Breast In Peace

a pink cup of milk

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

A Residency In Motherhood

artist residency in motherhood manifesto

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

A Rebel Birth Of Trust [Rotterdam Parents]

pregnant belly will not be induced

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

One & Done

red crochet chicken on egg

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

Baby Wearing Meets Baby Wheels [Rotterdam Parents]

photo of me wearing my sleeping son

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

753 Days Of Milk

breastfeeding teddy bear

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.

What I’ve never really spoken about though, is the pain. Continue reading

Back To Bra

IMG_20151109_161204

I leave the bedroom quietly, shut the door like I’m not even there. It took me so long to get him to fall asleep, nursing, he must have sucked for almost half an hour. I step into the bathroom, lift my shirt, and estimate the damage. I take the needle from the complimentary hotel sewing kit I keep handy on the shelf, clean it with rubbing alcohol then get down to it. The first time I had to do this I sweated profusely, the needle slipping out of my fingertips and my heart pumping like a traumatized squirrel’s. Continue reading

The Train Museum

IMG_20151031_115805

This month’s highlight of our Toddler-Mama life has been, without a doubt, the trip to the Train Museum. Now, when it comes to toys, we have a tendency to keep them as gender neutral as possible and follow V’s cues as of what he likes without any of that “you are a boy, thus you need to play with cars” nonsense. Unfortunately though, V does not like dolls. He is not interested in fairies and tea parties, he could not care less about glitter. Despite our efforts to broaden his horizon, he just loves cars. And trains. Actually, any vehicle with wheels will do. On the day of the trip, V and I took a bus, then a real train to a station where we met Continue reading

Mama Promises Again

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.

IF YOU MISSED IT, CLICK THIS TO CATCH UP!

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?

IMG_20151022_001053

* 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

The First Kiss

IMG_20150930_113906

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

Mama’s Day Out In Blaak [Rotterdam Parents]

If you keep an eye on Baby Blues News on social media, you must already know that we have started a collaboration with the brand-new website Rotterdam Parents, which is a source of information and support for the community of expat (but not only) families living in the greater Rotterdam area. I’m very excited to be a regular contributor for the site, as I could not imagine a better way to be involved in creating and promoting a sense of “being at home” for people of all nationalities and walks of life who, just like me, found themselves living in this crazy rainy wonderful country.

typewriters 3

The first piece to appear on the site is the tale of what I did on the very first day ever in which I threw in the Mama-towel and jumped a train to the city in a frantic attempt to save my mental sanity. Here is a little taste of how this story goes: Continue reading

The Owl’s Visit

IMG_20150829_000628

Can you imagine not seeing your best friend for two and a half years? I can. Actually, I know exactly how it feels (it sucks). But on the other hand, when after such a ridiculously long time, your friend finally comes to visit, the intensity of the joy you feel is *almost* worth the wait. And you forget about it quickly anyway cause you’re too busy catching up, laughing out loud on the balcony till the wee hours of the night. My friend stayed with us 10 days, she met my son for the first time ever, and turned out to be probably the coolest Auntie in his Harem. They climbed chairs together, stole small Continue reading