The big old Moon

-When I’ll grow up, I will be a pilot and I will take you to the moon, mama!
-And back?
-Of course! What a silly question! Grown ups can’t live on the moon!
Silly of course, because I don’t know yet which version I like more. The mermaid story or the astronaut one. What if I upset her on our journey and she leaves me there, all alone on the Moon?!
I have to remind myself to buy only books about appropiate occupations, like superheroes, or fairies or … mermaids.

Important things children do

I prepare some materials for the activities I want to do with her today. I print some images and drawings, I trace contours on a cardboard and I apply adhesive tape on it.

Little miss is watching cartoons on TV. Even if she knows some of the episodes by heart, she pays a lot of attention. She likes some of the characters so much, she tells us all about their adventures, with lots and lots of details. She loves to tell stories, every little adventure becomes a fascinating story when she tells it.

I do not know where from she has this gift of storytelling, her mother is an engineer!

The publicity break starts and she comes to inspect the work table:

– Oau, how cool! You did this? she asks, turning the piece of cardboard I’m working on. And all of this beautiful drawings! We will colour them later, ok?

– Later, tomorrow, whenever you like!

– I told you, later, now I can’t! I have important things to do, children things!                                  

I don’t dare to ask her what important things she has to do, I’m afraid she will start telling lost of household chores. Like she did the other night,  when she told her father what she did all day: she dusted, made muffins, eat them, watered all the flowers (we only have 5 or 6 pots with flowers), washed the laundry…

– Oh! What important things you have to do right now? I say after a few seconds I need to gather the courage to ask.

– To watch cartoons, to organise missions with my superheroes team, I have important things to do, mama!

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Last day of school in pandemic times

When I was little, the middle of June was the happiest of all: it was the end of the school year and the begining of summer holiday. We would braid crowns from oak leaves to receive as prices for our academic results, we would make plans with our friends to meet and play all summer long.

Today is officialy the last day of this school year. In fact, the kids haven’t set foot on a classroom in the last 3 moths. They haven’t seen each other, nor their educators or theachers.

For my daughter is the last day of kindergarten. For the last 3 years, she had a teacher. Her first teacher. The arms that welcomed her with love and patience, the arms she ran to everytime she needed. The eyes that validated her accomplishments, the voice that taught her all the things she needed to know.To become the preschooler that she is today. A young lady that seems to know everything already. And which, for

the last 3 months, had only one wish: to be her teacher’s student one more day, after the bad virus goes away.

It seems that this was one wish faith didn’t grant her…

In life, in any stage or relationship we all need closure. To prepair ourselves for what it is about to end and to enjoy the time we still have together. Somehow this pandemic took way from our children the right to this important stage, closure. They should have been able to say good-bye in their own classroom, to properly hug their classmates and teachers they are saying good-bye to.

If one good thing came from this horrific time is that our kids learned to adapt even more than they did before. They understood that we cannot go to the park or to the playground, that we have to wear mask in public places, that we cannot meet or hug with our loved ones. The pandemic took all that away too from our children.

But it didn’t take the love they feel in their little hearts. The love will always be there to remind them who they are, who they were, who our teachers or classmates were!

Good bye teachers, good bye friends

We thank you all for everything!

We have places to go and people to meet

But our memories of you will always be sweet!

Family Day

Family is that feeling of complete safety and belonging. Is where you can relax after a hard day of work or where you can recharge your batteries. It is mother’s hug when you see each other after classes. Or playing in dad’s hair when he comes home from work and a tiny voice, the most precious voce in the world, tells him: Dada, you should shave, your kisses are hurting my cheeks!

Family is home, in your own house or it is someone very far away, but still close to your heart. And which, with just one word, makes you feel like everything is alright, even if to you it seems the world around you is falling apart. Family is not only the people that have the same name you do. Family is everyone who supports and encourages you to go further, even when the obstacle is big and you can’t see anything beyond it. Family is like a big invisible mechanism that helps you go go through everything, to enjoy the happiness and cry the sadness.

For the little ones family are all the people dear to them. The ones they feel comfortable with, they play as much as they want and share stories about moon, and star and everything in between. The ones that have time to discover all the surprises life had prepared for them. The ones that encourages them to move further when the fear had blocked every movement. The ones they laugh with, eat ice cream at noon or a big bowl of popcorn at ten o’clock in the evening.

The ones that tells them that is okay to make mistakes sometimes because nobody is perfect anyway.

Family? Family is each one of us and all of us together.

 

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Earth day 2020


I talk with my 5 year daughter about Earth Day, we read some books we have about it. Then, in a sad kind of voice, she begins:
-If I would only knew that this bad virus will come, I would have had the space racket repaired. That way we would celebrate it’s day by going around it or maybe to the Moon and back.
I say nothing. What can I say I wonder? She continues:
-The racket with wich I came from the little Moon, remember? It broke when I landed. It was green and had no.2 painted on it. Mattew has the one with no.1, it is red. But now we have to celebrated here. I will draw something nice for it, a cake and some flowers maybe.
-Well, after all, I say, the Earth is our home, no? I think it is nice to celebrated it at home. Giving it a chance to recover a little from all the damaged we have caused it.
-Oh,no! The Earth is damaged too? Like my space racket?! This is the worst news and the worst day! Is not a happy day anymore, mama, you ruin it!

Calul lui…Carol I

Ne plimbam prin “centru”. Nu ne-au inghetat inca nasurile, asadar copilul doreste sa afle detalii despre una, despre alta.

-Ce e ala? Un cartof sau o nava spatiala?

-Un cartof.

-Cum a ajuns cartoful ala acolo?

-Nu stiu, tati, cred ca l-au urcat cu macaraua. Sau poate mai intai l-au prins de stalp si apoi au montat toata piesa acolo.

-Cum au montat-o?

-Cu macaraua.

-De la masina de pompieri?

-Nu, o macara folosita in constructii. Cele de la masina de pompieri nu pot ridica greutati asa mari.

-Dar cartoful ala e gol, nu e greu.

-E gol, dar este foarte mare si este din metal, metalul e greu.

-Metal? Ce este metalul?

-Pai uite, capacul asta de canal pe care calci acum este din metal, stapul ala este din metal, monedele sunt din metal. Hai, ca tu stii ce este metalul.

-Astea nu sunt grele. Monedele mele din pusculita sunt usoare. Si cartoful nu e din metal, amuzantule!

-De ce este pus pe stalpul ala? Si cine l-a murdarit cu vopsea rosie?

-Este un simbol. Cartoful este stricat, reprezinta oamenii rai care ne-au condus inainte. Stalpul alb reprezinta noul, suntem noi, poporul roman dupa ce au plecat oamenii rai.

-Si inainte de hotomani au fost oameni rai? De ce nu ati iesit si atunci cu vuvuzaua sa ii dati afara de unde lucrau ei?

-Se pare ca mereu au fost oameni rai care ne-au condus,nu? Noi eram mici puiule, eram copii. Si atunci nu aveai voie sa spui nimic rau despre cei care ne conduceau. Dar pana la urma au iesit oamenii in strada, chiar aici si au reusit sa ii dea afara. Dar a curs si sange. De asta au pus momumentul aici, sa nu uitam. Se numeste Monumentul Renasterii.

-Cum arata macaraua?

-Nu stiu fetita. Era o macara normala, cred.

Mai facem cativa pasi. Nu ii este ei inca foarte clar cum a ajuns cartoful ala acolo si de ce. Dar renunta la subiect. Primeste raspunsuri prea serioase. Ajunsa langa statuia lui Carol I, is inalta privirea in sus si zice incetisor, pe un ton ghidus:

-Tati, calul asta are un fundulet amuzant si tare dragut!

Rompozee

Rompozeele au reprezentat, de cand avea copilul 3-4 ani, orice forma geometrica mai complexa decat un romb: pentagon, hexagon si tot neamul lor. Si asa le-a ramas numele, chiar si rombul intra uneori in aceasta categorie.

-Uite mami, o masina ca a ta, cu rompozeu!

-Da, iubire, sunt multe masini marca aceasta!

-Si tati are una! Si masina vechie a fost asa! Si bubu are! Si bubu celalalt are una! Oau mami, toti avem masini cu rompozeu! De ce? Si eu vreau sa am o masina cu rompozeu cand o sa cresc mare!

-Asa s-a nimerit, sa avem toti masini marca asta! Tu poate ai sa vrei altfel de masina cand o sa cresti! Sau poate oamenii nu vor mai merge cu masina atunci, se vor teleporta sau poate vor zbura.

-Nu mama, nu! Eu nu o sa zbor! Eu o sa fiu pompier si o sa conduc o masina de interventie cu furtun si scara! Care o sa fie cu rompozeu!

What we read and why

Although all the people in my family were avid readers, my first reading alone experience wasn’t so good. Some prince in a dramatic Romanian folk story had gone in the land beyond everything and when he returned, everybody in his family was dead. So, here comes one of the biggest trauma of my childhood. This is the reason why, until high school, I limited my readings to the mandatory lists I receive from my teachers.

Then, Jules Verne, Dumas, Heidi or The three musketeers came and little by little the trauma disappeared. No one was dying anymore, no one was left all alone in the world, without his loved ones. When I discovered the books from my parents and my grandparents library, I would “borrow” a book from my grandmother and when I would take it back we would stay at a cup of tea and discussed it.

At my mother parents I discovered a first edition, from 1942, of the book that would become my favourite book of all time. It was called “A murit Luchi” , translated “Luchi is gone” and was written by a Romanian author named Otilia Cazimir. It was autobiographic and the main character, a preschool girl called Luchi has a lot of adventures until one day, when she goes to school. Her teacher calls her by her birth certificate name, Otilia, and at first she doesn’t respond. Then, like in a dream, she realises that she is no longer Luchi, the little girl. She had become Otilua, the schoolgirl.

I used to read that book all the time, alone or with my mother, I knew it by heart. Is was a book with no pictures and only in 2011 was released a new illustrated edition. I bough it, of course, and I was shocked by the illustrations: the Luchi from my imagination couldn’t possible look like that!

In high school, under the influence of my coleagues, I started reading filosophy. I remember reading Kafka with the dictionary right beside me. Soon I discover that filosophy wasn’t for me. As they weren’t for me the motivational books. I mean I would always have an existential revelation when reading such a book, but I would soon forget the content, before getting to that “better me” version.

Then followed a long period of buying online, in kindle version, all the “trending” novels: Twilight, Game of Thrones or His dark materials ( the translation of wich, in Romanian -my mother tongue language, left me very dissapointed).

When I became a mother, in my late 30’s, Alfie Kohn, Anne Bacus or Sir Ken Robinson were my allies in fighting my DNA, the habits from my own home or the stuff I learned in my comunist childhood.

Soon started the era of picture book for me. I would read all the reviews and international tops and I would buy my daughter all the best picture books I would find. Now she is 5 and already has a library bigger than ours (maybe because of lack of space or priorities). We read whith her, for her, for us. She sees us reading and when we begin a new book she studies the cover or try to read the title. Sometimes she would ask us what the book is about or to read a few pages to her.

I like reading any good original story. Because everyone has a story to tell, even if is not his own.

And because sometimes the stories are today version of reality that we can make possible tomorrow, all by ourselves.

Reading is something we owe ourselves, because one idea gives life to another idea, words come from other words, our evolution is based on the things we learn from others. More talented, more experienced, more original, with different views on the world around us. Because life isn’t about one tree, is about the forest. And the stronger the tree, the stronger the forest is in the face of the storm. And the forest around my daughter is a fragile one, a new one, that goes where the strong winds takes it. And we have to change something in us first to make the forest strong again.

Where do we go?

-And now what, dada? Now what do we do?

-What can we do? The fun is over, the winter holiday is over, we have to go in.

-Where? In the frozen water? With our clothes on? Be serious dada! Where do we go?

-Now it is time to go to kindergarten.

Traditii de Anul Nou

Este ziua fiicei mele, nascuta in prima saptamana a anului. Iesim din casa si ne intalnim cu unul dintre vecinii nostri. 

La multi ani! ne ureaza el. Intram intr-un supermarket, unde si vanzatorul ne ureaza La multi ani!. Apoi in farmacie, unde toate cele trei farmaciste ne ureaza, pe rand, La multi ani si un An nou bun.

Copilul, putin emotionat si fastacit, intreaba:

-Tati, de unde stie toata lumea ca astazi este ziua mea?

Ilustratie de Katrina Lange