It’s been months since I had the guts to take my son to the supermarket. I’m not sure if every parent necessarily develops this form of shoppingwithtoddlerophobia, as I do sometimes see these relaxed women followed by faithful toddler girls doing a neat impersonation of a bonsai shopping housewife – but MY life does not look like that.
When my son started going to preschool, last November, I swore an oath to myself that I would always use those precious hours to practice the craft I love and WORK on my writing. But the craft I love is a foxy beast who knows many magic tricks to make time disappear, so slowly, over the months, I came to embrace the notion that slicing a tiny 25 minutes out of the two-hour Tuesday to dash get bread and a few other groceries for dinner was not such a bad idea after all.
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It’s a random Tuesday night, I put away the millet-and-courgette-and-other-stuff cassoulet leftovers in the fridge, make myself a cup of lemongrass infusion and sit on the couch. I’m not even that pissed about myself tonight, the first two days of this new week have been quite productive and I always get a dopamine rush at the feeling I’m keeping my shit tight.
I fire up my favourite SVOD channel and while I relax in my sweatpants and thick old socks, I notice I may have a bit of heartburn, cause a small acid pang somewhere at the bottom of my larynx. I make a mental note to choose peppermint for the next cup. Too much lemon juice in the lettuce? Perhaps.
But at the third episode of Grace And Frankie I know things are much more serious than I had suspected. The peppermint didn’t help at all, and what I thought was a tiny acid reflux is turning out to be a full-blown throat ache, of the kind which mean no good.
Fast, intense, naked, troubled, terrific, exhilarating, terrible, this November has been about dreams and long awaited (feared?) turns finally coming around. Multiple incredible events took place this past month, but I will tell you about two (2) main ones.
Ever since I was 12, I dreamed about becoming a novelist, AND –
On the first day of November I started writing (the first draft of) my very first novel!
If you follow me on social media you must have already heard that I took part in this year’s NaNoWriMo, which means that in the past 30 days I filled up a word document with 50,000 words.
50,202 – to be precise.
This sounds incredible and much more compelling than what it actually looks like, as these 50,202 words are more like one huge regurgitated blob of disconnected thoughts and episodes and anecdotes and bits of dialogues, all written with great speed and no filters (because word count) rather than anything even vaguely resembling a novel. I’m not even half way through a first version, not to mention revisions, editing, and all the actual work I still have to do for it to start making sense. So please don’t hold your breath.
Then again, what really matters is that I found in me the fire and persistence it took to accomplish this, which is the single greatest act of support toward my Inner Writer I’ve ever had the courage to undertake.Continue reading →
Control. Somewhere at the heart of my darkness there has always been a march to the drum of this notion – CON-TROL, CON-TROL, CON-TROL.
I crave it, stride for it, ideate ways to achieve it, fight for it when needed, wallow in it when I have it. That’s where my thirst for knowledge and understanding comes from, it’s not just a snobbish para-feminist statement that I, as a woman, regard the shape of my intellect much higher than the shape of, say, my tits. No, it’s the first stage of my need to minimize the chances of unforeseen circumstances, subtle panic.
For someone so hooked on control as I am, life with a baby (a kaleidoscope of hormonal explosions!) morphing into a toddler (a thunderstorm on a wedding day!) is like asking someone with arachnophobia to adopt a tarantula. Continue reading →
I’m extremely excited to announce that on May 11th (2016) I have become an Artist In Residence In Motherhood. Incidentally, on this very same day, it was also my Grandmother’s 99th birthday. We are not very close, but I nonetheless would like to dedicate this Residency to her. May she get to a hundred.
If you’re curious, you will find all the details about the Artist Residency In Motherhood on its official website, but if I were to tell you with my own words what compelled me to join, I’d say. It’s a project that radiates wit and a badass creative approach not only to art (any art) but to life in general, and my lust for things that are both intelligent and fun is too great to not want to be part of such an inspiring, empowering project.
With just one crucial shift of perspective, I understood that in my hands lies the power to turn my Toddler into my Muse, rather than a burdensome distraction from The Real Work. Many a time I’ve been reminded by fellow artists and film professionals and other such authorities that I will not be able to Continue reading →
Although I like to think of myself as an ever-flowing, dynamic creature who is not scared of transformation, there are a few things about me – and especially about my body – that have been always true and true they will (possibly) always be. One of these pillars of my earthly being is that nothing in me (not my mind, not my body, not my mood or style or interest) likes being forced.
I will never forget this one event from my childhood. I had a milk tooth that was taking forever to come out. It was hanging in my mouth for days, dangling, wobbling, hurting, making me miserable and whining and because I would not allow anyone of my family members to get between my gums and put an end to my misery, my mother sent my dad and me to the dentist’s to finally get it over with. Next thing I know, I’m reclining on the dentist’s chair, the pleasant lady doctor asks me softly to close my eyes while my father smiles and nods sheepishly. At first, I do close my eyes and open my mouth, but at the very last moment something clicks in me and I lift one of my eyelids to see the most terrifying-looking pair of forceps looming over my face. In one split second, my safety system went in complete lock-down. Continue reading →
It’s almost Easter again. The purple tips of the blossoming magnolias, the moist scent of last winter’s dog poo awakening in the sun. Also, everyone’s pregnant with their second child. And by everyone I mean my next-door neighbour, 97% of the girls in my mama group who popped with their first within the same few months as yours truly, and – most importantly – my sister.
My mother is about to come stay with us for two weeks and she’s on a mission like one of those groggy police negotiators who take jumpers down from the edge of buildings, unharmed, unsplattered. If I want to survive the upcoming holiday, I need to prepare to fend off the numerous, unrelenting conversations about this epidemic of second human conceptions that’s holding me under siege. Continue reading →
I’m really sorry you guys, I’m afraid I owe you an apology. I’ve made a big fat mistake and I need to tell you about it. Please let me explain.
You see, I’m a writer. I know I’m a writer for a number of reasons, but let’s just say it’s because when I write I feel right, I feel strong and sane, while when I don’t I become sick. Physically, mentally, in every single way. If I don’t write for too long I will break down and fold up on myself like a mad dinosaur pulverized by an alien beamer.
Round about the time my son was born, I completely stopped writing. Overnight, I went from multiple pages a day to absolutely not a single word for weeks and weeks and those weeks became several months very fast, almost a whole year. Obviously, I couldn’t afford to break down and fold up on myself as I had a baby on my arms, and so I dropped into a subtle creative panic that made me hallucinate a little. Continue reading →
A long long long long time ago, way before I even though I could ever get pregnant, I had very clear opinions about parenting. Not only about the important, metaphysical, aspects of it – my rock-steady knowledge concerned also many details of the nitty-gritty everyday of having kids. For example I knew exactly, if I were ever to have a child, that I would NOT follow the masses and push my precious offspring around in a stroller or pram or anything that clogs sidewalks and supermarket aisles making everyone behind me roll their eyes. That’s because, many dozens of months ago, one of my friend’s friend had a baby and she came to meet us wearing her newborn in a wrap, nice and warm under her winter coat. When I saw her, I immediately thought: That’s it! This is the right way to carry babies! Continue reading →
We hit an important milestone – our tight little nursing dyad has existed for two years, three weeks, and two days. This means that, for 753 days (and nights) my body has produced milk, which my son has drunk several times a day, by suckling on my breasts. I’ve written about breastfeeding before, and I have also written about my conflicted relationship with my chest. Everyone who knows me personally knows that I am a breastfeeding advocate, someone who is not afraid to speak up for the normalization and the desexualization of this beautiful and necessary act.
Throughout these two years of motherhood, I’ve spoken openly in real life and on social media about why it’s important for me to feed my child with my own milk and how I believe it’s crucial that nursing mothers get all the support they can possibly get. I post status updates (even the occasional brelfie) to celebrate our nursing milestones and international occasions like the World Breastfeeding Week, I follow several websites dealing with social issues and promoting breastfeeding information, I even started working as a volunteer for an association that provides support for first-time mothers where I focus especially on nursing moms, because that’s the kind of experience I can share.
Round about one year ago I wrote a post about all the things that, as a mother, I promised I would never do. Or at least, so I hoped. It was a sort of early motherhood manifesto, a way to pinpoint which were the choices I really, really did not want to make. To this day, that post has held a steady position in the top three most read of this blog’s history.
At the time I wrote Mama Promises, V was only nine months old and had just started to crawl. One year down the line, I do realize it’s much easier to be sure what you are or are not going to do when your child is still a baby who can barely move or express dissent. Once that baby becomes a toddler who can push chairs around the kitchen, climb on them and find your hidden cookie stash at the back of the cupboard, things tend to reach a slightly different level of challenging. Today I would like to look back at the list of promises I made a year ago and see how it all worked out. Did Mama manage to keep them, or did she have to break a few (or more) in order to survive?
* NO SUGAR! * Although we do our best to keep it minimal, our Little Man does eat some sugar. Actually, if I were to really be serious about avoiding all sugar floating out there in the atmosphere, I would probably not have any time to Continue reading →
V has never been a very cuddly baby. Ever since he was a newborn he had a very clear opinion about his personal space and body contact in general. He does not like being touched, tickled, he can endure only so many hugs a day and, as parents, we have always been very respectful of this. Unless the reason for us to touch him is a necessity such as changing his diaper, measuring his temperature or removing a gigantic booger from one of his nostrils, we never insist on him accepting our physical contact. We screen him from having to kiss or hug other family members, we react on his cues when he does not want to Continue reading →