Saturday, June 23, 2007

"If we can't have a baby brother, can't we at least have a worm?"

Yes, my kids want a baby brother. They begged for over a year. Realizing that their pleas weren't getting them anywhere, they moved on to begging for a pet. As much as we'd like a pet, it just doesn't make sense to get one as long we we're expats in the city.

Today they fell in love with two worms that they wanted to bring home. We met these new friends at a neat park called "Park Trubyetsky." (See the side bar for many other great parks listed in "Places to Go with Kids in Moscow). It's a "Children's Park," meaning it's enclosed and no smoking or alcohol are allowed inside (in most other areas of Moscow, you'll see men walking around all day with open bottles of beer--beer is cheaper than bottled water here...). This park is absolutely beautiful. The carved bears throughout the park are charming... Check out this picture below for an idea of the park's layout--so many different areas.
One particularly neat spot is a "Dog Playground", complete with carved animals and various obstacle courses/balance beams/etc.! (Russian dogs must be smarter than American dogs, because the pooches I know would just pee on all that equipment...!) Dogs aren't allowed in the park except for in the fenced-in dog area. Other areas include a stable where kids can ride horses, a mini zoo, three playgrounds (the equipment is NOT up to western safetely standards, though), a hill for sliding in the winter, a botanical garden (that's always locked, for some reason), a sculpture garden, tennis courts (that one winter were turned into an ice rink) and an outdoor theater.
There are very tall trees throughout the park that line the pathways. There are always kids on skates, bikes and scooters, babies in carriages, and elderly pedestrians. We stopped off at the McDonald's near the park for some lunch and "babyccinos"--the McCafe kids' version of a cappuccino (foamed milk with white chocolate syrup). The kids had fun ordering and paying for their drinks on their own.
We then stopped to watch the swans. Katya and Natalia wished we had brought bread to feed them.
Then we rode to the Fairy Tale Wooden Sculpture Garden. The mermaid looked newly painted and it caught Katya's attention. All the kids seem to like Baba Yaga's house (which you can climb into).

We eventually made it to the hill area (compared to Colorado and New England, it's more like a "bump," but we like it anyway!). The girls loved riding their scooters around and around the hill. Despite being in the city's center, this area feels like a big backyard you can explore that's all your own. Trees grow in clusters that meet kids' need for secret places and it's very quiet.
While exploring, the girls found two green caterpillars. They named them Hermie 1 and Hermie 2, after Max Lucado's Hermie stories. Talia has brought home countless "friends" from school who have miraculously survived the hours in her pockets--and who have been promptly brought back outside. (Never thought I'd have to "de-worm" my kids when they get home from school!).
They begged me to let them keep the "Hermies"... Surprisingly enough, they still think they have a chance of convincing me to welcome a worm into our small apartment. ("But Moooooom, you wouldn't have to walk it! And it's not expensive! And it would be easy to bring with us on the plane when we go to America!"). The girls almost cried when I said we couldn't bring the worms home--and that we couldn't give them a ride in the car. They made their friends log cabins out of twigs and leaves and promised to visit again soon.


Rachael said...

Oh, mom, look at those sad little scrunched up faces....if they can't have the worm, you should let them have the baby brother.

Tina in CT said...

Yikes! Grandma here would prefer a colony of worms.