Originally Posted by EVC
around, probably just not as visible as Western man/FSU woman couples. And actually, it was the American wife of a Russian man who first told me about MDC
Late to this thread due to nak making me internet lazy-- watching the world cup takes less effort, though today it was depressing! and they don't show any Ukraine games on ABC orESPN either
I have traveled twice to Russia w/ ds who is turning three shortly and this summer we will take ds and 2 month old dd.
To be fair, dh did the heavy lifting the first time when ds was 10 months flying alone w/him b/c of my job (dh is a SAHD/WAHD) at that time, but each time I was there for 2 wks, ds & dh for 4-- sucks but the grief from making dh's trip shorter would have been worse and hiring a babysitter for 2 wks instead of leaving him w/dh and the inlaws b/c I have to come back for work would have b een equally bad and to them insulting. Not very AP but c'est la vie in this case.
Anyway, we did not take car seat before-- ds was in a car rarely so I decided to pray for it and hope odds were w/ us for our relatively brief trips. Ds was already sitting though -- I feel less comfortable doing that w/ a small babyho can't wear even a seatbelt-- so I'm pushing to take hers esp since we are flyingto Helsinki this time and likely driving to Petersburg (where the in laws live, in a house in the 'burbs) with a friend and will be in the car on highways (yikes!) for four hours at least We will also take DS' b/c DH wants to leave it there for future use. As I understand it, they passed a new law in Russia requiring car seats-- I think it went into effect this year. I don't know the details but there was discussion on it on materinstvo.ru (a forum I've participated in) and it looks like a lot more people are buying them now (heck, if they can shell out 500 bucks for a stroller, which many do, they can get a bleeping car seat). Slings are also more in vogue than in the past among the young anyhow. A lot of the girls in my due date club on materinstvo are well-versed in Sears, slings, and other AP concepts and are battling their elders over it (or just ignoring them) so in the larger cities you might get less meddling than in the small towns. One woman in a smaller city was recently complaining how her elders give her grief about nursing on demand -- apparently they think you MUST feed only every three hours and MUST use a pacifier the rest of the time and breastfeeding past 3 months is not done. Fortunately younger women have different ideas, though of course there is a spectrum just like here. Sears is definitely popular among the middle class, internet connected types though, just what I've observed. His Baby Book was translated and is available free in Russian on the 'net, so you can stick that to someone if they give you too much grief. My MIL knows to back down now-- well, at least when she pushes me to the point where I start yelling at her, LOL. Although to be fair she was always cool witht he bf'ing -- it's other nutty things (like the serious way overwrapping, wanting to give DS unpasteurized goat's milk when he was only 11 months old, yikes!) that we have words about. She didn't like me HBAC'ing either but learned to keep her mouth shut. I have been a little harsh on her, but since she doesn't take a hint (it seems to be a trait in that family) you have to lay it out in black and white eventually for whatever IT is to stop. I speak Russian and she and I have spent A LOT of time together (she comes here every year also for extended stays) so we're real family now, including the ugly bits, if you know what I mean.
We're going on July 3-- if anyone's going to be in the Petersburg area during the month of July, look me up, please b/c I will be close to dying of boredome since going to a lot of interesting places with a small baby will be difficult and I won't leave her for long since I am NOT going to make pumping by hand a regular activity (and each time I try to take her anywhere will be fraught with the, "what are you taking her for? Why torture her like that-- blah blah blah"-- because she so loves staring at your walls and bloody cucumbers all the time, gargh). At least we can go to the park with some frequency, although going to town much will be out. If you have small children rather than babies though there's plenty to do most places-- children's theatre which I want them to take DS too this year (since I probably can't go with DD), the circus, some museums, fortresses, parks, etc. Petersburg is particularly rich in this but there are other places too. I'm definitely going to stock up on kids books and Russian cartoons while there. There's also a site where you can download Russian cartoons to your computer for dvd burning-- something I mean to do often and never do-- just like I still owe EVC Master and Marguerita (sorry, I will get to it eventually-- I've only watched one series myself, DH keeps asking me when we'll watch it).
If you can cook yourself in a house or apt food isn't a big issue since you can just buy what you like, I think. Veganism is definitely more difficult since dairy is huge. I've never had food poisoning and I'm not very careful, but I also don't like mayonnaise so that cuts out a lot of salads and potential food posinings I think since meat tends to be cooked well done over there in my experience and isn't much of a problem. The only salads I eat pretty much are the cucumber tomato one with oil or smyetana and vinagret. I also haven't had a lot of random stranger input into my childrearing (just plenty from non strangers, LOL) but then again we don't go out with DS on the town much (mostly just to local parks, etc where there are too many kids for anyone to pay attention to ours), I expect to get some comments with the sling this summer which I will either ignore or deflect if it's too persistent. Around the bigger towns I think they tend to mind their own business more, and more now than they used to-- younger people are more likely to tell them where to go than they used to, which has it's good and bad points I guess.
We took the umbrella stroller in the past and found it easy to handle-- this time I plan on buying one of those light cheap strollers that still recline (I think you can get them at Wal Mart) for DD (DS can go without) to deflect any possibility of MIL scaring up from some ancient neighbor some ancient rusty buggy that weighs a ton and you couldn't possibly do anything with except walk the neighborhood at a snail's pace and chat with other babushkas and which I know DD would hate anyway (she only likes the stoller when she's asleep) and will sling the rest of the time. In laws got used to me slinging DS and FIL joined in the fun too so I don't expect trouble from them on that front.
For the plane I hope (since it is overnight) DD mostly sleeps and DS we can take turns entertaining I guess. Last year I flew over with them and it wasn't too bad. We let DS walk the aisles a bit. We are going non stop to Helsinki from NYC so it should be pretty easy.
I'm taking cloth diapers b/c in my experience disposables are more expensive there than here and where in laws live you have to make a haul to town to get them and the nearest places sell small packages, so it'll be easier and cheaper to do what I do here-- use cloth and wash (they have a machine) at home and use disposable when we go out. If you are constantly moving around though cloth is not such a good idea probably.
Sorry for the rambling-- I think I touched the main topics covered. Can't say much about trains, have only done Petersburg-Moscow and w/o kids. DS would love it at his age I think though.
We go every year, which is how we're hoping the kids keep their language. We're doing in-home Russian, English outside the home language, approach-- DH and I mostly communicate in Russian anyway, we have Russian channels which is what we watch most of the time, and most of our socialing is done in Russian and we're lucky enough to have a circle of 4-5 couples with little boys' DS's age who are all Russian, plus there is Saturday school for some extra reinforcement, so hopefully they will speak at an advanced level, though I don't expect perfect fluency or accents. DS currently only really speaks Russian, which will change once he starts preschool in the fall. I really can't teach him the English stuff on top of the Russian stuff- I don't have time-- and DH isn't as big into doing the school type stuff with him at home. I know once they start regular school though I will have more English with them helping with homework etc. But with our yearly trip plus MIL's frequent visits, plus visits from SIL and her teenage son, none of whom speak English, I figure we might come out decently on the language front. Hopefully!