Tag Archive | Family

Paths

Stick man choosing a new path

(Ryotiras)
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:

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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 World’s most interesting course

From 2003, I’ve been taking a long duration course, which I’ve wanted to do since I was a child. Childhood dream. Everybody says it is the best, and there is nothing similar. International scope.

people studying

Initially, I tried to apply in 2002, but unfortunately I wasn’t successful. I was so obstinate that in 2003 I finally got it. The system is really different. Frequently, everything I had learnt falls through during the classes.

The teachers don’t inform when the exams will occur. Sometimes, I still hadn’t comprehended a subject, and it was on a surprise-test. In order to be more exact, so far I haven’t seen one day without an exam.

woman reading with the hands on the head

The contents are hard. I have to conciliate it with my job, renounce a lot of things, spend nights and nights studying or undertaking a project. Even though, all of these are not a guarantee for passing. Often, I must do, redo and redo. Most of the times, I apply to the group work. It flows better.

There is bullying too. Some people say I’m doing it wrong, and I should do it in another way. However, the teachers, subjects, schedules and classrooms are different from the others; how can they want to compare anything? There’s no parameter.

The classes are everyday, including weekends and holidays. Some people prefer the distance learning module, but I think that it isn’t the same of the face-to-face course, far from it. This is unbeatable.

That’s the most transforming experience ever. The more you dedicate to it, the more it is richer and deeper. I bet: every second of it is worth it.

The world’s crazy and awesome course calls “Parenting”. I have the privilege of having three exigent and wonderful teachers.

It’s been two years since I began publishing my class notes on the internet. Second year “Mãe Perfeita” Blog anniversary.

My best wishes to all my schoolmates!

boy weating a teacher hat

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You can also see:

The World’s best play

The little strategist

School lunch

The origami angel

This post in Portuguese:  O curso mais interessante do mundo

If men breastfed

Visited site:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Male_lactation

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My 3-year-old son asked me:

“Why can’t men breastfeed?”

“Well, because only women have breasts.”

“No. (Showing me his nipple): I have a breast, too.”

Of course, explaining to a little child about mammary glands and more was too much. I laughed but asked myself: why does the male human have nipples, after all?

For my surprise, it wasn’t just a “child’s doubt”. There are people doing serious researches and also publishing books about the theme. I found out, too, that it is actually more a matter of hormones than of mammary structures (fact: due to the maternal hormones during the gestation, boys can be born with milk inside their little breasts, and newborn girls can have a “pseudo-menstruation”).

I even found out cases of men who breastfed their kids. Have you ever thought about what could happen if it becomes commonplace?

Man breastfeeding his baby

If men breastfed…

… the care for the newborns could be shared. Father and mother would take turns nursing. With bigger intervals, the nipple fissures would have more time to recover.

… while one nurses, the other could take care of the oldest kids, attenuating the jealousy among brothers.

… the maternity leave would be for the couple. So, there would be no more discrimination on the labor market, since the conditions would be the same for men and women.

… the exclusive breastfeeding for twins and triplets (so common nowadays) would be easier.

… in case of impediments for the mother, this time would be calmer.

… the milk banks would have more donors.

… breastfeeding in public would be seen as natural, and not as “indecent exposure”. By the way, men usually take their shirts off.

… men would be able to feel more intimately the physical link with their children.

… children could indistinctly call “mom” and “dad”.

That last topic deserves reflection. We women always complain about the overweight and incomprehension from men. Would we mothers, however, be inclined to share that power? the power of being exclusive in the children’s preference?

More: would women approve a legion of such “maternal” men? A quick look at the photos with men breastfeeding automatically causes some discomfort.

Man breastfeeding his son

Since men don’t breastfeed…

… they literally don’t feel what it is and, because of that, in order to comprehend the dimension of the task, they need to be INCLUDED in the process.

Let’s remember that breastfeeding is a very recent thing in our postwar society. Men just don’t understand the importance of raising this flag. Before the immense disrespect to women, an angry reaction can be natural and the most probable. Although, as my mother says, “don’t worry about the chaos; put in it the missing element.”

Diminishing men, judging them as “Homers Simpsons”, selfish, weak before pain, rowdy, inept, rude or violent people DOES NOT HELP. At least, we stay at a nil-nil draw.

Only observing the current place of men and trying to equal them with truculence and meanness are not the best way for women to find their place. I have two boys and definitely it’s not the legacy I hope to give to this generation. If I keep attached to this imagery and harp on about the same distorted values of a sickly society, what can I expect from my kids? that they become “Homers Simpsons”?

That’s the reason why I believe in a mutual respect posture.

I end this post with the phrase I said to my 3 year-old son:

“You won’t be able to breastfeed, but you will be able to hug your little kid very tight, in order for him to hear your heart. In the same way your Daddy does with you.”

Baby sleeping on his father's chest

Nivea Baby ad: heart with heart

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You can also see:

A short and bald guy

Love is…

Because we are mammals

This post in Portuguese: Se os homens amamentassem

On Ballet and bullying

black swan ballerina

Some years ago, my sister-in-law, a great ballerina, asked me if I intended to enroll my daughter in ballet classes. I answered I only would do it if it was the meaning of her life, if it was something that she wanted more than everything on the Earth, because my experience wasn’t good. I said that, differently from of my sister-in-law, I didn’t have talent, and faced very humiliating situations.

I started Ballet classes when I was 8. The first teacher was sweet. For the next four years, however, I got a new teacher, more rigid, who was obsessed with forming a corps de ballet.

I never had the pretension of being a soloist dancer. As I said, I was never a skilled ballerina. I was diligent, obedient and timid. And was excited with the end-of-year festivals.

Once, we performed “Sleeping Beauty”. My class was the “peasants”. It was when I began to feel the pressure. I rehearsed from Sunday to Sunday, but it wasn’t enough. A few days before the spectacle, the teacher took me off of two choreographs. During them, I would sit still in the back of the stage. In the only choreograph which I took part, I, who had more than 5 degrees of myopia, was forced to dance without my glasses, because “peasants didn’t wear glasses”.

In the next year, I was cut off from another choreograph. The allegation was I was very short. A colleague, who was less tall than me (but danced brilliantly), stood up and said: “If it were true, I wouldn’t be in the choreograph.” The teacher only flushed and didn’t say anything. But I understood everything.

In the last of the four years, my class finally was promoted to “corps de ballet”. Except me, who had to go back to the former degree.

In spite of being thin like a stick, I’ve always had a large torso, as well as a little “belly”. So, I always heard: “Contract your belly! Ballerinas do not have bellies! A dry sausage like you must not have a belly!”

I was 13. I wrote a letter to the teacher and left Ballet classes. Nowadays, that kind of approach would be considered as bullying. Curiously, the rivalry didn’t exist among the colleagues (as shown above, with my sweet defender). The bullying I suffered came from an adult, a teacher, an authority.

Frequently, my brothers and sisters and I meet and remember those situations laughing a lot. My mom gets crazy with those stories. “Why didn’t you tell me?” The answer is unanimous: “We didn’t want to bore you with those child’s things”.

We are used to saying that these reunions are a kind of collective catharsis, and we laugh (and cry) because, after all, these situations weren’t individual privileges for none of us: all of us dealt with them. Yet, my husband is not the least patient with what he considers “autocommiseration”. He does not agree with us and says that, since he was a boy, he has always tried to find the fields he was skilled in, and not the opposite.

It happened to my oldest son. He LOVES soccer. He decided to enter a soccer school. I thought it could be a way for him to improve. The teacher was respectful, but in the third championship my son said to me: “I want to leave. I spent most of the time sitting on the bench. I don’t think it is wrong, because I don’t want to trouble the team. So, I will find something that I am good at.” Eight years old.

Now, he does Karate. We did a rigorous investigation to find the adequate karate school, because we were afraid of my son entered the “Cobra Kai DoJo” (Karate Kid, do you remember?). You cannot be careful enough. We could find whom I consider as the “Brazilian Miyagi”. And I let myself be the owl of the owls: less than 1 year passed, he had been approved in four belt exams (white, blue, yellow and red). He is an orange belt. It seems he was born to do it. I get fluffy out of pride.

Jonh Kreese, Miyagi and Daniel

Karate Kid

Back to Ballet. Behold my daughter entered Ballet classes. It was part of recreation; in fact it was not a Ballet Academy. I thought that, like that, the atmosphere would be lighter. I didn’t want to contaminate the situation with my prejudices. I bought the uniform and the ballet shoes happily. A few months later, she asked me to leave: “It’s boring.”

ballet class

Her teacher told me that she “didn’t have the discipline required to do Ballet.” That, during the class, there was a kind of “tour” with foam objects to mark the stations, and she had just turned away, my daughter misplaced all of them. Secretly. With the most angelical face of all.

I thought:

People!!! My daughter is not like me AT ALL!

HOW WONDERFUL!!!

Four years old.

Moral lesson #1:

There are academies and academies. As parents, we must be aware. Children don’t always say us what happens during the classes.

Moral lesson #2: In one of our family “autocommiseration sessions”, my sister-in-law felt comfortable to tell us the nonsensical things she heard from her Ballet teacher. Notice: she was a soloist. Nowadays, she is in the adult classes and lives, for the first time, “Ballet with love” (when she was a child, she lived “Ballet with pain”.

Moral lesson #3: Let’s avoid to project, in our kids, our frustration. Or our dreams.

Moral lesson #4: We must keep in mind they are only children. Now, my daughter does karate too. And is having a lot of fun with the Brazilian Miyagi.

little girl practicing karate

Who had said that she didn’t have discipline, again?

children practicing karate

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You can also see:

My son needs glasses

Letter to my children

Where’s the big belly? It’s disappeared

Where’s the big belly? Marusia speaks

This post in Portuguese: Sobre ballet e bullying

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.

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You can also see:

The tooth fairy

School lunch

Are your kids as mine?

This post in Portuguese: O pequeno estrategista

Where’s my baby?

Visited site:

Before they grow up – Affonso Romano de Sant’Anna

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baby girl little shoes

Photo: Jynmeyer / stock xchng

The Affonso chronicle reached deep in my heart. Many truths, in such a short space of lines! Texts like that originate antagonistic feelings. At the beginning, something like: “I should enjoy the present moment, because everything goes away very fast.” Then, a look at my parents and grandparents, searching for the connection between who we were when children and our kids.

In other moments, it also brings anger. Remembering the past is done with rose-tinted glasses. Affonso didn’t say that we should face more fits, clean more vomit, spend more sleepless nights, lose our patience more times. It brings guilt, too: those lenses, coming from a voice filled with experience, ask us to forgive those boring facts in order to dedicate ourselves to nice facts. Off the record, day after day, sometimes it requires the posture of a Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

Let me tell a story. When my daughter concluded kindergarten, the school organized a “PJ party”, i.e., she and the other children of her class would do dozens of activities and sleep at the school. On the next day, they would wake up and find messages from their families under their pillows.

(To the insecure moms, I say that two of my kids had PJ parties at school. Up until now, those nights still are, for them, one of the most fantastic things they’ve experienced.)

My family is immense, so I decided to compose the leaves, with all their messages, as a spiral bound notebook. I printed Hello Kitties, angels, fairies, flowers, ballerinas to decorate it. For my message, I wanted to do a retrospective since she was a baby, year by year. Looking at photography albums is frequent here at home, but that time it was different. It was an unequivocal proof that time had passed.

I looked at those photos and thought to myself: where’s this baby? And looked at my daughter trying to find some of her traces. But she had become a little lady, a smart, charming, independent and elegant girl.

It’s not necessary to say that a confused feeling appeared: joy because she became who she is, but also nostalgia, a lot of nostalgia, and perplexity. I had heard many mothers telling that the babies consume such an intense dedication, filling the whole day in each and every second, so the fatigue doesn’t allow them to “enjoy” the children. Thus, when they got aware, the kids had already grown up, and they just hadn’t notice.

Keeping it in mind, I did everything to focus on the present and enjoy each moment. My babies were “enjoyed” a lot. However, it didn’t prevent me from seeing the little clothes and shoes getting smaller and smaller, the diapers and bottles being abandoned, and to try, as in the movie “Mamma Mia”, holding their childhoods like sand slipping through my fingers.

And I wrote in tears my message for her.

At night, I had a dream that my daughter was a baby again. It seemed my guardian angel was giving me another opportunity just for old time’s sake. It was wonderful. Yet I woke up with the angel’s voice: “All right. Now, don’t wait for another six years to ask again: where is my little six year old girl?”

girl shoes

Photo: 38 parrots / stock xchng

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You can also see:

The origami angel

From daughter to mother

This post in Portuguese: Onde está meu bebê?

Things that only those who have three (or more) kids know

Only those who have three (or more) kids…

… brush, at least, 32 (yours) + 20 + 20 + 20 (92!) teeth, three times a day;

… cut 80 nails every week;

… hold the hands of two kids to cross the street and ask one of them to hold the hand of the third kid – something that they never accept;

… have to take two taxicabs to carry the whole family;

… buy weekly, at the supermarket, what the others buy monthly;

… realize, as unviable, any carpooling – unless both you and your neighbor have a minibus;

… need two sofas for watching TV;

… in travels, must book two rooms at the hotel, after the youngest kid is 3. And thank God when the hotel has combined rooms;

… have to plan a big logistic operation when traveling with them. And, if it is a trip only for mom and dad, have to leave a big logistic operation for the heroes who will stay with the kids;

… ought to manage three homeworks, three schedules, three exams each bimester, three school supplies, three report cards. And still have to attend three parent teacher meetings at the school. However, also deserve a little discount on the school payments of the youngest kid;

… realize that they are the masters of confusion, in endless combinations: the oldest one x the youngest ones; the youngest one x the oldest ones; the oldest one + the youngest one x the middle one; boys x girls; all x all…

…earn three cute gifts, made by them, and watch three shows for Mother’s Day every year (and cry in all of them);

… find out that 3 is the minimum ideal number for any play: hide-and-seek, tag, games, etc!

… find out that, now, they are the majority at home…

… hear: “Are you a mother of three? You are…” (complete the phrase):

(   ) in high spirit

(   ) encouraged

(   ) busy

(   ) determined

(   ) inconsequent

(   ) a warrior

(   ) mature

(   ) lucky

(   ) a ninja

(   ) admirable

(   ) happy

(   ) crazy

(   ) all of the above

And still there are those who ask: “When does the fourth kid come????”

The truth is: people are wrong when they think of applying economies of scale techniques when the matter is children. It’s impossible. Kids need (and we do, too) individual real time. Chronological time.

People are wrong when they think of a mere multiplication by three. I believe that we have to raise it to the third power:

  • Challenges cubed;
  • Responsibilities cubed;
  • Opportunities for growth cubed;
  • Love cubed – this is really good!!!

drawing with a father, a mother and three children

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You can also see:

Are your kids as mine?

Is your baby as mine?

School Lunch

It was so cute when they… yet I miss…

This post in Portuguese: Coisas que só quem tem três filhos (ou mais) sabe o que são

School Lunch

jack and the beanstalk

Len Ebert / Picturebook

I was picking my three children up at school. Then, they started having the following conversation, on the back seat of the car:

1. “When I grow up, I wanna be a restaurant.”

2. “You cannot be a restaurant. A restaurant is not a living thing. Living things are people, animals, plants…”

1. “Ok, then I wanna be a tree.”

2. “You look like a bean, that’s it!”

1. “So, I’m gonna grow up to the sky!”

3. “The bean plant cannot reach the sky.”

1. “Yes, it does! The bean plant of Jack and the Beanstalk did!”

3. “It’s a made-up story by the Europeans. They like that kind of tale.”

2. “Things like giant kingdoms don’t exist. The sky is something sacred, Mommy told me.”

1. “You mean, did Jack of the Beanstalk meet God?”

And me driving the car and thinking to myself: what did they put in these kids’ food at school????

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You can also see:

Are your kids as mine?

The Tooth Fairy

It was so cute when they…yet I miss…

This post in Portuguese: Merenda

It was so cute when they… yet I miss…

It was so cute when they…

… yet I miss…

… started grabbing their little pillows, saying good night and going to bed by themselves… … seeing them with “combed” squeezed eyes until sleeping in my arms.
… learned how to take a bath by themselves… …wrapping them with a towel, all perfumed and fresh.
… learned how to read… … when they would invent the stories only by looking the images.
… started to wake up and play, waiting for us to get up… … when they would go tiptoeing to call us in our bedroom.
… were promoted to the advanced swimming class… … when they did the baby swimming class and we would go with them in the pool.
… started using the first little underclothes… … (A LOT!!!) the diapers when they sprinkle the whole bathroom except the toilet (boys), or when we are out and they ask to poop, and the public WC is the dreaded mess of the eeew of the yuck.

You can also see:

Are your kids as mine?

Is your baby as mine?

This post in Portuguese: Achei lindo quando… mas sinto falta de…

The World’s best play

Do you remember when you un-learned to play? And now, as a parent with children, what to do? This post is about that.

I can consider myself a lucky person because I played a lot. Not only with typical “girl things”, like dolls, role-playing house or school, but also riding a bike, playing soccer, marbles and all kind of games: hide-and-seek, tag, cops and robbers, capture-the-flag, dodgeball and so on.

When I was home, I would create “movies” with dolls. My brothers would start playing and suddenly there they were, hypnotized, watching me playing. Sometimes, the stories took days, with many “chapters”, in enchanted kingdoms, lost forests, parallel worlds or the Mushroom Family’s quotidian.

brazilian toy happy world

When I was 15, I already had a boyfriend. Although I still kept playing with dolls. I would promote Suzi (the Brazilian version of Barbie) fashion contests, those were very competitive among brothers and neighbors. Hilarious recordings with special sound effects (sea waves using the out of air TV; horse trotting on shoe boxes). Or theater plays with cousins. I meant rest for the mothers, mesmerizing all kids, for hours. People used to say: “how good she is with children!”

brazilian doll susi

When I would go to my cousin’s home, who was 1 year older than me, I’d notice she would tidy up the doll house with all furniture, but after that she wouldn’t be in the mood for playing. Later, it happened to me: I loved to organize the scenarios, the characters, but the “movies” didn’t flow anymore.

Time went by. My children were born. I have even been trying to recreate the old plays, but it was in vain. I struggled to find where and when I lost my original spontaneity and enthusiasm. Perhaps it’s because now the stories have been happening in reality: my real home, my profession, my family. I wasn’t “good with children”. Actually, I WAS a child. Now, I’ve been playing being a grown-up, and the act of fantasizing lost its fun a little.

I found out other things. If I want to play with my kids, I choose toy blocks, Lego or wood building bricks, because of my sense of organization. Or table games like domino or memory, to enjoy together and not to only guide the play.

There’s a play, however, which is invincible in my preference: hair-dresser. I divide hair locks equally among the interested kids, spread dozens of hair elastic bands, clips and ribbons, combs and hair brushes and let them invent the coiffure they want. Justice be made, this idea wasn’t mine. They love it. Me too. I deal with a pull here, a stuck ribbon there, but I keep quiet, just enjoying the pampering, sometimes I even have a nap.

It’s also useful during boring-waiting-situations, like at the airport or the doctor’s office. I become a big toy and, even without the ribbons, they spend hours combing, curling, braiding and separating the locks, entertained. I even saw children from other families wanting to play, too.

You can call me a non-imaginative, lazy person, who is misleading my innocent children. I propose a challenge, though. Just try it. Afterwards, those who don’t like those rapid little fingers massaging your head and combing your hair, cast the first hair brush! hahaha

Marusia smiling

Creation by my little hair-stylists!

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You can also see:

The Tooth Fairy

Only mothers are happy – Marusia speaks

This post in Portuguese: A brincadeira mais gostosa do mundo

Advice I love

girls dressed as fairies

By Anne Guedes

Pregnant women and first-time mothers (and even the third-time mothers like me) are target for rains of advice. Sometimes, many interventions, from many sources and such varied contents can really cause confusion. But now I want to talk about “winning” advice, the ones that made and keep making the difference to me and I wish to share: advice I love.

From my sister Maria: “Don’t wait for your belly to grow to rub moisturizer.”

The skin must be previously prepared and hydrated, already in the beginning of the pregnancy, when the belly still hasn’t grown yet. So, you prevent sensibility and weakness that origin strias and stains on the skin. Actually, moisturizing is always important, for pregnant and non-pregnant women; we deserve this daily ritual.

From my friend Luciana: “The baby sucks with craving even in the first nursing.”

I had some idea about the difficulties of breastfeeding, mainly in the beginning, but I thought they were due to the nursing frequency, and not because of the suction intensity or the baby’s latch. Luciana’s statement was great and helped me not to be surprised.

From my sister Maria: “Everything goes away.”

In the post-partum, when we feel in the middle of a hurricane, with thousands of hormones under our skin, new incumbencies and never seen before emotions, we can be inclined to doubt that truth. However, if we allow ourselves to accept it, it makes us free. Everything goes away. And goes away fast.

From my friend Daniela, when I was expecting my second child: “When the baby is born, your oldest son will look very big.”

It is correct and valuable. My oldest son was only 2 years old when my daughter was born, but he looked like a giant in comparison to the new-born. The danger, wisely warned by Daniela, is acting as if he were grown-up and mature. The advice was great, to not demand postures and behaviors above his age. After all, he was a baby too, with needs, facing the absolutely new circumstance of his sister’s arrival, with whom he would have to share his parents’ attention.

From my brother Junior: “Children have happiness expiration times.”

Being aware of this wise tip avoids a lot of annoyances. When the “happiness expiration time” is up, it means it’s time to go home and rest. Insisting on doing anything else leads to suffering the consequences of an angry child, who will do everything to drive us crazy, and then the tour loses its purpose. It’s important to remember that, when you take kids to a “grown-up people event”, without activities that include or entertain them, their expiration time is shorter. It partially explains the fits in supermarkets and shopping centers.

From my kids’ pediatrician (who was my own pediatrician, too): “Hug your children.”

Shantala, massage during the bath, the need of being held in the lap, skin-to-skin contact: these things are largely recommended for babies. However, the fondling becomes rare as soon as the child begins to get big. Touching is not only for babies! 8, 9 year-old children, teenagers, even adults need a hug, being taken in the parents’ arms. This is therapeutic, prophylactic. Healing.

From my mother: “If you want to, you can keep your activities, you can work. But it’s very important staying home on your kids’ sleeping time.”

Sleeping time is sacred and has different representations in children’s minds – representations of tenderness, affection, shelter. It’s worth trying it.

And you? Do you have a “winning” advice?

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This post in Portuguese: “Conselhos que amei”

My son needs glasses

Today, I found out my 8 year-old son must wear glasses. I wear them, my husband wears them, that’s a family thing. It’s so predictable that, since he was 4, we had been doing his eye examinations, which were up to now normal. This year, I have already been suspecting of a little difficulty for him to see well. Now, it is confirmed. Those beautiful and expressive eyes, which are his registered mark, are behind lenses. Just a little myopia; he can even dispense the glasses to play soccer. But suddenly a lot of worries came to my mind!

I wear glasses since I was 6. For a long time, I was the only one in my classroom. As a short, thin, introspective and nerdy girl, I was the perfect target for jokes. As my mom was. Although, just until a little while ago, that kind of joke was considered only a “child thing”, nobody took it seriously, nobody cared much.

Alvin and the Chipmunks - SimonAt least at home everybody would have to deal with the same troubles. And also with funny situations. When we would go to the beach, for instance, walking out from the sea was complicated. We were dislocated by the waves and simply couldn’t find the family’s parasol on the sand. Meanwhile, the others would be observing from afar, laughing a lot, the “Mister Magoo” brother, lost, tightening the eyes and approaching each and every beach umbrella, looking for a known face!

When I was 12, my mother gave me a pair of contact lenses. It was such a big revolution to me that I ended up abusing them. The result: a keratoconus has formed in my eyes, a problem in my corneas that contraindicates surgery and the use of soft contact lenses.

So, those memories overwhelmed me like in the day my son left the kindergarten to go to a “big school”. I thought to myself: “Oh my, he is going to live so many things there… experiences for his entire life. The first exam, the first date, the gang… The first low test score, the first disappointment… And now, he is going to deal with all of these things wearing glasses…

Associating a person wearing glasses with the “intellectual” is unavoidable. It discourages, in the beginning, the “flirters”. A Brazilian rock band, called “Paralamas do Sucesso”, has the song “Óculos” (“Glasses”). The vocalist, Herbert Vianna, sings about his bad luck with girls: “Por que você não olha pra mim? Atrás dessa lente também bate um coração. Atrás dessa lente tem um cara legal.” (“Why don’t you look at me? Behind these lenses, there’s also a heart that beats. Behind these lenses there’s a cool guy.”). I identify myself instantaneously with this song! All of a tribe, which had also identified themselves, felt betrayed when Vianna finally did the corrective eye surgery.

Thank God the day when I met my husband I had my glasses on! Nobody can say it was misleading propaganda hahaha!

Harry Potter with his owl EdvwigesSeveral things tranquilize me, though. Nowadays, parents and teachers are more aware, and many kids in my son’s school wear glasses, too (he is not the only different boy). Nowadays, the humiliation, formerly considered as a “child thing”, has already received a name: Bullying. Many studies, books and even law projects treat this subject, and the schools are concerned about banning this practice for good –  even though I know how kids can be cruel sometimes.

Afterwards, I hope he can do the surgery (and a cool technology can be invented in order to resolve my problem, too). Until then, my role as a mother (and an authority on this theme, who lives with it day by day), is to provide my son with such an invincible self-esteem that his glasses become just a mere detail; a useful object to improve his vision sharpness and that’s it.

I came to the following conclusion:

We cannot prevent our children from living some experiences, even the most difficult ones. Better, WE DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT OF preventing them from living some situations which can yield them to grow up.

Everything just depends on the way we prepare them.

Everything just depends on our points of view.

“Behind these lenses there’s a cool guy”, a pretty cool guy, who has a beautiful future ahead.

superman wearing glasses

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You can also see:

The Tooth Fairy

From daughter to mother

This post in Portuguese: “Meu filho vai usar óculos”, originally published on March 11th, 2011.

Love is…

Visited site: http://fansofkimcasali.multiply.com/photos

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Who said that the models of perfection are only related to mothers? Fathers also have to carry them…

love is birth

Love is… staying beside her while the baby is being born. (Kim Casali)

 
Love is newborn

Love is… holding the new-born carefully. (Kim Casali)

 
  
love is newborn and father

Love is… believing that the first son takes after the father. (Kim Casali)

 
love is crying

Love is… getting up when the baby cries. (Kim Casali)

 
love is pride

Love is… being proud of your child. (Kim Casali)

 
love is playing

Love is… letting the kid play and jump on your belly early in the morning. (Kim Casali)

 
love is happiness

Love is… sharing the happiness that the baby brings. (Kim Casali)

 
love is diapers

Love is… changing diapers and… washing them. (Kim Casali)

 
love is difficulty

Love is… saying “our kid”, even when he/she is too difficult. (Kim Casali)

 
love is... jealousy

Love is… not being jealous when she pays attention to the children. (Kim Casali)

 
love is breakfast

Love is… making breakfast while she prepares the children to go out.

 
love is rest

Love is… tidying up the house for mommy to rest. (Kim Casali)

 
love is beauty

Love is… saying she is beautiful even when she is a mess. (Kim Casali)

 
love is flirting

Love is… flirting with your wife even after the sixth child. (Kim Casali)

 
Free translation of the texts from the “Amar é…” sticker album, published in 1980 in Brazil.

In 1980, Abril Publishing (Brazil) launched the first version of the “Amar é…” sticker album (Love is… – copyright: United Feature Syndicate). It was a huge success.

The naked couple was created by the New Zealander artist Kim Grove Casali. They illustrated the love notes Kim sent to her boyfriend (later her husband) Robert Casali, in the Sixties. In the Seventies, the drawings got a permanent space in the Los Angeles Time newspaper and conquered the world, shown in cartoons, cards and stickers.

I collected the stickers of the “Love is…” album. I was 8. I couldn’t complete it, but I have kept it.

Today, I found a curious thing. When children appear on the stickers, in most cases the message is addressed to the father: changing (and washing) diapers, getting up at night, playing… If we consider that the cards are from the 1960’s, Kim was a revolutionary woman!!! At the same time, a realist one: the father in the cartoons doesn’t deny he is annoyed with some of the new chores! hahaha

HOW CUTE!!!!

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You can also see:

Are your kids as mine?

This post in Portuguese: Amar é…

 

 

Are your kids as mine?

Do they…

… become other people (very impatient people, by the way) when they are sleepy?

… fight to press the elevator button?

… claim the same place on the back seat of the car?

… get instantaneously interested in an once forgotten toy only because another child got interested in it?

… watch Toy Story on TV again, in spite of they have already watched it more than 50 times on DVD? (well, I do the same…)

… finish having lunch and want to stand up from their chairs to run around the restaurant?

… slide their hands on all handrails, walls, fences, shop windows and similar things they find?

… get flurried the most exactly when we are late the most?

… get agitated the most exactly when we are tired the most?

… get stubborn the most exactly when we are impatient the most?

… get very quiet sometimes, and soon we wonder if they are up to something? And actually, they are only preparing a cute surprise, like a drawing or a beautiful little card?

… get unbelievably cute when they are sleeping?

… grow up faster than the needed time for us to enjoy each phase?

Are you as I am?

Are you a mom who drools over them???

__________________

You can also see:

Is you baby as mine?

To my dear moms-to-be

The Tooth Fairy

This post in Portuguese: São só os meus?…

The Tooth Fairy

Visited site: Katmary Gallery – Flickr

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Teeth replacement is really an interesting phase in childhood. Before the loss of the first milk tooth, the child gets a little apprehensive. They don’t know when it will occur, if the loss will hurt, if the eruption of the permanent tooth will also hurt and so on. In order to ease the process, I think, they invented the Tooth Fairy story, as a little extra incentive.

Image: Katmary / Flickr

I, particularly, only learned about this story a long time after I had grown up; there was no such fantasy tradition as this, in my family. But I thought this approach was nice and decided to use this strategy with my kids.

Teeth replacement has been calm here at home. My children think the loose tooth is cool, they get happy with the Fairy’s monetary reward. But they grow up, don’t they? Then, they start suspecting the stories.

Once, my first-born son (at that time, he was six years old), asked me:

“Mom, does the Tooth Fairy really exist?”

“Why?”

“Because I want to know if she is true or if she is invented.”

I thought, thought, Gee, if I say she does not exist, I pass off as a liar, don’t I? And what’s the problem with one more fantasy? And if he, knowing the truth, ends up destroying the fantasy of his youngest brothers? I solved the question with this:

“Do you want her to exist?”

“I’m not sure, I think I do.”

“Do you want her to exist?” – I insisted.

“I do.”

“So, done: she exists for you, and that’s what matters.”

Image: Katmary / Flickr

Both of us, he and I, were glad with the resolution.

Some days later, one of his foreteeth fell off. He left it under his pillow, as usual, expecting the Fairy’s coming. In the next day, with the tooth in his hand, he said to me:

“Look, Mom, the sheets got in the way of the Fairy.”

“What do you mean?…”

“The sheets are white, Mommy, like the tooth. The Fairy didn’t see the tooth, therefore she didn’t take it and didn’t leave me a coin.”

I looked with “those eyes” to the father, the logistic responsible for leaving the coin (that he had clearly forgotten). He was laughing. I agreed with my son:

“You’re right, let’s leave it again, that Fairy is a little shortsighted.”

In the next morning, the child came again:

“Hey, Mommy, is a broken tooth worth less?”

“Whaaaat????….”

“It is, my tooth was a little broken and this must be the reason why the Fairy, instead of giving me $1, gave me 25 cents…”

Of course somebody was laughing a lot in the room beside ours, who justified to me, later: “I didn’t have another coin in my wallet…”

Image: Katmary / Flickr

(I saw a tweet with a joke, saying that the Tooth Fairy teaches children, in a mercenary way, to sell human body parts, which is forbidden by law hahahahahaha!)

With this episode, I saw only gains:

I realized how clever my son is: doing mathematical calculations, applying financial education fundaments, practicing logical reasoning. The most important, however, was seeing him developing the fantasy, getting highly plausible reasons in order to keep it alive.

Fantasy forever! And, we, grown-up people, are the ones who need it more!

(My kids, up until now, still believe in the Tooth Fairy).

Image: Katmary / Flickr

You can also see: this post in Portuguese: A Fada dos Dentes

Why mothers want to leave their jobs to stay with their children – one side

Free translation of a report published in Época magazine, nº 474, on July 18th 2007 – Globo (Brazil)

 Why mothers want to leave their jobs to stay with their children

Celso Masson, Martha Mendonça e Solange Azevedo

Advantages of having a job, according to the report:

For the mother For the family Considerations about the labor market
She has professional satisfaction The mother who has a job doesn’t throw onto her kids the frustrations for interrupting her career Women are conquering space in the labor market
The woman doesn’t feel isolated or bored (feelings that could cause depression) The mother’s income keeps the standard of living for the kids Interrupting a career temporarily, in order to take care of children, affects the professional future
The woman isn’t seen as “unoccupied” The mother who is self-sufficient economically assures a better quality of life for her kids Women who stop working are outdated and not able anymore
She doesn’t suffer prejudice at home The mother who has a job contributes to her family security, if her husband is fired Employers look for consistent curriculums
As she has financial independence, she doesn’t become vulnerable The mother who has a job contributes to her family security, if her husband dies Women are more productive than men
She has emancipation The husband can help at home (in some countries, maternity leave is a couple’s right) Women can be creative and look for compensative activities, on the financial and professional satisfaction points of view
Professional ascent is an essential condition for the conquest of equal rights The father is not only required to take responsibilities at home, but also makes a point of assuming this role  
When children grow up, the mother will not feel worthless    
If she leaves her job, she can feel as an intruder at home, of which she no longer has control.    
The work at home is not paid.    

You can also see:

Why mothers want to leave their jobs to stay with their children – another side

Why mothers want to leave their jobs to stay with their children – Analysis

Why mothers want to leave their jobs to stay with their children – Marusia speaks

This post in Portuguese: Por que as mães querem deixar o emprego para ficar com os filhos – um lado

 

Why mothers want to leave their jobs to stay with their children – another side

Free translation of a report published in Época magazine, nº 474, on July 18th 2007 – Globo (Brazil)

Why mothers want to leave their jobs to stay with their children

Celso Masson, Martha Mendonça e Solange Azevedo

Advantages of staying home, according to the report:

For the mother For the family Considerations about the labor market
She doesn’t feel guilt There is more dedication to the family More than half of women want to leave their jobs (Brazilian Survey – Ibope 2006)
The mother who stays home takes care of the children; the mother who has a job doesn’t look after both work and children More time with kids leads to a true connection between them and the mother; it takes down the “quality time” concept once and for all 5,6 million of American women left their jobs in 2005
Staying home is a symbol of status Mothers who don’t pick the children up at school and don’t meet the kids’ friends are cruel Mothers have the option to work at home, without a strict schedule
She doesn’t sacrifice her personal life Children are not “outsourced” Even if the work at home isn’t paid, it corresponds to 60% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the USA
She doesn’t suffer with competition The mother is always at home; she doesn’t arrive after “the children are sleeping” Women that have a job earn 30% less than men
She doesn’t suffer from work-related stress   The informality of the female labor is bigger
There is intelligent life among “entrance-school-mothers”   The female work is depreciated, because the employers think that mothers concentrate less and produce less
She has more time   Women that carry on with their careers find they are imprisoned inside a management system built for men
    Working women in part-time jobs are not taken seriously and lose opportunities

Advantages for the husband were not listed.

_________________________

You can also see:

Why mothers want to leave their jobs to stay with their children – one side

Why mothers want to leave their jobs to stay with their children – Analysis

Why mothers want to leave their jobs to stay with their children – Marusia speaks

This post in Portuguese: Por que as mães estão deixando o emprego para ficar com os filhos – outro lado

From daughter to mother

Today, October 22nd, is my birthday. Every year, my mother reminds everybody she knows of the day when I was born, the going to the maternity… She has even kept the dress that she had worn at that date. In that time, in the colored and hippie seventies, pregnant women en vogue used to wear a very short trapeze dress, made of the same cloth as their panties – the idea was to show them!

A birthday is a day to remember a lot of things, indeed. It includes things that didn’t happen specifically at that day. And, the same way that my mother remembers my birth, I also remember the birth of my children and the things that we have been experiencing since I became a mother.

But today I’m going to talk about a particular aspect: the mother-daughter link.

A month ago, I woke up in the early morning. I had had a clear impression of hearing my five-year old daughter crying. I went to her bed, but she was sleeping calmly. In the next day, I woke up again. This time, she was sitting on the TV room sofa, in the darkness. When I got closer, I noticed she was crying softly, because of an earache. The dream of the night before had been a presage. I was surprised and said to her: “You can ALWAYS call mom, always.” She hadn’t wanted to wake me up. And I automatically remembered that I had done the same thing, the same way, when I was her age. I had had earaches in the early morning and had been crying inaudibly in the darkness of the corridor, beside my parents’ room door. EVERY TIME, my mother had opened the door. She had heard my crying with her heart ears.

So, I remembered another early-morning episode. My daughter was seven months old. My husband was travelling. I jumped out of bed, in dread. No sound. But, when I got closer to the cradle, I saw my daughter having a respiratory crisis. It was 1:30 A.M. I took her, wrapped her in a blanket and went quickly to the hospital’s emergency room. There, a doctor diagnosed her with stridulous laryngitis, a disease that usually scares parents because of the shortness of breath that the child has. She prescribed a bronchodilator. I didn’t dare to nebulize a baby so young. I decided to call my pediatrician, who is a homeopath, at 3 o’clock A.M. He asked me if I could stay awake the rest of the morning in order to give homeopathic medicines to my daughter every 30 minutes. It was what I did. In the next day, still in the morning, she hadn’t suffered from shortness of breath anymore.

Then, a new connection is created. On October 22nd 1972, my mother’s obstetrician was late and I was born 3 hours beyond the prediction. I needed to stay inside an incubator. In the early morning, my mother couldn’t sleep. She called a nurse and said that something was wrong. The nurse didn’t pay her attention, but the incubator had actually interrupted the oxygen flow. The nurse reestablished the flow and recommended that my mother slept. But who can rest, this way? Later, she called the nurse again, who replied saying that she had already solved the problem, and my mother was worried for nothing. For the second time, however, the incubator had stopped sending oxygen.

What can explain these facts? What does this link mean? I don’t know, I just feel. And, the more we give ourselves to this sensibility, the more accurate it is. This is a certainty that comes from inside. From God. From mother to child, from father to child, from a brother, from a friend, from people linked by ties as tenuous as they are powerful.

 After my children were born, I wished to receive the same lap that I had been giving them. The same lap my mother gave me. I wished to go back to being a little girl, living with her again; I wanted her to be more than a visit. I wanted to prolong the image of perfection of her presence in my childhood that I nourish even now. But, if I look forward to getting rid of the pressure of being a perfect mother nowadays, I found that I also must liberate her from the same demand. It’s a great exercise of comprehension, of self-forgiveness. As she is used to saying: “forgive me if sometimes I failed, because I didn’t know how to do it, because I couldn’t do it. It’s because half of me is love… and the other half, too.”

Today, on my birthday, I want to reinforce all of these links and repeat what I heard in a beautiful pre-birth ceremony:

“I want to honor the womb from where I came. The womb where I am. And the womb that exists inside of me.”

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You can also see:

This post in Portuguese: De mãe para filha, originally published on October 22nd 2010