Parenting 2.0

Posts Tagged ‘Polish

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”.

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.

Christmas Eve is upon and so begins Niko’s first real Christmas celebration.  He will be getting in touch with his Polish roots tonight, and enjoying a traditional Polish meal at Dziadzio’s house, complete with pickled herring and vodka shooters.  But, seeing as Niko is on a purely liquid diet, he will most likely be holding off on the herring (and maybe the vodka too), at least for this year!

We are heading over to Andrew’s at around 6:30 this evening, so I am planning to get as much done in preparation for tomorrow’s Christmas dinner, today, before we drive over. Even though Niko can’t really appreciate the wonders that are Christmas at this point in his life, he was still adament that he wanted to put on his Christmas hat in preparation for St. Nick!

With the birth and naming of a child, nicknames inevitably follow.  I mean you want to name your kid something that they can be proud of, a name that kids can not tease them about (although any name can be made fun of, I am sure!).  Regardless of his name, Niko has already been nicknamed many things by many people (but mostly by me and Borys). Some of his nicknames are as follows (and don’t ask me where they came from, because they seem to have just developed naturally over the last three months): Sweet Little Angel Boy (there’s even a song that I made up that goes with this one!), (little) monster man, Nikush (this is Polish for a “little cute Niko”, but I fear I have butchered the spelling on it…), doll-face, cute little guy, little man, little grandpa, krasnoludek (Polish for a common garden gnome), cute little man, stinkster, Niko-Frederico, and probably many more to come.

I think Niko-Frederico simply developed because it rhymes, but it does bring back memories of how I got the nickname Fred.  Fred is still a name that my dad and husband and a few others call me on occasion, and from what I can gather this is how that nickname came to be.  When I was just a baby, (cute as can be I am sure!), my mom brought me grocery shopping with her.  Someone stopped her and said: “What a cute little baby! What’s his name?” His name?! Can you believe it?! Hmph! Anyway, my mom just went with it and said that my name was Fred! Well, ever since that day, Fred has stuck! Now, seeing as I am the third born in my family, and the third girl, my take is that perhaps this was a hint of what my mom really wanted my name to be, or for that matter my gender! I have asked about this many times, and my mom (re)assures that even though I was the third born girl, that my parents really didn’t want a boy (although when she was pregnant many people did ask: “Going for a boy, eh?”), but she tells me that this is not the case and that she and my dad always wanted three or four kids, regardless of if they were boys or girls! Well, when number four came along they were finally blessed with a real boy: my brother Greg!

Note: When Marion and her fam were here this weekend this is how one of the conversations went:

Audra: Aunt Alli, why do you call Niko “Doll-face”?

Alli: Hmm…I am not really sure. It just seems to come out naturally.

Marion: You know, I just realized that I call John Russell “Doll”, and I have no idea where it came from.

In a country like Canada, being bilingual is a definite asset.  Living in Ottawa many more doors are opened if you can speak both of the country’s official languages, and in the future we hope that Niko speaks both English and French fluently.  He seems to be off to a bilingual start anyway, just not a French and English one.

Both Borys and I are used to hearing the regular sounds of crying, cooing, gurgling, and grunting that come from our little guy (especially grunting).  But we were caught off guard the other day when standing in the kitchen and we heard him say “Baba Yaga” (sounds like bubba yugga).  This is how it happened:

Niko: Baba Yaga

Borys/Allison: Did he just say Baba Yaga?!

Borys/Allison: Yes, it sounded clearly like Baba Yaga?

Allison: Hmm…what does that mean? Baba Yaga?

Borys: In Polish that means witch, or it’s this witch-like character.

Allison: Hey, I think I remember reading about Baba Yaga when I was a kid.

Well, after a bit of research and with the guidance of Wikipedia, I have discovered more about Baba Yaga.  Yes, she is a witch-like character that “flies around on a giant mortar or broomstick, kidnaps (and presumably eats) small children, and lives in a house which stands on chicken legs”. What? Eats small children! Oh, Niko, why would you choose this for your first word?!

To complete his bilingual repertoire, last night as we were all lying in bed watching TV, Niko chest down on top of me and gazing around intently, said “Hi”. This is how it went:

Niko: Hi.

Borys/Allison: Did he just say “hi”?!

Borys/Allison: It sounded just like it! Weird.

So, for a baby just over two months old we are clearly impressed by his vocal abilities.  We just hope this continues when he has to learn French!

Upon marrying a Pole I have learned a few Polish words over the past 11 years. Niko’s birth has helped expand my vocabulary even further. He now has Ciocia Ola (Aunt Ola) and a dziadzio [pronounced: JAH-jaw] (Grandpa). In his first few weeks of life Dziadzio started calling Niko “Krasnoludek”. Seeing as this was a new word for me, I did not catch on that this is what he was calling my son. I hear Polish so often and barely understand a word of it, so I usually just don’t pay much attention to what is being said, seeing as the language is mostly unrecognizable to me. (The only words I actually know are: thank you, turtle, window, I love you, how are you, hello, and a few others that I do not feel comfortable writing the English equivalent of…)

It was only the next day when I heard Borys affectionately calling him Krasnoludek as well, that I noticed the word and asked him what it meant. Basically this is the Polish term for a common garden gnome. Anyway, it stuck and now we call him Krasnoludek all the time: our little krasnoludek.krasnoludek

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 352 other followers

Like this blog? Vote for it! Just click on the brown box below for one vote. Thanks!

Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

  • bsw bsw: Here I am reading this blog 10+ years later with tears in my eyes. Just last Friday Frasier past away. He was an amazing dog and a cherished member of
  • Borys: You go girl!
  • alliwaw: Thanks Marion! Back to bball this Tuesday, so we will see how the wrist feels. Running, is a weekend thing...


Alli & Baby Niko

Top Rated