Wednesday, 22 December 2010

birthday party

So last week, I had a birthday party for Sebastian and we invited 4 of his friends from "school": Greta, Christian, Davide, Diego. I was so happy that he actually had names of kids he wanted to invite. Only Greta and Christian came, but it was so wonderful! They were both such sweet little children, and I could tell that he made friends with the shyest kids in school. Sebastian is veritably enamoured of Greta. As he should be! She follows him everywhere! Everywhere he walks, she's right behind him walking in his steps. Craziness! I've never seen anything like it. Of course, I don't want to sexualize little kids, but I can't help but wonder what attracts kids to each other. In Buddhism, you are attracted to yourself. Your environment is a reflection of yourself. Plus you add karma, and interconnected dynamics, and it becomes quite obvious the kind of people and relationships one has. Or rather, the relationships are like a mirror of the person at any given moment.

I am very proud of the fact that Sebastian is "attracted" and "attracts" such a sweet, gentle little girl. And the little boys were shy, but normal and fun-looking.

Diego even gave us a gift even though they couldn't make it! I can't wait to see more of them!

missed concert

I missed my dear Sebastian's first Christmas party at school.

Yes, I am terrible. I feel terrible. I want sooooo much to see him sing with his classmates. I ache at the thought of him up there on stage, singing with pride.

And I missed it because I was napping with Lucas.

I can only reassure myself with the fact that he was oblivious to my absence. He didn't ask me why I didn't go. He seemed not even to care. It's as if he is aware how unimportant his school is, how illusory everything is. How fake it kind of is. It's as if he is an observant in the whole process. Like I am too I guess.

But still, it would have been so delicious to see him perform!

Next year, I will be able to see them both! Yeah!

two kids!

You look great for having had two kids!!! People say, thinking I will be flattered. But it's bullshit. There's no excuse. I lost all my babyweight right after Lucas. And lots of it came back. And it came back because of chocolate, and wine, and pasta, and cookies, and sedentarianism. Not from the babies. My hips are wider, yes, but the bobbles are from the cheese. My boobs have changed shape, but the arm butter is from the cake.

So now I am going out dancing for the first time in years, and I feel like shit. I am going with a friend who also had a kid, and whose body has not changed one bit from before. I hate Italian women.


I have come to a new conclusion - staying at home with the kids renders one grumpy, controlling, impatient, negative, annoying, along with a few other unflattering traits.

And how did I come to that conclusion, you ask? Lo and behold, after 4 days straight at home, that is exactly what I've become. For the past few days, I've blamed my grumpiness on pms, on being sick, on being tired. Today is day 2 of my period, I got lots of sleep, and after today's nap, I am almost free of my head cold. Yet tonight, I was Miss Grumpy and Miss Yeller.

I completely lost it with both of them tonight during bathtime. I got a call from a long-lost friend just as I put Lucas in the bath with oatmeal for his eczema. When finally Seb finishes his tv program and lounges his way over, I put him too in the now brown bathwater. He starts freaking out that there was caca, which I doubted. After checking with Lucas, of course, he concurred, and acknowledged that yes, he DID do caca in the bath.


So I get off the phone with long-lost friend, take them both out and my anger starts to escalate. WTF!?!?!? Lucas is nearly 2 1/2. He knows full well he's not supposed to poop in the bath. He knows how to say when he needs to go. So of all places!!! Then, when they are both out, and I am trying to drain and scrub the tub, Seb the princess starts to gag and cry, from the supposed smell (btw, there was no smell). He then proceeds to throw up, twice. In between throw-ups, he's yelling at Lucas to stay away, blablabla. I lose it on both of them. I am swearing and raging, and throwing things.

And this was the second time today I lost it that bad.

And then there are all the little scoldings, voice-raising, impatience, annoyances. Even with the simplest of actions, I get almost instantly frustrated if things don't go exactly my way. When something drops, when I make a mistake, when I have to go out of my way to change a plug, when things spill, I am a timebomb. With grumpiness and rage on the verge of spilling at the slightest provocation. And now I have eczema starting again.

I think I should not have a 3rd kid.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

patient mother

A saint even, is what my aunt and uncle from Peru call me. I am loving it and soaking it all in.

It's all relative, of course. This is my mother's family talking, the family of sharp-tongued, entitled, beautiful people who have little tolerance for anything or anyone who is less than perfect in every way. I was raised by one, duly traumatized by it, and I have chosen to fight my unforgiving instincts and be a loving, patient, fair, kind and affectionate mother. To make my children my priority, without being my obsession. So of course, when they are having temper tantrums, and whining, and demanding, and selfish (as 4-yr-olds and 2-yr-olds are wont to do), I try to be compassionate and respond in patience, fairness, kindness and love. I mostly don't succeed at it all, but I try my fiercest. So of course they say this when every example of motherhood my aunt and uncle have seen, most recently in their daughter with her 5-yr-old, falls into the more tyrannical category. They are amazed at my patience.

I on the other hand know what goes thru my head, and mostly I am at tipping point. I want to just yell at the kids "Shut the f**k up already!" or, "Fine, don't eat at all! Go outside naked! I couldn't give a s**t anymore!"

But I don't.

I am breaking the cycle, one day at a time.

Actually ... you know... they might be right... Maybe I AM a saint!

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

local school or workplace?

I work at a school. Today I went to a Christmas concert where all the elementary school kids were on stage. The pre-school kids were Sebastian's age and they were A*D*O*R*A*B*L*E. I even reconsidered sending Sebastian to the school...

Then by the end of the concert, where I had spent most of it watching my colleague's children, I again was happy that my kids will NOT go to the school I work at. First of all, I would always want to see them and be with them. I would micro-manage their teachers. I would analyze every single aspect of their education and question the people I entrust them with for results, practices, techniques, pedagogy, qualifications, etc.

But, most terrifyingly, I would hate the gaze of my colleagues as they observe, judge, analyze my kids and see reflections of me.

It is really better for them and for me that I work far away from the world where they will grow and become themselves.


So I got home from work, and found out from my mom that hubby came out completely shit-faced today. I have never in my entire life seen hubby drunk. Tipsy, MAAAAYBE, but not even sure about that. The crazy thing is that hubby has an unnatural aversion to any kind of substance abuse, even in it most functional, inoffensive forms. He HATES people who drink too much. In fact, we had to get rid of nanny because he thought she liked the bottle too much (whether she did or not is still arguable).

Moreover, today is my mom's last day with us. She had both kids (instead of the usual one), and tomorrow she spends the day travelling. Tonight I am supposed to take her out for dinner. And he showed up back home at nearly 6pm, and is now passed out in the bedroom.

Of all days... Life never stops getting interesting does it?

Monday, 6 December 2010


Yup. It's back. The lurking pest. The hidden beast. The incessant reminder that I am not in balance, in harmony, that something's not right.


the rules of war

Listened to a podcast today: "The Rules of War," by Stuff You Should Know.

Why can't war itself be against the rules?

Wednesday, 1 December 2010


I've been reading through some old posts, and I realize how much I complain about hubby. It's not fair. I use the blog mostly when I'm venting.

If anyone is reading out there, I have the best hubby in the world. I have yet to meet a man who I would leave hubby for. Yes, I have crushes, yes, my eyes and thoughts wander ( lots! :/), but there is no one better.

There. I said it. For once, a compliment to the father of my children.

loudmouth + inappropriate

That is what I am often considered. And I hate it. I hate it when saying the truth, identifying the elephant in the room, announcing the emperor has no clothes, saying things for what they are turns people off.

Don't get me wrong - I am not insensitive. I don't insist on abolishing kind-hearted white lies. I never blurt things out to hurt people, and I don't remember the last person who left my vicinity feeling shitty about themselves. Really. I am probably one of the most considerate, sensitive people you'll meet. People leave me feeling good about themselves (or, of course, annoyed with my ways). But NEVER shitty about themselves because of something I said.

But pretense, useless social graces, small talk, fake emotions, pretend interest in the weather, fabric softener, the lunch menu this week... I am just CLUELESS on how to mask my feelings and feign interest. The spontaneous manufacture of bullshit. I just can't do it. And it's not even that I disdain or judge them; I am hurt by those who judge me for choosing not to play that game.

I LOVE people who are down-to-earth, who are bold and unabashedly themselves. People who see truth, are truth, whose humanity is stronger than their psycho-social survival constructs. And I spent my late teens and 20s fiercely striving to be that kind of person. I know the manners, but I shirk them. I know some people think swearing is unladylike, but I find it powerful. There's nothing funnier and more tension-releasing than the perfectly-placed, or, even better, imperfectly placed f-word.

This is not my goal because of a late-adolescent rebelliousness, but because life is life. People are life. We all see mostly through the spectrum of our own experience. And there is nothing that creates a bond and establishes our common humanity more than showing vulnerability. When one person shows the other vulnerability, and the response is compassion, a bond if formed. Trust is created. A step is taken in the direction to world peace.

I am sounding so cheesy I know. But why can't people understand this about me? Why do people judge me by the wrapping that my thoughts come in? Do they not realize that the superiority they might exhibit is but an invisible, impotent weapon and that the effects of their illusion can hurt? I suppose I just contradicted myself. Their impotent weapon isn't so impotent if it can hurt.

I spent my life up until now trying to rid myself of masks. And now I have to create them again.

Or am I inching closer to selling out?


The bane of my crazy existence.

I spent two hours getting to work today. It usually takes me about an hour. If there were no traffic, 45 minutes. So 2 hours is ALOT. And just because it snowed a little. A little by Canadian standards. It was like the apocalypse for Italians or something. They all go in "tilt" as they say here. Actually, I shouldn't even complain so much. The back-up at the border was unprecedented, which means at least there were lots of Italians going to work this morning.


My gut's been fluttering and sending waves of anxiety through my body. I can barely take it anymore. I am waiting for bosses to respond to my request to go part-time next year. Ugh. It is so painful. This waiting. Wondering. Whining. Why-ing. I am paranoid. Big boss has been giving me the coldest vibes in the past few weeks, and am trying desperately not to take it personally.

Am I just scared? Or is this some intuition?

Then I have young colleagues who work for peanuts hovering like vultures asking me how long I plan to stay, how they'd like my job, blablabla. And all I can hope for is that bosses will do the right thing. I mean, why would they eliminate me for someone younger without a life who will work for almost nothing? What kind of business savvy would that show? I mean my work has never placed cutting costs over HR!

Oh shit.

stuck between a rock and a boulder

Ahhh, the trials and tribulations of free childcare via grandma vs. stay-at-home-husband angst! Each complains about the other. Both are wrong. Both are right. I get them both. I can't take sides. But I can't NOT take sides.

And it doesn't help that I've bad-mouthed mom to hubby, and hubby to mom.

Sometimes I should just keep my mouth closed and my thoughts to myself! Actually, I should probably do that lots.


Sunday, 21 November 2010


Marriage is only useful for raising kids.

But kids is what ruins a marriage.

Monday, 15 November 2010

shitty weekend

I had a shitty weekend:

- I worked my butt off
- a boss micro-managed, created more work for me
- a colleague chewed me out in front of boss because of decisions I made in reaction to boss micro-managing
- another colleague chewed me out because she is a stress-pot
- I saw my kids very little
- I got very little sleep
- I fought with hubby about never being home

WTF? OMG!! FFS!!! (FFS stands for "For F**k's sake!)

Damned if you do, damned if you don't seems to take on fresh levels of meaning every year that goes by!

tomorrow's the big day

Tomorrow I talk with the powers that be about working part-time next year. I shouldn't even be nervous, because he will probably be all positive - but who knows what happens come contract time!


I flirted outrageously last week at a little get-together I happened upon after work.

(It was fun!)

(But dangerous!)

(No playing with fire!)


new limits

I am reaching new limits regarding the amount I do and the hours of sleep I do without.

I think I am a superhero.

I am also quite humble.

It shows, doesn't it?

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

secret blog

I think I need to create a secret blog. One where I blow steam off and talk about all kinds of things that I don't actually want anyone I know to read.

Are you curious?


self-play, exploratory play

Yes, I have to ask - when the heck is it too much??? I never thought I would get prudish with my kids - I've heard too many horror stories of crazy/perverted/uptight/OCD people who were excessively repressed in their childhood, or were taught to be ashamed of their bodies, their sexuality, blah, blah, blah.

But I never really thought I would see one of my boys straddling one another and full-on humping each other in the bath.
Or one of them rubbing their wee-wee against the potty, giggling at his little erection.
Or having them tickle each other in their butts and wee-wees...
And wanting above all to play with mother's milk jugs when they are technically no longer milk jugs.

Yeah. I know. And there's more, but I won't get into the details.

There is no way in heck that I want my boys to think there is anything wrong with their beautiful little bodies, their beautiful little selves, inside OR out. Or them to think that the source of their food just a little while ago can now never be touched. But is there a point when I am supposed to say "No, you can't do that because it's wrong"?

And when Sebastian asks why?

bunkbeds, stage 1

So we bought a bunk bed. No, not so that the kids can sleep in them and we can free up some space in the minuscule baby room. But so my mom can sleep in there, and not on the floor.

Yup, still trying to find ways to get Sebastian to sleep in his room, alone in his bed, through the night, without waking up all the adults. This is stage 1 of the bunkbed era.

The idea, which I thought was brilliant, consists in having him sleep on one bed, having my mother on the other, Lucas in his crib. He would get used to having abuelita in the room with him - but not right beside him - that he would stop waking up at night, because he would just know that she was above him. Then, when she leaves, if he starts waking up again, either hubby or I could crawl INTO THE SINGLE BED - relieve his fears, but still get a good night's sleep. AND, the one who needs to wake up VERY early, could still do so without the risk of waking up one, then both, of the boys.

Up until abuelita started sleeping on the floor, basically, hubby and I would decide who had to leave early, and then that person would sleep in Sebastian's bed when he moved over to ours. BUT, inevitably, the early wake-up person sometimes would wake up Lucas, and the beginning of the end of the night would start.

So many details, so complex, and yet so simple.

And I still wonder whether we should even be trying to independent-ize Sebastian: if he needs to be sleeping with us, shouldn't we just let him????

Tuesday, 19 October 2010


The school that I work at has finally started dealing with bullying. Apparently there have been a spew of teen suicides in the US caused by intolerable peer bullying. Of course, "kids are so cruel" is the easy write-off. Of course, children see, children do, is the less easy one.

It reminds me of the impression I had of the kids at the group homes my mom worked at. All these adults, social workers, therapists, police, teachers, etc., would hover over these "problem" children and try to find solutions to their drug habits, poor performance in school, violent behaviour, promiscuity, etc. But if you punch a child in the stomach for 12 years, can you really wonder where their stomach ulcer came from? It seemed so obvious. And yet so taboo.

And in Italy, it is survival of the fittest. Being victimized is the worst shame you can imagine. Blame the victim for not being able to stand up to it is the standard wisdom.

I hate to admit it, but I am no longer a pacifist. I used to be, before having kids. Now, I follow the wisdom of an interesting man/husband/father I met this summer, "Never hit. Always hit back."

craving contact

I have been CRAVING contact with my boys. I just want to hug them, and play with them, and look at them, and admire them. I crave it so much it almost hurts! And next week, I have to go away for work.


I am totally dead-set on working part-time next year, but I have to get through this year first. I sometimes fear that something will happen to my boys in the meantime, so that when I do finally take the time to be with them, it will be too late. I can be so peasant-ly superstitious sometimes. Why would that be? It would be the worst kind of torment, that's why...

Friday, 1 October 2010

my baby is growing up

Yes, I felt the cliche emotions of every mother from the beginning of time, well, of the establishment of pre-school: my little boy is growing up, separate from me, and needs me less. He is his own little person, and has relationships (friends and teachers) that I know nothing about.

When I dropped him off at pre-school the other day, I cried. (No, not in front of him, of course!) I cried when I saw him sitting at the window waving to me. I cried when I saw him take off his shoes by himself and go play in the blow-up jungle gym. I cried yesterday when I saw him climb up onto the school bus.

As I write these words, I am so aware of their obvious resonance. Who knows? Maybe I am even plagiarizing, so widespread is this feeling among young mothers. Yet, I must express them because they are so intense.

How many rich emotions I've felt over the past few years? Emotions I would not have experienced if I had not become a mother. Wow.

motherly guilt

Lucas has been with my in-laws for 3 of the last 6 weeks. I think my mother-in-law thinks I am a terrible mother. She once said that when her kids were young, she couldn't be more than 30 minutes without them. She would never have let her kids away overnight. She said this proudly.

I have to admit that I did really miss Lucas this past stay. But it was the 3rd stay. I barely thought of him during the other stays. I do think that it is because I am alone-deprived, and over-tired, and not because I am a terrible mother. But still, the doubt remains - am I not fit to be a mother? Will me kids reproach me for not being an all-consuming mother as I should.


Tuesday, 21 September 2010

3-day weekend, continued

Of course, leave it to me to start my list of everything I am going to do:

-go for a hike
-rent a movie
-wash the floor/dust
-season change in my closet
-go for a bike ride (Oh, I think I'm going to do this w Sebastian!)
-take a bath
-grocery shopping
-clothes shopping

I don't think I'll have enough time for all this. Plus I have a birthday party on Sunday. Plus I am going for pizza at Barbara's this Saturday. YEAH!

3-day weekend

So this weekend, hubby will be away, nanny will be away, Lucas will be away, and I have a day off on Monday. That means THREE WHOLE DAYS ALONE with Sebastian. I can barely contain my joy, relief, excitement, awe, anticipation. I am going to be able to relax, have real quality time with my big sweet boy. We can go for walks, go out for dinner, have long conversations, sleep together in peace, wake up in peace.

And the frosting on the cake is that I get to take Sebastian to daycare on Monday, and then have the house to myself for nearly FOUR HOURS. Alone. In my own house. To do with as I please. OMG. I have tears in my eyes.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

life list, ponderings

My life list is actually quite boring, because at 34 yrs old, I've already done quite a bit. I have to choose from all the things I haven't yet done. I am relieved (or sad?) that I can't reach 100. Hmmm....

Life list (composed in 2010 at the ripe age of 34).
*drive across Canada *learn to sing *write a book *lose 10kg and KEEP IT OFF for at least 10 years *learn to swim "normal" *go bungee jumping *volunteer abroad *visit the Grand Canyon *go to Hawaii *visit Australia *have a 3rd child (really?) *be a stay-at-home mom for a few years *take my kids to Peru *see the Northern Lights *go to Tahiti *visit Auschwitz *do the Camino de Santiago de Compostela *take a drawing and painting course *learn to do pottery *live in the Southern Hemisphere
*take a sewing course *learn to play violin *go sky-diving *go to the Maldives *learn German fluently *learn Arabic *learn to water start and windsurf well *go wakeboarding *live in a Spanish-speaking country *get a Master's degree *read War and Peace *go scuba-diving *compete in the Marinera Competition in Peru *learn to surf *swim with dolphins *get a convertible car *take a pottery course *use a pottery wheel *learn to flip my hair when dancing salsa *become an awesome salsa dancer *teach my kids to love themselves *teach my kids to love everyone else.

separation of church and state

Or of family and work.

Of friends w/ kids and friends w/o kids.

Of Italian friends and N.A. friends.

Of my mom and my dad.

Of hubby and nanny.

I live a continual dichotomy and my head is starting to hurt.

gentle nighttime parenting

After the torture of this past summer regarding Sebastian's nighttime sleep habits, I have reached a peace: I want to cultivate and nourish Sebastian's gentle side, his sensitivity, his affection, his general sweetness. Not stomp it out. Despite it being a potential source of future suffering (but really, it will be just a specific type of suffering, because no one escapes suffering all the time!), it is also a powerful source of change and beauty and hope. And I want - no NEED - to be proud of this and treat it like the rare, delicate flower that it is.

So the doubts are gone. He can come into our bed whenever he needs. If it takes another 3 years, so be it. When he grows up, he will have his loving childhood to comfort him in moments of darkness. If not the visual memory, then the emotional one.

Yes! I love it when I am sure of a parenting decision!

to sibling or not to sibling

In recent months (well, months are more like years, because it's been 18 months), I have been rethinking just how smart it was to have a second child so quickly. I was a preacher for "siblings will make it easier in the long run!" camp for the longest time. Then the work set in. Even when they play together and give me a few moments of peace, they soon start fighting, so it never lasts long. It really is exhausting having two. Plus, both become more needy and demanding, because they are both fighting for mom's attention at any given moment. God forbid that I am doing something age-appropriate with one child, that the other comes ramming his interest in and essentially ruins the game!

In fact, because of this, I forced hubby to send baby no. 2 (the "easier" one) to his mother's while I was in Washington for my Master's residency: I wanted to ease the pressure on both nanny and hubby.

These past two days I've had alone with Sebastian have been just WONDERFUL. So much easier and relaxed. I am back to enjoying motherhood. Sebastian has been perfectly behaved, not needy at all, eating everything, not whining, regular in the bathroom, etc. It has been just wonderful. He is just the perfect little boy all the time.

BUT... Yes, BUT...

...the absence of his brother also means the absence of obstacles: those of sharing (both toys and mommy's time), and of human relationships, and standing up for yourself, of trusting, of letting go of toys, hang-ups, hurts, problems, the list goes on. And I firmly believe that obstacles are the best way to become better people. Always. So, in essence, having a brother forces my boys to deal with these issues throughout their lives, throughout their development. Their reactions to situations will be influenced by their age, context, and most importantly, by me. By the time they are adults, they will be experienced pros at dealing with these pesty issues of human relationships.

My role as a parent is to keep them heading in the right direction with the right values. Even if it means that I lose my S**T multiple times per week. What IS the best way to react to a situation? What IS the best approach when someone grabs your toys? What can you do when someone doesn't want to play with you right now? How ARE you supposed to manage negative feelings towards people you love?

So, it really was a good decision to have two children. (so suck it up, Nat! :/ )

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

losing the nanny

So it turns out we won't be having my good friend as our live-in nanny this year. I am both sad and relieved: sad, because she's like an aunt to the kids, and almost like family; sad, because it was like having a sleep-over the whole year; sad, because having a live-in offered freedom in the evenings and weekends, and last-minute babysitting needs; relieved, because there won't be anymore tension between hubby and nanny; relieved, because I don't have to worry about the needs of an extra person in the house; relieved, because there will be no more risk of some accident with the kids under the influence, which would have left us all with lifelong regret.

We will put Lucas in daycare, and hope that we find a regular babysitter for the occasional evening or weekend. And I don't want my mother-in-law to be that person! Crossing my fingers...

losing it at bedtime

Every evening, I determine to not lose my shit with the kids, to just go with the flow, chill out and not try to hurry through things. Kids will be kids, and there is no rush to get their pyjamas on, etc.

But, every evening, I lose my shit.

Sometimes it shows, sometimes it doesn't, but I lose it in my head either way.

The latest form of Sebastian's torture it crying inconsolably crying "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!" asking for anything and everything: my hand, to sleep in my bed, for me to get into bed with him, to hug him, just to respond to him. I've tried scolding him, I've tried shushing him gently, I've tried ignoring him, I've tried positive rewards, I've prepared him through the day for what is to come at night, I've explained why big boys sleep in big boys beds, I've tried EVERYTHING.

And every evening, it escalates and escalates until I have to leave the bedroom with murder in my heart, and he is yelling at the top of his lungs. Hubby or nanny goes in, and it stops - within 5 minutes he's asleep.

Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Please let me know so I can find a solution!!!!

Friday, 23 July 2010

peace with mom

The inevitable happened: my mother and I made peace. Well, basically, my mother was a little passive agressive with me at first, showing her disdain. Then when we broached the topic (of course, after I reassured her I was going to pay her back 200$/month from the debt I owe her), she very grandly announced that she changed, and that she would never let herself undergo the "abuse" that she put up with when she was with me. That she knows not to react to my terribleness. That she understands that I was under extreme stress the past few years.

Is there an emoticon for rolling your eyes? Give me a break.

Of course it's all me, as usual. She had no active part in her actions and reactions over the past few years. And of course cutting her daughter off for a year is an acceptable reaction to all the "abuse" she received. (just a reminder that the only examples of "abuse" are actually moments of being slightly inconsiderate - oversights that warrant nothing more than a reminder to remember her needs (one oversight at a time - not three years worth of resentments at once!), not a year of no contact!).

Is there an emoticon for rolling your eyes? If so, I would place a bold one right here!

"home" sweet "home"

Yes, "home" seems to be Italy now. Craziness. I don't know whether that is because my trip "home" to Montreal was so tiring and difficult, or whether is is just the force of being here for 6 years. But, that's it. Home is localita Ronchi di Campagnano, with hubby. It is quite frightening to acknowledge that. What happens if hubby dies? I couldn't stay here... could I?

I won't start worrying about that right now.

The moment I arrived home from the airport, I got a second wind. Our beautiful yard, the beautiful view, the quiet, the peace, the open space in our living area, the birds, the fresh food, hubby's warm embrace and frenzied doing. I am already back in my comfort zone and feel like I never left. The kids are happy here too. They are sleeping well, playing easily, eating and just thriving. Why do I ever leave?

a long, long while

It's been a long, long while blog dearest. And I am not sure I can be thorough in recounting the events, trials and tribulations of the past two months. So...I suppose... I won't even try.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

life list, continued...

Second Part:

*drive across Canada *learn to sing *write a book *lose 10kg and KEEP IT OFF for at least 10 years *learn to swim "normal" *go bungee jumping *volunteer abroad *visit the Grand Canyon *go to Hawaii *visit Australia *have a 3rd child (really?) *be a stay-at-home mom for a few years *take my kids to Peru *see the Northern Lights *go to Tahiti *visit Auschwitz *do the Camino de Santiago de Compostela *take a drawing and painting course *learn to do pottery *live in the Southern Hemisphere

First Part:

*take a sewing course *learn to play violin *go sky-diving *go to the Maldives *learn German fluently *learn Arabic *learn to water start and windsurf well *go wakeboarding *live in a Spanish-speaking country *get a Master's degree *read War and Peace *go scuba-diving *compete in the Marinera Competition in Peru *learn to surf *swim with dolphins *get a convertible car *take a pottery course *use a pottery wheel *learn to flip my hair when dancing salsa *become an awesome salsa dancer *teach my kids to love themselves *teach my kids to love everyone else

what life is all about

Just read this great quote: "While we try to teach our children all about life, they teach us what life is all about."

I am going to frame that quote and put it in my office. I need to be reminded of this regularly. Little Sebastian and Lucas = simple pleasures, generous smiles, wonder for the tiniest bits of information, and abundant love. Life could potentially stamp that out of them. But my job is to ensure they keep their childhood beauty, without adopting the adult veneer.

First, I must be the person I want them to become.

Nam myoho renge kyo.

Monday, 24 May 2010

children withdrawal

Last week was whirlwind, crazy, a daze, fight-or-flight adrenaline for 5 or 6 days straight. I was away from home for 4 days. When finally I saw Seb and Lucas, I started crying. They were these miracles sitting at the sandbox, peaceful, quiet, sacred. And the tears were despite myself, because I was just excited to see them. I never thought I would be so moved. Edifying to say the least.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

mother's day woes

Another year, and another invisible Mother's Day. Well, nanny bought me flowers when I told her it was mother's day. And the next day, I received a Happy Mother's Day email from my sister. But niente from hubby. Actually, negative niente. Because we spent the whole day fighting. What else is new, I suppose? I quit going to spinning to ease the pressure my absence put on him. I am now waiting for my exercise videos to arrive so I can work out at home. The really annoying thing is that even though I overcame my daily fight when Father's Day came around to give him a gift, he didn't even acknowledge Mother's Day with words. And he knows it means a lot to me. That is what taking for granted is, not bothering to care about what the other person cares about.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

losing my shit

I feel like I am losing my shit. I am floating above, or parallel to the world, and can't see straight. I am always tired. I don't have any energy. Everything often feels pointless. And yet, I often feel angry, and annoyed. I have also gained weight, and can't lose it. I don't want to do anything anymore. I am feeling overwhelmed. Yet, I am not worried. I know that I am not R-E-A-L-L-Y going crazy. I am just losing my shit. And I want to just stop. Sleep. Not do anything. For a long time. Not have anyone need me, want me, call me, ask me anything. I want to just BE.


I get really annoyed when people say that Lucas is "stronger" than Sebastian. This morning, hubby said that about Lucas when he saw Sebastian whining about being sick. But people say it when they notice that Sebastian is shyer, or less outgoing, or more sensitive. Why is more sensitive less strong? I take it personally, because I, of course, am very sensitive. But the amount of pain a sensitive person withstands (much more, by virtue of their feeling slighted all the time) proves that in fact, they are stronger. Right?

Does anyone else understand my logic?

hubby incompetence

My office mate today reassured that my hubby was not any worse than your average man. And therefore I am relieved. I think.

Story: Lucas has had eczema-type outbreaks for about a year now. And hubby's management of the affair has been just about useless! The latest move was to pay a private pediatrician to do an allergy test, and she didn't! She basically told us to eliminate milk products and his stuffed animal, and to come back in two months. WTF!? The whole reason for not showing up to the hospital appt, organized my our 'public' pediatrician (who said not much different from the private pediatrician) was because it would be a waste of time, and they wouldn't do the allergy test. So, 3 months after our original appointment, we get the exact same verdict, which is a run-around bullshit answer, no allergy test, and we STILL don't know the cause of Lucas's outbreaks!!!

As my other office mate says, this is the cost of going to work and not staying home with the kids. But really, this just means that a woman has to do EVERYTHING!!! UGH!!

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

"ambition-dulling beauty" a quote the headmaster at T***S once wrote, and which I find to be such a poetic, well-crafted phrase. Today, I was reminded once again how privileged I am as are the people I work with and for. The children from the mother's shelter I volunteer at with a student group came to my work today for a short concert and dinner. The workers were dumbfounded by the beauty of the place. They also perceived the blurry edges of the dream-like reality our students live in.

I rarely feel that awe anymore.

Yet, this is both good and bad. The good is that no, I am not awed by wealth and appearance. I see the students I work with as humans loaded with the weight of ambition-dulling wealth on their shoulders; I see the kids at the shelter as pure uncut jewels, representatives of the universals of the human spirit.

The bad is that I miss out on the breath-taking feelings that accompany first-time visitors to the area. That I take for granted what a wonderful place I work in and live in. That the creme de la creme of the planet is now my point of reference. The bad is that every day, I get closer to wanting to start ironing my clothes. And although this would make my mother-in-law happy, for me, it means the end of more freedom of spirit, the beginning of another limitation in my life!

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

boring meeting

I had one of the most boring meetings of my life today. I tried to make it a learning experience, you know, learning about how managers try to make their employees think they care about their opinions, learning about how corporate sales people handle angry customers, learning, learning, learning.

But I was tired and grumpy, and the only way I could think was arrogantly: these people with their small little problems, making a big deal about nothing; these people who are clueless about how to use Excel and ask Corporate VPs to little "create columns" in their interfaces, etc.; these defensive Ticino business people who could save so much time, and earn so much more money if they just TRIED to understand that you just need to make customers feel like they are right.

I hate it when I feel all this snottiness and superiority bullshit. It is an illusion. And the fall to earth is painful if I get too lofty. But OMG, what a complete waste of an hour today!

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

sans hubby

I am heading into 4 days sans hubby. And this is both a positive experience and a negative one. Positive, because I have a live-in nanny, who can help me out during my toughest hours, and positive because my live-in nanny happens to be my closest friend. So it's as if we have a 4-day slumber party! Negative because she will only do a few hours a day, and she doesn't cook or clean. (Yes, unlike most, my hubby actually does alot of cooking and most of the cleaning!) Another negative is that as soon as hubby gets back, I have to go back to work. UGH. I am SOOOOO not looking forward to that.


Am trying to remain calm, go with the flow, you know. What will be, will be. So just enjoy what there is to enjoy, suffer what there is to suffer. I often get these moments of clarity when Sebastian is sick. It's like, I reach rock bottom, and I see more clearly. I wish I could maintain it for when he's healthy and needs my love & patience!!!!

Thursday, 1 April 2010

stressing about stress

Every time I organize something fun for my kids, you know, to take them out and about, etc., I get super stressed. The whole process is so friggin' annoying. Last week, I took them to Swiss Miniature. I wanted to take them there in the morning, have lunch, and have them sleep in the car on the way back so that their nap schedule wasn’t tampered with. Simple enough, right? Nope. Because, I had to make sure to get them out of the house fed, peed, clean at by 9:30, so that we actually get there by 10:30, and they could have a few hours of fun. Then, even though I printed out the directions, I screwed them up, and we ended up taking the scenic route, which is the one I wanted to take on the way back. So Lucas fell asleep (sleep routine down the drain), and Sebastian got bored, antsy, and annoying, which made me get all grumpy, and so on. The entire morning was just stressful, annoying, a little boring, and expensive. Add to this having foregone my daily nap... I was a mess. Where's the fun and relaxation in all this???

Tomorrow I am taking them to the zoo. I'm a saint.


I have 36 hours to myself. Nothing sounds more glorious or desirable. Yet, I am still a prisoner of the clock. For every appointment I have set for myself is preceded by the hours before it, thus limiting whatever small freedom I had.

I am sitting here waiting for hubby (*wink*, *wink*...), looking at the clock, and thinking how much time for a nap and a movie I will have after he leaves before heading to my 7:30pm spinning class.

Yesterday, I was “off” at 9:30am. And I had to actively relax. Breathe deeply in order to stop my mind and my body from stressing. Is it habit or compulsion? If it’s habit, how long will it take to kick it? Obviously 36 hours isn’t enough. And I think that if I learned to relax naturally, achieve a naturally relaxed state, my daily life will also be less stressful.

That’s what meditation is for. Duh.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

dissed at work

Yes, I have been royally dissed once again at work.

It seems that sweet-talking socialites that suck up to some key jerks at my workplace get privileges that override those of us who have too much integrity to play a part in the farce. Why bother feigning fairness, transparency, value if when at the end of the day, politics continue to determine the bosses' decisions.

Fuck it. The seed of anger and bitterness that I have boycotted since my arrival at T***S has been planted, and there is plenty of rain and sun for it flourish.

marriage blues...


Is it too much to ask your husband to give you 5 minutes from his precious TV time when you get back from work?

Apparently it is. And once again, we fight.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

bowel movements

I couldn't believe my eyes: tonight, Lucas, standing up diaper-less, pooping, right onto the carpet. 'WTF!' you exclaim. And I concur.

He had been saying, "caca" for a few minutes, and went into his room and lay down. Bravo. I took his diaper off, and there was nothing. 'Okay,' I thought, 'must have just been some gas.' He got up and ran to the living room, swaggering and showing off his bum-bum, much to the glee of Sebastian. This went on for a few minutes, and I took the respite from the kids' attention to put away some toys.

When I go into the living room, I see Lucas do his concentrating caca face, and watched in disbelief as he relieved himself onto the carpet, very nonchalantly, as if I had spent weeks training him to go potty in the living room!

Of course, his big bro, who can't stand the smell even of his own poop (when Seb goes to the potty, he has to have a glass of water to help offset the smell, and then we have to flush as soon as he hears the splash...), starting gagging and crying, threatening to add 3-yr-old throw-up to the bounty.

Yes, the situation worsened: when Lucas went running back to his room to lay down (so his highness could have his butt cleaned), he went excitedly grabbing his bum, spreading the batter. Then, almost as if on purpose, he sits down with just the perfect movement so that he could wipe the greatest area of his poopy butt onto the bedroom carpet.

Just a day in the life...

Thursday, 18 March 2010

familial altruism

Nothing more altruistic than buying a Father's Day present to your children's father when you are not feeling kindly towards him. I am still recuperating from that stupid (outlandishly exaggerated) fight we had on Tuesday, and still feel very little goodwill toward hubby. So I felt the halo hovering above me today when I decided to actually acknowledge Father's day tomorrow by getting hubby a gift.

The truth seeped out in the card, though. I just wrote "Happy Father's Day! You're doing a great job!" in it. I wonder if he could tell it was a little cooler than the usual mush I write him. Probably not at all.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

growing up by the lake

Today, I went to the windsurf school with the kids for the first time this season. This unchanging context highlighted just how much Sebastian has grown in the past year, how much more he is able to do, how much more independent he is. He is a real little boy, now. No more baby. No more toddler even. A boy exploring the rocky beach of Lago Maggiore.

The Lake and the windsurf school will be the perfect backdrop to their lives. Their summer routine of Pino, Montreal, Pino will fill their childhoods with memorable moments, smells, feelings. I am so happy for them!!


So my kids are sick. And yesterday, Tiziano was sick too. And I just can't kick this profound exhaustion I am feeling. I sometimes feel like I am unraveling, that nothing is real, that my breath is just being fueled by anxious energy. I want to say that it couldn't get any worse. But of course it could. I am one of the lucky ones. Things could get REALLY, REALLY worse. Then I would look back and think that these were the lucky years.

I also don't have any drive or inspiration. Everything seems pointless, and I don't remember what it feels like to care about things. This is mainly a feeling I have about work, but I also feel it towards relationships, and towards any additional teaching or experiences I could expose my kids to.

Am I on the verge of a nervous breakdown? The mild nausea, palpitations, bad circulation, losing sensation in my feet when I go spinning...

I need a vacation.

sneaky brats

No, not my kids. The brats who come into the library late, or come on time, then try to sneak out. Ha! You think I was born yesterday? Yup, I am of the age when I say the same shit that mothers the world over say.

I was a teenager too, once upon a time, and I remember that life revolved around getting and doing things that no adult could find out about. Because adults just don't understand. Oh the conspiracy!

Saturday, 13 March 2010

vacation apartment - balcony

So we bought a vacation apartment to rent out. We ran out of money, though, and now we are trying to furnish it. We are completely broke. But, hopefully, we will be able to make the mortgage payments by renting out to tourists in the summer. For now, it has incurred only costs, and has been used more by our nanny than by us! Hopefully, one day, it will earn us money instead of just being a free place for our guests to stay!!

Saturday night special

I have decided that Saturday nights will be special meal and dessert nights. Done. I don't know why it took me so long to actually decide to do this! :/ Friendly Neighbor does it as pizza nights on Saturdays. And today, when I decided I would make something nice, make dessert, and open a bottle of wine (because I am dieting, and Sat. nights is when I make concessions), I thought, 'I could do this every week!'. I would love for my kids to grow up remembering Saturday night meals with fresh, homemade cake. And it's so easy to make desserts and cake with my "Bimby."

I love it when I do something for my family that I am proud of. It happens so rarely.

corporeal expulsion

I have never been a big sufferer of intestinal troubles. I mean besides gas when I am tense, or throwing up in the first trimester of pregnancy, or on my deathbed with pneumonia as a child.

So I am boggled by how to treat the bout of intestinal horror that has taken hold of the men in my house. I read that hydration is the most important thing to watch out for. Bland foods. No too-sweet, too-fried, too-milky foods.

And then what? Do I just sit by and watch as my boys thin out before my eyes, as they expel everything that enters their bodies? Is there anything I can do to actually HELP them??? When has it been too long? When should I call the doctor? Is throwing up as bad as the runs? When do I have to go to meds? And what is the difference between a BUG, a VIRUS, food-poisoning, infection, something-crazy-serious-that-I-should-watch-out-for?

This is so frustrating!! I feel so powerless! And despite knowing that this stuff is normal at their age, it feels like they're DYING in front of my eyes.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

some more big bro, li'l bro moments

-During bathtime, when I've finished brushing Seb's teeth, he keeps the glass of water, drinks some and spits it out, over and over again. Every time, every night, it sends Lucas into gut-wrenching laughter.

-After Sebastian has done his time-out, Lucas goes and sits where Seb's time-out space is, and sits there happily, tapping his feet, so proud to be doing the same thing his big bro was just doing a minute ago.

-Sebastian always wanting what Lucas has. Lucas always wanting what Sebastian has.

-Sebastian relishing when Lucas KIND of hits him, so he can yell, "AYA!!!!!" and have mommy scold Lucas.

one year already?

I've been blogging for one year? When did that happen? I feel like I am always talking about "having just started a blog". But it's been a year. I didn't blog as much as I could have, should have, would have. But hey, here I am a year later, and I am still writing SOMETHING.

My writing sucks right now though. I can't formulate my thoughts into language that is funny or moving. It's in my head, but it is garbled, like static on the old TVs. The static is exhaustion. But it feels like brain damage. Will my brain come back? Will my writing return to its former self? Will I return to my former self? Will anyone ever read my blog?

Sigh. As usual...

sleeping arrangements, part deux

The only way to get Sebastian to sleep with nanny downstairs was to make it out like it was a special treat, and play it up. He's been such a good boy! He listened to nanny, ate all his pappa, didn't hurt Lucas (that much)!

I never thought this technique would have worked so well! I am almost sad that he is so excited to sleep with nanny, and not with me. My mother-in-law says that that excitement wanes after a few days.

Damned if you do. Damned if you don't.


sleeping arrangements

With my mother-in-law visiting for a few days, and Sebastian in no way ready (or willing?) to sleep in his big-boy bed, we have to play musical beds. Last night, hubby and I slept in the sofabed that nanny usually sleeps in. We thought it would be nice - I mean, it's been months since we last slept in the same bed together... without children that is. But it ended up being a really bad night. The sofa bed is dented in the middle, and we were both always lopsided, rolling into the middle, or teetering on the edges trying to keep some balance.

So tonight, nanny offered to sleep with Sebastian in the sofabed and leave our big bed to hubby and I. Holy flying friggers this is just craziness! Hubby and I, together? Alone? In bed? For the whole night? Will this one day be a regular occurrence again? Can I, may I, should I dare dream?

freezing temperatures

Is it too much to ask my husband to supply me with daily weather reports? I mean, he already spends most of his lucid, free time browsing websites about windsurf equipment, windsurf races, wind, and weather. He always knows the changing weather reports from all the main channels and sites.

Also, since I have very expressly communicated my switching to scooting to work instead of car, you'd think he would advise me when it is supposed to rain, snow, or go below 0. I mean, really!

Monday, 8 March 2010

which unhappiness is worse?

Last night at dinner with hubby, we were discussing the universal difficulty of raising small children while withstanding the pressure of aging parents. (One of the reasons for my conviction that people should have more than one child.) We were bemoaning the state of mind of both our mothers, and how miserable they must be with their respective problems, etc. But I realized, that if I had to choose, I would rather suffer my mother's unhappiness than my mother-in-law's. Marisa spent her life raising kids who don't speak to each other, stood by the side of a husband who never treated her that well, and is now alone, with no purpose in life. Add to that she never finished middle school, has no hobbies, interests, or pursuits, nor does she have any interest in starting any. She is also unable to change: she doesn't trust change, doesn't like it, doesn't want it, doesn't even consider it an option in anything. And yet at 75, she is built like an ox, and works from sun-up to sun-down. But what kind of life is that?

quiet house

Something very rare in my home. But I lived it for a few minutes this morning, when I was up before everyone else. For months I woke up before everyone else to go to work, but it was dark, and I was busy getting ready, etc. But since last night I slept downstairs, and hadn't prepared my clothes for this morning, when I came upstairs, there was nothing I could do but relish the silence and quiet.

It didn't last long. That feeling of calm and peace has become unfamiliar, and of course, I couldn't handle it. I busied myself getting breakfast ready.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Life List

I am going to make a life list, things I want to do before I die. I want it to have 100 things on it. Here's the start:

*take a sewing course *learn to play violin *go sky-diving *go to the Maldives *become a "popular" (i.e., successful) published writer *learn German fluently *learn Arabic *learn to water start and windsurf well *go wakeboarding *live in a Spanish-speaking country *get a Master's degree *read War and Peace *go scuba-diving *compete in the Marinera Competition in Peru *learn to surf *swim with dolphins *get a convertible car *take a pottery course *use a pottery wheel *learn to flip my hair when dancing salsa *become an awesome salsa dancer *teach my kids to love themselves *teach my kids to love everyone else

To be continued...

mommy friends

One of my new year's resolutions (I don't usually make new year's resolutions, but this year I decided I would actually improve things in my life!) is to cultivate valuable friendships. Screw the fair-weather, idiosyncratic, moody people at TASIS. Pick a few kind souls and invest in them. Form kind, warm, generous relationships with people that are kind, consistent, real, true.

I also would like for them to be other mothers with small children. I crave like-minded, like-situational, like-interested mothers.

This weekend, I have two playdates! Tomorrow, with my Pugliese neighbor who has a 21-month-old daughter (and who is even more desperate for company than I am). Sunday, with a former colleague (Puerto Rican, yeah!) whose husband likes sailing (potential couple friend!).

Yeah for determining my first resolution!

Now I only need to lose 10 kg.

Sunday, 17 January 2010


Sebastian and Lucas are so happy to have me back, and I am so happy to be back. They've grown so much in just 9 days away. Sebastian speaks more clearly, and has better inflection. He also seems to be more at peace, independant, enjoying reflecting and being in his own little world. Lucas's hair grew, and he runs with more confidence. He also plays more, and the most incredible of all, is that their bond has strengthened. They fight less, and enjoy each other's company more. Sebastian doesn't go ape-shit when Lucas grabs his toy. But Lucas grabs Sebastian's toys less! And Lucas gives cheese to Sebastian at mealtime, even though he LOVES his grana. They act more like two little friends, than like rival siblings. It is just amazing!

Baby no. 3

After 7 days away from my beautiful little darlings, I was looking at pictures of them on my laptop, teary-eyed and called Tiziano to say that we absolutely HAD TO create another little gem (of course, in a few years yet). After returning from my work week away, I spent 3 hours alone with them, the desire for a third dissipated.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

baby skiing

I can't wait to see little Lucas and Sebastian on skis!! The kids I see here at Crans Montana taking lessons are *SO* adorable! I can just imagine little Sebastian being terrified and throwing a shit-fit when he actually has to get on them. I wonder how Lucas will be. But I am so happy that I get to offer them this opportunity, to learn to ski young, and have their bodies memorize the movements. The world will be their oyster.

missing my kids

It took me 5 days before I actually started missing my kids. I have been away for 5 days now, and only today do I actually miss them? Does that make me a bad mom? Today, a young 23-yr-old reassured me that no, it is not good to be too crazy for my kids. And she is probably right. But I still feel guilty when I think that I am just about everything to them, and they are not everything to me.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

A day away

I went to Lucerne today with Karine. The excuse was to take her somewhere, but really, I love the excuse to get away without the kids. When I get home from these jaunts, I am so much more attentive and patient with my kids, and I feel a surge of love for them.

I can't wait until they get a little older so I can take them there and visit the transportation museum, among other things!

Friday, 1 January 2010

Big brother, little brother

I have had so many delicious parenting moments in the past few weeks. The ones that stand out most right now are the ones that shed light on Sebastian and Lucas's relationship with one another! It is crazy that the simplest and most common realities of sibling life can be so intensely edifying...

Grocery shopping with the two: Sebastian and Lucas holding each other's hands; Sebastian nagging Lucas to come back to the trolley; Sebastian putting the yellow bowl that Lucas took down back onto the shelf.

Potty-training Sebastian: the little M&M treats must absolutely not be given to Lucas, "Baby, nooooo" as Sebastian wags his fingers; Lucas just DYING to get onto the toilet so he can be like his big brother.

Sebastian noting that there is a crack on the wall, and when mommy asks who dun it (teasing daddy for having done a less-then-perfect drywall job), Sebastian answers, "Baby!"


My father and stepmom tell me that it is good for kids to be bored sometimes. That it helps them cope with boredom in their future. To just be. To face themselves. To see their parents in the daily grind. To unconsciously soak up the life that makes up their memories of childhood.

But I feel guilty when I am not actively stimulating them, playing with them, teaching them something, giving them attention. And I feel like I do all that perfect mom stuff so little. And often, I am not interested in doing it. And thinking about my dad's words of wisdom is no help, really. Deep down, I know that I just want to be sleeping, reading, watching movies, hanging out. Motherhood is hard!

Potty training

Sebastian is officially potty-trained! It was really so easy. I don't know why I was so worried about it. This is another example of how stressed and high strung first-time moms are. Or rather, how stressed and high strung of a first-time mom I am. i was also a little lazy... it is often easier just changing a diaper a few times a day than remembering to remind him to go pee. But now that he actually IS potty-trained, I realize it is the other way around! Now changing Lucas's diapers are a pain in the butt, both his and mine!

Apple Diet

I am doing my infamous apple diet, where I eat only apples and drink green tea for 24 hours straight. Yes, it sounds drastic, extreme, fad diet, bla, bla, bla. But I need to do them to kickstart my healthy, long-term lifestyle, which I'vedone about a dozen times now. No need to say that THIS time, it will work! I MUST stop overeating!!!