The balad of maternal dependency. Just in case I tell you again how to overcome the 4 most maddening challenges of parenting.

This post was originally published during the national poetry month and I suspect it might have been buried by the avalanche of poems that were published at that time. Since I am quite fond of this post I would not like it to end like that. So just in case you missed it, here it is!

3

Illustration: Patricia Fitti

My baby boy won’t eat.

My baby girl doesn’t speak.

My baby boy won’t listen.

My baby girl doesn’t sleep.

And I , oh I , I cook for him so many things.

And I , oh I , I speak to her so many words.

And I , oh I , I explain to him so many times.

And I, alas, I’m lost in an infinite and infernal exhaustion deprived of sleep“.

(sing this playing a little guitar , using a trembling voice, in the sweet and soulful style of Violeta Parra. Repeat as many times as you like or continue reading, there may be alternatives).

I wanted to write this for a long time. As I told you, I do not like confrontation, but today I am not being myself: I got up at 4 am , I showered , I meditated the best I could – I’m not good at it – then I had breakfast , I promoted my free play seminar and reactivated our family business twitter account wondering how is that they suspended me if I opened it yesterday… evidently I can make things wrong from the very beginning.

While all this is going on, my family is still asleep (it’s not even 6 AM).

So I have free time and no one to care for. I do not like that, it makes me nervous.

Since I became a mother most of my attention is directed towards my children. When I got married I focused a lot on my husband. Since I completed college I’ve been attentive to social welfare. And when I was a teenager, ah, I was focused on pairing my thin, rebel and busty friends who excelled me on every aspect getting boyfriends (I never managed)…

Before that, ah… before that I was focused on myself. On my dolls game, on putting up a classroom in my bedroom where I taught naughty and imaginary children, on my rollers and the long balcony of my childhood home hanging above the forest and the lake, on horses, on the morning when I opened the curtains and the whole world was white, white, and only an immense silence covered the ground with snow.

Such an immense silence, so beautiful and deep as meditation. A real one.

When I was a little girl I focused on my selfsame axis. I was myself, ample and self-complacent. Nothing lacked me. Well, I exaggerate. I often lacked a milk tooth and I was so shy that I refused to smile in public because I was acutely aware of its absence (for that reason I lost a casting my mother wanted me to perform, blessed be my destiny). But other than that, I lacked nothing.

The boy, the girl mentioned in the ballad don’t need anything either. They are perfect as they are, a complete, sufficient and full Self.

But we moms have forgotten our own axis, our focus, we depend on whom we can. No one is better than our own child to fulfill our need. And so, depending on them, we teach them to depend.

Oh, is not easy for me to say this…

I breathe …

I infuse myself with courage …

I strive to return to my center, to my true self…

I continue.

Children do not do anything “against us”.

They do not eat because they have a good reason not to. They do not speak (yet), would not listen (never), do not sleep (not even in dreams!), because we have been doing all those things for them. We have not given them enough space, time and respect to learn to do it for themselves.

We control the food we serve on his plate, the amount to be eaten and what will go to his mouths in every bite. Because we do it all for him.

We control the words she says, how many are they, and run to check the correspondence with the number of words she should be saying at by her age (by 18 months they must speak 15 words, really??? ) .

We control his time, we bounce into his motor skills explorations, into his watchful eye , into his hands and games. Without even a warning we interrupt him, lift him without previous notice. We decide how, what, why and when he plays.

Then children have a tantrum… they rebel maybe? And yes, they would not listen. Because they haven’t learned to depend, not yet, not entirely. They still have so much, much focus on their own self. What we tell them not to do, they do it, again and again . And if they observe that this procedure creates in us a show of anger and rebuke, even if they suffer they won’t doubt in pressing one more time the red button of our vulnerability.

“Aha… How interesting was mom’s reaction when I did this … let me see … I’ll do it one more time and will observe if she does it again”. They say all of this in their own language, without using words, driven by the immense desire to understand human bonds through us, their moms. Their deep interest in decoding and comprehending human relationships is their priority and they go for it.

In this state of things the day passes by and we’re all tired. He, she, us. It is 7 PM, we have to complete a lot of household chores and we are all exhausted.

There is nothing worse than trying to fall asleep when we are exhausted. You have to get to sleep before that. Once depleted, a body that had no opportunity to get rest on time pulls out energy from vital reserves and injects a large dose of adrenaline to keep going (do not take it literal, it is a metaphor, although this may be what really happens from a chemical point of view). That’s what happens when we are sleepy at a party: suddenly we reawaken and we feel could go on and on, so we do it. The next day we pay the price for that extra demand on our body, we all know it. Imagine how it goes for you if you do that on a daily basis. Well, maybe you don’t need to imagine anything. Maybe it’s just what you get. But without the party part, only with the get-energy-from-where-there-is-none part, not getting any sleep at all and be already exhausted from dawn.

Feeling frustrated out of so much accumulated fatigue we take everything personal, we lose our temper with our kid and we cry along with him. We don’t know better.

Until one day we realize we cannot put up with it anymore and we get to read articles like this one and others that are surely better. We read and read and wonder when will the author finally offer us the keys to overcome the 4 most maddening challenges of motherhood.

But we do not get the relieving answers we are looking for and even worse: we are made responsible for our fate.

Ok, ok, don’t despair. Just because you read all the way down here I will sing it for you:

There’s no child who does not want to eat, if eating is just eating and only that. If eating is a free act and only as much as he needs to feel satisfied.

If my mom is happy with my satisfaction, oh gee, how nicely do I eat, how good am I at eating being so young!

There’s no child who does not speak enough, if speaking means communication and connection, and only that. If speaking is through the eyes, gestures, cries and smiles and when it is genuine. Then the girl realizes that she is being perfectly understood.

If my mom is happy with my satisfaction, oh gee, how well do I express myself, how good am I at expressing myself being so young!

There’s no child who rebels against limits, if they offer a safe boundary, a form of love that speaks to the heart and only that. Then accepting a limit means feeling a maternal embrace, firm and calm.

If my mom is happy with my satisfaction, oh gee, how nicely do I respond, how good am I at accepting limits being so young!

No little girl wants to sleep. No baby boy wants to go to bed. Because sleep is a change of state, a transition and only that. But that’s just what the boy feels as a challenge, just that puts the girl on an alert.

If my mom accepts my efforts to learn how to navigate the changes, oh gee, and from the first moment in the day I can eat , express and accept by myself being respected, oh gee, I think it’s time for my mom to stop putting me to sleep, oh gee, to stop bouncing me, driving the car, moving the stroller, walking with me in her arms, rocking me in the cradle, putting me to the breast as if it were a sleeping pill, oh gee, it’s time for her to trust that I can also learn to sleep by myself , oh gee , in my own bed, oh gee, in my own bed, oh geeeeeeee!

(sing this using maracas, tambourines and gymnastics ribbons with pure art. If you get Raffi to sing along with you the chorus, even better).

Sometimes it takes us more than a baby to learn this.

But at some point appears a light at the end of the road , we wonder if we are dead but no, we are more alive than ever before. And if you are left wanting more details, oh gee, leave your comment bellow, because right now I have no more time. It’s 6:58 a.m, oh gee, and one after another three little lion cubs appear into the scene, three little cubs oh gee, and they call me, they call me: Mamaaaa!

 

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The balad of maternal dependency. How to overcome the 4 most maddening challenges of parenting. (day 5)

3

Illustration: Patricia Fitti

My baby boy won’t eat.

My baby girl doesn’t speak.

My baby boy won’t listen.

My baby girl doesn’t sleep.

And I , oh I , I cook for him so many things.

And I , oh I , I speak to her so many words.

And I , oh I , I explain to him so many times.

And I, alas, I’m lost in an infinite and infernal exhaustion deprived of sleep“.

(sing this playing a little guitar , using a trembling voice, in the sweet and soulful style of Violeta Parra. Repeat as many times as you like or continue reading, there may be alternatives).

I wanted to write this for a long time. As I told you, I do not like confrontation, but today I am not being myself: I got up at 4 am , I showered , I meditated the best I could – I’m not good at it – then I had breakfast , I promoted my free play seminar and reactivated our family business twitter account wondering how is that they suspended me if I opened it yesterday… evidently I can make things wrong from the very beginning.

While all this is going on, my family is still asleep (it’s not even 6 AM).

So I have free time and no one to care for. I do not like that, it makes me nervous.

Since I became a mother most of my attention is directed towards my children. When I got married I focused a lot on my husband. Since I completed college I’ve been attentive to social welfare. And when I was a teenager, ah, I was focused on pairing my thin, rebel and busty friends who excelled me on every aspect getting boyfriends (I never managed)…

Before that, ah… before that I was focused on myself. On my dolls game, on putting up a classroom in my bedroom where I taught naughty and imaginary children, on my rollers and the long balcony of my childhood home hanging above the forest and the lake, on horses, on the morning when I opened the curtains and the whole world was white, white, and only an immense silence covered the ground with snow.

Such an immense silence, so beautiful and deep as meditation. A real one.

When I was a little girl I focused on my selfsame axis. I was myself, ample and self-complacent. Nothing lacked me. Well, I exaggerate. I often lacked a milk tooth and I was so shy that I refused to smile in public because I was acutely aware of its absence (for that reason I lost a casting my mother wanted me to perform, blessed be my destiny). But other than that, I lacked nothing.

The boy, the girl mentioned in the ballad don’t need anything either. They are perfect as they are, a complete, sufficient and full Self.

But we moms have forgotten our own axis, our focus, we depend on whom we can. No one is better than our own child to fulfill our need. And so, depending on them, we teach them to depend.

Oh, is not easy for me to say this…

I breathe …

I infuse myself with courage …

I strive to return to my center, to my true self…

I continue.

Children do not do anything “against us”.

They do not eat because they have a good reason not to. They do not speak (yet), would not listen (never), do not sleep (not even in dreams!), because we have been doing all those things for them. We have not given them enough space, time and respect to learn to do it for themselves.

We control the food we serve on his plate, the amount to be eaten and what will go to his mouths in every bite. Because we do it all for him.

We control the words she says, how many are they, and run to check the correspondence with the number of words she should be saying at by her age (by 18 months they must speak 15 words, really??? ) .

We control his time, we bounce into his motor skills explorations, into his watchful eye , into his hands and games. Without even a warning we interrupt him, lift him without previous notice. We decide how, what, why and when he plays.

Then children have a tantrum… they rebel maybe? And yes, they would not listen. Because they haven’t learned to depend, not yet, not entirely. They still have so much, much focus on their own self. What we tell them not to do, they do it, again and again . And if they observe that this procedure creates in us a show of anger and rebuke, even if they suffer they won’t doubt in pressing one more time the red button of our vulnerability.

“Aha… How interesting was mom’s reaction when I did this … let me see … I’ll do it one more time and will observe if she does it again”. They say all of this in their own language, without using words, driven by the immense desire to understand human bonds through us, their moms. Their deep interest in decoding and comprehending human relationships is their priority and they go for it.

In this state of things the day passes by and we’re all tired. He, she, us. It is 7 PM, we have to complete a lot of household chores and we are all exhausted.

There is nothing worse than trying to fall asleep when we are exhausted. You have to get to sleep before that. Once depleted, a body that had no opportunity to get rest on time pulls out energy from vital reserves and injects a large dose of adrenaline to keep going (do not take it literal, it is a metaphor, although this may be what really happens from a chemical point of view). That’s what happens when we are sleepy at a party: suddenly we reawaken and we feel could go on and on, so we do it. The next day we pay the price for that extra demand on our body, we all know it. Imagine how it goes for you if you do that on a daily basis. Well, maybe you don’t need to imagine anything. Maybe it’s just what you get. But without the party part, only with the get-energy-from-where-there-is-none part, not getting any sleep at all and be already exhausted from dawn.

Feeling frustrated out of so much accumulated fatigue we take everything personal, we lose our temper with our kid and we cry along with him. We don’t know better.

Until one day we realize we cannot put up with it anymore and we get to read articles like this one and others that are surely better. We read and read and wonder when will the author finally offer us the keys to overcome the 4 most maddening challenges of motherhood.

But we do not get the relieving answers we are looking for and even worse: we are made responsible for our fate.

Ok, ok, don’t despair. Just because you read all the way down here I will sing it for you:

There’s no child who does not want to eat, if eating is just eating and only that. If eating is a free act and only as much as he needs to feel satisfied.

If my mom is happy with my satisfaction, oh gee, how nicely do I eat, how good am I at eating being so young!

There’s no child who does not speak enough, if speaking means communication and connection, and only that. If speaking is through the eyes, gestures, cries and smiles and when it is genuine. Then the girl realizes that she is being perfectly understood.

If my mom is happy with my satisfaction, oh gee, how well do I express myself, how good am I at expressing myself being so young!

There’s no child who rebels against limits, if they offer a safe boundary, a form of love that speaks to the heart and only that. Then accepting a limit means feeling a maternal embrace, firm and calm.

If my mom is happy with my satisfaction, oh gee, how nicely do I respond, how good am I at accepting limits being so young!

No little girl wants to sleep. No baby boy wants to go to bed. Because sleep is a change of state, a transition and only that. But that’s just what the boy feels as a challenge, just that puts the girl on an alert.

If my mom accepts my efforts to learn how to navigate the changes, oh gee, and from the first moment in the day I can eat , express and accept by myself being respected, oh gee, I think it’s time for my mom to stop putting me to sleep, oh gee, to stop bouncing me, driving the car, moving the stroller, walking with me in her arms, rocking me in the cradle, putting me to the breast as if it were a sleeping pill, oh gee, it’s time for her to trust that I can also learn to sleep by myself , oh gee , in my own bed, oh gee, in my own bed, oh geeeeeeee!

(sing this using maracas, tambourines and gymnastics ribbons with pure art. If you get Raffi to sing along with you the chorus, even better).

Sometimes it takes us more than a baby to learn this.

But at some point appears a light at the end of the road , we wonder if we are dead but no, we are more alive than ever before. And if you are left wanting more details, oh gee, leave your comment bellow, because right now I have no more time. It’s 6:58 a.m, oh gee, and one after another three little lion cubs appear into the scene, three little cubs oh gee, and they call me, they call me: Mamaaaa!

 

With my hand on my heart: where are you taking me, dear Education?

julia margaret cameron niñaI visited my friend and colleague Alejandra last Thursday morning.

Sane people would have taken around 5 hours to process the enormous amount of information we exchanged. But we both work in education, so we pushed contents forward and fit the whole thing into intense 90 minutes, before the bell rang.

Time and again I directed the conversation towards free education. I can´t help it. Since I have memory I feel an urge for change. For transformation. I can almost visualize the image of a renewed humanity born from the re-education of adults learning to allow the self-education of infants. As if a revolutionary spirit would revolve within my self, frustrated and satisfied concurrently… Much has been seen and said, but I sense much more has to be done yet!

It would be easier not to feel like this, but I do.

Then I came back home to pick up my husband and our youngest child. We needed to drive him to a health center. He got bitten by a cat, which is stuff for another post to warn you why you should not allow your child to caress stranger cats. But that would drive me off the story and since our boy is ok there´s nothing to really worry about.

So, now we are in the car and Ricardo asks me how did the visit to my friend go.

– You can´t imagine!… She has been working in public infant education for 25 years. She tells me… the little ones, from 1 and 2 years old are asked to sit at the table with their hands held in their backs, while teachers place the materials to “work” with in front of them – I can almost see the image I am describing; innocent children handcuffed in the back in some kind of concentration camp camouflaged by good intentions. The one who moves hands, is the bad guy, the one that misbehaves. They are so automated that by K5 they do it by themselves, she says…  no one has to tell them.

I sense within an emerging indignation that ignites while I speak… Is perchance a sin to move little hands around? This is so far from what I dream infant education to be… I am outraged and my disapproval is evidently expressed in the pitch of every word I say. 

PGP%20EPS%20100

Unexpectedly, from the rear of the car reaches us the soft voice of our 5 years old boy:

– Yeah mom, but it is not as bad, you know?

– Do YOU have to put your hands in the back when you sit at the table at school???

– Yes, but I don’t mind, he wisely answers. It is just like keeping them still on your lap.

Our little boy is far from being automated, flattened by education, destroyed in his uniqueness… He is far, far from that. He is one of the most self-determined people I know, if not the most one. But he knows how to lay his hands on his back without further psychic damage.

Then I ask myself. I ask my self. I ask myself.

Am I exaggerating?

I would like to end this post with this question. Right here.

But I can´t.

I am not pretending you to give me an answer…  if I do exaggerate, if I don´t… I am not expecting anything from you (even though I would definitely appreciate your comments).

I want to throw this question within, let it resound and observe wherefrom its echoes resurge.

Am I exaggerating with my vision of actual education? I ask my self and wait…

julia-margaret-cameron2

I am what I am, I am not going to tell little children to lay their hands on their backs. But I believe I can give me the chance to lower my hypersensitivity and look at formal education with better eyes.

The Education… I imagine her as a distinguished lady, standing in front of me, no age or time yet as old as humanity itself. I look at her in the eyes and new words surge from my lips…

– Education, until today I was bound to you by my anger, my desire for you to be different. Now I see you and accept you as you are…   I take what you have for me and that is enough… I wasn´t able to acknowledge you before. I apologize for that… And I thank you.

She is standing there, calmly looking at me. She smiles, in glowing eyes.

I feel the desire to go closer. We hug.

Me from underneath her arms, she embraces me over my shoulders: I feel her generous hands surrounding my back.

I feel sheltered, I am a little one.

I am free.

Thereby, fueled by a new inner force I turn and look into the future, towards my own destiny.

If there is to be the revolution, so be it.

After the Manner of Perugino_Cameron

Photos by Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-1879).

Featuring new fireworks tradition on July 3 – A Review, in Gratitude

I´m happy as a dog with two tails. (Get ready, this post has lots of Spanish idioms)

My baby blog AMARARAMA is turning 1 year old this week!

It has been an incredible time. I met awesome people, I made friends, I exchanged life stories, thoughts and valuable experiencies. I found a safe place where to express my deep, true self.

The first time I got a comment I laughed and cried at the same time. (You know I´m an exagerated girl).

The first time someone suscribed to this blog I “jumped on one leg” (meaning: “salté en una pata”. That´s something we do when we´re really happy).

The first time a reader shared one of my posts in Facebook and Twitter I was exultant.

Every single time, I experienced a beautiful sense of happiness. That´s why I want to thank you all dear readers. For your presence, generosity and forbearance wanting to read me despite my clumsy English. I want to express my gratitude to all of you. For knowing you´re on the other side of my keyboard makes my life brighter.

As a little present, I share here my very first post, which most of you probably never saw. At that point we hadn´t met each other yet.

This is how AMARARAMA was born on July 3, 2010:

Hi there, you charming, worldwide English speaking folks.

I started blogging in Spanish on 2nd. January for the first time ever in my life and today I´m rejoicing to see the birth of AMARARAMA, my 9th. blog only available in English (please forgive me Sra. Lopez, I didn´t mean to make you sad).

You probably know how it gets: one blog for my interests, my first baby-blog only 6 months old. One for my husband´s interests (I figured out how to manage WordPress general dashboard and he takes loving advantage of that wonderful knowledge), one for my mother´s interests (no comments, please), one for my son´s interests… Oh dear! Is everyone in this family wanting to have a blog and honour me as main administrator?. Yes! The list goes on till today, when the family circle of life was completed and it came back… to me!

So this is AMARARAMA, where the end meets a new beggining. And I´m willing to celebrate it in English, for this is precisely what my recently discovered blogging mind has been interested on for a few weeks. I started reading some Freshly Pressed posts, then I dared to comment some that I found particularly moving. Then I posted an answer on Plinky and I won 1 follower! This really helped.

Let me be totally honest. Many posts in Spanish are really great (sorry I didn´t promise to be humble) but they will never ever, ever become freshly pressed. I think some of them deserve the chance to be considered as the best of 278,907 bloggers,249,836 new posts, 328,251comments, & 60,110,761 words of today, though.  And not only mine, or my family´s. I mean, all other beautifully written and photographed non-english-speaking-wordpress-blogs. So here I am, longing to become featured by you dear WordPress, writing in English as good as it gets:  I´d rather ask you to excuse my English than to excuse my French!

This idea of Exclusive-English-Freshly-Pressed-is-the-best-of-wordpress has been long enough in my mind, chasing for a chance to have something good to say and start writting in English. That´s precisely what happened today.

May I request you to wish me a happy independence day. Not that I´m hastingly running into anticipation for July the 4th. Nor am I thinking of revolutionary issues of any kind. It´s just my little toddler is becoming a boy, ready for KG.  He´s got a mind on his own and today he declared total independence from toddlerhood. First of all, he decided to wear his older brother´s School T-shirt. That was cute but he went for more.

Rick the Stick, I also believe that children are our future. And they are constantly moving forward towards it!

I agree with you, Rick the Stick, he´s always going for more so it´s a real challenge to catch his angel face in focus… specially because when I shoot he already turned round and left! I don´t deserve to be called your apprentice! I´ll keep practising your tips, though.

Next thing in the morning was putting his own shoe on.

Only All Knowing Deities and him knew the missing sock was there!

How on earth am I going to put my foot in there?

Boy, this is tougher than I thought…

Giant baby steps…

almost there…

I proudly did it!

You see what I mean? He´s getting good practical education thanks to good heuristic methods.  I´m sure Leeaving Trails would agree with me.

My little boy is growing so fast! He is building his confidence, he´s fnding his own way through, he´s ready for infinity and beyond. He just needs next challenge to meet him… what could it be?

Maybe a Chess Championship…

Maybe he´s ready for College!

Dear! I don´t want to see Toy Story 3 either!! My baby is ready for College! He´ll be leaving home so soon!

Mhh hmm… maybe he´s not leaving for College yet!

Now, what is he doing? Piling up towers, black queen and pawn?!

Firewoks here please! Celebrate good times, come on!

My baby will be with us for…

let´s say… minimum 18 years more…

Phew! That was close!

Excuse my English. It´s a sequel of British Colonies and other mixed spices.

Ah, Literature! A round trip to the heart.

I´m reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.

My good friend Irene lend me the book insisting I was going to stay awake till 3 am reading and warned my husband to be patient if I woke him up with my laughter.

So I grabbed the book and started reading, knowing in advance that such recommendations tend to overload expectations and you end up a bit disappointed with the real thing (this happens with movies too, have you noticed?). The thing is the book made me feel uncomfortable in the beginning when she starts crying in her bathroom confessing to herself a tough truth: “I don´t want to be married anymore”. Hum! I didn´t like this.

“The author is just like you, your lives are so similar and you even look alike”, Irene had said.

“I cannot relate to that”, I thought after reading Gilbert´s drama in the toilet. I do want to be married, I love my husband and the family we have together is a long cherished dream come true. And my husband loves me too. I know it for many reasons. Right now he´s at the supermarket with the three boys so I have some time for myself. And let me tell you three kids (the oldest is only eight) are a lot in a supermarket when you are trying to check your shopping list and keep your toddler in sight at the same time, while you explain the glutton preschooler he should remove that huge Kinder Surprise box from the cart.

Back to the book, the divorce thing in my novel was quite depressing. So I put it aside for a few days, until my inborn curiosity started wondering how Elizabeth Gilbert´s story went on. But now I had a new impediment: Eat, Pray, Love was missing in action. It wasn´t on my bedside anymore. Not much research was needed to find out where it went and why my husband was looking so sleepy. He had been reading the book, staying awake till late the last three nights.

“I´m almost in India”, he says. “I think this is a light book written for women”, he adds while he keeps on reading.

I´m delighted. He doesn´t read novels. He´s a musician and the only thing I´ve seen him reading apart from scores are sacred texts about spirituality. This is the first time after 10 years marriage I see him reading this way, just for fun, “a light book written for women”.

I have to catch up with him, I think. I´m still in the swamps of Gilbert´s divorce and he´s in rural India already, praying, loving, eating. So I take the book with me to the WC. This is not nice to say, but I confess is the safest place in my home to be alone and get a good read. (I agree with the author: bathrooms are very important in people´s emotional lives).

I go through Italy chapters as fast as I can, devouring pages as if they were Napolitan Pizzas.  I´ve been to Italy but it´s not my favorite target for holidays. It is beautiful, yes. But I believe there´s no other city in the world that feels more like Buenos Aires than Rome. Drivers bang their horns the millisecond after the traffic light changed to green, it feels like chaos, people talk really loud and lovers are all around twisting into each other publicly, kissing and fussing each other´s hair. Italy chapters made me feel at home rather than on vacation. And when I read “a light novel for women” I search some sort of mental vacation. That´s the reason why I would have left the book aside completely if my husband would not have been reading it too.

Finally after a few weeks I reached India. Yes, it took me two weeks! I´m not good at “stay awake to read and laugh” as Irene thought. Actually I´m not good for anything at night, except for sleeping which I do quite well.

Ah, India! I arrived! And I´m hoping to find my husband there… oh no! He has already left to Indonesia, the last chapter in the book, which he insists is the best of all. So I´ll have to continue reading.

But for now I´m still here and I feel overwhelmed by memories. I lived in India for more than two years in an ashram. And I would go back every time I could. India and cats have this in common: people love them or hate them. I´m the kind of person that loves India and hates cats. Probably that´s why my English got strongly influenced by the typical Indian accent, emphasis and lilt.

Just wait to see me talking, shaking my head towards the shoulders drawing little circles in the air while I let English words flow on the Telugu cadence. India is one of the most populated countries in the world and without having a look at statistics I guess that this lovely, expressive, poetic and sometimes disrespectful English might be the most spoken version of the language.

I didn´t realize my style was so much influenced by Indian English until Tulsi came into the Eat, Pray, Love scene. She is the Indian teenager that mops the temple floor next to Liz Gilbert and chats with her in “the kind of English you can find only in India -which includes such colonial words as splendid! and nonsense! and sometimes produces eloquent sentences like: It is beneficial to walk on the grass in the morning when the dew has already been accumulated, for it lowers naturally and pleasantly the body’s temperature. ”

FINALLY I know why I speak English as I do, combining all kinds of expressions and words in such a particular way. I´m never sure they´re just right. But I won´t worry any longer about it. It´s not completely my fault. Actually, British expansionism is responsible for that (too), you see?

So, please, be patient with me and keep on reading my posts even if you find auquard sentences and weird ways of expressing ideas. In fact, I´m quite sure excusing my English is much better than excusing my French!

Enough for now, I have to rush. My husband is in Bali already and I´ve heard everyone smiles a lot there. I must definitely catch up with him and bring him back to Argentina safely.

By the way, did I mention I met my husband in India? I must confess not only my English gained new flavors there!

Paparazzi, Grandpa and Cockroach. The games inventors.

Hi! I´m really happy to take part of the very last  Moms’ 30-Minute Blog Challenge held by Steady Mom. This has been a great motivation for me to write in English and an opportunity to share some of my motherhood adventures with many wonderful women around the globe. So thank you Jamie!

Today I have something big to share with you.

It´s a discovery.

A terrific scientific discovery.

It´s based on an hypothesis, it´s being put to test under strict observation and the emerging conclusions are simply great good news. At least for me.

As you might already know, I´ve been undergoing a crash with the concept of self directed play and all other Magda Gerber´s wonderful ideas. She helps us fostering an adequate development in young children, building their selfconfidence and self directed play. Based on studies done in Hungary at the Lockzy Institute, they discovered the enormous importance of letting babies and toddles play in free and safe environments, without being overstimulated nor interrupted.

Magda Gerber

Now, as I said, this information is fascinating for me. Every thing I read about it resounds within my self as pure truth and abounding common sense. The thing is I´m a mother of three wonderful boys who are not babies anymore and we are done with it: no more babies in our family (I agree with you Jamie, we farewelled our stroller long ago).

So, I was feeling somewhat sad that I didn´t come in touch with this information before… I know I did my best and I trust my kids. I know they are great, creative, goodhearted children. As all kids are. But I would have really liked to reinforce their selfconfidence and self directed play and I was feeling it was too late. They already developed their movements, their communication abilities and their socialization. They already walk, talk and make friends.

In time I realized this feeling was a reflection of my own mental restriction and it had nothing to do with kids´ age. So I got the idea of experimenting Magda Gerber´s pinciples with older children, my children actually.  I organized a Play Group for them and their friends every Friday and I keep my agenda really free for those 2 hours. No phone calls, no cooking, no cleaning, no blog. I´m just there. My intention is to be a validating presence, minimizing my interventions as much as possible while I imagine myself as a runway for them to take off soaring the sky of imagination and play.

The amazing part of this experiment is not my attitude though. What´s really great is what they started to do during this time. In the beginning they started playing what was familiar to them. Strongly influenced by gender, boys wanted to play soccer (we live in Argentina and soccer is a sort of national obsession) and girls became princesses in the backyard playhouse. Slowly new ideas started coming out.

The very first day, they told short stories and used all house props to create a scenario to roleplay them. Next idea was to take pictures of the whole thing. So I offered my camera and after a few shots, all of a sudden, the Paparazzi game appeared. They were “famous” artists followed by journalists wanting to get an exclusive shot. They run helter skelter to scape the lens of my point and shoot for about 30 minutes. They took turns to be the Paparazzi and afterwards they checked the results of their silly game in the computer, laughing really loud with every single shot. Now they want to play Paparazzi everyFriday (and the rest of the week too) forgetting it all about soccer and princess-hood. Let me tell you this game is a real success: they just run, run, run and laugh, laugh, laugh… with so little.

“Paparazzi” has a disadvantage, though. The only camera we have is my Panasonic Lumix, which I got as a birthday present and I´m not that willing to let them bang it by accident when trying to get the best shot of their friends. Hence, this does not meet the requirement of  “letting them play alone”.  But it´s a wonderful example and it was a revelation for me. I´m sure they have created this kind of games a thousand times before, but I was not paying attention. Now, I don´t want to miss a detail of their new creations and find an enormous satisfaction in observing them enjoy their body movements, their relationships with others, their imaginative flow…

Since then I´ve witnessed the silliest and funniest games inventions I ever saw. For example, they play Grandpa!. It goes like this: one child says in a very loud voice “Grandpa!”, streches his arms and hugs the first thing he sees. Many times, he jumps flat on the floor hugging it. Have you seen 5 and 8 years old kids hugging the “grandpa floor”? It´s really fun to watch. When I asked them how to play this game, the middle one explained: “everything is my family, so I hug everything”.

There´s also the Cockroach game, which actually is nothing but inventing excuses not to do what one is asked to. This is inspired on a book we once read in Spanish: “1o Excuses not to eat vegetables”. I must say we are vegetarian and my kids eat everything what´s put on their plates with delight (I´m not sure if this flattering the cook or their hunger!). Anyhow the Cockroach game goes like that. They invent something they don´t want to do and run away saying: “I can´t do that right now, I´m killing the Cockrach!” (being vegeterians we respect all forms of life including insects but cockroaches are the only bug I kill when found at home). This ends every time with a big laughter and they have been thinking of writing a book on excuses not to eat vegetables and the cockroach thing is top on the list.

Their friends came to know what´s happening here on Fridays and they want to come too. So right now I have 7 creative hearts inventing all kind of games around me once a week and I´m loving it. When I asked them how to name this Game Group my 5 years old said: “Easy mom. Name it Free Play”.

My 30 minutes are gone. I wanted to share so much and I was in a hurry so I didn´t double check my English as I usually do. I thank you for your patience and for reading up to the very end. There are more games inventions to share with you. I will be coming back every other tuesday to publish them here and I´d love to hear from your children silliest and funniest games ever too.

For now, I just wanted to state my great discovery: as long as my children live with us, it wont be too late for me. I still can step back, stop overstimulating, stop interrupting and let them become free players. I guess this might be one of the purest joys of my life.

Featuring new fireworks tradition on July 3

Hi there, you charming, worldwide English speaking folks.

I started blogging in Spanish on 2nd. January for the first time ever in my life and today I´m rejoicing to see the birth of AMARARAMA, my 9th. blog only available in English (please forgive me Sra. Lopez, I didn´t mean to make you sad).

You probably know how it gets: one blog for my interests, my first baby-blog only 6 months old. One for my husband´s interests (I figured out how to manage WordPress general dashboard and he takes loving advantage of that wonderful knowledge), one for my mother´s interests (no comments, please), one for my son´s interests… Oh dear! Is everyone in this family wanting to have a blog and honour me as main administrator?. Yes! The list goes on till today, when the family circle of life was completed and it came back… to me!

So this is AMARARAMA, where the end meets a new beggining. And I´m willing to celebrate it in English, for this is precisely what my recently discovered blogging mind has been interested on for a few weeks. I started reading some Freshly Pressed posts, then I dared to comment some that I found particularly moving. Then I posted an answer on Plinky and I won 1 follower! This really helped.

Let me be totally honest. Many posts in Spanish are really great (sorry I didn´t promise to be humble) but they will never ever, ever become freshly pressed. I think some of them deserve the chance to be considered as the best of 278,907 bloggers,249,836 new posts, 328,251comments, & 60,110,761 words of today, though.  And not only mine, or my family´s. I mean, all other beautifully written and photographed non-english-speaking-wordpress-blogs. So here I am, longing to become featured by you dear WordPress, writing in English as good as it gets:  I´d rather ask you to excuse my English than to excuse my French!

This idea of Exclusive-English-Freshly-Pressed-is-the-best-of-wordpress has been long enough in my mind, chasing for a chance to have something good to say and start writting in English. That´s precisely what happened today.

May I request you to wish me a happy independence day. Not that I´m hastingly running into anticipation for July the 4th. Nor am I thinking of revolutionary issues of any kind. It´s just my little toddler is becoming a boy, ready for KG.  He´s got a mind on his own and today he declared total independence from toddlerhood. First of all, he decided to wear his older brother´s School T-shirt. That was cute but he went for more.

Rick the Stick, I also believe that children are our future. And they are constantly moving forward towards it!

I agree with you, Rick the Stick, he´s always going for more so it´s a real challenge to catch his angel face in focus… specially because when I shoot he already turned round and left! I don´t deserve to be called your apprentice! I´ll keep practising your tips, though.

Next thing in the morning was putting his own shoe on.

Only All Knowing Deities and him knew the missing sock was there!

How on earth am I going to put my foot in there?

Boy, this is tougher than I thought...

Giant baby steps...

almost there...

I proudly did it!

You see what I mean? He´s getting good practical education thanks to good heuristic methods.  I´m sure Leeaving Trails would agree with me.

My little boy is growing so fast! He is building his confidence, he´s fnding his own way through, he´s ready for infinity and beyond. He just needs next challenge to meet him… what could it be?

Maybe a Chess Championship…

Maybe he´s ready for College!

Dear! I don´t want to see Toy Story 3 either!! My baby is ready for College! He´ll be leaving home so soon!

Mhh hmm... maybe he´s not leaving for College yet!

Now, what is he doing? Piling up towers, black queen and pawn?!

Firewoks here please! Celebrate good times, come on!

My baby will be with us for…

let´s say… minimum 18 years more…

Phew! That was close!