Julia

When Krisztina started school full time, Arpad and I missed having a child around the house. We
said jokingly at first, that we missed having a baby. The more we said it the more we realized that we really wanted to bring another baby into the world. A child who will be born in Canada . 1984, Krisztina, Arpad and I took the oath of Canadian citizenship after Arpad and I passed the citizenship test. Julia who was on her way to be born had the privilege of being born a Canadian citizen. On September 2, at twenty minutes after four in the morning she arrived. Exactly on the day we calculated she will be born. Which is amazing because only 3-5% of babies are born on their estimated due date, with around 40% of babies being born in the two weeks before their estimated due date and another 40% in the two weeks after.
After the stroke of midnight on September 2nd , she made herself noticed. Very timid at first, just a weak contraction and pause, then some time later another one, stronger this time, until they became quite frequent. At one in the morning, Arpad drove me to the hospital and by the time we filled out all the required forms for admission the contractions were coming very close one after the other. I was placed in a room all by myself . Arpad had to go home because little Krisztina was left all alone at home., sleeping. A nurse was checking the progression of the birth from time to time until once she said that she will call the obstetrician because we were very close. I have to mention here that it was on Sunday morning and Labour Day weekend which was a holiday, still is in Canada. Holiday long weekend when almost everybody is away to enjoy the last long weekend of the summer. My obstetrician was away and the one on call who took his place was called in. I don’t remember the pain anymore. What I remember is that the radio was playing The Boxer by Simon and Garfunkel. Listening to it between contractions gave me the strenght to go on until the final push when my little girl arrived. The clock read 4:23 in the morning. She was a perfect little girl , 10 on the APGAR scale which evaluates the newborn on : Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity, Respiration by checking the baby’s heart rate, breathing, muscle tone, reflex response, and colour. She weight 7 Lb. and 5 ounces or 3300 grs.
After cleaning her and wrapping her in a blanket to keep her warm, the nurse put my little baby on my chest so I can hold her and see her and bond with her.
She was a beautiful baby, perfect skin, no red blotches, full head of dark hair and beautiful blue eyes and long eye lashes. She was very alert and she was moving her very delicate, princess like hands in slow motion, as though she was offering her hand for a hand kiss. In the meantime, the doctor called Arpad on the phone to tell him the good news. He drove back to the hospital. Luckily we lived just a few blocks away so it didn’t take him long to arrive.
He could see and hold his newborn daughter before she was taken to the nursery. He was hoping for a boy, never the less he was overjoyed at the sight of our beautiful, healthy little girl.
The ultrasound I had at around midterm of my pregnancy did not show the gender of the baby so all through my pregnancy we were thinking of a boy. We chose the name Robert for our soon to be born child. When our baby girl arrived we did not have a name chosen for her.
Later that day, Arpad came back to the hospital with Krisztina this time and together we decided to name her Julia. We wanted a name that cannot be translated and it was the same in Hungarian and English. We agreed that it was a fitting name for our little princess.
Three days after the birth Baby Julia and I were discharged from the hospital.
We set up her crib in the living room which served as our bedroom. She slept there with us in the room and I was nursing her anytime she seemed distressed. She did not have a sleep schedule and we picked her up when she cried. I was reading Dr. Spock’s “Baby and Child Care” book for guidance. I found it very comforting because he encouraged parents to see their children as individuals and not follow set rules.” Parents are people too” was his motto. Julia didn’t cry a lot and she found comfort in holding her pillow case while sucking her thumb.
The first 3 months past fast and at the beginning of December, Arpad’s brother Öcsi with his wife, Nusi and two children arrived to Hamilton, along with Arpad’s and Öcsi’s mother, Sara.
They emigrated from Romania and we sponsored them to be able to come to Canada. They came to live with us. Our life changed after that. They were some good changes and some not so good. We had a live in loving grandmother who spent a lot of time with Julia and the children. That was good. We lost the peace and quiet in the house , that was not so good.
When we moved to another place on Cochrane Rd. in August 1995, Sari Mama moved with us.
I started dental assisting school so when I had to go to school, Julia had her as a babysitter.
She spent a lot of time with Sari Mama but she missed me every time I left home. Sari Mama told her stories about Elefant Bettyke, a made up character by Sari Mama, a little elephant baby who coincidentally behaved and did things exactly like Julia. They sang Hungarian songs about Mókuska, the little squirrel who climbed trees and fell off and about Kiváncsi Kis Kacsa, the duckling who was very curious and got in trouble because of her curiousity.
As she grew older, she became even more attached to me. Sari Mama was there all the time but she wanted me. After I finished the dental assisting school, I found a job as a dental assistant in a Toronto dental office. It was a part time job but the days I worked I was away all day. At six o’clock in the morning I was trying to sneak out of the house very quietly so Julia won’t notice.
Many times she would wake up and run to the top of the stairs crying. Don’t go, don’t go she would cry. It broke my heart to leave her crying in grandmas arms. During the day she forgot about me but from time to time she would start crying and asking about me. At night she was glued to the window watching the cars go by and hoping the next one will bring me. I worked there from March until October in 1986. Eventually I decided to quit working there because the commute to and from Toronto and the eight to ten hours of work were draining my energy. I arrived home exhausted and unable to be the loving mother Julia needed after a long day of missing me. Krisztina was older but she needed me too . I decided to be a full time mother and wife and I don’t regret that decision.
In the meantime we bought a new house and moved to 125 Bonaventure DR. We needed the money but we managed to pay the bills with Arpad’s salary from Ford Motor Company.
Julia really enjoyed going to Mc Donald’s to eat hamburgers and fries. I have to mention here that she was very peculiar about the food she ate.
I can count on my fingers, the things she liked: Lucky Charms cereal, milk, pancakes, bread, chicken soup, breaded meat, onions, apples, McDonald’s hamburgers and fries and chocolate chip cookies( only Chips Ahoy). Ok, she liked Caramilk chocolate bars too, but only from Cadbury but is that considered food?
We were regulars at the Harvard Square Mc Donald’s where she ate her burger and fries and played at their enclosed play land. She enjoyed the company of other children her age and she engaged in games with them. The only problem was that she did not speak English. She only spoke Hungarian the language we spoke in our home. She only knew a few English words, mostly from TV shows she and Krisztina were watching. She knew expressions like: Facts of life and Don’t be Ridiculous from the shows Krisztina was watching( Facts of Life and Perfect Strangers) and she used those when she tried to interact with other children.
It was time to find a preschool for her so she can play with her peers and learn English before starting Kindergarten. We found a Coop Preschool that was called Peter Pan Coop Preschool.
It was perfect for her because it was only two hours, twice a week and it necessitated parents involvement. I could be there with her most of the time.
She enjoyed the company of other children and she learned English at the preschool,
She started taking swimming lessons at Mac Nab Recreation Centre because the new house we bought had a swimming pool in the back yard and we felt it was safer if she learnt how to swim.
When school started in the fall of 1989 she was ready for kindergarten. She enjoyed learning and was a good listener at school. I started babysitting a little girl Julia’s age along with her baby brother. Her name was Nicole and she attended kindergarten with Julia at Seneca School.
After school they played together at our house until Nicole’s mom arrived from work to take her home. This way Julia had a playmate for a while. They liked to play dress up and Julia wanted to be Sleeping Beauty all the time. When Nicole said it was her turn to be Sleeping Beauty, Julia said she can be sleeping but not beauty. Julia loved to dress as a princess even for Halloween.
When other children chose the scariest costumes, she chose to dress as a beautiful princess.
She liked to watch The Elephant Show on TV. A Canadian preschool television program that featured a singing trio Sharon, Lois and Bram and Elephant (a person dressed in an elephant costume). She would not miss one show. When we were away from home we had to hurry back so she can watch it. She liked Lois especially and she wanted to be called Lois.
She was very receptive and smart even at an early age. When she started something she saw it through to the end. She liked assembling jigsaw puzzles and did not stop until she produced a complete picture out of the many ( in the hundreds) oddly shaped interlocking pieces.
She was mostly a happy child except for the times when it was windy. Wind was her greatest enemy and we went to great lengths to find places where she could not see or hear the wind blowing. The basement was her hideaway and listening to her Walkman through earphones was her refuge.

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