Siblings Day

On 10th of April, in US at least, is celebrated Siblings Day.

I don’t have a sibling, but as a child I wanted so much to have one so at 3 or 4 years old I invented myself a brother. When my kindergarten teacher asked my mother why my brother doesn’t live with us, I knew I’ve gone too far with my imaginary brother.

As teenager and then young adult I tried to have a sister women or even more. But somehow our sisterhood would always fall apart.

Now I finally have a sister girl. We have the same last name, we speak the same language ( too much sometime), we sometimes get on her Dada’s nerves with the same things that we do. We are two girls growing together, hand in hand. We see the world through the same lenses and we smile at all the beauty life has given us.

I reviewed today our books about siblings. We have a few, some or them are great children’s books. And the first siblings I wanted to share with you are the ones in Astrid Lindgren’s books. Lotta and her siblings, Madicken and her sister and of course, the children from Noisy Village.

Now is the siblings that went on a bear hunt turn to greet us. And Laura Ingalls Wilders characters from the “A little house” serie to present their adventures. The Aaron Becker trilogy , “ Journey”, “Quest” and “Return” is another opportunity to find out how the siblings we find along the journey can change our life in more ways than our real siblings do.

And, of course, are the siblings from the animal kindgom that we love so much: Martin Wadell’s Owl Babies and Ian Falconer’s Olivia and her little brother. And the ducklings from Robert McCloskey’s book. Or Hans Fisher’s character, Pitschi, a little kitten who, unlike his siblings, wanted to be something else.

I couldn’t end the siblings parade without Maurice Sendak sisters or Shaun Taun’s brothers from the “Rules of summer”. Or Judith Viorst’s Alexander and his terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. And the seven silly eaters that Marla Frazee illustrated. We have them in Romanian, but the adventures and the fun are the same.

But the most iconic book about siblings and the magic of joy and play is somehow related to Mary Poppins and the two brothers that were lucky enough to had her in their lives.

So, today will be a great day to hug your siblings, if you’re lucky enough to have them in your live. To tell them that the love is still there, even if you live on different countries or continents. Or you are estrange from some time now.

And if you didn’t had a Mary Poppins in your life so far, is not late to go out there and find one. To teach you that the sky is the limit for your adventures and discoveries. And all of your dreams. Away from the worries, viruses or problems. That will help you see the beauty you already have in your life and all the magic around you.

Hugs

I still remember now, after 30 years, my mother’s smell when she would hug me, after a day spent apart. I am sure that her hugs used to calm me and heal my broken heart, knees or bruses.

I am fortunate enough to be able to hug my daughter whenever I want. And I can only hope that when she will grow, she will still let me hug her whenever I want.

When I’m not feeling well she would come to me and hug me, to give me energy.

“Mama, say when you feel energetic again, I gave you all my energy”.

And we have a special family hug, it is called “the love sandwich”. Me and her father are the bread and she is the filling. Somehow she just knows that this is what a good hug offers: energy, warm, love.

I found out a few years ago that exist a job as a hugger. You go to the hugger, who can be a total stranger to you, take all the good energy from his hugs and then you go back to your daily life. I guess that the pandemic made it impossible for a lot of hugs to happen. And it is so sad, to waste so many hugs!

Today we celebrate International Day of Hugs! So, stop whatever you are doing right now and give a big hug to someone! And if it is not physical possible, send a virtual hug to someone you love.

Big hug!

Of THEE I SING

12 years ago, in this exact same day, Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44 President of the USA.

Since then, he did a lot for the american people and the world. He opened paths that had to be opened, even if now some are still desperately trying to close some of them.

He lead a nation, he educated people that wanted to be educated, he was the voice for the many who weren’t heard before. He was a commander and a force. The number one on the planet.

But, I guess, in the evening, he would still be the housband and the father. He would still had to listen to how the days of his girls went. Or the dramas at school; the gossips about a nice boy, or maybe two…

At the time I was amazed by some of his achievements as the greatest leader of the world. As I still am of his latest projects. But I am more amazed that he took the time and effort to make public some of the letters he wrote to his daughters.

He put them together in a book called “Of THEE I SING”, illustrated by Loren Long.

The love and pride he feels for his daughters is everywhere in the book. The care and encouragement he give them, not trying to impose, just guide.

For a man, even if he is the most powerful on the planet, to show so much devotion and love for his daughters, is certainly a sign of true courrage.

I hope the history will be able soon to put other great name along his. And for me to be able to read another beautiful sign of devotion as this book is.

The Twelve Days of Christmas

I didn’t knew exactly what the Twelve Days of Christmas are until a few years ago, when my daughter listened to a LionGuard version of the song. She asks me why there are twelve days of Christmas and not only one, so I did my research and found out the story behind them.

They start in the first day of Christmas ( December 25th), as the song begins, and they end on January the 6th, that is called The Epiphany. A religious celebration in the Western Christianity, the day the 3 kings visit baby Jesus. In the Orthodox religion January 6th is called the Baptism of Jesus, that was performed by John the Baptiser in the Jordan river. It is one of the most important religious celebrations of the Orthodox year and it is said to be a very cold day of the winter. After this day we can take out all Christmas decorations and the Christmas tree, sign that the Christmas is really over.

The song, that it is said to be originated in France, somewhere between 1500-1800, was first mentioned in a book in 1780s, as a memory game for children. The first child sang the first verse, the second child had to repeat the first verse and to add the second one and so on until the twelve verse. The child who would forget one or more verses would lose and be out of the game.

And because my daughter learned all the twelve verses of the LionGuard version, I though she has to at least listen to the original song too. Because, if not for other reasons, a partridge in a pear tree is more likely to be received than a rhino in a baobab tree. And legal, I believe…

So I bought her a very, very beautiful illustrated book, by Gennady Spirin, a russian painter and children’s book illustrator, bestknown for his depiction of the Nutcracker, The Velveteen rabbit or Little Red Riding Hood. He has a very unique way of painting and illustrating, using watercolors and colored pencil.

The book, called The Twelve Days of Christmas, was published in 2009 by Marshall Cavendish Corporation. The illustrations are so beautiful, is like looking at a paiting on each of the book’s page. The details, fine lines and colors are so lively and so gorgeous that it was a feast for the eye and soul to read this book.

We are still working on learning the verses, hope we will master them until the last day of Christmas.

Enjoy!

The twelve days of Christmas, Gennady Spirin

Welcome, 2021!

Yesterday we said goodbye to 2020, the only pandemic year in my life so far. And I really hope it was the last.

Today we welcome 2021, another unique year: it will be the only year in my life formed by two consecutive numbers, 20 and 21. The last year with the same characteristics was 1920 and the next will be 2122. As for 2122, I have no clue what will bring for the humankind. Or if humans will still live on this planet.

As for 1920, well, 1920 was the year in wich the League of Nations was created. And was also the year all the American women gained their right to vote. And what we know as mass-media was established in America, where two radio stations begun broadcasting.

In medicine, it was the year Band-aids appeared and the Spanish Flu pandemic ended.

In literature, is the year James Joyce mets Ezra Pound, the writter who was said to be a fascist. Fascist or not, his influence was so big with so many writters of that time, maybe this could be the only fact to remember him for.

In children literature, 1920 was the year when “Gilda of Oz” by L. Frank Baum, the creator of the Wizard of Oz, was published. Is the last Oz book that Baum had written and published.

It is also the year the firs Doctor Dolittle book appeared, based on the character Hugh Lofting invented and wrote about it between 1914-1918, while being in the trenches fighting for the British army. After being injured on the front, Lofting moved in the U.S. and start working on publishinf a book based on the Doctor Dolittle character, the famous doctor who could speak to the animals.

In 1920 was born Christopher Robert Milne, the main character in A.A. Milne’s book, “Winnie the Pooh”.

Winnie the Pooh is one’s of my daughter favourite character, we had read all of Milne’s books, minus “ Now we are six”, that we are saving for when… she will be six, of course! Meaning this special new year, 2021!

Until we will finish reading it, I leave you with a few of Winnie the Pooh special words about life, friends, love and of course, honey!

“If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together, keep me in your heart, I’ll stay there forever!”

“People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day!”

“Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart”

“You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes”

“When life throws you a rainy day, play in the puddles”

“Some people care too much. I think it’s called love”

“A day without a friend is like a pot without a single drop of honey left inside”

“Could be worse. Not sure know, but it could be”

“A hug is always the right size”

“ Isn’t funny how a bear likes honey?”

Winnie the Pooh books from our collection

Room for a little one

When I was verry little, my mother used to recite to me a beautiful poem, composed by George Cosbuc, one of Romania’s well known poets. It was called “ In the Christmas evening”. And the verses I loved the most and I used to repeat a lot around Christmas time were something like that:

“The bed is made. But who wants to sleep

When mother tells in her sweet voice about Jesus Christ?

How he was born in the poor cold stables

And the Ox blows upon him to warm him.”

And that image, of a little boy being born in poverty and cold, always made me very sad.

When my own daughter asked me about Jesus and how he was born in Christmas day I told her everything I knew about it.

This year I wanted to put a book and an image to the story. And I wanted it to be a story and not a religious book. So I found this book, “Room for a little one”, by Martin Wadell.

We first encounter Martin Wadell’s sweet writting in “Can’t you sleep little bear?”.

Then we red “Owl babies”, another favourite from my daughter’s early childhood.

“Room for a little one” is a sweet picture book for young children about the night when Jesus came to world. With his mother Maria and his father Joseph by his side. And all the animals in the stable also.

The illustrations are very gentle and looks as they are photos of actual animals.

And the kindness and love you feel on every page is so warming that, after 40 years, the image of the Little boy being born in the cold stables, didn’t make me sad anymore. I was glad that he had the Kind Ox by him side, and the dog, stray cat and the little mouse too. And his parents, of course.

And the most warming of all was my daughter reaction to the book: she said to me “Mama, look!There is always room for a little one, mama!”

So, we wish you a Merry Christmas and to always try to find room for a little one in your heart!

Room for a little one, Martin Wadell

Christmas picture books

This Christmas we will read some books, make some gingerbread cookies, sing caroles and enjoy time with our family.

Some of these books had became part of our home, we have them for some years now and we still like to read them in the winter.

Christmas picture books
Christmas picture books
Christmas picture books

Wedding cakes and the perfect husband

It’s almost bedtime and we read from a book about her favorite character, Paddington. Tonight we read a chapter in wich all the grown-ups go to a wedding and the little bear remains all alone at home. He doesn’t like going to weddings, maybe he would go for the wedding cake. But they promised they will bring him a slice or two.

She tells me that she likes weddings and wedding cakes and that she remembers when we went to that wedding last year and how good where the sweets on the table by the entrance in the restaurant.

I smile, with a smile that is not actually mine. I don’t remember what wedding we went last year!

⁃ The wedding with a big globe above the ring dance, mama! Where I met the little girl and we dance all three of us. And we took a photo in front of a big red heart. Remember mama?

⁃ Oh, yes! I remember now! When you didn’t let me dance alone with your daddy…

⁃ Because I was a little nervous … weddings makes me like that… But the sweets were so good!

⁃ Your wedding also will make you a little nervous and emotional. All of us will be like that. And you will have the best sweets and wedding cake in the whole world!

⁃ I don’t want to get marry mama!

⁃ Why not, baby?

⁃ Because I don’t know if I will find a perfect husband! You did! You married a perfect husband!

⁃ Well, you have at list 20 years ahead to find one, so don’t worry about that now! And dada is perfect, right?

⁃ Yes, he is! He plays with me and give me sweets and we watch movies together and we eat porcorn…

⁃ I meant perfect for me, baby…

⁃ He is perfect for you also mama, we are the most perfect love sandwich in the world! I should tell Paddington that, he loves sandwiches!

To be or not to be a fan

I take her from kindergarden. She is happy today, when the teacher announce her that I came to take her home, she screams in a super excited voice: mama!, then forgets to take her backpack and comes running to me: mama, you came! She hug me and in the exciting of the moment kisses my mask. Then we go to the car. She climbs all by herself in the carseat, she puts the belt on and then we go. At the radio is playing an Take That old song. She likes it and asks me who is singing.

⁃ Robbie Williams is singing, he is a friend of mine! I like it too, this song!

⁃ Mama, is this Wiliams your real friend? You play with him in the park? You know him? He invites you to his house for Hallowen? No mama, he doesn’t! I don’t know him, I don’t see him in our home, he is not your friend! He makes music and he has concerts and you can go to his concerts. You are a FAN mama, his fan! You are not his friend! You are just his fan!

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.