Saturday, July 5, 2014

Fourth Birthday with friends

K had a party with friends on the Saturday after her birthday.  We met friends in a new park.  That means taking lunch and park toys and a stroller on the tramvai (streetcar) for half an hour.

First we met K's friends from detskii sad at the tram stop to get to the park.  This was Leila and her daughters Rada (5 almost 6, from E's class), and Alyona (3 turning 4).  Then after the half hour tram ride, we met our Russian friends Vitalii, Anna and their three children Katya (3 almost 4), Vlad (2), Benni (1).  Then our American friends and their 4 children joined us.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Middle child turns 4!

So, first things first--

Life is uncertain, eat desert first!

That is, we let the kids have cupcakes for breakfast.  But because these were from silicon molds, for some reason they had flat tops, so Mommy turned them upside down before frosting them -- purple of course.  K had a hard time blowing the candles out the first time, but seemed quite delighted

Then it was rush rush to leave on time for preschool.  Yes, they are still going to preschool all summer, and they feel like they are the only kids not out for the summer.  For example, in their preschool, there were 7 rooms of 20-25 children each, and for July and August, there is 1 room of 31 children.  And some preschools are probably closed completely with one or more parent on vacation taking the child/ren for the summer, preferably out of town.  (Most people in Moscow believe that the city is an unhealthy place for children in the summer, and believe the only healthy place for them is out in the summer cottage or at camp, that is, surrounded by trees and a river.  No child would argue with that!)

But, to compensate for being in preschool, K had the really rare experience for a summer birthday of being able to celebrate her birthday at school, with a few of the children from her previous class in her new combined class.  And since there is only one classroom operating (to allow as many staff as possible to take vacation), it is an all ages class, so K and E are in the same class as of 30 June, until end of August when E will start 1st grade in Russia and K will go back to her age graded class.

For whatever reason, K's class has had a lot of birthdays in the past quarter.  It seems like every day or every week there would be another goodie bag and K would say "oh, ___ had a birthday today".  And then every time, E says, "I want one."  But goodie bags, snacks, or cookies from the birthday child to the other school children isn't obligatory, and either E had no one in her class with a birthday, or parents  in that group made less fuss.

Needless to say, K couldn't wait for her turn to have a birthday at preschool.  After breakfast (8:30-8:45), and some time that should have been "lessons" (but not over the summer), they have a fruit ("apple time") about 10 am, and then after that comes the celebration.  But since parents aren't invited, this record depends on K's account (with a little help from E):

They have the "imenik" (=birthday person) stand in the middle and everyone else stands around in the circle.  Then they hold hands in the circle and walk around the person singing a little song.  K was able to repeat enough of it that we could find the words on the internet.

Как на [имя] именины 
Испекли мы каравай. 
Вот такой вышинЫ, 
Вот такой нижинЫ, 

Вот такой ширинЫ, 
Вот такой ужинЫ. 
Кого хочешь выбирай! 

Кого любишь выбирай! 
Я люблю конечно всех, 
Только [имя] -- больше всех!

You can also find the tune on Youtube.
If the link doesn't work, copy and paste this text into youtube: 

Каравай - детская песенка на день рождения

Then after the song, they stop in the circle and clap their hands to syllables while they say the Russian words for "happy birthday" -- "s'dnyom [clap] rozh[clap]dyen[clap]ya[clap].  "Sdnyom rozhdyenya".  A total of 4 times.  
After that, they went back to the routine of changing their shoes for going out for "outside playtime" (recess), followed by lunch.  [E wants you to know that in this classroom they only have spoons, not only for "first dish" (soup, which is obligatory) but also for "second dish" (vtoroye bludyo), which is usually something with a bit of meat.  
Usually most kids, including ours, stay all day.  Preschool, after all, is for parents who work.  Today, Daddy picked them up after lunch when the other kids changed into pajamas for nap time.  
The goodie bags we gave to the teacher to distribute.  In order to not disrupt the class, the teacher puts one goodie bag on top of each child's cubby (mini locker), so that each child gets to take it home.  Ours consisted of: bright shiny paper gift bag (itself part of the gift, since they are usually re-gifted), Choco-pie (yep, kids love them here too), a few candies, and a little sand shovel & a shape for the sand.  
Happy Birthday K, part 1.