Tag Archive | Time

Where’s my baby?

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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?

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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

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You can also see:

The origami angel

This post in Portuguese: Carta a meus filhos

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

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…

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

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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 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”