Parenting 2.0

Posts Tagged ‘Christmas


Earlier in December when I asked Niko what he wanted to get Daddy, Dziadzio and Roman (family friend) for Christmas, it took me him a few seconds to decide. After a good 30 second think (where he actually went still and into quiet contemplation) he tentatively looked up at me and whispered “Snowman!” Pardon Niko? “Snowman!” Ok…

So a few days passed, and I broached the question again. And again, a good 30 second think produced the same answer: “Snowman!” So snowmen it was: snowman ornaments for Daddy and Dziadzio and a snowman candle for Roman. Niko helped me wrap the presents, which in true toddler style means he haphazardly crunched the paper up around the ornaments and candle, and considered his work done.

Then on Christmas Eve, as we were exchanging gifts, he walked up to Roman with his wrapped gift for him, and proclaimed “Roman! Candle! Candle!” Seems he’s still learning the art of keeping the present a secret, but at least he grasped the concept of giving! Too cute.

Note: These pics were taken just a few hours before Stella was born. First we had a traditional Polish style dinner – although this time I had a valid excuse for avoiding the frozen vodka shooters, then took a break to open presents. Throughout which I was having contractions and timing them on Roman’s watch. It was during the presents that I realized it was “go-time” and off to the hospital we went. Arriving at 8 p.m. and birthing her royal highness by 11:02. A very merry Christmas indeed!


Looks like I was on the “Nice” list, because I got exactly what I wanted!

Yes, a weird thing to wish for, but after having a cesarean section with Niko in 2009, I knew that was one birthing option that wasn’t at the top of my list. Not that there are many options really. I mean that little person just grows and grows, bigger and bigger, in your tummy until one day, it’s time to come out – and really, neither option: C-Section, nor vaginal birth is too appealing. But having experienced the former I knew that I wasn’t going to opt for that one again – unless of course it came down to the emergency version, then what other option would I have? Ultimately, I wanted a mode of delivery that was safest for the baby. And if that could come in the form of a VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section) then that’s the mode I wanted and wished for.

It’s funny because since about mid-November I had started using visualization as a technique to help prolong my pregnancy. On a daily basis I visualized myself pregnant at Christmas: more specifically me sitting under (or near) the tree with Niko opening presents, and me with a huge prego belly. Well, I almost made it to Christmas, but at 11:02pm on Christmas Eve, our little Stella was born – VBAC and all! Yah.

We are so happy to welcome this little lady into our family, and so far the transition has been a smooth one. Niko loves his little sis and often wants to hold and caress her. (But also has to be reminded about doling out his love gently – perhaps not best demonstrated by say, squeezing her). But still, we are happy to be a family of four now and so looking forward to getting to know our newest member!

Welcome Stella! We love you with all our hearts!


This year Niko’s pumped for Christmas and it’s the first time he actually understands (at least as much as a toddler can) what’s going on. He talks about Santa, presents, decorations, Christmas lights, Baby Jesus and Jingle Bells. He’s right in the thick of the Christmas spirit and it’s so cute to see. This weekend we attended a Santa pancake breakfast and Niko was delighted to meet the man in red. More so than last year, that’s for sure…

Christmas Delight (2011)

Christmas Fright (2010)


When Niko was just a wee babe, I made up a song and sang it to him daily. The words were something along the lines of “My sweet little angel boy and then basically just repeated over and over again to a particular tune that I cannot begin to describe in words. Then he grew up a little and that little ditty made it’s way to the back burner.

This morning as we were getting ready for daycare, Niko was in one of those delightful moods where nothing pleased him. Mind you, he is not feeling 100% (coughing, etc.), but still this mood isn’t the easiest to deal with. Now while I try to stay away from sarcasm, especially directed toward my dear angel boy, at times humour acts as my parental crutch and helps me cope in the moment.

So I’m bundling him up to go out the door. And even though there’s no snow the temperature is in the negatives, yet Niko is insisting he wears his sandals, while I am insisting on his winter boots. A no-win here. So after a full morning of such antics (not all sandal related, but on the same plane of ridiculousness) I look at Borys and say:

“Hmm…Maybe we should have topped the tree with this little darling the other day“! 

Borys: But doesn’t coal go in the stocking?

Hahahaha. Thank goodness for comic relief – even if it was at the expense of our little man. He didn’t seem to notice.

And no Niko, you are NOT wearing your sandals today!



Turns out decorating the tree with a two year old proved a little more challenging than expected. Don’t get me wrong, Niko had a great time! But you know, I had this vision for the tree…

  • the tree will stand up straight
  • the tree will have an even balance of Christmas balls dispersed throughout
  • the tree will have lights that work

Niko had other plans. He couldn’t contain his excitement and was ripping around our house, with silver garland decorating his wee neck. He tore into ornament boxes (“Niko! Those are made of glass!”) and haphazardly placed them on the tree. Doesn’t he get that there’s a plan here? That there’s a semblance, an order, a procedure we follow when we decorate? Clearly not!

His vision was more like this:

  • Christmas balls will congregate in one area (namely about two feet off the ground and right within Niko’s reach and line of vision)
  • just as much tinsel/garland will be on the tree as will be scattered on the floor throughout the house
  • pull out all decorations at once and then have rip-roaring fun playing with the miniature Nativity Scene that is probably over 30 years old and has been handed down to me from my mother

The tree did get decorated though. Angel topper and all.

Lights!


Start the Trimming…

Niko’s Strategic Placement

(Too Much?) Fun with the Nativity Angel

Helping Hands?

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When’s the best time to get a Christmas tree? I had been wondering, and was told about 2 weeks before Christmas.

So this weekend we set out for the Christmas tree corner not far from our house and selected the greenery that would grace our home for the Christmas season. When I was a kid we used to traipse through the forest, cut down our own tree, haul it over the snow in a sled, strap it onto our car, and then hoist it up in our living room.

Eventually, like maybe next year, I would like to do this with my little family as well. But for now, it’s the trees behind bars that get parole in our house for the duration of the holiday season.

PS – Despite the pics, I’m still Dreaming of a White Christmas…




I had been lamenting the fact that getting my annual Christmas photo of Niko, decked out in his Santa hat was proving challenging! But then…

Turns out all it took to get Niko into the Christmas spirit (and into his Santa hat) was a little friendly peer pressure from his buddy Eli.

Merry Christmas Li’l Santa. Merry Christmas Festive Fireman.

Anyway…these good pics missed the boat, as I have already printed and mailed off my Christmas cards. But hey…they still make a nice memory for the photo album!


Twas the month before Christmas, and all through the house,

ideas were stirring of how to make Christmas the most.

With Ma in the kitchen and Pa on the roof,

visions of baking with toddler danced through our heads…

Ok, so not a complete rendition of the original but you get the idea. As part of building the Christmas spirit with little Niko, I had visions of baking with him: making “special” cookies in honour of the approaching holidays. “Special” because whenever that word is thrown into the mix, his interest is automatically piqued. And what better recipe to try than a simple no-fail one I had picked up in my Grade 7 Home Ec. class. Yes, I’ve kept the recipe all these years and have come to use it as one of my regulars. Which when it comes to baking, is only about once a year. But it’s tried and true and EASY! These little chocolate delights always turn out and are a real crowd pleaser.

So Chocolate Drop Cookies were on the agenda and Niko’s tiny hands were going to be thrown into the labour. And as always he was delighted to help. But something went askew and my vision didn’t quite turn out as planned. Did we have a good time? Yes. Did Niko get his fair share of spoon-licking in? Yes. But when I went to ball up the cookies the mix proved too dry and the best I could get was tiny cookies surrounded by a multitude of crumbs. Ah well…they still tasted good. But next time around, I might try it sans toddler hands. Sorry Niko! But don’t worry, you’ll reap the rewards of my labour once the cookies are done.

Note: The photo of the cookies below, is NOT an image of our cookies, but rather the way they are supposed to look when they actually turn out, and the way they have looked every other time I’ve made them in the past.


Each year I enjoy sending Christmas cards to my friends and family. For the past few years, with Niko adorned in a Santa hat, I snapped some pics, and put them on the front of our Christmas card.

When he was a newborn, this was super easy. He was a willing, if unknowing, model and I got some really cute shots of him in the hat. Last year, there was a little resistance to the hat, but I still managed to get some good ones. This year, round three of the Niko-in-the-Santa hat shots, has not gone off smoothly. Each time I try to put the hat on his head, he rips it off in about 5 seconds saying “Niko, no wear Santa hat!” or something festive like that. If I try to coax him, encourage him, bribe him or use any of the other tactics I have in my parenting repertoire they only work to up the angst and the protest: perhaps even saying hello to some yelling and tears as he works himself up into a stubborn tizzy.

“Niko, why can’t you just understand that this is for the benefit of the Christmas spirit!

Just wear the damn Santa hat and enjoy the Christmas spirit!!! OK?!”

I guess time will tell what sort of cards we send out. But as each day passes and my camera remains void of any good Christmas photos, my dreams of round three are slowly being dashed.

But I’m not giving up just yet. Perhaps a sleeping version will do the trick…

Merry Christmas everyone! Or Bah, Humbug! – depending on your perspective.

Note: The only somewhat decent shots I got are when Niko is holding Frasier’s disgusting, well-loved and slobber filled chew toys. And they’re Halloween themed. Hmph! See below…

Get This Thing Off Me!

Christmas? Bah, Humbug!

Daddy Plays the Part of an ENTHUSIASTIC Role Model!

Come on Little Elf. Just Give it a Try!

Here’s an Improvement.

Getting Better…

And, We’re Back…

Hats off to the Christmas Spirit, Mama!

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The Christmas season is here, and Borys and I want Niko to be a part of the festivities as much as possible. I mean Christmas is just one day, but the season (at least according to the retail sector) starts the day after (or in some cases even a few days before – Booooo) Halloween. For us though, we really get into the swing of things a couple of weeks into November. After that it’s just gets too cold to put up the lights anyway… So for the sake of our hands and to actually have enjoyment in decorating the house, the lights go up midway through the month. And really Christmas is about celebrating not just that one day, but enjoying all the steps along the way. So yes, we want Niko to be part of the decorating, the giving, the baking, the music, the time together, and all the build up.

Last week we got around to getting our Christmas lights up, both outside and inside the house. And Niko had a ball helping us out in the best way he could. It’s funny, because he doesn’t really understand what Christmas day is, but he certainly likes to talk about Christmas:

“Kiss-miss lights on!”

“Santa comin’ down da chimney, bingin’ peasants?” (Peasants down the chimney? Niko, you’re too funny!)

“Kiss-miss music Jingle Bells.”

“Santa Ho ho ho.”

OK, so I can understand where he got the idea about the Christmas lights, afterall he helped us put them up. But I’ve never talked to him about Santa and the chimney or Jingle Bells. So who knows where he picked that up. Regardless, he is getting into the Christmas spirit – I’ll just try to steer him more towards the lights and the Jingle Bells part of it than the “gimme presents” (or peasants, whatever the case may be) version.

Helping Daddy

Using My Muscles

Whoa! Big Ladder

I’ll Push it up, Dad.

Almost Ready

Wow, That’s High!

Break Time

Back to Work


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