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Posts Tagged ‘Love’

Adventures in Mummying

16/08/2016

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I am now two years and seven months into this mothering lark.

There are moments when I really cannot recall what my life was like without my daughter, and moments I am so exhausted and Mummyyyyyyyyyyyyyyed! out that I feel like she has been here forever (which I am aware is not quite the same thing…).

Then there are those other moments I whip round in surprise at the sound of a squeaky little voice summoning her Mumma, and wonder how it is she seems so confident of who I am and all I am apparently able to deliver when most of the time I still feel as clueless as if the stork dropped her off the day before – although, given that young children are in a state of constant change, I cannot be alone in feeling that I never quite manage to get my mothering shit together or that bringing up a child is substantially more blindfolded white-rapid ride than it is guided amble round a park.

20160430_105953Of course the internet offers a myriad of foolproof parenting methods, playgrounds always contain at least one mother fortunate enough to know everything and bookshops bulge with tomes by parenting experts; all of which give the impression that it really could be a guided amble round a park, if we would just follow their 5-point plan to: Getting the child sleeping through from conception! Getting the child feeding on a schedule from the moment he crowns! Don’t put the child down for the first six months! Wash the birth gunk off, and don’t pick the child up ever again in case she gets used to it! Pretend you can’t hear him crying, he only wants attention! Anticipate your child’s needs the day before so she never has to cry!

It’s a confusing minefield with no possible winners (other than that know-it-all-mother’s ego and the royalties enjoyed by the aforementioned parenting “experts”): no two children are exactly the same, no parents are exactly the same, no families are exactly the same and no lifestyles are exactly the same. Parenting is an ongoing exercise in intuition, compromise, guesswork, consistency, patience and bluff.

One lesson I have learnt is that people who do not have children should not form an opinion on child-rearing, much less voice it. That intense emotional bond with the child you are raising colours every situation you are likely to face from the first moment you hold him in your arms. And your intuitive understanding of that child dictates how you decide to deal with those situations. There are very few OSFA solutions to parenting quandaries, and those on the outside looking in only ever have part of the story.

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Before Maya was even born, I wrote a condescending piece referencing Attachment Parenting (or at least what I assumed it to be). I feel particularly silly about it now because without even really being aware of it, I seem to have ended up practising many of the AP principles. I read somewhere that a child who has all emotional (as well as physical) needs met, is more likely to grow into a well-rounded and confident adult. And not only does that make perfect sense to me; it also fits very nicely thank you with the way I have always instinctively wanted to respond to my daughter.

But in my pre-motherhood ignorance, I confused nurturing with controlling – something I have witnessed quite a bit here in Italy, where meaningful communication with children often seems to be eschewed in favour of endless commands to: Get up of that floor, you’ll get dirty! Get down off there, you’ll fall! Don’t go up there, you’ll hurt yourself! Get your finger out of your mouth, it’s dirty! Do your coat up, there’s a draft! Don’t run, you’ll fall over! Do that again and I’ll smack you!

20160713_175919 (2)In the playgrounds and piazze of my Italian existence, the gentlest of tumbles frequently results in a flurry of panic, surfaces are treated as terrifying germ-coated threats to fallen snacks (and toys and fingers), potential death-traps are seen everywhere, children are bundled up against dangerous breezes about nine months of the year and empty threats of corporal punishment appear to be considered an acceptable parenting tool more often than I care to notice.

It has an uncomfortable edge of negativity to it. I suspect children who are not offered rational explanations for things might have a harder time making good judgement calls, and children not permitted to play freely may struggle to safely discover their own physical limitations. Admittedly the inculcation of a fear of dirt, weather and theoretical parental slaps is not much worse than pointless, but what of the loud proof that these parents have absolutely no faith in their offspring’s fledgling abilities to get themselves safely from A to B? I can’t envisage that being an ingredient for either confidence or independence.

The bizarre bedfellow of the above is the Italian child-worship phenomenon (perhaps partially a result of ever-decreasing family size?) that grandparents, waiters and random passers-by indulge in. This mainly involves a Willy Wonkaesque deluge of sugar in all its most tooth-rotting forms, and a willingness to humour every cappriccio thrown up by the object of their worship.

IMG-20160704-WA0001So is there an absolute right way? I doubt it – there are simply too many variables, but who really knows. All I know is that I have no desire to shout all day, I don’t care about dirt or weather, I think Maya is more likely to learn respect if she is shown it, I encourage her to climb and jump and run as much as she wants and if she falls I comfort her then release her back into play, and although I did slap my child’s bottom once – she slapped me right back AND I WAS PLEASED!

The result so far is a joyous little girl, with a wonderful sense of humour but also a very strong sense of self: woe betide anyone, family or not, who tries to pet her or assist her without being expressly invited. She has strong opinions about what she wants, but gives in reasonably gracefully when told why she can’t have it. She is independent and adventurous, as long as she knows one of us is close by if required. She doesn’t try to dominate other children, but is slowly getting the hang of standing up for herself. She’s endlessly communicative and she’s kind.

On the other hand: she doesn’t sleep well, she has been known to deface the occasional wall with her wax crayons, she’s a bit Mummy and Mummy Milk-obsessed, she cries every single time she wakes up from a nap for no apparent reason, she’s stubborn, she pees in the bidet, farts like her father, is frequently reluctant to do whatever she has been kindly requested to do, and she is far too fond of the television (Blaze and the Monster Machines in particular).

20160522_105702But as a blindly obedient paragon of “virtue” is the last thing I want to unleash on the world, I am extremely content with progress so far as well as being increasingly more besotted with every passing day.

That said, I am also exhausted, wrung-out and in dire need of some time alone with my thoughts: time to write, time to read, time to walk, time to complete work calmly without the stress of trying to squeeze translations in her all-too-brief nap times. So from the 14th of September a new chapter begins for both of us – nursery school! And I don’t know who is more excited…

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Just You Wait…

18/01/2015

status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

An attentive audience is always gratifying...

An attentive audience is always gratifying…

The “just you waits” flew thick and fast when I was carelessly chucking around my (admittedly not very numerous) pre-Maya declarations of mothering intent. They tended to be followed by a slightly world-weary shake of the head, which I’m sure must discomfit even the most confident pre-mother mother. You know, the one who has read ALL the literature, and subsequently mapped out an infallible parenting plan from meticulously choreographed birth through to high school graduation.

But now I’ve been in the thick of my own personal mothering reality for just over a year, I feel a little backward glance at any previous naivety is perhaps due, to see how my intentions have fared:

There is no way baby will be co-sleeping in my bed!

Although she would very much liked to have snuggled down with Mummy from night one (and let me know it with all the breath in her tiny lungs) for me it remained a definite no. Taking a newborn into bed with an exhausted mother and a winter duvet seemed risky, plus I am an appalling sleeper at the best of times and fear of smothering her, as well as the constant baby snuffles and wiggles, would not have helped. Lastly, eventually having to persuade an habituated older child out of my bed and into its own seemed to offer just as much potential for ear-splittingly disturbed nights as having a newborn grizzling itself to sleep next to me in a cot.

Sharing a bed with her for the duration of our Romanian road trip only served to further convince me that I had made the right decision for us: finding Mummy boobs in such tantalisingly close proximity every night turned out to be a much stronger lure than sleep, and from only a couple of nocturnal slurps, I was suddenly being badgered every hour or two – an exercise in sleep deprivation that I sadly remain unable to shake her of to this day.

Baby will be in a cot in her own room from six-months!

What with roof issues and illness-dogged road trips, her room took a little longer than six months to sort out, but she finally went in when she was about eight months old with nary a backward glance at her clingy slightly wistful mother.

I admit to being surprised at my wistfulness, although it only took a couple of nights for the lack of baby snuffles and wiggles to work their restful magic and banish all and any feelings of regret.

Loadsa teef...

Loadsa teef!

I will regularly get a babysitter in order to spend time with my husband as a couple!

So far only twice, and both times under duress.

The first when she was a teeny tiny three weeks old, and I was persuaded out for a pub lunch, through which I fidgeted obsessively. The second; just last month, when we left her with the Mothership and went to watch the latest and final Hobbit offering (rather disappointing, I thought), and through which I again fidgeted obsessively.

Whereas I can cope relatively well with leaving her with sister-in-law for an hour or so when I am secretarialising for the local estate agent, absenting myself for longer periods in the pursuit of leisure activities brings with it a ghastly wave of separation anxiety that I am hoping will lessen with time (and practice). Lord preserve us from clingy mothers 😉

We have, however, opted for one couple-friendly parenting technique than most families around here seem to eschew: the early bedtime. Whereas it seems to be common for local children, no matter how young, to stay up as late as their parents; Maya always goes down sometime between 19 and 20 in the evening, giving us a glorious few hours to be (albeit exhausted and only semi-functioning) grown-ups.

I will encourage baby to be independent! 

Of course it’s very early days, but one thing I was determined to avoid was to find myself still spoon-feeding a child capable of feeding itself (something I have seen rather a lot of here). A potential pitfall that was rendered even less likely when we chose the baby-led weaning route – basically chucking bits of whatever is on our plates at her to do with what she wants. And what she wants so far has been to eat some things, jettison others onto the floor and wipe most things into her eyebrows.

This method of introducing solid food appears unheard of in Italy, where spoons and purées still reign supreme, and at every monthly paediatric appointment I am forced to hide my blushes as the doctor adds another bland ingredient to my daughter’s paltry puréeing list, utterly ignorant of the fact that the previous night the very same baby gobbled down distinctly un-puréed spicy sausage and bean casserole, fish pie complete with leeks and capers, or a beef and broccoli stir fry from which the slices of practically raw ginger and garlic went down a particular treat.

Krissmuss!

Krissmuss!

I will be making sure to get as many snatched moments for myself as I can!

Ahahahahaha!

Make that a double Ahahahahahahahahahahahaha! now she’s mobile.

Actually, I am astonished at how much I actually enjoy my daughter’s company. Having lived the epitome of a selfish existence for almost thirty-six years, one of my biggest worries about becoming a mother was that I would resent the time it took from me. And yes, I would be lying if I said that I don’t think longingly about the possibility of sitting down with a book, of being able to write an entire blog post uninterrupted or even clean the house without a small helper bumbling along in my wake, pongling in the dustpan and attempting to cram its contents into her mouth. Some days I feel utterly cowed by the monotony of keeping on top of the nappy changes, the naps, the demands for attention, the constant clearing up of spilled food and the scattered contents of my lower shelves…

But I still wouldn’t change a thing: being able to spend so much time with this little person – being able to watch her explore, grow and learn, without any twinges of nostalgia or sadness at the passing of time because I am not missing a single moment, makes me feel indescribably lucky.

I have lived almost exclusively for myself – wandering off on this whim or that whim at any given opportunity, fretting about ways in which I could justify my rather feckless existence by finding something worthwhile to do – and now I am now living the ultimate dream of someone who thrives on the excitement of new beginnings, but who is frankly too old and knackered to keep setting off on her own: I am experiencing them vicariously through the insatiably curious eyes of the next generation.

There will be no more babies after this one!

On Maya’s second night in the big wide world, she started feeding at 19:30 in the evening, and at 5 the following morning she was still going strong (cluster feeding to get my milk supply up, although I didn’t know that at the time). I was tearful with exhaustion, and desperate to make it stop, so eventually a nurse took her away in order to let me get some rest.

Rather than feeling relief, I just felt all wrong. I lay there for an hour or two trying to sleep, but eventually gave in to the overwhelming need to find my baby. She was asleep on the nurse’s chest, but my whispered enquiry immediately cut through the noise and chatter of a busy maternity ward, and up reared the tiny head – craning tearfully around in a desperate attempt to locate me. Me. Her mother: the only person in the world she wanted to be with.

It was a terrifying, yet heady moment. One I never want to forget, and one of the many that have thus far epitomised what becoming a mother means to me. But for all the reasons listed here, I still have no intention of experiencing it all over again, except through my memories.

I am hugely fortunate to be Maya’s mother, and that is enough for me.

From this....

From this…

To this, in 365 days. Crazy!

…to this, in 365 days. How crazy is that?!

This is Status Viatoris, currently compiling her declarations of mothering intent for the next 365 days of Maya’s life, in the hope and dread of harvesting another intimidating crop of just-you-waits, in Italy 😉

Like a Horse and Carriage

06/09/2013

status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

Marriage is an institution that has gone severely out of fashion; there are occasional reports that it is staging a triumphant comeback, but for many people it is a step that is simply no longer relevant.

Which, I suppose, makes me old-fashioned (ditto my preference for Beethoven over Beyoncé, Pink Floyd over Pink and bog-standard trousers over those that display a spotty, g-stringed arse as soon as the wearer sits down), because I had always felt that should I ever meet a man with whom I decided to have a family, I might quite like to marry him first.

It was never about the big white wedding – horrid, fussy, expensive affairs in which being the dreaded centre of attention is apparently a must – it was more about the stated intention:

We are under no illusions that life is perfect, but we have taken the time and effort to organise a ceremonial promise to each other to try our very best to make our family work.

Giving myself and my intended that one further hoop to jump through seemed to offer an ideal opportunity for a last good think about our most heartfelt desires before we stepped into the bobbing sea of parenthood.

I have always been baffled by those (usually men, I might add) who claim marriage is too much of a commitment, but are happy to impregnate willy-nilly.

Pun, what pun?

But honestly, how on earth is marriage more of a commitment than breeding? You can’t divorce your children – although I understand they can now divorce you, if you don’t buy them the latest x-box or whatnot…

Of course there are still many who reckon love and marriage just go together like a nag and her cart. It has nothing to do with having children, it’s simply about forming a union that is built on mutual love and respect, a union they dearly hope will last forever and so wish to state that hope publicly.

And then there are those who are of the opinion that marriage is just a piece of paper. And I suppose they’re right: marriage can be just a piece of paper, if that is all you want it to be. And if that is all you see it as, then why bother? I get it.

Personally I just felt the need to officially verbalise my commitment to my partner before we went on to make an entirely more binding commitment to our offspring.

I didn’t want to call the father of my child, “my boyfriend” (too frivolous) or “my partner” (too business-like), I wanted to call him my husband and I wanted to be his wife – to me those felt like the building blocks for family.

But I am no romantic. Not a flutter felt I at uttering “I do”, and my heart didn’t dance a jig the first time I said “my husband”, I just felt rather silly – a little girl playing at being grown-up. I had no regrets at taking the plunge, but it changed precisely nothing.

Initially.

And then, once the overwhelming relief at getting the dreaded hoop-la over and done with had started to dissipate and a sense of normality returned, I began to notice that not all was as it had been: there was an added sense of contentment in the air; a togetherness and a tenderness that I hadn’t previously perceived.

Having set sail on the bobbing sea of life and parenthood – precarious novices in our untried and wobbly little boat – the feeling that we are in this together, a team composed of just the two of us, is overwhelming.

Overwhelming, but utterly and joyfully exhilarating.

And that is the part I had never expected.

This is Status Viatoris, I know I know – just wait a couple of years and all the rosiness will have rubbed off blah blah blah, in Italy.

No Turning Back…

31/07/2013

status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

Heavy left hands...

Heavy left hands…

For I am now officially married.

Hitched.

Spliced.

Wed.

I jumped the broom, tied the knot, took the marital plunge; and do you know what? Life doesn’t feel remotely different.

Who’d a thunk it.

In the end, and like all the best bridezillas, I managed to get away with the wedding I had always wanted (if I had to have one at all, that was).

No fuss, minimal flap, a complete absence of fancy white dress and the bare necessity of guests.

Having ignored my bridal apparel for as long as possible (much to the anxiety of the much-into-forward-planning Mothership) I jumped in the bathtub for an ablute about an hour prior to the ceremony before finally allaying her fears by squeezing my ample tum into its nuptial threads without bursting any of the more obvious seams.

By ten to seven on Monday evening – apparently a most irregular choice of moments for matrimony – Tigger (resplendent in his new trainers) and I were hanging around outside the town hall with the majority of our 25 strong wedding party, waiting for the stragglers whilst being snapped in the first of far too many photos.

Civil wedding ceremonies in Italy, like many supposedly formal occasions, are nothing if not laid back; especially when the lady mayoress/celebrant happens to be a neighbour and very close friend.

With our very special marriage celebrant...

With our very special marriage celebrant…

Tigger and I were told not to bother sitting down in the chairs provided – no point, this will only take about five minutes! – so we stood obediently before her as she read out the contractual obligations we were entering in to, while our unruly party milled about taking yet more photos and umpiring a small ruckus that briefly broke out between a canine wedding guest and a curious cat that had popped in from the street midway to see what all the fuss was about.

Other than the usual exhortations to look after one’s spouse and not to get frisky with third parties, there was one final request in the wedding service that I found particularly poignant – the obligation to:

“instruct and educate offspring whilst taking into account their abilities, their natural inclinations and their own aspirations.” 

Potential Pushy Parents – you have been warned…

So, the final “sì” having been said, rings and kisses exchanged; newly weds and witnesses signed the register and Tigger and I made our way back down into the fresh air to be liberally showered with rice (and a random box of macaroni) for good luck in our new life together.

Then, horns blaring, the wedding party convoy made its noisy way along the 3km between village and pizzeria, where we settled in for an exquisite “giro pizza” and an unforgettable evening in the company of our most beloved blood relatives and our adoptive Italian family.

Non-traditional eco-flavour wedding favours...

Non-traditional eco-flavour wedding favours…

Romanians, Brits, Italians, Argentines and a random Ecuadorian – a truly international wedding.

This is Mrs Status Viatoris, who now has to decide if she has the energy to tussle with Italian bureaucracy in order to exchange her very boring surname for a marginally more exotic one, in Italy.

The Trickiest Relationship of All

15/07/2013

status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

Last Wednesday heralded the arrival of the other most important woman in Tigger’s life: my soon-to-be mother-in-law.

Having been lucky enough to avoid the six-hour round trip to collect her from the airport by dint of being a particularly feeble pregnant person, I was instead left at home to sweat it out in the kitchen trying to prepare a feast fit for the lady I am often reminded is THE BESTEST COOK IN ALL THE WORLD, EVER.

Pressure? Just a little.

But by some miracle I did manage to throw together a meal – in between lying on the sofa with my legs up in an attempt to still heaving stomach and racing heart – and was therefore able to greet her with a semblance of domestic goddess panache.

Panache that was slightly jostled when she immediately opened her suitcase and began unloading fast-defrosting cuts of meat, huge balls of cheese, endless sausages and even a few frozen chickens she had killed and plucked herself only days previously, into our fridge and freezer – Tigger’s assurances that food is not lacking in Italy having apparently fallen on disbelieving ears…

But after all that, and despite being able to faithfully report that she is short, round, very smiley and more than capable of providing enough foodstuffs to nourish a small village; I am at present unable to offer a more in-depth insight into what makes my mother-in-law tick because we are essentially unable to communicate in any meaningful way.

My Romanian has yet to get off the starting blocks (due in part to laziness, but primarily to the fact that Tigger and his family speak to each other in Hungarian dialect thus reducing my Romanian language exposure to almost zilch) and my mother-in-law only understands about seven words of Italian and speaks but one: cipolla.

A blessing in disguise? Maybe…

Because despite being tired from the journey, and undoubtedly a bit overwhelmed at being fed strange foreign gubbins by her strange foreign soon-to-be daughter-in-law, it only took our visitor about an hour and a half to dive into that hotly anticipated/dreaded question: so, where will you be baptising the baby?

“Our child will decide for itself if and where it wishes to be baptised when it is an adult.”

Said Tigger.

And I was, once again, reminded that I am a very, very lucky girl indeed…

That small and briefly frosty blip aside, my first future mother-in-law experience was not the torturous occasion I had feared it might be – although I confess to being more than a little relieved by the fact that for the duration of her visit she will be staying up the road with her (far more pregnant than me) daughter.

The very same daughter who has been putting me to shame over the last three and a half months by her utter bouncy nonchalance in the face of pregnancy. My in-laws inform me that it is nothing more than a question of national suitability – sturdy country girls from the Romanian hinterland are usually up trees picking fruit when their waters break.

“You mustn’t worry,” they assure me “we’re just more cut out for childbirth than you.”

And as I clutch my aching head, bend double over my churning stomach and try to avoid catching a glimpse of my grey and spotty visage in the mirror, I can’t help wondering if they might have a point…

This is Status Viatoris, fervently hoping that her bun’s sturdy Romanian genes are beating the feeble English ones into submission as she types, in Italy.

Ding Dong the Bells are going to Chime

01/03/2013

status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

Sometime towards the end of 2012, discussions turned to the state of my ovaries.

Given the apparently serious nature of our love affair, and the possibly decrepit state of my reproductive organs, I thought it prudent to point out to Tigger that should he envisage a family with me, sooner rather than later might be the key to thwarting the wear and tear that was invariably being wrought by Old Father Time.

To be honest it was merely an observation – I had long ago made peace with the possibility of a childless future (Life seems to me to be filled with plenty of other goals to strive for and hidden corners to explore).

Anyway, it transpired that a family is exactly what Tigger had envisaged with me, which is how I now find myself engaged to be married.

The Rock

Less of a rock and more of a chiefly calcium carbonate deposit formed around a grain of sand or other foreign matter in the shells of certain molluscs… But still very pretty.

And I simply cannot wait to be the wife of such a kind, loving, funny, supportive, intelligent, and wonderful man – although preferably via a registry office wedding involving no more than two guests and which I can attend in my trainers… oh yes, I am the last of the great romantics.

On paper we  are undoubtedly a very odd match.

I am a thirty-five year old English girl (not sure what it takes to be a woman, but I don’t feel I’m quite there yet…), he is a twenty-six year old Romanian of Hungarian origin.

I am an atheist, an only child and a bookworm; he is Catholic, the fourth child of six and has never picked up a book in his life.

I am an antisocial over-thinker; he is gregarious and happy-go-lucky.

I write stuff, translate stuff, teach stuff and sell stuff; he does stuff with iron, and has been known also to do stuff with wood and bricks and cement too.

I am messy, he is neat. I am fanciful, he is practical.

I have moved to Spain then France then Italy in a self-indulgent quest for a more exciting life, he has moved to Spain then Cyprus then Italy out of necessity – a necessity for reliably paid employment.

I have been through a fairly impressive roll call of partners in my attempt to track down “The One”, he never saw the point of having a girlfriend until he met me.

In fact about the only thing we have in common is that we love each other, and very much. A warm yet exciting, comforting yet heart-pounding kind of love that makes me go “oh! so that’s what everyone meant…!” for up till now I had assumed that people in relationships just made do.

No More.

No Less.

And into this already pretty cushy bargain, I also get the benefit of a lovely family. One that already boasts an Ecuadorian brother-in-law, thus relieving me of the burden of being the only foreigner; as well an extraordinarily special little Ecuadorian/Romanian nephew who had already melted my heart long before I had even made his uncle’s acquaintance.

Thus a whole new chapter of my life opens up, and in a direction that I really had not counted on.  Will it still be possible to be a Modern-Day Nomad with her head in the clouds and her fingers on the keyboard as well as a wife, and possibly also one day a mother?

I sincerely hope so. And I think that this partnership – for it most decidedly is a partnership, as opposed to two independent humans sharing merely bed and board as in previous relationships – has the necessary ingredients to make it possible.

I was already fairly sure of that six months ago but when my lovely strong cheerful man broke down and cried like a baby at the prospect of losing my beloved dog; then I knew it for certain.

This is Status Viatoris, who has enjoyed a few days off from An English Fandango, but who will be cracking on with “Marbella” from Monday.

Ticking Along

06/11/2012

status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

As thrilled as you no doubt all were (cough, cough) to catch up with my news last week, I have a sneaking suspicion that there will be a few out there who are currently tapping their fingers, whilst muttering:

“Yes, yes. That’s all very well, but what about Pooch?”

And quite right too… What about me?

So you will be relieved to hear that Pooch is, well…. as Poochy, as ever.

Perhaps even more so on occasion.

He is also exceedingly relieved to have bid goodbye to the ghastly summer heat, which has been particularly punishing on a boy of nearly twelve, and which has led to the fur on each knobbly little elbow being rubbed into extinction by hours spent lolling dolefully on unforgiving floor tiles.

Too much embarrassing personal information, Mummy!

And it would appear that floor tiles and arthriticky hips are also a ill-advised partnership; all of which meant that by the time the temperatures began to descend to more manageable levels, our dear Pooch was quite reduced to a hobbly, panty, bald-in-patches shadow of his former self.

But despite his previously palpable misery, a couple of cooler weeks was all it took to get Mummy’s Little Soldier back to his irrepressible best.

Just the memory is enough to make me feel faint. Dash and get me another snacklet to perk me up, Mummy, there’s a poppet.

As wonderfully joyful and bouncy as he is, the fact that Pooch will be twelve this December is  never far from my mind. And being that I am one of Life’s worriers-about-every-wee-thing, I have for a while now been prone to panic at the slightest limp, sneeze or shake of his head.

Other than regular exercise, food supplements and eventually medication, I have been assured that there is absolutely nothing further I can do to ease the path of the arthriticky hips.

The squidgy lumps that have sprung up hither and thither are apparently harmless fatty lipoma, and the milky eyes are a result age-related lenticular sclerosis – aka nothing serious.

But there was no getting away from the fact that sooner or later there would be SOMETHING, and after a routine heart scan I was finally given the news I have been dreading since February 2001 when this amazing little creature became part of my life.

Pooch has a myocardial tumour.

Snoozin’

Taking cells for a biopsy would be a risky procedure in itself, and even if it was discovered to be cancerous, removing a tumour from a dog’s heart is not an option. Chemotherapy is also known to have little or no effect on this sort of growth.

And anyway, the scans do seem to indicate that the tumour is a benign fibroma.

Pooch is currently showing very few symptoms other than a bit of a cough and slightly raised blood pressure, so hopefully the progression of this hateful mass will be slow.

But progress it eventually will; affecting his heart and lung function, with the obviously fatal consequences.

Having to come to terms with the irrefutable evidence that my beloved dog is not going to live forever, or even as long as I had started to hope given the astounding longevity of some of the local hounds, is ridiculously hard.

But I mustn’t let my sadness impinge on his right to the happiest life possible, so fingers crossed he puts the recent frenzy of hugging down to his ever-increasing cutesy wootsiness, and not my desperation to hold him close for as long as I still can.

This is Status Viatoris, hoping that the cardiologist appointment in six-month’s time indicates a less than speedy decline, in Italy.

True Amore?

22/06/2012

status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

Being someone who is fascinated by human nature in general, and cultural differences in particular, there are many aspects of the Italian psyche that have piqued my curiosity over the years.

Most especially, given the unrivalled reputation for romance the country holds, the attitude to love and relationships.

And Italy certainly seems to be a country that thrives on relationships – the necessity of being in one often seeming to override the need to actually be happy.

One only has to go out on a Saturday night to witness the profusion of girlfriends clinging like parasitic twins to miserable looking paramours or trailing pitifully around behind them as they do blokey stuff with their mates whilst attempting to pretend they’re single.

The concept of girl power appears to have been largely ignored: many youngsters will be a couple of years into a long-term relationship before they even finish their schooling and these young (and not so young) girlfriends show not even a glimmer of self-respect as they stalk their boyfriends from pillar to post in an attempt to ensure his fidelity.

Of course the boys are not much better; coercion not being an obvious factor in luring them into such claustrophobic love matches. Rather than grasping opportunities for the independence to explore and grow during their relative youth, they seem to inexplicably prefer often unsatisfying partnerships with girls they seem to care relatively little about; only to then expend huge amounts of energy on repeated attempts at infidelity.

It is all rather baffling.

Certainly the grand gestures are all to be found here if those are what one is interested in: metre-high declarations of love painted in public places, endless file pictures of kissing and hugging couples accompanied by cutesy messages all over social networking sites, a willingness to trip down the aisle… being single in Italy does seem to be something of a rarity, but are people truly happy?

Or does this almost pathological need to be part of a couple mean that many Italians settle for what they can get, as opposed to holding out for somebody who could actually make that vital difference in their lives.

For surely there is no shame in choosing solitude over the wrong partner? Being single is a wonderful opportunity to explore much of what life has to offer as well as getting to know oneself; the perfect recipe for being able to recognise and appreciate love when it does come to call.

This is Status Viatoris, who hates to generalise but honestly, italiani, what are you all so scared of?? in Italy.

Emotional Incapability Need Not Be Terminal

01/05/2012

status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

I have recently been taught that good communication may well be the key to making relationships work.

It is also, apparently, the key to saving them – those which still have the whisper of a pulse, anyway.

For when the dust settled on a sudden and inexplicable rift with Tigger/Toyboy, and I was at last capable of having a meaningful conversation without ending up snuffling pathetically into a hanky, we sat down together and had a good long chat.

We talked, really talked, and realised that despite the relative brevity of the relationship, really talking had been allowed to slip fatally low on our list of priorities.

And although I had certainly been aware of its descent, it was Tigger who actually troubled to point it out.

It was assuming that had stepped in to take the vacancy left by really talking, and assuming makes a very poor substitute indeed – as well as of course making an ass of you and… well, I’m sure you know the rest.

The trouble with assuming – besides being very different from the actual knowing that tends to come from really talking – is that it relies quite heavily on the experiences and past observations of the assumer.

Not ideal when the assumer and the assumee have an age-difference of almost a decade, come from extremely dissimilar cultural backgrounds and communicate in a language that neither of them speaks to mother-tongue standard.

So having established that what we both wanted from each other was considerably different from what we had assumed we wanted from each other, and that what we both want is to be together but with a little more dedication and a regular helping of really talking, Tigger and I managed to retrieve what we both thought we’d lost for good.

Us.

This is Status Viatoris, working at making a relationship work, in Norfamtonshire.

Something In The Air

21/03/2012

status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

Utterly daff-t…

Spring is without doubt my favourite season.

The air of promise is almost tangible; the excitement of all buzzy and feathered things at being able to put the wintry struggle for survival aside in favour of more amorous pursuits, positively catching.

It does seem to have one adverse effect, though, and that is the turning of my Italian (and Albanian) friends’ and neighbours’ minds to thoughts of  procreation.

And not even theirs… mine.

With my Little Italian Home almost finished (I am but a few doors and curtains away from a full pictorial exposé) and the Tigger/Toyboy situation still, by some inexplicable means, going from strength to strength after nearly eight months; the almost universal consensus of opinion seems to be that I should be submitting to the call of this most fertile of seasons and throwing together a bun for my oven.

I can only think that the snorting of too much pollen has caused such a staunch refusal to accept that nearly 35 is far too young to be thinking of motherhood.

Exceedingly much too young.

Ever so ever so young.

And anyway, as long as there are other women out there infinitely more suited for parenthood, I feel I am probably better off leaving the production and raising of the next generation in their capable hands.

Phew.

Welcome to the world, Viviana Michi Rose. This one’s for you!

This is Status Viatoris, and anyway I only have one bedroom and  have sworn NEVER TO MOVE HOUSE EVER AGAIN so no space for a baby unless it sleeps in my sock drawer, in Italy.


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