Tag Archives: child

Breastfeeding: a true story

13 Nov

This is by no means a bragging post.

This is simply me, wanting to document the third (and last) journey of mine while I still have the luxury of exclusively breastfeeding the little guy outside.

There are certain things about breastfeeding that no one tells you about.

When you become a mom for the first time, you are immediately flooded with all kinds of insecurities concerning the well-being of your newborn. The weight you are forced to carry for being solely responsible for its survival, weighs heavy on your heart and soul.

Then, your milk comes in. And it hurts LIKE HELL. And you turn into an ugly Dolly Parton version of yourself (I could draw you a picture but I am pretty sure you’d rather not). You begin to wonder:  Is this how it’s supposed to feel? Is this normal? Do I have enough milk? And along with the pain, the hormones and the self-doubt you get an overflow of information (you never asked for in the first place) from relatives and acquaintances trying to impose what THEY think is best for you. And while you are trying to tame the inner voices, a smart-ass, formula bribed, so-called pediatrician pays you your first visit and informs you that your baby is losing weight and that YOU might not have enough milk and that they might need to supplement with formula.

While I experienced all of the above I was one of the lucky ones. I had my sister’s back. She had previously nursed all three of her girls and reassured me that although it sure didn’t feel like it at that point, it would eventually get better & I would even enjoy it.

It took 2 whole months, a different pro-nursing pediatrician and the LLL (La Leche League) support group to make it work, but it did. And after the first very hard couple of months I started seeing the beauty of it.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not all moonlight and roses. Here are a few examples of what breastfeeding was/is to me:

  • For the first few months your baby is like your key chain. Glued on to you. Especially if your baby eats irregularly (all three babies suffered from acid reflux which on some days meant that they were on the breast 24/7).
  • You can NOT smoke/drink alcohol/starve as this will affect your milk supply.
  • You might have to say bye-bye to certain foods/drinks which make your baby fussy. Because lets face it, fussy baby=sleepless mommy.
  • Your milk is light=easier digested=frequent night waking.
  • You feel like super woman. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Which brings me to the next point:
  • You become mesmerized by the power of nature.
  • You get sick, baby gets antibodies through your milk, baby doesn’t get sick.
  • You have the power of the tit. If everything else fails, put your baby on the boob and it will immediately calm him down and drowse him off to dreamland.

Last but not least, do what you feel is BEST for YOU. If you feel like nursing is your thing, do it. If you feel that your baby will strive more on formula, do it. And feel damn good about it.

Until next time

love

t

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to all the thumb sucking haters

18 Jun

Yiannis will be 6 in August.

Shocking fact no 1: He STILL sucks his thumb.

Oh, come on, stop with the eye rolling. You mean to tell me that your child has NO annoying habit whatsoever?? Good for her/him/even you (although I seriously doubt that is the fact).

For the last two and a half years I tried everything in the book to stop this habit. I completely and utterly failed. You know what I regret most from this time?? That I was influenced by all the negative criticism over that period which made me feel like I failed as a mom for letting this go on.

I tried talking to him and he always told me the same thing: Mom, I like it and I need it. I don’t want to stop.

I tried forbidding it – he hid behind the couch and sucked his thumb.

I bought this nasty tasting stuff and put it on his thumb – he cried, run off and washed his thumb.

I told him that by sucking his thumb he will get more often sick as he is contracting the germs from other kids easier – the pediatrician never confirmed this, he told me that all children get sick no matter if they suck their thumb or not.

I even played the dentist card but this didn’t work either. She told me that his teeth look fine and he has probably inherited his mom’s good teeth.

N. didn’t help in this department either. He was probably the main reason why I became so stressed about the whole cutting the nasty habit thing. It was his phrase that was stuck in my mind for a while: I am not paying for his braces. I know, N. is human and makes mistakes. Like everyone else. I still love him truly, although he behaved like an eleventeen* (perfect word invented by my best friend Panayiotis)

I tried everything. And nothing worked. You know why? Because Yiannis doesn’t want to stop sucking his thumb and there is nothing I can really do about it.

And the worst of all?

Shocking fact no 2: I sucked  my thumb for 12 years. And no, I have no crooked teeth nor did I ever have to endure braces.

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I am not saying that one excludes the other. I was lucky. I am aware of that. Yes, thumb sucking can alter your teeth and it might be the culprit for braces. However, there are lucky kids and my son might even be one of them.

My son sucks his thumb and I am finally OK with that.  So next time you stand in the line at the grocery store and see an older kid sucking his thumb, do the kid (and his/her mom) a favor and keep your critical comment to yourself.

until next time

love

tatu

* an adult who behaves like a teenager

birthday overrated??

22 Apr

I am usually super excited about my birthday. My mom always made THE BIGGEST DEAL out of it. The day started with my breakfast plate being surrounded by handpicked flowers (you get the picture). She always made me feel like Christmas on an April day.

Then I met N.

N. never got the proper birthday treatment as his special day is in September which coincided with the end of summer/back to school days. Furthermore, his younger brother was born two days (and two years later) so my mother in law thought it would be more convenient to celebrate once, on the day between the two birthdays.

Up to this day I am not quite sure which is better. No wait. That is a lie. I am sure the way to go is to celebrate your birthday to THE MAX! Unless your birthday falls on the same day your daughter is undergoing surgery and you will have to and I quote my son Yiannis: ‘celebrate on another day’.

Iliana is scheduled for an adenotomy tomorrow morning. Nothing major. She just needs to be able to breathe right again, resume eating and sleeping properly and stop snoring like a train (bless her).

I will still celebrate tomorrow. I will celebrate my daughter coming out of surgery.

Until next time

love,

tatu

the impossible

3 Mar

One of the things that really scares the hell out of me are natural disasters. They are unpredictable, terrifyingly powerful and completely and utterly uncontrollable. One such natural disaster was the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake which caused the tsunami that cost the lives of more than 230,000 people.

When you are lucky enough NOT to experience such thing first hand, you tend to forget about such a horrific tragedy shortly after. You are numb and petrified, you are in awe of nature’s power and you try to put yourself in the shoes of the less fortunate.  For a while. And then the effect starts fading away. I wish it lasted longer but it really doesn’t.

I had forgotten about it until yesterday when Alex, N. & I sat down for a movie night to watch ‘Lo imposible’ (please explain the spanish title when the cast and the language spoken throughout the movie are both English).

The truth is that I did not have any intentions of watching it. When Alex insisted and N. suggested the other night that we should watch something of substance (while we were ‘wasting’ our times watching the Oscars) I gave in and agreed to watch the true story of a family who managed to survive  the tsunami of 2004. It was powerful, at times pretty disgusting but most of all unbelievably scary.

The reason I did not want to watch it is that I don’t consider myself strong enough to face the impossible. Not the movie, but my fear. My absolute worst nightmare of all, the loss of a child.

It was not so much the movie though that made me shiver, but the documentary I watched the day after on YouTube, tsunami-caught on camera (part 1-6).  I urge you to watch this (should you have the stomach to endure the full 6 parts).  It is shocking and immensely sad and as painful as it gets.

You will probably think (as I did at first), I have enough ‘problems’ already, why should I suffer and watch something that terrible? Well…for most of us, who were blessed not to experience something like this, it is one hell of a wake up call!
And who doesn’t need one, every now and then?

Until next time

love,

tatu

life

I apologize to you, my non parent friend

13 Feb

if you ever happened to be at my place at around 7pm. I am well aware of the fact that I have either

  • a) caused permanent damage in the ‘I wish I had kids’ department
  • b) worked as the most efficient contraceptive
  • c) shown you my Cruella side or
  • d) all of the above

There are no beautiful and calm bedtime rituals in this household. I have been told they exist. I have tried everything to make that happen but have miraculously failed at it. Big time!

If you are the peaceful and precious bedtime magician please make sure to have left our premises by 7pm. If you feel like you need a reminder of why you are still not ready for a kid (or ever will be after witnessing that) feel free to come by anytime between 7 & 8 pm. I can guarantee you the ‘drama’ of a lifetime.

Until next time

love,

tatu

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revisiting parenting advices vol. 1

21 Nov

In theory we are all great parents. When the actual time comes to put theory into practice that is when some of us do not quite deserve the parent of the year award. This is a short list with a few things that didn’t work with me while parenting my 2 kids (in case you are torturing yourself that you are the only parent out there who follows the best parenting advices and still fails at stopping the tantrums, fussing and whining).

  • Offer choices. Really? I always offer my kids 2 choices and they never seem to agree with any of them. I ask them: ‘What would you like for dinner? Chicken soup or yogurt with honey (not combined obviously)? Their answer is: Pasta.
  • Lower yourself to the eye level of a child. Whenever my son did not listen, I lowered myself to his eye level and usually got a slap on my face.
  • Choose the clothes he/she will wear the night before.  I helped Yianni choose his clothes yesterday night just before bedtime only for him to wake up today and have him fuss that these clothes were not the ones he really wanted to wear to school.
  • Use the preventive approach. If I tell Yianni that I had a rough day and I can not put up with more whining it is like I trigger this button inside his head which orders him to do the exact opposite of what mom says.
  • When your child throws a tantrum put him/her in time out. Remain in control and gently but firmly insist that he/she stays there. Gently??? Is there a parent out there that has any gentle feelings after having been screamed and yelled at for the last 15 to 20 minutes? If yes, please know that you have my utmost respect. For life.

And as my favourite comedian of the 80’s said: “In spite of the six thousand manuals on child raising in the bookstores, child raising is still a dark continent and no one really knows anything. You just need a lot of love and luck – and, of course, courage.”
Bill Cosby, Fatherhood

xxx

T

5 illusions of motherhood

9 Nov

I had a blissful childhood. My mom was the most warm, tender, patient, fun mom in the world. She played with us for hours, she let us paint on our summer flats walls (respect to my dad for going along with it), she crafted and let us nearly demolish her kitchen at the attempt of cooking and just let us be. She threw children’s parties like no one else that are still fondly remembered some 25+ years later. She made everything seem so easy.

However, having the ‘perfect’ mom as a role model proved to be a liability and not an asset when I became one myself.  This is my list of motherhood illusions:

  1. Being pregnant will magically turn you into this perfectly shaped beautiful mom to be. Unless you are Gisele Bundchen or any other Victoria’s Secret top model chances are that you will become a fat, swollen up version of yourself cause the ‘I have to eat for 2 now’ theory is a load of crap.
  2. Breastfeeding is wonderful. Yes, I agree. It is wonderful. Wonderfully challenging is how I would put it.
  3. Having a child with your partner strengthens your relationship. Oh boy…If you manage to make it through as a couple the first six months of your baby’s life then your chances of sticking together are pretty high.
  4. Sleep like a baby. I don’t even know who came up with this phrase and why the truth behind it is the exact opposite of what everyone means when they describe someone who slept well. Babies DO NOT SLEEP WELL. The sooner you come to terms with that the better (for everyone included).
  5. Having a baby won’t change anything. Yeah right…Nothing at all. You just lose yourself, your independence, your friends, your sleep, your life as you know it.

Bottom line? Be human, make mistakes, let your children witness your flaws, apologize when you must and try to enjoy as much as you can. After all, they are only babies once, thank God 😉

xxx

T

beauty is in the eye of the beholder

11 Oct

It always amazes me how one unfortunate situation can turn into something beautiful and worth remembering when you manage to see it through the eyes of a child. 

I consider myself to be a good driver. I might be a little bit too german when it comes to driving on Greek roads, but I don’t mind driving. I mean if you have learned to drive in this country, you can drive anywhere. What I genuinely dislike is using other people’s cars. It adds this tiny extra bit of stress.  

But, as Murphy’s Law has it, today of all days I was driving N.’s car. Today of all days while I was driving on the national road with Yianni in the back seat, I started leaking gasoline (so I was told by the honking freaked out driver in the car next to me). Having watched too many action movies in the past (where cars blow up), I panicked, stopped the car and made my emergency call to N. I took Yianni out of the car, called the road assistance and waited. After my first panick started to fade away, I realized Yianni was in shock as well. Not the shock someone would expect. He was shockingly excited. He was trying to process what happened. He was bombardizing me with the why this, why that questions. I asked him whether he wanted to be picked up by my sister in order to avoid the wait. NOOOOOOOO. He wanted to stick around. He wanted to witness his fathers’ car being towed.

He waited patiently for the next 40 minutes for the tow truck to arrive. No whining, no fussing, no complaining. He was genuinely excited. When it finally arrived his face lit up. What seemed to me like a hassle, made his day. The look on his face made it all worthwhile. As simple as that.

xxx

T

 

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