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Posts Tagged ‘motherhood’

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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Conversations with a 2.5 year old

27/07/2016
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Saturday night fever. No, not the Calpol sort.

Her: Mummy! The airplane has come back to the airplane station!

Me: Excuse me?

Her: The airplane is at the airplane station now. We can go to Mim’s house, flying!

Me: The aeroplane has come back to the airport.

Her: What’s a nairport?

Me: It’s where the aeroplanes live.

Her: Like a nairplane station?

Me: An aeroplane station is actually called an airport.

Her. Why?

Me: Because that is the name it was given.

Her: Why?

Me: Ummm… maybe because it is shorter than aeroplane station, I’m not sure. So anyway, where did you say you wanted to go?

Her: To the airplane station and fly to Mim’s house!

Me: …

Me: Maya, would you like an ice-cream or an ice lolly?

Her: Ummm… a lolly, please Mummy.

Me: Ok, let’s go to the…

Her: And when I finished my lolly, I want a ice-cream.

Me: No, Sweety. The choice is ice-cream OR an ice lolly, not both.

Her: Ok, Mummy. I have a lolly.

Me: Right…

Her: And a ice-cream.

Me: …

Me: Who switched on all the lights?

Her: I.

Me: Me.

Her: No, not you, me!

Me: …

Her: Ow!

Me: What’s wrong? Why did you say ow?

Her: I say ow why I hurt myself.

Me: Because.

Her: What’s because?

Me: When you ask, you use why, and when you answer, you use because.

Her: Why?

Me: Because they are two different words.

Her: Ok, Mummy.

Me: So why did you say ow?

Her: I say ow because why I hurt myself.

Me: …

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Insouciance toddlerfied.

When Ughhh describes it best

25/04/2016

Poor old Status Viatoris Blog, abandoned to the dust bunnies yet again.

A long list of excuses could be reeled out for this latest writing drought: laziness, work and the attention-hungry tot, to name but a few. I could even make myself believe all or any one of them. But I once made a promise of  honesty – however uncomfortable – to this blog and the least I can do is to honour it.

The primary reason I am struggling to put fingers to keyboard,  is because for the last (too many to really count) months, I have been in the grip of crippling anxiety.

Having previously touched on mental health issues here, here and here, I must mention that I hate the term; probably due to all the historically negative connotations and modern celebrity-heavy endorsements that colour this massive spectrum of illnesses in monochrome tones of either completely bonkers or cynically attention-seeking.

(Please note at this point that when I do address such topics it is for three reasons only: firstly, in the hope that by describing my problems and how I attempt to deal with them I might enable someone in a similar situation to feel less isolated. Secondly, in the hope that by describing my problems I might enable someone dealing with someone in a similar situation to feel less baffled by it all. And thirdly, in the hope that by writing it all down, I myself might find some sort of release.)

On the rare occasion I find myself telling people my brain has some crossed wires, I struggle to find a term I am comfortable with. And it’s hard having an illness you can’t talk about. For example: I am a lifelong asthma sufferer. It’s not something that defines me, but I do sometimes have to mention it so nobody takes offence if I cold-shoulder their dog, cat, haystack, Cuban cigar, hairspray, horse or smelly open fire. If only mental health was as easy to explain, and as easy for non-sufferers to understand.

Mind you, until fairly recently, being able to explain didn’t seem that important – I just took my pills, pushed on through when I could, retreated briefly into my own little world when I couldn’t. But since becoming a mother, retreating into my own little world, however briefly, is simply no longer an option. Not one of the coping mechanisms, honed through years of learning to live with “it”, is compatible with my new 24/7 job.

I imagine that might, in part, account for the onset of this gnawing anxiety – not something I recall being much hounded by before, even whilst in the depths of a depressive episode. Although, let’s face it, parenting in itself is a good enough reason to be anxious: the responsibility, the self-doubt, the exhaustion, the boredom, the frighteningly all-consuming love, the frustration, the sheer relentlessness of a mercurial child’s need to push to the limits. I am sure I am far from being the only mother who frequently goes to bed at the end of a rough day feeling like the worst example of parenting failure.

None of the above helps. I know that. But I am also fairly certain that this overwhelming sense of panic and foreboding scrambling about in the region of my solar plexus, making a mush out of what was left of my rational mind and giving me the rolling nausea of a high seas traveller, is not normal. It is far too terrifying to be normal.

It throws mind-bending obstacles in the path of even the most mundane daily tasks: getting ready to leave the house, social obligations, work deadlines, the weekly shopping trip, toddler-wrangling, social interaction… just some of the (frankly ridiculous) triggers capable of tipping me into the pit of despair.

It robs me of the ability to deal with concerns in a rational way: world issues, personal problems real or imagined, troubles I could fix and troubles that are nothing to do with me, problems that are not problems at all, and mildly paranoid obsessions; all spin endlessly round in my head on a pointless bumper-car ride to nowhere, whilst providing a highly effective barrier to sleep, creativity and productive activities in general.

I am aware that most of what I am feeling is not actually real, that it is nothing more than the result of my mind’s unfortunate tendency to join up the dots in an unhelpful way, but snapping out of it does not seem to be an option at the moment. Believe me, I have tried.

And as it is having a huge impact on my day-to-day life that I can no longer either ignore, or work around, I have had to face some home truths:

  • I am vulnerable.
  • I struggle to cope.
  • Feeling ashamed of these two facts does not change them.
  • I am allowed to acknowledge (if only to myself) that some of the difficulties I find in life are due to an illness that is not my fault. It is not an excuse, it is neither self-pitying nor self-indulgent, it is just a fact.

And a fact that must be dealt with. So it is time to take a deep breath, and prioritise. I have to learn to say no: no to people who, often with the best of intentions, want to coax me into situations I know will cause me anxiety. No to my part-time employer when she sends me urgent translations I won’t have time to complete without stress. No to myself, when I am tempted to take on obligations I know I can’t cope with just to please others. No to all manner of things that may seem perplexingly innocuous to anyone else, but which make me feel physically ill just to contemplate regardless of how irrational a reaction that might be.

I don’t hold out an awful lot of hope that this game plan will entirely stamp out the anxiety (which ferrets ruthlessly around in my psyche on its endless quest for titbits to feed on), but I do hope that, until these crappy times pass, it will at least enable me to keep my head above water enough to continue giving my daughter a happy and stable home, and my husband the semblance of a sort-of semi-normal(ish) wife.

And as writing is far and away the best medicine for me, I am also hoping that this post will go some way towards releasing the blockage caused by its contents, and allow me some therapeutic tip-tapping on my qwerty from time to time.

 

 

Scaling New Heights

04/02/2016

Maya can now climb out of her travel cot (she’s still in a cot because her room is too small for a bed and a solution to that conundrum has not yet revealed itself to us, and it’s a travel cot purely because I happened already to have one).

The first time it happened, I responded to her call of “Mummy!” at ungodly o’clock, only to have two heart attacks in quick succession – the first upon finding her bed empty, the second on turning round and tripping over a small child standing motionless in the middle of a dark room.

The next time it happened, she actually called through to our adjoining room with a progress report: “Mummy, Maya awake! Maya getting out of bed!” to which I replied (as it was slightly more acceptable o’clock) “Ok, sweetheart, come and get into Mummy’s bed.” Only to be told, “Maya no can come to Mummy’s room. Maya not got slippers on.” Oh yes, my child might be mildly adventurous, but she’s not stupid: chilly tootsies are a fool’s game.

The last few nights, however, she has been wearing pyjamas with feet. And so I am now catapulted from sleep several times a night by a startlingly loud and squeaky voice right next to my ear requesting, “Mummy! Booby please!”.

The politeness of her demands is most endearing, but even more endearing would be being left to slumber peacefully without fear of ambush.

I guess that’s what condoms are for.

 

 

Babel-ing

31/01/2016
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Pondering on Italian vs Romanian syntax, or transfixed by a squeaky-voiced porker…

I was thrilled when a friend recently added me to a Facebook group for parents bringing up children in more than one language. Although I hadn’t noticed any particular feelings of loneliness in my own personal “build a polyglot” project, the moment I was thrust into a cyber world of multilingual families, I realised what invaluable support it was going to provide to our little family over the coming years.

Luckily for me and my (slight) preoccupation with languages, I have a very verbal child. I say luckily, because one side-effect of exposing children to more than one language can be delayed speech, and I would have hated to have spent her first years (patience never having been my strong point) in a haze of furiously impatient foot-tapping whilst I waited to see what sense her little brain had been making of its linguistic baggage. But as we have a child who natters almost continuously from the moment her peepers snap open at whatever ungodly hour of the morning she decides to abandon sleep, we didn’t have to wait long.

And my fascination with being able to witness the real-time language acquisition of a future polyglot is looking unlikely to diminish any time soon.

Bar the four-ish hours a week I am at the office, she is with me all day everyday, so her exposure to English is high. My husband gets home from work at 18:30, and once we have eaten, I make myself scarce and they get the rest of the evening to play in Romanian together until she goes to bed at 20:00. Obviously he spends more time with her at weekends, and I am also starting to encourage him to take her supermarket shopping once a week (two birds, one Rosetta Stone 😉 ). My husband and I speak Italian together, so she hears it when we are en famille, although we both address her in our individual mother tongues. Most people we meet when we are in the village speak to her in Italian. My sister-in-law (who takes her when I am at work, and who we see most days) speaks to her mostly in Italian, with some Romanian, and her cousins use solely Italian. The majority of the television she watches (Peppa effing Pig, for example) is also in Italian.

The result of this linguistic distribution is that English is still very firmly in the lead as her spoken language, although her comprehension of the other two, and especially Romanian, is pretty good. I lost count of how many words she uses in English a long time ago, but she has a surprisingly extensive vocabulary for someone who really only has one constant source of it (me). She also makes a concerted effort to form sentences, often pausing for thought and correcting herself before coming out with such gems as:

“Maya helping Mummy in the kitchen! Tati (Daddy) not helping Mummy. Tati on the sofa watching telly.”

(Observant)

“Mummy not clean the kitchen. Tati clean the kitchen. Mummy come play with Maya.”

(Full of good ideas)

“Mummy! Come sit on the sofa, watch Peppa Pig with Maya.”

(Yes, its Peppa effing Pig again. But so much cheaper than childcare)

“Mummy, Tifoter (Christopher) got no hair on!”

(First experience of the follically-challenged)

“Mummy! Come see Maya’s poo poo!”

(Over-sharing)

“Mummy not got slippers on. Put your slippers on Mummy, very cold brrrrrrr.”

(And turning into an Italian nonna…)

Of course her pronunciation is just as any other two-year old’s: Ks and hard Cs are transformed into Ts, her Fs are still Ps, and her Gs are Ds, to name but a few. Nevertheless, I would be tempted to award a gold star for the amount of effort she puts into trying to make herself clearly understood.

When she first starting talking, she limited herself to using the words she found easiest, regardless of the language and regardless of who she was speaking to. English was always in the lead, but there was a smattering of Romanian and Italian words that she apparently found simpler to get her tongue around than their English counterparts. I’m not sure at what stage she started separating the languages in her mind and then attributing them to their speakers, but we became aware that something was happening at around 18 months, when she turned to me and asked for “more cheese” before turning to show her father “Tati, brânză!”

But she still wasn’t attempting sentences in Romanian, and her use of vocabulary continued to be rather random. She began to use more with her father, but also still threw a fair number of Romanian words at everyone else and an awful lot of English ones at him.

The real breakthrough came not many weeks ago, when he asked her where she was going, and she started to say “to the kitchen” but stopped herself, and changed it to “în bucătărie” (a word that she struggles with, pronunciation-wise). It was around that time that we had also decided that he should perhaps stop showing understanding of the English terms she uses with him (he doesn’t speak English, but hearing it every day has increased his comprehension), to try to encourage her to search for the Romanian ones where possible.

It’s still early days, but given that she shouted “Tati, unde mergi?” at his departing back just the other day, I would say this tactic is starting to give results.

Italian is a funny one. It the the language she appears to speak the least, although it is almost always “grazie”, rarely “thank you” and never “multumesc” and we are frequently asked “cosa fai?” whereas I am only occasionally asked “what are you doing?” and Tati is never asked “ce faci?”. She has also adopted “ecco fatto!” and “ancora!” and doesn’t stint in their usage. It is only when she is with her cousins that I realise just how much she is actually capable of speaking: “Vieni qua!” “Dove vai?” “Maya vuole un biscotto!” ” E uno per Mia (her cousin)!” “Dammi!” “Questo è mio!”

And then once we are home, for a couple of hours her sentences continue to be peppered with Italianisms that she would not usually use with either of us.

I have long known that she understands Italian: when my husband and I are talking at the dinner table, she will often turn to me and make comments (in English) about what we are saying. She has also been known to act as my interpreter on occasion: when her aunt informed us that “Mia si è svegliata” Maya turned to me and said, “Mia’s woken up, Mummy.”

One curious thing is her refusal to say “yes” in any of the three languages. “NO!” she mastered long ago, but affirmation is still merely a slight inclination of the head and a thoughtful “hmmm”. I am tempted to chalk this up as a good thing, especially given that I have the reverse problem.

I am also curious to know whether inflicting three languages on a child is likely to slow them down in any other areas. Not being a follower of developmental milestone predictions – all children seem to be slightly different, and as long as there are no glaring shortcomings in progress or behaviour, it doesn’t seem worth worrying about – I haven’t noticed her being particular behind in anything, but then I don’t know what two-year olds are generally expected to be capable of.

Her counting (only up to ten, nothing fancy) in all three languages is often more hit than miss, she is only marginally more coordinated than her mother, she frequently chomps down on her fingers when posting food into her mouth and she is bafflingly obsessed with Peppa effing Pig; but other than that, she’s a pretty cheerful, outgoing, questioning and independent little girl – which on balance, probably gives me my answer.

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Painting too splodgy for a 2 yr old? Not splodgy enough? Who knows…

24 Months Since Me

24/01/2016

A few weeks have passed since I became the mother of a two-year old.

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Transfixed by pink Smarties.

When discussing this milestone with people, I often hear myself throwing out a “I can’t believe it: two already! Where does the time go?” but in all honesty, the previously dizzying fly-by of days and months hasn’t been lifting the hair from my neck or sending a draught down my spine at all in recent times.

Perhaps because Maya is changing on a daily basis, and my fascination and preoccupation with the minutiae of her development confer a rare sense of life passing at an entirely acceptable speed – neither too fast, nor too slowly, but at the perfect pace for the acquisition of knowledge, skills and character that are currently moulding my little girl into very much her own person.

Or perhaps the sluggishness of my cognitive functions since her birth have conferred a similar lentitude to the passage of time.

Who knows. Who even cares! It simply makes a nice change to be living in the moment as opposed to wishing life away waiting for something more exciting to happen, or panicking because it is all going too quickly and I might not be making the most of things.

Of course, two-year olds come with their own set of issues, not least emotions and convictions far too weighty (and often conflicting) to be contained within such a tiny person. The subsequent noisy overflow can often leave a mummy feeling battered, disheartened and in dire need of a stiff drink. But also secretly rather impressed at her offspring’s demands for recognition of increasing independence and individuality, as well as their surprisingly frequent acceptance of reason and compromise.

Trying to patiently mesh guidance, assistance and a touch of discipline with the respect that even the smallest child rightly deserves must be the most emotionally exhausting part of parenting a toddler, especially when coupled with the need to leave the house on time (or at all), or simply complete a few basic tasks before another day rolls over and out.

Luckily for me, I am finding the joys of this stage of Maya’s life just as consuming as the frustrations.

My fears at being swallowed up by motherhood have turned out to be unfounded. Not because it hasn’t happened, far from it. In fact not only have I been swallowed up – I would go so far as to say that I have been partially digested. But I can’t seem to make myself care: the grumbles provoked by seemingly endless physical and mental exhaustion, or by the dearth of reading, blogging, crossword, and relaxing bubble bath time, are almost always balanced out by my absorption in the riotously entertaining little being who, twenty-four months ago, transformed me from “Me” to Mummeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!.

Happy Birthday, my chatty, cheery, singing and dancing bundle of love.

xxx

The Adventure Continues…

30/08/2015

I am currently sharing my life with a nineteen-and-a-half-month old (which, ironically, is the very reason I rarely find time to update the blog that in part is supposed to be about her). It some ways it’s hard to believe how quickly time has passed since I first held that creased newborn in my arms, yet at the same time I am completely unable to remember her at any stage other than the one she is at right now.

Mummy and baby photo faces.

Soooo photogenic. Must be the jeans…

Thank heavens for the endless photographs and the over-sharing blog posts – they are my memory.

Well what can I say: toddlers are, quite simply, fabulous.

Babies might be cute and cuddlesome, but toddlers are both cute and cuddlesome, hysterically funny and uninhibitedly joyous, madly inventive and endlessly curious, crossly independent one minute and lovingly affectionate the next.

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Allowed to hold her hand, but not to intervene in any other meaningful way.

Being witness to the enviable elasticity of their mental processes as they slowly (and sometimes not so slowly) begin to make sense of both the physical and the social world that surrounds them is a constant revelation.

A very small poggy (effs are all pees at the moment...)

Observing a small poggy (effs are all pees at the moment…)

Socialising with her favourite cousin, on a lilo.

Socialising with her favourite cousin, on a lilo.

It is also mind-numbingly exhausting, especially once they get into the swing of talking which is where we are at now. My daughter natters incessantly from the moment she summons me to her cot in the (far too early) morning, to the (far too short) lunchtime nap, and then on again until bedtime. About 75% of the chatting is done in English, but for every new word she casually tosses into conversation we have to execute a rapid mental-Rolodex through the three different languages, cross-checking the vagaries of her still-dodgy pronunciation against context until we hit the jackpot and can satisfy her with a vaguely coherent reply.

We spent a lovely 20 minutes watching a baby dolphin behaving with similarly carefree enthusiasm for its brand new environment.

Confused by Mummy’s insistence that dolphins, are in fact, not pishies.

We are now lucky enough to have a narrator for everyone’s daily movements (and oh my, you don’t realise just how tedious those movements are until that happens). In her own sweet, but surprisingly comprehensible way she likes to ensure we know exactly what she is doing at all times, what she has just done, what she is about to do and what she would ideally like to be doing if we would just get our acts together and make it happen (ok, the last bit may be more implied than directly verbalised). We are also informed about what we are doing, what we have just done and what she thinks we should really be doing if we would just etc etc. And what she knows or imagines everyone of her acquaintance is doing, has just done and might conceivably be about to do.

She recites the names of every familiar object, creature, pet and person she spots, and enquires after those she doesn’t.

She listens to the vehicles passing along the road below our apartment, and identifies them: Bus, Mummy. Car. Moto (motorbike). Ape (Piaggio 3-wheeled jobby).

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Spying on the neighbours in her big girl pants.

And the winsome inveigling is constant, as she tugs at my hand: Vin (come), Mummy! Play! Sit! Book! Animals! Song! Toys! Go outside!

A person in her own right. Who’d have thought it?! Admittedly still tiny – tiny little arms with tiny little blond hairs, tiny little legs and their tiny little calf muscles, tiny little feet and dinky little toes, wonderfully plumpsome cheeks on a tiny little face: an 80cm tall, 10.4kg version of the adult she will eventually become. My daughter who grew inside me for nine months, but who is an entirely separate being. It is quite a concept to get ones head around.

And then there is the independence – the frequently grazed knees and bumped forehead that speak of a combination of derring-do and still-uncertain coordination. I am torn between wanting to protect her from all harm, but also wanting her to be bold. I would like her to learn how to pick herself up and dust herself off, and I think that some lessons are actually safer if she learns her limitations/capabilities through trial and error, rather than relying on the panicky assumptions of her overprotective parents. But, oh, how poignant are those scraped plump knees…

Showcasing a recent knee 'bua' on the swings.

Showcasing a recent knee ‘bua’ on the swings.

I am hugely relieved to report that we have managed to ditch the pesky nappies, at least in the day time (bar the odd “Mummy, pee pee sofa” moment). Most of my feelings of relief stem from the fact that some months previously I had finally given up on the cloth nappies, bulk bought with such smug glee before her birth – the budget option never managing to fit her nether regions snugly enough to stop major piddle leakage. We went on to “eco” disposables, but even they didn’t manage to assuage the feelings of guilt that accompanied every dirty nappy on the first leg of its journey to the landfill.

Quite a few people have expressed surprise that we managed to crack it so early, but the entire transition was surprisingly smooth. I bought a potty when she was about 8 months old, just to see how she would react. She was unfazed at the first seating and even left a small offering, so we continued – when she woke up and after meals, usually. Sometimes she did, sometimes she didn’t; but it didn’t really matter either way. Then when the weather began to hot up, I decided to intensify things – she was mostly bare when we were at home anyway – so I put the potty out in clear view, and pounced every time she looked thoughtful and at least every hour to ninety minutes thoughtful or not. When we went out we took a little loo seat with us, and the same applied.

Post nap Pooh

Post nap Pooh

During the first few weeks there were a fair few spills – most memorably the turd my husband leapt forward and caught in the palm of his hand (whilst I dithered helplessly), as well as the one he tramped around the house on the bottom of his slipper.

But after about a month she seemed to have got it, and we haven’t looked back although I do have to be vigilant enough to pop her on regularly when she gets distracted by events and forgets to ask.

Multitasking...

Multitasking…

Discipline is another new, if slightly less welcome, component of our everyday lives. Trying to stop a toddler doing things they shouldn’t do and making a toddler do things they don’t wish to do is turning out to be a tricky business indeed. I have chosen not to indulge in any literature on the subject – the conflicting views that exist regarding almost every aspect of parenting just confuse me even further, instead I am plodding on pretty much as I have done since day one in my like-to-think-of-it-as-instinctive-but-am-mostly-winging-it, way of mothering.

Having observed other families in action, I drew the conclusion very early on that consistency is one of the keys.

Consistency is very very tedious and very very time-consuming, but I have a feeling it might pay dividends and have therefore decided it is worth all the mind-numbing repetition. We shall see. I have also opted for the explanatory route: Maya does or doesn’t do something, I explain why in fact she shouldn’t or should do it. She does or doesn’t do it a second time, so I then have to come up with some sort of undesirable outcome should she do or neglect to do it again. And then follow through.

Technology affording a few moments of tranquillity.

Technology affording a few moments of tranquillity.

Sometimes it’s easy: we don’t put crayons in our mouths because they might make us poorly. If you put the crayon in your mouth again we will stop colouring.

Sometimes not so easy: we don’t pick the flowers because the bees and butterflies like to eat them. If you pick another flower…ummmm… Mummy’ll bin all her balcony plants? You’ll never set foot in a garden again? No, not good. Ummmmm.

And often I just have to resort to distraction with a new and less destructive activity.

What I am trying my hardest to avoid, however, is losing the plot completely to screech variations of the following: “If I’ve told you once, I must have told you a million times – STOP PLAYING WITH THE BLOODY TOILET BRUSH!” or “BECAUSE I SAY SO!” or “If you do that again, the gentleman over there (yes, the one minding his own damn business) will get VERY cross with you!” plus the usual threats of punishments never to be carried out, and wheedling promises never to be fulfilled.

And once all you parents out there have stopped rolling on the floor laughing at my naivety, I would like to add that these are very early days. Revisit this blog in a year or two and you could well find a mother who swings between screaming like an incoherent harpy, bribing her child with an endless supply of calorific treats and turning innocent strangers into bogeymen at the slightest provocation.

Enjoying a very rare 'weety in her partay frock.

Enjoying a very rare ‘weety in her partay frock.

So my little girl is getting bigger, and braver, and funnier, more opinionated and more recalcitrant, but also more loving. Arms are flung around my neck endless times a day, accompanied by a sighed Mummy into my ear. She scrambles across the bed in the morning, and before I know it, little hands are cupping my cheeks whilst she covers my face in kisses that make my knees weaker with adoration than any man has every achieved.

I did not know there was love like this – keep bringing it, Little One ❤

And there's that family photo face again!

And there’s the family photo face again!

Invisible, but There

23/03/2015

For someone who is happy to shine the spotlight on some of the most intimate corners of her life, I find it surprisingly hard to write about depression.

Perhaps because there are still so many people who don’t believe it exists (our pharmacist, for example, who just the other day expounded at length to the person in front of me that depression was nothing but a luxury for those who could afford to waste their spare time feeling feel sorry for themselves – awkward when my turn came and he looked down at my prescription…).

And even those who think they do, often still find it impossible to really comprehend – but why are you down? What’s happened? Have you tried positive thinking? Cheer up!

Lastly, I am the girl who, when she is eventually persuaded to visit the GP yet again with her newborn-kitten-immune-system, usually ends up replying to his/her “How are you?” with an overly cheery “I’m absolutely fine, thanks! You?” before downplaying whatever physical ailment is rendering my life miserable, and walking out with weighty feelings of guilt at having wasted such a busy person’s time with inconsequential things.

But if I’m going to write honestly about motherhood, there will be times when I have to write honestly about related topics regardless how squirmy that might make me feel, because there is always the chance that someone out there will read what I’ve written, say “Phew, I’m not alone” and feel just a little bit better.

I’m sure many British readers will remember the heartbreaking news story that ran in December of last year: Charlotte Bevan, whilst in the grip of post-natal psychosis, walked out of the maternity hospital in which she had given birth to her first child, before ending both their lives at the bottom of the Avon Gorge.

The tragically raw sadness of it all still haunts me today, in part because that might well have been me.

Before even starting to try to conceive, I visited a doctor and posed the question that had most been bothering me: if I fall pregnant, can I continue with my antidepressants? His unequivocal answer was that extensive studies have shown that any potential physical effect on the baby was far outweighed by the benefits of having a (relatively – pills don’t cure everything, you know) emotionally stable mother.

And thank goodness I took that step in the UK, because the line taken by Italian doctors proved to be vastly different as I discovered at my first obstetrical appointment. When asked if I was on any medication, I obediently listed my asthma drugs (all fine) before also mentioning the antidepressants; and was immediately told to come off them.

So a woman suffering from long-term depression is forbidden to take the drugs permitting her to keep her head above water precisely when she is facing the most vulnerable, anxiety-inducing, hormonally charged period of her life?

What a terrifying prospect.

I quoted England and stood firm, but it made me realise that I was unlikely to have an ally in the Italian medical system if any issues arose. Although the only issue that might possibly arise would be post-natal depression, wouldn’t it?

In fact it would be as early as week eight of my pregnancy that the elation would abruptly wear off.

I vaguely remembered that I had been excited at the prospect of becoming pregnant. I had a distant recollection of the giddy joy of producing two blue lines on my piddle stick. I dimly recalled looking dreamily at my partner and hoping that our child would be just like him…

I remembered feeling all those things, I just couldn’t recall how they actually felt; if that makes any sense.

Instead what I suddenly felt was incredibly angry, anxious, uncomfortable, panicky, and most un-elated to be pregnant. I wanted to thump people who gushed about my new status, I felt numb at all my scans, I couldn’t bear to be near my partner (although I remembered being very in love with him only a short time before), I no longer wanted to marry him and I most definitely did not want to become a mother.

I toyed at length with the idea of abortion – what if I never came to terms with my impending motherhood? How unfair would it be to bring an unloved child into the world and saddle it with a disconnected mother?

(Luckily the memories of those vanished feelings were there to assure me that, despite what my brain was telling me, this was actually a very much desired pregnancy.)

It was a shockingly lonely, frightening and sad time – thank goodness I had my mother and her infinitely sympathetic GP on the end of the phone or I might not have made it through here in Italy where a brief mention that things were not as they should be to my obstetrician elicited a curt “not my department, I’m afraid” with zero eye contact and not a life line in sight.

Although it felt like an endless spiral of awfulness, the worst of the fog finally lifted at my sixteen week scan when I was told I was having a girl – initially I had been keener on the idea of a boy, but when the blackness hit, the prospect of bringing up a member of the opposite sex suddenly seemed insurmountably terrifying.

But the bumplet cradled a daughter, and that seemed to be the catalyst I needed to take a good look at the screen, fall madly in love with the squirmy little foetus displayed there, and slowly begin to come to terms with the implications of her existence.

It transpired that for those two months I had been in the grip of pre-natal depression: a condition I had previously never heard of and was completely unprepared for. And, despite being released from its suffocating shackles in time to “enjoy” the remainder of my pregnancy, the niggling worry of what might be in store for me after the birth was never far away.

With my history of depression and this episode of pre-natal depression, the English GP felt she had to warn me that rather than post-natal depression, what I and those closest to me had to diligently look out for in the days and weeks following the birth would be post-natal psychosis. If it did strike, she said, it could strike quickly and have frightening ramifications.

But I was apparently to be one of the lucky ones: I got to have a healthy baby, fall instantly in love with my healthy baby, bond with her with delicious ease and generally suffer from very few side effects to her arrival – major sleep deprivation and a carved-up tummy notwithstanding.

And although there have been periods over the last fourteen months when that old familiar black cloud has hovered, I have to deal with it slightly differently now I have a daughter to protect from its negativity. So I push away the fact that I can’t bear to look at myself in the mirror, and instead look into that beaming little face. I ignore the numbness of limbs and thoughts, and instead plunder the limited resources of my sluggish mind to slap on a big smile, grab her a book or dive into the colourful depths of the toy box. I sing her her favourite Beach Boys song and make a determined effort to lose that black cloud in the carefree playfulness of babyhood.

During these moments my thoughts often return to Charlotte Bevan, and the infinitely sad realisation that she will never be able to enjoy these most blissful parts of motherhood (or suffer through the frustrations), all because her brain betrayed her at the most vulnerable moment in her life.

And nobody noticed until it was too late.

I am so very lucky.

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 😉

Better and Better

10/11/2014

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

Ten months. TEN WHOLE MONTHS have passed since my life got thoroughly rearranged by the appearance of a small human that my own body built with the instructions from two minuscule scraps of genetic material.

I know. Boring, boring, boring; the whole of mankind is at it (and to horrifying excess) but I still can’t seem to help that feeling of… WOW.

Cheeky

May the exploration commence…

There are many who declare that there is nothing so wonderful as a newborn baby.

I cannot but disagree, for there is nothing which could possibly induce me to exchange this vibrant, chatty, funny, endlessly curious and active little ten month-old for her previously floppy, unfocussed and utterly dependent self.

Cheeky 2

Your baby needs YOU! (and toys, lots and lots of toys. Oh, and perhaps a puppy).

I loved newborn Maya fiercely, there is no doubt of that, but I don’t even possess the words to describe the depths of my feelings for the chubby little personality who shares my life now.

Cheeky 3

Superbaby fails to disguise the snacks she has squirrelled away in her cheek pouches for those lean winter months.

Milestones have come and gone since her progress was last documented: the first tooth choosing to pop out optimistically into the chaos of our Romania trip at seven months – a tiny smear of blood on her cheek and the faint clink of something un-gummy on the spoon her Romanian mamaia used to fill her with chicken soup being the only indications of its arrival.

And there it sat; tiddly, white, and all on its tod for a further six weeks, until four more suddenly popped up in quick succession, like mushrooms after rain, making both eating solids and nipping at Mummy’s nipples when she least expects it a whole lot more satisfying.

cheeky 4

Superbaby suspects someone might be after said cheeks and concentrates her super powers on repelling them with fierceness.

It was the arrival of teeth that transferred my wonderment at my own body: first it built her with the instructions from two minuscule scraps of genetic material, then it provided the food to make her plump and hearty. How amazing is that??

To hers: it knows it has to push out those little teeth in order to facilitate eating solids and nipping at Mummy’s nipples when she least expects it, and a whole host of other things yet to come besides. How amazing is that??

Cheeky 5

Watching the nappies in the machine go round and round, round and round, round and round.

And yes, I did study biology at school – I even knew where babies came from, but somehow it hasn’t curbed my astonishment that the process could happen to me. Something that has only served to increase the sense of incredulity that so many humans reproduce so unthinkingly, because it really is an enormously big deal.

Huge.

cheeky 6

Food holds her attention for at least two minutes nowadays.

I imagined that Maya would one day become mobile in much the same way I imagine one day I’ll get to grips with my smart phone: ie it wasn’t something that took up much of my imagining cells. When six, seven, eight months passed and people patted me “kindly” and said they were sure she would be crawling soon, I found myself not remotely bothered. She’d move when she moved. What was the rush?

Still, I was relieved on their behalf when she finally began to execute a laborious commando shuffle (elbows dragging the rest of her along like a carcass – the huffing and puffing involved ensuring that creeping up on anyone was off the menu) towards the age of nine months.

cheeky 7

Everywhere becomes an adventure playground when you’re mobile-ish.

It eventually developed into something rather more respectable, and then eight days on the Mothership’s grippy UK carpets (as opposed to our slippy Italian tiles) added jet propulsion, as well as hauling her vertical with the assistance of furniture, steps, and the legs of whoever happened to be walking past at her moment of need.

Friction really is a wonderful thing.

cheeky 8

Crawling and waving to her public – kid’s a genius.

So she’s chomping, crawling, standing and toddling with help, but does she say anything?

Well, she says “mum mum”, a lot. Usually whilst clawing at my legs, bashing at the loo door while I’m in there having a sneaky pee, standing in her cot at 2 in the morning, requesting that I turn my tea mug round so she can see Winnie the Pooh painted on the other side, or crossly tracking me round the house as I try (and mostly fail) to get important housewifely things done.

All other vocalisations, however, sound really rather similar, although I am beginning to think that her gestures might imbue a meaning that I better start looking out for. Her waving, for example – very Queen of England, no idea where she picked it up – is now accompanied by a cheery “da da” which could well be bye bye or hello, as those are the two two-syllable words I have been repeating to accompany what up to recently had just been random (but delightfully regal) salutation.

cheeky9

Those thighs don’t look nearly so cute on Mummy.

It would be wonderful to know just how much of my constant communication she actually understands. Is she starting to build up a list of recognisable words and phrases, or do Mummy’s ramblings just come across as confusing bursts of white noise, much as they appear to do when I’m trying to initiate serious discussion with her father?

And then of course there is the additional complication of the languages. She understands “water” in English, but doesn’t yet appreciate that the same refreshing stuff is “apă” in Romanian and “acqua” in Italian. She does, however, get that “bye bye”, “pa pa” and “ciao ciao” are all preludes to departure. She will raise her arms to have clothing removed when she hears “sus mâinile!”, but looks at me blankly if I say “arms up!” or “alza le braccia!”.

cheeky 10

Hanging around on the Mothership’s kitchen step.

I am usually treated to a most quizzical look when she hears me speaking Italian, so I hope I’m not being too fanciful in my assumption that she can now differentiate between the three languages, and has already twigged that Mummy’s is supposed to be English.

Tati (Daddy in Romanian) is certainly much better these days at sticking to the limba romana when interacting with her, so I imagine the tiny cogs are at work joining the dots there as well.

cheeky11

Last minute discussions re carpeted step protocol.

But all these recent and delightful developments are not without their inconvenient side-effects.

Google (the last bastion of the desperate parent) tells me that the reason Maya is currently waking me up every two hours throughout the night may be because her brain is whizzing so restlessly with all the new information and skills it is taking on board, she’s not managing to attain a deep sleep.

Sadly what Google won’t tell me is what to do about it, nor, apparently, can Google assist me in any practical way in getting through each day with a sleep-deprived head full of cotton wool.

cheeky 12

Executing carpeted step protocol.

(Google is, of course, far too polite to suggest that she might just be playing me, but as she can keep up the screeching for far, far longer (hours) than it takes me to sooth her back to sleep with a boob (minutes), in the interests of desperately needed rest I must in this matter resign myself to being played.)

cheeky 14

You going to bust me out of here, or what?

Too much information and new skills are a dangerous thing. No, honestly, they really are. Because they brings with them opinions, and opinions in a ten-month old are accompanied by even more screeching than night-time awakenings.

NO BIB REQUIRED, thank you.

NO HAT NECESSARY, thank you.

I said NO BAND TO KEEP MY FRINGE OUT OF MY EYES, thank you.

I think you should stop cleaning, working, cooking, talking to the Mothership on skype AND DEDICATE YOURSELF EXCLUSIVELY TO ME NOW AND I MEAN NOW.

It’s a battle of wills I feel under some pressure to win, having watched an unhealthy number of episodes of various Super Nanny productions. At present I am attempting to apply the “cheery but firm” method, and trying not to let either the screeching or the beseeching work their evil magic.

Cheeky 14

Multitasking starts early.

Accompanying this new desire to control her daily destiny, is a similarly unstoppable desire to cause mischief – upending things, throwing things through the railings to watch them clatter down onto the stairs, defoliating the house plants, redistributing the house plants’ compost, pulling everything off the shelves and generally doing her level best to make contact with all that is sharp, hot, electrified and/or toxic.

I am told it is just as important to take this ground in the battle of wills, but doing so is rendered that bit much harder by the sheer delight a ten-month old takes in realising that she is at last achieving mischief under her own steam (Maya currently finds “no” the most entertaining word ever uttered), and the impressively inventive lengths she then goes to to invent further mischief.

It is the fruit of this constant and fascinating exploration of her environment and her attempts to make sense of it all, nevertheless, I am hoping that whispering “rod/back” “rod/back” “rod/back” three times a day, four on Sundays, will be enough to prevent a sheepish motherly pride turning us into potential fodder for Super Nanny intervention.

cheeky15

Wreaking havoc…

We are still being inundated with helpful advice on where we are going wrong raising our tiny offspring:

We should be communicating with her purely in Italian; how else will she ever learn? Apparently the fact that 90% of the folk we meet whilst oot and aboot speak to her in the language of Dante will never be enough. Well, she is half British after all, with all the linguistic disadvantages that entails, so I suppose they might have a point.

Cheeky 16

…then sleeping it off.

She’ll never learn to walk in cloth nappies, far too bulky. Quite so. One only needs to look at two of the photos above, wherein the Mothership demonstrates to her granddaughter how she, like most of her generation and mine, has been forced to get around for the last sixty years having been hobbled early on by enforced towelling underpants.

She’ll also never learn to walk if we continue carrying her in “that thing” – this from (amongst others) a lady whose own child was in a pushchair, from which I presume he is removed on high days and holidays, as is Maya from the sling.

cheeky 17

Keeping the nipple nippers sparkly.

It is hard to get my head around some people’s apparent hostility to our slings. I don’t carry my daughter in one to annoy others, honestly, I carry her because:

a) I can’t be arsed dragging a pushchair in and out of the car, up and down steps and in and out of shops.

b) I enjoy having her at my level so we can dance a bit, sing a bit, point things of interest out to one another and so that I can revel in the observation of her wide-eyed interactions with the world.

c) Squidging that sturdy little body against my heart for as long as I can is one of my greatest pleasures.

Yes, motherhood is inherently selfish, I admit it. Perhaps that’s why I am loving it so much…

This is Status Viatoris, living the dream… but without the sleep 😉 in Italy.


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