Today I took Anna for a stroll in our neighborhood. As she loves walking wherever we go these days, I pushed the stroller (in case of a stroller emergency) and she meandered alongside, stopping to point at interesting sites or meow at passing cats. Not only is her toddler gait quite cute, but to make matters even more cute, 'tis the season for snowsuits already. Anna ambles along in her puffy cosmonaut (astronaut) costume (snowsuit,) attracting the positive attention of everybody we pass.
Not only did we receive countless compliments on our walking skills, oohs and aahs from many a passer-by, and the occasional question as to how old we are now, we ended up with quite a bit of loot at the end of our 45 minute circuit: 2 apples, 3 pieces of candy, and 1 juice box. It's better than Halloween here!
I am daily reminded of the pleasure of living in a such a child-friendly culture. Children are truly a joy and delight to Russians; they are honored, treasured, and daily celebrated by all who surround them. As most families only have one child, there seems to be a unique esteem for the childhood experience, the hopes of a family continuing on through this one being. People could not help but give Anna some kind of treat as she waddled by, or stopped to wave or talk to them. I was so humbled and blessed by their generosity, saying repeatedly, "this is not necessary, she's ok." After the first couple encounters, though, I stopped resisting, (unbeknownst to her, Anna does love to share with Mommy.) I said thank you, answered their questions about Anna, and allowed Anna to do her thing. What fun we had, and what a haul!
Days like today remind me why I'm so glad to share this experience with Anna. She makes life so much more mutually enjoyable, not only for us, but for our neighbors and comrades here in Moscow.