August has been terrific – the best month of this whole Dutch “summer” of ours, by far. And it has been terrific not so much because of the few days of actual heat, and enjoying picnics at the swimming pool, and Martini-tonics on the terrace at sundown. But because it brought many small, almost imperceptible revolutions, like the flapping of butterfly wings which circle and grow, make waves, move waves, become hurricanes and landslides. The biggest, most significant magical shift in this rather demure lifestyle we lead, you see in this photo – yes, it’s a child (our child) sitting on a child seat on the back of a bike (my bike). Nothing special? Well, to me it is.
I’m sure we all have situations like this – this sort of roadblocks we plant in our own strides and then moan as the discomfort grows, but take months if not years to take a simple step, make an uncomplicated decision, and get rid of them.
This time it went like this. Continue reading
For me, eating pizza is a lot like going on “vacation” to my parents’ house. The dynamic around the two processes looks virtually the same. First, I think about it – Hey! Why don’t I go get me some lovely pizza? It’s been so long since I ate pizza! Mmmmm, pizza! – which every time sounds like the best fucking idea, because pizza is so awesome! Everyone loves pizza, few things in the world are tastier and more comforting than good pizza, one of those made with the heartiest ingredients and baked in a real wood-oven like they do in the country I come from – Italy. Pizza is warm and soft, it smells like yeasty roasted heaven, and it tastes even better, that simple yet perfect combination of tomato sauce and melted cheese, topped to perfection by fistfuls of what your palate loves most – olives? rucola? grilled aubergines? salami?
Just please no canned pineapple. Canned pineapple on a pizza is some strange brand of heresy.
The problem between pizza and me, though, is in the mozzarella. I shouldn’t eat real, juicy mozzarella because I’m 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
The image you see was taken at the beginning of May in a very special laundromat in Antwerp, Belgium. If you look closely, in the top right corner you can see two of the many laundry machines lining the walls of this really hip joint, which also offered a wide choice of drinks and cakes and, obviously, had a piano too. We stopped there after spending the whole morning at the beautiful Antwerp zoo and then wandering for a good two hours across the city’s center.
This photo is very dear to me for multiple reasons, but let me just tell you about the two main ones. 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
Deep deep down, at the very heart of my gut, I am a lone wolf. Before I had the blind luck to meet the man who dazed me with his love, made me a mother, and gave me a home, I spent seven years of my life (in a row) on my very own. But mind you, I was not a sad spinster and I have seldom been scared to face the world all alone. When I was on my own, I enjoyed each day by doing exactly as I pleased and I’ve never let the fact I was missing an entourage stop me from going wherever I wanted to go, even in the middle of the night. 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.
What I’ve never really spoken about though, is the pain. Continue reading
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.
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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