby'. But I still wonder why is it so? Why those guys behave as such bastards? It can not be an inherent trait. It must be cultural and institutional. For example the fact that culturally fathers are not that much involved in raising the baby, staying at home, taking the basic care. Still today I know fathers who wouldn't bother to change a diaper or to put a baby to sleep. If later those same fathers don't sit and play with their kids, don't talk with them, don't know what the kids like or dislike, than after the divorce it is very easy to become a father who buys once a month an expensive toy and later who forgets about those weekends and who apparently has something very important to do on this very weekend when the kid has his first big performance at school or celebrates his 12th birthday or anything else and later they even forget to pay the money for the child leaving the mother with the whole burden of rearing the child. But it doesn't have to turn out like that. I do have a beautiful example of a father who is a father no matter what his relationship status is. They were a nice couple but after few years of marriage it appeared that it is not what they would expected and they decided to split. When he moved out of their apartment it was obvious to him that their child will have his home also in his new place. He has split with his wife and not with his child. So the kid has for that moment two homes, one week with his mom and one week with dad. Normal, right? But that guy was so much involved in his baby from the moment he was born. They shared the responsibilities, he did everything what was needed, he knew his child, he was present not absent. Now they are divorced and now under jurisdiction he and she take care of the kid fifty percent of the time. And this is fair. This is how it always should be. Because why in any different way? Why in most cases the court's decision is to give the right to take care of the children to the mother? In such cases people admit that fathers are worse caregivers. And this is a stigma. This is in our mentality, at least in Poland, but I believe in many more countries too. We don't give them a chance. We assume a mother is always better than a father. We as mothers always know better what to do with our baby and the guys hide in a safe place, later those paths are going more and more apart and finally if the couple decides they have to divorce, the father just goes away because he was already so much away. I would say that men should fight for their right to be fully involved fathers, yes, guys, fight to change diapers, to lullaby to sleep, to shush in the middle of the night, to bring them to a day care, to sit on a floor and play guffy games, to give a medicine or go to a doctor, to - just be present and involved. Than, when a court's decision will come you will have a very strong argument to get the fifty percent of time to spend with your kid and your kid won't lose you. You would appear to everyone as a responsible man who is good enough to be a father. And no one nor you mother-in-law nor your ex-wife would have a reason to argue against you. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

New Year, New York and stuff

Well, well, well, so it was. Our long awaited journey to New York without the kids! our kind of second honey moon trip! sentimental trip to places we once lived. There was lots of excitement and some stress before the trip, cause of course I. Was worrying how the kids will get along with the grandparents (my parents were in charge). And how they will get along with their wild grandchildren and finally how my heart will survive. It ended up very well and everyone was happy although some were quite exhausted and happy to go back to their old routines. But anyway, New York. It's funny how the perspective has changed. Maybe it is living in Helsinki maybe it is also my age and my own attitude but I wouldn't like to live there. It's not a place for me. I remember how I was always amazed by the city. Now I only saw how huge, crowded, dirty, noisy and rusty it was. Inhuman. At least not for a human being like myself. The subway old and dirty, rusty and not suitable for taking a stroller ( no elevators, very often even no escalators only narrow staircase). Of course no cell phone coverage underground. Crowded. Not on time, oh, and no schedule whatsoever. Sudden stops and interruptions. No chance to be on time. Crazy. We decided to go shopping in Soho. We thought it would be quiet, but it was again miles of walking, big crowd and actually not much more to chose and buy than in Helsinki. So, those three days in Big Apple made my feet and my back cry from pain. There was not much time left for just strolling around and sipping your coffee. No, New York style is rush around, buy fast, drink fast on your way, hurry to the subway, sleek in a crowd to get on time, forget fancy shoes, wear your sneakers and run. Actually no wonder that so many New Yorkers run marathons. They do this every day on their way to work. It is running and hurrying what makes this city. Ok, we did have fun. Of course. New Years Eve was perfect. First a jazz concert in this famous Birdland jazz club and after because we still were in 2013 we took a subway and went to the Village. And there we finally had this little time to enjoy walking slowly along those narrow streets with brownstones and trees, chatting and feeling this Woody Allen movie spirit. We stopped by
one nice and cosy bar, we took two glasses of champagne and together with all the other guests and staff we counted down to ... 2014, yeah! We could have stay there and in other bars for the whole night, but suffering from a terrible jetlag I was happy to go home. One day we took a local train to New Brunswick, NJ, town we once lived. We went to Highland Park to see our old house, took a walk to a park where I spent almost every day while our daughter was little. And when I saw that playground I couldn't resist and I felt my eyes wet. The weather was bad, very cold and icy wind so there were no one but us. I walked around, touched every swing and slide and missed our Wanda. Yes, sentimental trip indeed.