Tag Archive | Control


Stick man choosing a new path

There will always be the moment when we have to decide which is the better way to go

During a research, I found the comic strip above. Beside the metaphor of creating our own alternative paths, I asked myself: when was the last time I walked on the grass?

Doing it with shoes doesn’t count. On high heels, not at all, because they insist on burying themselves, a complete mess. I’m talking about walking barefooted (and not worrying about the mess). I, who used to play marbles, go down ravines on cardboard boxes, climb trees, guide the bike on purpose to mud puddles, became “Miss Choosy”. This, in itself, would be an individual loss; the matter is extending the choosiness to my kids. I’ve already allowed them to walk barefooted, but with the wet wipes in the bag to clean them later…

It may be the reason why I love beaches, the only places in the universe where I sit down and lie on the sand, and touch mud. Maybe because, when dry, the sand falls off easily.

One day, I saw a saw a video about Aelita Andre, a 5-year-old girl, a precocious talent, considered a phenomenon by the art galleries. Her father set up an atelier, in order to give her creational liberty. Well, I live in an apartment, but, even if I had a garage, I would think twice before allowing such a big mess. Add my drama with wasting (see how she spills the paint from the cans!) and, if I were her mother, perhaps I have never revealed this little genius to the world… o_O

excuse the mess

I also saw a “welcome sign” with this disclaimer: “Excuse the mess… the children are making memories”. So, I haven’t been preventing my children from making tents with sheets, filling the whole window glass with stickers, extending the territories of the toys to the entire apartment. Then, when they want to work with gouache, why do I make a point of covering the floor with newspapers? I allow them to do it, but why am I uneasy when they don’t clean the brush before submerging it in another paint pot? Why am I afraid they get their clothes dirty?

Last week, during swimming class (yes, the 4 of us do classes at the same time, to optimize the day), suddenly the big sun gave place to a big rain. If it is raining with no lightning bolts, the teachers don’t interrupt the class. I think it was the first time, in decades, that I caught rain. I had forgotten how good it is… The curious thing is: this time might be the first also for my youngest kid (5).Maybe for the other two: the experience of staying in the rain for so much time (and not running from it).

There are 6 days ahead, but one of my New Year resolutions will be: taking the grass path. Preferentially, with rain.

I cried rains over this ad:


You can also see:

Only mothers are happy – Marusia speaks

Letter to my children

The World’s best play

This post in Portuguese: Caminhos

The little strategist

“Parents trying to elicit good behavior from children must become amateur strategists (the children are the pros).”

(DIXIT, Avinash K. & NALEBUFF, Barry J. “Thinking strategically”.)

The phrase above is in the preface of a technical book about Game Theory, which intends to teach the principles of strategy reasoning. The authors are wise when they are able to find, in children, the reasoning that we end losing and having to re-learn after being adults. Mainly when we become parents.

One day I went back home and received from my husband a so-so “good evening”. I soon asked what was going on, and he said to me, annoyed:

“I bought a new videogame. I spent a lot of time choosing. I was sure it would be a complete success among the kids, until I inserted the disc inside the device. Only 15 minutes past, and they were already screaming and fighting in the room. I didn’t preach, I didn’t do anything: I just turned off the device and prohibited them from playing for one week.”

In the blink of an eye, I mapped the “atmosphere” which had been installed. The sadness of a father who brings a present hoping for union and seeing the opposite. Adding to my delusion of… Gee, why can’t they play nice? In the room, the little three all blue. The oldest one, writing in a notebook, a kind of diary, feeling so wronged. The fight had begun because he was – under the pretext of teaching the youngest brother how to play – taking off the controller from his hand all the time; the youngest didn’t want to accept “interferences” and then TOOF!! beat the controller on his brother’s head. My daughter was even more frustrated, because she hadn’t taken part in the confusion and was being like so. And the youngest was letting the tears drop with no sound.

My husband said again:

“I didn’t do anything. I just turned off the game.”

This kind of silent action from the parents weighs more than a scolding, you know? It’s when the children realize that they provoked something more serious. I tried to pacify and also give to Caesar what was Caesar’s. With the father’s “OK”, I released the girl from the prohibition for one week. I praised the oldest boy because he just wanted to help, but also asked for patience. To the youngest son, I said that nothing could justify hurting anybody, much less if the person was his brother, even worse because he was trying to teach him. I saw he regretted it, but I couldn’t leave it be, even for the sake of justice.

Later, I saw that he was still shedding tears and, that time, he was dedicating himself to make a drawing (since he didn’t know how to write).

See the drawing:

crying stick figure

When I saw it, I couldn’t resist; I squeezed him in my arms and covered him with kisses. I covered all three with kisses. I asked the little boy to apologize to both his brother and sister, and his father too, what he did with a wet face, and also promised that it wouldn’t happen again (uh-huh).

Then, he brought me another drawing:

smiling stick figure

Comparing the two drawings, it’s possible to notice the spirit of each one; the first of them made in brown crayon, sad, and the second in orange, happy.

Some days later, the girl was playing in the computer, and the little boy began to annoy her, wanting to play too.

Aaaaaaah, the usual confusion…

“Spending my beauty” and all of the daily artifices, typical of a career in Law, to be a judge, a juror, a lawyer and a conciliator, I said to him he wasn’t right and must wait until she left.

It didn’t take 15 seconds, and the boy came to me with one more drawing of a crying-stick-figure. But, that time, it didn’t correspond to the funny and smart smile of who had drawn…

Three years old. Professional strategist.


You can also see:

The tooth fairy

School lunch

Are your kids as mine?

This post in Portuguese: O pequeno estrategista

Letter to my children

Dear Kids:

If, in the next year…

… we have to spend a sleepless night, may we enjoy the rare opportunity to watch the sun rising.

…we have to deal with a health problem, may we learn to understand our body signs.

…we cry, may the tears come like the rain that fertilizes dreams.

… we get angry, may we comprehend the immense creative power of that energy, when channeled.

… we are forced to stop, may we know how to wait, like the seed that is never late and is never early to germinate.

… we find obstacles, may we take pride in feeling like students doing a test for an advanced level.

… we have a loss, may we discover strength in faith.

… we face unmannered people, may we remember Francis of Assisi and be instruments of Peace.

… we are instruments of Peace, may dreams, health, happiness, friendship, creativity, patience, victory, earnings and harmony come in addition.

… and may the year be good.

hand with an hourglass

Image: Desktop Nexus


You can also see:

The origami angel

This post in Portuguese: Carta a meus filhos

Juggling mother? No, thanks

juggling mother

Image: Journal Times – Tim Ludwig / The Wichita Eagle / MCT)

The term “the juggled life” suggests an existence characterized by ceaseless activity, awareness, and concentration, in which the real “trick” lies in maintaining the illusion of effortlessness.

[…] The consequences for successful juggling are even worse than the consequences of doing it poorly. The better at it you are, the harder and longer you will work. The more accomplished your performance, the more invisible your efforts become.

(MAUSHART, Susan. “The Mask of Motherhood – how becoming a mother changes our lives and why we never talk about it.” Penguin Books)

I work at the Chamber of Deputies of Brazil (House of Representatives), in the Social Communication sector. On March 31st, 2011, as part of the celebration for International Women’s Month, the talk show “Woman and her plurality of roles” was presented. The image for publicity was a sequence of illustrations with the same woman in several situations: as a manager, a mother, an athlete, a housewife and so on.

At that time, I had posted on Facebook my discomfort about that image: “not due to the plurality itself, because it can be enriching, but due to the insisting concept that presents the multitasking and perfect woman in all roles. It’s even said it’s an innate feminine brain attribute, meant as natural, with no question. To me, that “pedestal” just leads to a fragmented, exhausting and frustrating life.”

Woman and her plurality of rolesThe comments were nice! From the idea that everybody can be manifold, both men and women; the verification that we can assume a tiring madness even when we are aware we don’t need it. And the will of being only “me”, without any role…

My friend Vera Morgado, the event presenter, suggested me to open that reflection in the debate.

My question to the debaters was:

“So much is said about the juggling woman. But the juggler has the plates in the air. She doesn’t appropriate the plates. She doesn’t prioritize any of them in order to avoid them to drop. When a plate falls down, it’s she who breaks. And when she handles the plates, the show is over and nobody pays attention anymore. How can we get rid of this metaphor?”

The answers were very interesting!

The actress Elisa Lucinda talked about the danger for us, when we confound our personality with the tasks we do. She also asked us to not suffer with the dropped plate: “after all, there’s the saying ‘The rings go away, the fingers stay’ (in English, the saying is “Better lose the saddle than the horse.”). I say: ‘the breastpins go away, the breasts stay’.”

The psychologist Carmita Abdo said that we should take advantage of our feminine multitasking features in our own benefit, aggregating, pacifying, for our personal progress.

And the deputy (representative) Janete Pietá summarized, in just one phrase, everything that now I’m looking for:

“Better than being a juggler is being the circus owner.

It’s being the CEO of ourselves.”

white mug


You can also see:

Only mothers are happy – Marusia speaks

Mothers in animated feature films, TV series and cartoons 3: why do we identify ourselves with them and see them as references?

This post in Portuguese: Mãe Malabarista? Não, obrigada

The first baby adventure – Marusia speaks

My first son was born the same day João was: January 21st, 2003. But my “first baby adventure” was totally different. When I tried to mark the items on the “check-list” presented in the analysis of this report, four months later (the report was published in May 2003), I almost died:

  1. A little edgy and exhausted mother;
  2. A baby who cries, nurses every and each hour and doesn’t sleep all night long;
  3. An apprehensive pregnancy, morning (and afternoon, and evening, and night and early morning) sickness, but even then feeling beautiful and loved;
  4. A terrible C-section and even more terrible postpartum;
  5. A father who’s always there;
  6. A life very distant from its axis;
  7. Libido?
  8. Shape?

Although it could be worse, you know? Can you imagine “none of the above”…?

And this horoscope thing is also flexible: how can two babies with the very same birthday be so different from each other? Well, the report hadn’t mentioned the exact time of João’s birth; perhaps it is a matter of ascendant astral sign, with the Moon who knows where…

Jokes apart, fortunately, I slowly had realized that trying to compare or reproduce these examples was a crazy idea. Examples, by the way, that I had begun to recognize in other reports, in other magazines… Then, the will to research this subject arised, with a need to “unstress”: everybody, on to “the Unstressing Manifesto”!


You can also see:

The first baby adventure – analysis

This post in Portuguese: A aventura do primeiro bebê – Marusia fala