The bee’s knees

I’m not a huge fan of the summer. Surprising considering how much I complain of the seemingly endless winters and soggy springs here. But summer just rubs me the wrong way. I was probably traumatized by the insanity inducing heat and humidity of Houston summers, having to get up at dawn to go play tennis or horseback riding cause being outside whilst not immersed in a swimming pool of tepid water after eight a.m. could only result in heat stroke. Also, during the summer my schedule goes all to hell.

So, the minute June rolls around, and all the extra-curricular activities start petering off I move the kids to the beach apartment. I know, I bet you’re all feeling really sorry for me right now.

But the God honest truth is that the main reason I move down to the beach is that we just renovated last year and there’s blessed air conditioning in every room, unlike our house in town. (Also, the beach and sea).

So what’s the summer like at our house? Well, I’m alone with the kids, which is equal parts wonderful, exhausting, and infuriating, as the Husband works so he only comes down on weekends (and usually on Sunday nights when he leaves he’s all YAY, I get to go relax at the office tomorrow! Woohoo! – I’m not kidding), the apartment is smallish so the upkeep is easy, and I don’t have a lot of stuff in it, so it’s mentally very relaxing. We get up, spend the morning at the beach, eat lunch at the beach café or at home, the kids nap, then we go to the playground in the afternoon and walk around all the little shops, the baker, the butcher, the greengrocer (yes, an actual greengrocer), the fishmonger… for our evening meal, we go back out after dinner if there’s a show in the church square, and then we rinse and repeat. We do this until the end of July. I spend a lot of my time yelling. It turns out, that a three and a five-year old don’t have an awful lot of common sense, and this fact hits home especially hard when you’re with them 24/7. Who’d a thought. And yet…

Despite the fact that I’m a bit off during the summer, that the heat gets me down, and that I’m annoyed by my body image more than at any other time of the year, basically despite the fact that I’m somewhat of a sourpuss during the summer, I love all the time I spend with the kids. I’m their main source of entertainment, so I learn to be more patient, more fun, more flexible, I even manage to not adhere to our strict meal and nap times without going off the deep end (in case you haven’t noticed I’m a bit of a control freak). And the children learn to be more helpful, more articulate, their English miraculously improves, they’re better at cleaning up, at helping me do the menial daily chores that they usually aren’t privy to, and they love it. They don’t, much to my surprise, get bored just hanging out with me. Apparently, hanging out with me is the bee’s knees. Sure, I have to come up with new stuff to do every once in a while, and there are many kids for them to play with at the beach or at the playground, but they’re just as happy sitting on the couch watching tv with me. And that feels nice. During the school year, we’re usually too busy doing what one does all year, nobody really notices how quickly time slips away, but during the summer we get to all just be for a minute, together. I guess it’s not such an awful season after all. And, when the heat really gets me down, I try to remember that soon enough I’ll hit the finish line, and the next season is my absolute favorite, of fresh starts and of new beginnings, Fall. But for now, I’ll just try to enjoy the silly things they say and do, because, I suspect, soon enough they won’t want to hang out with me all summer.

linking up today with Mamakat for her prompt: 2) describe what summer is like at your house.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Up, up, and away!

I wrote this Tuesday May 28th, but only able to publish now…

It’s a funny thing leaving your kids and flying across an ocean. Last year, right about this time, I wrote a post, much like I’m doing right now, on an airplane over the Atlantic Ocean. Last time I was going to Brazil by myself to see my ailing grandmother (who has since blown out 103 candles on yet another birthday). The Husband and the Nanny were home with the kids, and though a bit nervous and guilt wracked at leaving the kids behind, one parent was home so I was pretty fine and ready to enjoy myself on the five-day trip. This time I’m flying to New York with the Husband, and I no longer have a Nanny. My kids are with their Nonni (paternal grandparents) and right before leaving for the airport I found myself handing my mother in law an envelope containing my will, a video for the kids, and instructions on their caregiving should they find themselves orphaned.


My parents travelled a lot when I was a kid. They travelled both with and without us, and they went all over the world. When they flew with us we all travelled together, when they flew without us they took separate planes. It was very matter of fact. They wrote their wills early on, they nominated a guardian for us, they took care of things. It must have been hard for them, but it was very normal for me. We knew about it, and it wasn’t weird.


So when the Husband asked me to go to NY with him for a few days, I immediately started thinking about the things I needed to do, not just the packing and the organizing, but the taking care of things. We’d been talking about it since The Boy was born, but I’m a world-class procrastinator and he’s Italian (that’ll become relevant in a minute) so it just never got done. When one travelled the other was home, and we know exactly what the other expects of us should anything happen. This time, though, we had no excuses.


Writing my will wasn’t hard. It was actually quite simple and straightforward. The hard part was thinking about what we’d want to happen to our kids. Have any of you had to think about this before?

Ideally, we would have liked young guardians so we went through all our siblings first… apart from the fact that we are total opposites on the religious, political, and quite possibly moral front, my brother is unmarried and still living the simple, single, lifestyle. Also, I’m not a huge fan of his girlfriend so his taste in what would presumably be my children’s mother figure did not bode in his favor. My other half-siblings are all in their fifties and their kids are all in their twenties and leaving home. I can’t imagine they’d want to have two preschoolers fall in their laps right when their getting ready to finally start enjoying some peace, quiet, and independence again. I don’t think I’d want my ability to travel at the drop of a hat and go out to dinner somewhere with tablecloths rudely taken away from me after twenty years of deprivation right at the finish line, would you?

The Husband’s siblings are more age appropriate but his sister is the one who wants to send us her teenage daughter to raise, so that doesn’t fill me with confidence, and his brother is… well… kind of an asshole.

And friends are always a tricky option when you have families as large as ours. So we were in a bit of a bind…

We finally settled on a joint, both physical and financial, guardianship of the two grandmothers. The kids have an awesome relationship with my MIL, and even though she’s older than my mom we think she’s a better option for when they are little, with the clause that they go live with my mom when they’re teenagers (unless they strongly object to this themselves).


Reading all this you’d think we were on death’s door. Of course we’re not, and we have a higher chance of kicking the bucket whilst driving than flying, but I guess it was as good a time as any to start thinking about it. But let me just say that it was absolutely, bar none, the hardest thing I’ve had to do. Ever.  Having to sit down and actually think about and imagine my children’s lives without me was enough to make me want to surgically reattach them to my body and never, ever let them free.

And it made me realize just exactly how precious, how absolutely, unquantifiably, important they are to me.


Doing all this also made me feel a little weird. In Italy people do not talk about death. At all. I remember when the Husband got sick, I casually told his mom that he needed to let me know what he wanted in case something went wrong and she completely freaked out on me, it was strange and pretty much incomprehensible to me, because my parents had always been absolutely straight forward and matter of fact about this stuff. When my dad died we all knew exactly what he wanted without even needing to read his will, this made things easy for us and avoided much pointless arguing. Of course this time was no different, I called my mom and told her about my will and what was in it, and all she said was to write the kids a letter to read when they got older (this being the digital age, I left them a video), my MIL, visibly tensed, got tears in her eyes, and told me to stop talking. This morning before we left she took me aside, showed me a secret drawer and said I should put “those things” I mentioned in there, and then shot off like a cat on fire.


It’s fine, we did what we had to do, and now I hope to enjoy the four days the Husband and I have in NY together. He’ll work some, I’ll shop loads, my mom is joining us there, the kids are having fun with their Nonni, whose action packed schedule for the week rivals anything the  Disney franchise could possibly come up with for coordinated family fun. And the small, innocuous looking, white, in case I’m gone, envelope sitting in the “secret drawer” has ensured my piece of mind.


Now tell me, have you done this? Thought about it?

No Bugs Bunny, keeps me sane

Bed time routines are a bloody nightmare, am I right???

I am not a morning person, by any stretch of the imagination. I’ve never been one. The Husband, on the other hand, loses all cognitive ability after eight p.m. This was always a problem when we were younger and childless because he would clock out when I reached my energy peak, as you can imagine, this made many things difficult, not the least of which was sex. Over the years we’ve managed to find the middle ground on most things (the ones where both of us have to be active and present at least) and we’ve divided up the things that occur at our respective “best” times of day. Basically, I’m not expected to function rationally in the morning, so he takes over the child-readying operations while I’m in charge of anything that happens in the evening. It works out great for us. He gets up early, has a nice relaxed breakfast with his newspaper and no one talking and or needing anything from him, he makes everyone juice, he comes upstairs and wakes me and the kids, and takes care of all the wrangling, washing, brushing, and feeding that is necessary to get to preschoolers out of the house. While I only have to concentrate the two neurons that are actually active and awake in my brain on getting just myself washed, dressed, and fed in the absolute peace and quiet necessary to avoid my head exploding first thing in the morning.

Of course after dinner, I’m in charge of the reading of bedtime stories, brushing of teeth, and yelling like a deranged person to get the same two preschoolers into their damn beds and staying there. I’m also in charge of the repeated serving of water to quench the torturous thirst that presents itself whenever I try to leave the room. I imagine The Husband is sitting in bed, relaxed, and laughing at me the entire time.

Hands down, I think, bedtime is worst than the morning routine. I’ve done the morning routine, while barely functional, and it just doesn’t elicit the same levels of stress and murderous rage that the bedtime routine brings on. Every night, it’s one more book, they have to pee (again), they have to tell me something “super, super, important” right as I’m walking out the door, they lose their luvvies, they need me to tuck them in again and again, and they are so thirsty, so parched, that nothing less than at the very least three separate drinks of water will satisfy them. It takes half an hour to get them to settle down (after they’ve been washed and effectively put into bed for the first time), at the end of which I mostly just want to kill them. It’s very frustrating, mainly because without their constant interruptions and requests our bedtime routine is actually quite sweet. Once they’re in bed, I do a little bad dream banishing magic, I sing them a song, and then we say “good night, I love you miles and miles, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite”, except that the Girl for some reason didn’t get the bed bugs part, so she would say something unintelligible, which later turned out to be “no bugs bunny”. I have no idea why, I mean, she likes Bugs, Loony Tunes was her favorite show for a while there, and yet every night it’s “sleep tight, no bugs bunny”. So of course, all of us started saying it that way, because, honestly, who could resist, but I feel kind of bad for Bugs, banished from our bedtime routine, for no apparent reason.

So bedtime makes me crazy, except for that moment when two little voices yell “no bugs bunny, mama” at my retreating back as I hightail it out of their room for the fifteenth, and hopefully final, time.

Who put this hot potato in my lap??

This weekend the Husband took the kids to Milan to visit his family. The kiddos love spending time with their Nonni (grandparents) and I get a relaxing weekend at home… alone… pure bliss! Though, I do miss them lots (between cocktails and visits to the spa and hanging out with my friends with nary a child in sight…) Also, my Husband’s family gets to do whatever they want, feed them candy, take them on adventures, without my disapproving, party pooper presence. So it works out all around.

Friday night I had “the girls” over for dinner, mostly because I needed to practice my Margarita making skills – on a side note, it took me thirty minutes in front of the liquor aisle at the supermarket to locate the tequila, there were 25 different types of rum and more different grappas than I could count but only one, lonely, half-hidden, bottle of insanely expensive tequila, which I thought was pretty weird… Anyway… one of my girlfriends wanted to hone her cosmopolitan making skills as one of her 40 things to learn before 40 bucket list, so much alcohol was consumed. Surprisingly, everyone was eager to taste test our creations. We had a lovely meal, followed by drunken dancing, and then we sobered up with a hilarious movie before bidding each other good night at the ungodly hour of 2am. All this happened while wearing drawstring pants, not a stitch of make-up and with nary a high heel in sight, basically, the perfect evening!

This is the second child and Husband free weekend I’ve had this year, and I’ve got to say that every couple of months or so it really is a lifesaver (or, less dramatically, sanity saver).


The Husband came home Sunday night and asked me to consider having his 16 year-old niece come to live with us. I know, kind of an intense subject matter for a Sunday night post relaxing weekend.

His niece, is a really sweet, slightly troubled, girl. We had actually considered this two years ago when she started high school, but decided we couldn’t accept the responsibility of a fourteen year old (the Husband had just had the second transplant and the Girl was one and a half). And now the situation presents itself once again, and I’m unsure what to do.

Our niece, let’s call her R for simplicity’s sake, has just been suspended from school for two weeks, she’s probably going to fail the year, she got recently put in a body cast for a pretty severe scoliosis that nobody noticed, and is generally left mostly to her own devices. I’m not making any judgments on her parents and their parenting, they had an ugly divorce, and other varied and sundry family drama, and since I’ve never gone through that and don’t have teenagers I can’t say one way or the other where the blame lies (if blame can even be assigned in a situation as this one). What I do know, is that we could give her a stable family environment. What I don’t know is whether I’m capable of handling a teenager, cause if it’s your own teenager you’ve raised her year by year yourself and you sort of ease into it, we would be leaping from preschoolers to at teenager with no intermediate preparation whatsoever.

I wouldn’t want to screw up the situation more than it already is, but on the other hand, we love her and want to help her, and maybe being in a new environment, having to make new friends, away from all the drama that inevitably falls on her doorstep every day, could be beneficial.

Right now we’re trying to think of all the possible scenarios, and we’re trying to figure out if we’re up to it and how it would affect her, us, and our children, then we’re going to sit down and talk to her parents (separately, but hopefully also together) and to her. In the meantime, I wonder, does anyone have any advice?

You say potato, I say…well… mind your own damn business!

It turns out that, according to some, I’m a bit of an army general whereas according to others, I’m a bit of a pansy ass. It baffles the mind.

My in-laws were here for a few days at Easter and they kept remarking on how “good” the children were and how they do things that “other children don’t have to do” and I’m such a “good mother”, the subtext of which was clearly how the children are poor, over-burdened, little soldiers, and I’m a slave driver. (And when I say subtext I mean my father-in-law literally saying the words under his breath). All this because my kids help “set the table” (I put that in quotes because while the five-year old kind of knows where the utensils and stuff go on the table the three-year old dumps everything in the middle and just spreads stuff around randomly), and unset the table (what’s the opposite of “set the table”? we used to jokingly say dress and undress the table when we were kids, which regularly prompted my brother’s catch phrase “but mom we haven’t been properly introduced” to which much hilarity ensued… or not, anyway…),  and vacuum under the table with the dust-buster, and clear up their toys, and change their own clothes, and generally try to help out around the house. All stuff we did when growing up (despite the fact that my mom generally had between one and three maids in the house at any given time). I don’t feel like a slave driver, it’s just stuff they should learn how to do (also, if they don’t do it, I have to). I realize I’m the opposite of the typical Italian mother, who still irons her kids clothes when their twenty-five and in graduate school and living away from home, but I think that if though they may not consider these things normal they should at the very least be proud of their grandkids for being able and willing to do this stuff. Whereas, I’m sure, there are conversations going on in Milan between my MIL and her friends that go somewhere along the lines of “can you believe she makes her children set the table? What kind of lazy ass mother is she?!” Ah, the joys of cultural differences.

Speaking of cultural differences, on the other side of the Atlantic, in the sweltering heat of Houston, my Mother thinks I have forgotten the meaning of the word discipline, because my kids want my attention right now even when I’m speaking to another adult, because they jump on the couch, because I, *gasp*, allow them to take all the living room throw pillows and blankets, dump them on the floor, and then keep score to see who can jump farther from the couch to the pillow pile. My children whine and complain when I send them to brush their teeth, they dare protest when it’s time for bed, they have (occasionally) thrown a tantrum in a public place… Her favorite refrain is “your children’s behavior is a reflection of you as a mother, you have to take pride in them”, like I should only be proud of them when they’re well-behaved, or rather, I should take pride in myself when they’re well-behaved. Or something along those lines.

I try to walk the middle of the road… I do that a lot, lately. We had plenty of help around the house, but my mom made sure we learned how to do everything for ourselves, we learned to cook, and clean the house, and do laundry, and iron, and sew buttons… but our house wasn’t a lot of fun, there was a lot of tip-toeing around and not bothering the adults. Whereas my in-laws, as well as most Italians, like to complain (or pride themselves on) how many sacrifices they make for their children, how they’re still at home when they’re thirty-five, how no one wants to get married, because, let’s be honest, why should they? They live rent free in their parents house, with a free maid (their mother) and all the freedom in the world. How today’s youth is so entitled… but who made them that way?

And how on earth did I become the bad guy in this in the eyes of two completely opposing camps?? Walking the middle ground is hard, neither camp is happy, and I get a lot of crap from both of them. But I’m sticking to my guns, because I strongly believe in discipline, but I also very much believe in fun, and the two aren’t mutually exclusive. My kids need to learn how to do practical things, it’s part of my job to teach them, they need to be well-mannered, and learn patience (gradually), they need to be respectful, and independent, and responsible, but they also need to have fun and make messes, and do stupid things, because how else will they learn? I didn’t have a bad childhood by any stretch of the imagination, but I also didn’t have a lot of fun, or rather, there was always a limit to the fun we could have, we couldn’t make too much noise, too much mess, and when we did scoldings and guilt would ensue. There was lots of guilt and a fair amount of fear and I don’t think fear equals respect. I want my kids to respect me, to know when and where there are limits but also when and where it’s ok to cut loose, and I absolutely, positively, don’t want them to fear me or my reactions. So to some I am too strict, and to others I am too lenient, I just hope I manage to straddle the “just right” position at least half the time.
Do you have family members judging/questioning your parenting, and if so, how do you deal??

Joining Shell today for Pour your heart out.

Random thoughts on Valentine’s Day, skiing, and how I need to work on my wifery so this post is all over the place.

I’m a horrible wife. Yesterday I completely forgot it was Valentine’s day. I got clued in by the wrapped present on my plate when I went down for breakfast. And I knew I was getting a present, because when a package arrived at home a few days ago the husband said “don’t open that, it’s your Valentine’s day present”. I forgot. Not only did I not get him anything, I also consulted with my friends and could come up with nothing even remotely original or interesting to get him, and I didn’t have time to get him anything all day anyway because it was one of those back to back days that happen rarely, yet at the most inconvenient times possible.

I now have all weekend to come up with something good, cause the Husband took the kids to his mother’s this weekend. He had a doctor’s appointment today in Milan so he decided to take the kids and let me rest, cause I really needed a break, and though a major control freak when it comes to my children I trust my MIL enough, though I don’t trust her not to give them candy… but hey, I’m not there to deal with the sugar induced insanity so totally not my problem. So it’s my first weekend at home sans children and it’s both weird and wonderful (and sad). I miss them, though I kind of like this complete lack of responsibility (I had a McDonald’s shake and fries for lunch…), but I miss them, but I’m enjoying myself, but I’m feeling guilty for enjoying myself. Motherhood makes women crazy.

On another note, the house renovations are on track and I’m soon going to quit just talking about it and start posting pictures so you get an idea what I keep going on about. The electricians and plumbers are starting to run all their tubes and stuff so I spent all morning yesterday (and this morning) on the construction site freezing my buns off. Yesterday afternoon I spent all afternoon freezing my buns off on the slopes taking pictures of the Boys skiing lesson. They had their first trial “race” and can I just say that skiing has got to be the most mind numbingly boring spectator sport there is. Also, it’s just plain uncomfortable, you’re wearing eight layers of clothes so you’re three times you’re normal size, and still your fingers get numb from the cold, you’re slipping and sliding on ice, or sinking to your knees in fresh snow, you’re clumsy, there’s no point cheering cause they can’t really hear you anyway, and it’s hard to get decent pictures. (I don’t have any to post cause the Husband took the camera with him before I could download them. Sorry!

Anyway, the Boy has fun (and truth be told, it is fun) I just hope he doesn’t decide to do it competitively because I don’t want to spend my Saturdays and Sundays with chattering teeth trying to unobtrusively play with my ipad while pretending to be fascinated by whatever is going on on the slopes. (And also, I imagine, freaking the hell out cause apparently as they get older, they get faster and faster, which is the point of the race… but they go 100-120km an hour. I don’t want to watch my kid barreling down a mountain with no protection at that speed after eight hours of labor, a c-section and countless sleepless nights!) So, he needs to choose soccer, or better yet basketball (so no torn ligaments), or some other team sport, because I want to sleep nights and not worry, and also, I want to be the annoying mother cheering on the sidelines with a cowbell.

I have a big girls’ night planned tonight, pizza, a movie, popcorn, sundaes and lots, and lots of alcohol! Updates tomorrow as soon as I shake off the hangover haze. So for now I can’t but wish you a wonderful weekend and if anyone has any tried and true hangover remedies hit me in the comments!

Also, sorry for this post being all over the place!

Monday Listicles Two for the price of one…

I’ve been MIA. I didn’t even do the listicle last week…. Even though it was my friend Bridget’s and I can’t believe I missed her listicle! Which is why you get two for the price of one today. Yessiree, cause you can’t not do the listicle when one of your favorite bloggers and very supportive internet friend comes up with it, and the one that Lisa came up with for this week is pretty cool too so there you have it, double lists. Sooooo, first ten things my parents did right thanks to Lisa of TheSprog and then ten people (more or less) alive or dead I’d like to have dinner with.

Before I begin, I’d like to add that I realize I’ve been crap at blogging, and more importantly, at reading all the blogs I love the past couple of weeks, but I’ve been enjoying the summer, and having my kids with me more than I had for the almost two months since summer started. We’ve been having adventures, and sleeping in, and seeing friends, and discovering new, fun, play areas around here, we’ve been hanging out with family and friends visiting from all over, we’ve been cooking, and lazying in front of the tv, well, in a word (or three) we’ve been having fun. And who can possibly blame me for having fun? There’s so much heartache and anger and frustration and sadness and tedium in life (even when there isn’t much, it’s still too much) that we need to just stop everything and have pure, unadulterated and simple fun some of the time. So my appeal to you is: have fun. Pick a week (or even just a weekend) and stop everything else, no commitments, no guilt, no yelling, just fun, just whatever you want to do, even if it’s completely ridiculous. Having a little fun all year is great, and it’s healthy, but having a whole lot of fun, all together, an overdose of fun and joie de vivre, every once in awhile is crucial. Trust me, try it!

Back to listicling, here goes…

Ten things my parents did right:

1. they taught me to be an optimist (by example)

2. they sent me to Italy when I was nineteen

3, they let me work, even though it was going to affect my studies a bit

4. they loved my husband as soon as they met him (unlike all the boyfriends before him)

5. they showed me the world and taught me to navigate it

6. they (well, my mom mostly in this case) taught me to cook decently

7. though my Dad taught me to make the perfect breakfast omelette, no mean feat.

8. they let me be me, and showed me that I was more than I expected

9. they were firm and unapologetic

10. they stayed together, through the hard times, and loved each other till the end. (and beyond).

My parents did a lot of things right so I could probably go on and on and on… but now it’s time to list ten people I’d want to have dinner with:

1. My paternal grandparents, since they died before I was born.

2. Henry the eighth, mostly because I’m watching the Tudors right now and would really like to know what’s with the obsession with Anne Boleyn.

3. Harry Dresden, because he’s the coolest wizard of them all (this list accepts fictional characters, yes?)

4. Marie Antoinette, so I could tell her to keep her freaking mouth shut and possibly get the hell out of dodge.

5. Tomàs de Torquemada, so I could tell him to just chill out a little with the inquisition please.

6. Prince William and Kate, cause they’re cute and I wonder whether they wouldn’t rather have eloped to Vegas.

7. Ryan Gosling – no explanation needed.

8. E.L. James, so I could hand her a dictionary, and a thesaurus, and a book on grammar and writing and… maybe I’d just ask her to please stop writing crap or alternatively to get an editor already,

9. Picasso – cause he sounds like he was a good time.

10. Bridget – cause I’ll probably never make it to Alaska and I’m sure I could persuade her to come to Italy, our wine is exceptionally good!

Linking up with Stasha for another great listicle monday!

I’ll marry you

The other day I had the following conversation with the Boy as he was sitting on my lap cuddling before bed:

Mama what’s in that box?

It’s Sister’s christening outfit, you have one too.

Oh… what’s christening?

Long explanation here, which I won’t relay cause frankly I can’t remember anything other than the fact that we seem to be stuck on religion lately and I ended with: then there’s your first communion and your confirmation if you decide to do it and then you can get married and these are the sacraments (yes, I decided to leave the last sacrament out of the conversation with a four-year old).

Get married?

Yes one day when you’re old like daddy you could fall in love and decide to get married (notice what I did there?)

Okay, well, I’m going to marry sister.

Oh, baby, you can’t marry your sister.

Why not? (indignantly)

Because you can’t. (please don’t make me explain this!)

Okay, then I’ll marry you, Mama.

I’ll marry you, Mama…. How many little boys have said this in all innocence to their mothers, and how many of them have actually ended up marrying their mothers?

Oh, don’t be gross! Of course I meant women who were very similar to their mothers! I’m thinking just as many as girls who realized well into their marriages that they have, indeed, married their fathers. Life is a cliché sometimes, isn’t it? And yet my heart melted just a little bit at those words because for now, for just a short time, I’m still the center of his universe (after Sister, of course).

Linking up with Bits of Bee today for Quotable bits.

The hours go slow, but the years they go so fast

Cliché, I know. But I hate seeing my kids growing up! I’m not in a big rush to let go of the baby, toddler, preschooler phase, I don’t mind diapers and bottles and late night calls for water. Well, honestly, at this point I could probably live with eight hours of uninterrupted sleep… but I don’t mind the little “annoyances” for lack of a better word, of having small children. What I do mind is this constant anxiety I have at the fact that every minute that ticks by they’re getting older and moving inexorably away from me. I can’t tell if it’s selfishness, insecurity or what that stems these feelings but I have them, I don’t want my kids to grow up. So I let them reach their milestones at their own pace, I found myself asking my three-year old if he was absolutely, positively sure he wanted to be out of his diapers already, I try to let them be babies for as long as I possibly can. The logical consequence of this reticence of mine is, of course, that they both do everything early, they walked, talked and ran early, they tried new foods and were ready for more grown up games before their time. So I guess the joke’s on me.

The years, they really do go by so fast, and the harder I try to hold on to them the faster they go.

Ironically, though, the days, they go so slow. And I get frustrated and upset and irritable just like any other mother. It’s infuriating. Here I am not wanting them to grow up, but rolling my eyes at their tantrums, yelling at their messes, sighing in frustration at their fighting. Probably not enjoying their childish antics as much as I should, or could. In fact, as I’m standing over them pissed off for some reason or another I can see my future self regretting the stupid little things that so make me angry now but that are indelible signs of their babyhood. And I wonder why does everything have to be so fraught with contradictions? I wish I could just let go and enjoy the moments that I have, that I could shut off my brain, that I could look at the present without all the baggage from the past and anxiety for the future.

The years, they go so fast, as for the days though, I wonder if their going slow is just an illusion because we’re so caught up in living life we don’t see it slipping through our fingers. These small people we’re entrusted with turning into adults, they are little for such a short time…

Linking up today with Shell at Things I can’t say.

The lazy-ass approach to child rearing

I have two kids of four and two. My kids still occasionally drink from a bottle. GASP!

They also started drinking from a proper cup when they were one year-old, they learned quickly and there were few accidental spills, though, truth be told, there were many purposeful ones of the I wonder what happens if I overturn the cup on the table? The couch? The rug? The stairs? My shirt? variety. I chalked it up to scientific experimentation and was always to be seen with a rag at hand.

In my opinion, my children will likely not be permanently damaged from this protracted bottle use as I have otherwise kindly been informed, I have the evidence of my own pictures at four and five with a bottle hanging from my mouth and no evident scarring.

They will let go off the bottle whenever they see fit, or their friends start teasing them about it, whichever comes first.

I have the same laissez-faire attitude to potty training. My four-year old decided one morning, right after turning three and just in time for preschool, that he was done with diapers and thus consequently had a grand total of two accidents and was well on his way to adulthood. Much too my own chagrin. With the girl I’ve had to be more proactive (due to some diaper rash issues) but she seemed ready and I don’t pressure. (I believe my own mother was more of an overachiever than I with respect to the diapering, but it was the seventies and disposable diapers where rather expensive if you had access to them (in Italy) so I can see the logic of abandoning them sooner rather than later and, of course I was exceptionally gifted).

This no pressure attitude towards reaching developmental milestones works for me. In my heart of hearts I don’t want them to grow up too fast, I don’t mind washing bottles for a few more years (or, sob, months) or changing a diaper here and there. In my mind, they’re little for no time at all. And I wonder how this is anyone’s business but my own. And when did child-rearing become a competition? How is the manner in which I raise my children anyone’s business but my own? (and occasionally the husband’s…). So I beseech you, stop with the unsolicited advice, they are happy and healthy and well-adjusted that is all anyone but the parents should care about. Parents have so many more important things to worry about, like keeping these children alive, on a daily basis, and well on to adulthood, like raising them to be happy, emotionally sound adults, like making sure they always hold their own in life, that they never back down when they’re in the right and that they apologize when in the wrong… (I could go on and on here but you get the gist) it boggles the mind that a bottle or a diaper even registers as one of the things we really need to be expending energy over.

So please, when you see my two-year old contentedly drinking her evening bottle, soothing herself into bedtime mode and my four-year old right beside her with his own bottle cause more likely he needs the comfort of knowing he’s not such a big boy yet, well, just avert your judgmental gaze and mind your own fucking business.

Linking up today with Shell at Things I Can’t Say for Pour your Heart Out