Parenting 2.0

Archive for the ‘Polish Roots’ Category


It’s inevitable: when a baby’s born people immediately start making comments about who he looks like. Does he have his father’s colouring? Does he have his mother’s eyes? You get the picture, and the same thing was true for us. When Niko was born we heard all sorts of opinions about our little man’s looks, and by far most people were unanimous in their opinion that little Niko looked a lot like Daddy: a certain Eastern European je ne sais quois. (Who am I kidding? Even I had to agree. Once I saw Borys’ baby photos, the similarities were obvious.)

So, somewhat to my chagrin, the comments kept coming in. Chagrin only because I carried this little babe for nine (well, eight), months and I’m the one who popped him out of my belly (hello C-section). I mean I must be in there somewhere, right? So for months and months the opinions have been coming in, and still the jury thinks he looks like Daddy. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I mean I for one, quite fancy Daddy’s looks. But we’re both the parents, and it is nice when the odd person tells me they can see me in him.

But lately, yes lately, things have been changing. Babies always change and Niko’s no exception (just take a look at his monthly growth next to the karate build-a-bear), and recently people have been commenting more often (still not as often), but more often, that Niko looks like me too. Here’s the gist of a conversation that went on in our house the other day.

Borys: Your genes are like the marathon genes and mine are like the sprint ones.

Me: Huh?

B: I mean at first Niko looked a lot like me, but slowly and over time (like a marathon) your genes are coming to the forefront and Niko is looking more and more like you all the time.

Me: Really? Go on… 🙂

PS – I didn’t know that running a marathon would have this type of affect on my baby. Har har har…

Note: The accompanying self-portraits were taken this week when my entourage and I headed out for a walk. It’s so much easier to get Niko into the Baby Bjorn now that Summer’s here, and he doesn’t need all the bundling that was required in the winter. But now that Summer is here, it looks like Niko will outgrow this handy baby carrier sooner than later.



Niko can’t wait to meet his newest cousin! Emiliana was born just over a week ago and will be making the trek to Toronto in July, at which time our family will be heading down to TO to meet her, (and see Ciocia Ola and Uncle Bruce too). Niko’s been polishing up on his Polish and hopes to greet her with: “Cześć! mały Emi. Jestem tak zadowolony wobec ostatecznie spotykać ty i JA miłość ty”. xx

As it stands now, his vocabulary is limited to “da da” on repeat (and lots of gleeful shrieks and screeches). But babies change and learn so quickly, and since ours is brilliant, we’re confident in a month and a half he should be ready to verbalize this greeting to his new cuz! 🙂

Note: The English-Polish translation came from an online translator, and seeing as my Polish is limited, fingers are crossed in hopes that it says what’s actually intended: “Hi little Emi. I’m so happy to finally meet you and I love you”.


The (not so) Little Niko Man is eight months old today! And what did he get for his monthiversary? A new baby cousin! That’s right! Little Emiliana was born yesterday at 7pm weighing in at just under 8lbs and Ciocia Ola was a superstar trooper having her little monkey at home with her hubbie, midwife, doula, and two greyhounds, by her side!

Niko is so excited to meet his newest cousin and the first one on the Polish side. This also means Niko is no longer the “baby” in the family. I mean yes, he is still a baby, but just not the smallest one. Wow! We are so excited for Ciocia Ola and Uncle Bruce and can’t wait to see some pics of this newest family member!

And now that Niko’s eight months old, what can he do? Roll over like crazy, clap his hands, keep “da da” on repeat and of course he crawls deeper and deeper into our hearts with each passing day!

Note: This is part of a series of blog entries that were inspired when Niko wore the bear’s mini karate gi as a Halloween costume. Since then I have used the bear and the costume to document his growth at three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, and now eleven months.

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We’ve discovered something wonderful: a free babysitter, who we utterly trust and is happy to watch over our babe, while Borys and I get to go out on a date! I’ve mentioned before, that since the birth of our lovely little Niko Borys and I have only had two dates! Yes, two dates. Not a lot for eight months, but I guess this is somewhat to be expected when you’ve got a baby and are first time parents.

Anyway, last night we had Dziadzio over for dinner, then we put Niko to bed and headed out to the movies. These days, once Niko goes to bed, he’s TKO ’til at least after midnight (but usually until about 5 am – sweet little angel that he is), which means we’re safe to leave him and don’t really have to worry that he’ll wake up. Of course we left a bottle just in case, and our cell phone, which we kept on vibrate in our pockets. But the night went off without a hitch. We had a date, Dziadzio babysat (aka watched TV) and Niko slept all the while. I think this could the beginning of a beautiful new tradition!

Note: Pics below are Niko giving me my first Mother’s Day card ever: sweet, thoughtful, baby. And I didn’t even know he knew how to shop!


I admit that I derived pleasure from participating in my first ever Śmigus-Dyngus or Wet Monday. Niko and I (well mostly I) couldn’t resist partaking in this Polish tradition that Borys and his dad filled us in on yesterday. Basically it’s an Easter Monday custom where people are permitted to splash others with water all day, catching them unaware – I am guessing it has something to do with the messages of rebirth and renewal signified on Easter.

I looked the origins up on Wikipedia and among other things found this part interesting: “With much of Poland’s population residing in tall apartment buildings, high balconies are favorite hiding places for young people who gleefully empty full buckets of water onto randomly selected passers-by”. This sounds to be both painful and shocking. For now, as this is the first time we’ve celebrated Dyngus Day, Niko and I merely splashed a few droplets of water on Daddy’s face while he was sleeping, only for him to roll over and with a half smile grumble, “Śmigus-Dyngus, Śmigus-Dyngus”, and then cover his head and fall back to sleep.


Three vodka shooters down the hatch by 9 am, and (although there were some similarities) I couldn’t help but notice the obvious differences between celebrating Easter with my future in-laws and the traditions that I grew up with. I clearly (or by that point, maybe not so clearly…) remember thinking, “Wow, this is so different from Easter with my family.” That was probably about ten years ago, and I’m a big believer of When in Rome, but this tradition was a bit hard to swallow – literally. Of course, I was trying to make a good impression, seeing as it was our first Easter together, so with a smile, down the hatch with all that vodka. (Sort of like the time I tried to impress the in-laws by eating almost a full plate of steak tartar, but that’s another story.)

Now, it’s a decade later and I still don’t think I’ve mastered the art of shooting vodka correctly. Apparently you’re not supposed to actually taste it: just open up, throw it in, and swallow. My version, however, is often followed up by a whole body shiver, eyes closed tightly and “blech”. Since that first Easter I’ve stopped trying to impress my in-laws (so much) and resign myself to maybe half a vodka shooter when the time comes – just for tradition’s sake.

As far as Easter goes, on Borys’ side the major thing is a traditional Polish breakfast: sausages, hard boiled eggs, bread, cheese, pickles, pickled beets, pickled mushrooms, pickled etc. And beyond breakfast and vodka, there’s Egg Wars: basically we all adopt a hard boiled egg (died with onion peels) and then go head to head trying to smash our opponent’s egg. Whoever is left standing with at least one end of their egg uncracked is the winner.

Now, bring on Egg Wars, bring on the sunshine (forecast 25 today!), bring on the pickled herring, and bring on the Easter fun. Happy Easter everyone. Na zdrowie!


English and French: the two official languages of Canada, and Borys and I definitely want Niko to learn both of them. Speaking both languages will provide him with so many more options in the future.  Seeing as English is always around him, that’s a done deal. And as for French, well Borys speaks it, and Niko will probably end up attending French Immersion or a French school, so yes he will speak French, but what about a third language?

With a trilingual (Polish, French and English – learned in that order) daddy Niko has the opportunity to learn even one more language. If it was up to me, I’d like him to learn all three. But seeing as I don’t speak much Polish – well let’s face it, I can probably count the number words I can say using just my fingers – the process of teaching Polish to Niko would be left completely in Borys’ hands. On occasion Borys speaks Polish to him, but he says it feels sort of strange because I don’t know what’s being said, and our family conversations are all in English. Actually, in talking with another couple they also want their child to learn English and French, but the father feels the same way Borys does about talking to him in his first language (which is neither English, nor French) – he says it just doesn’t feel natural; it feels more like he is teaching his baby as opposed to just living life.

What are others’ thoughts on this? Should a baby learn as many languages as possible if they have first hand access to the language? I find it strange that I’m the one pushing for Polish, and Borys is somewhat resistant. But, when it comes down to it, I’m not the one that would be speaking and teaching it to baby N. He is. So I guess it really is out of my hands.


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