Tag Archives: Iliana

a little bit of gratitude

25 Sep

A little over a year ago I was completely ignorant of the magnitude of happiness that the little guy outside would bring to our lives. The day I held the positive pregnancy test in my hands I started crying and crying and crying and the only one that saved me that day was MY person, MY ROCK, my sister Alex. I honestly don’t have a clue what I would do without her.

Alex was thrilled. She was ecstatic. She was out of this world happy. She tried to calm me down by saying all the right things and she even managed to make me take a momentary glimpse at the light at the end of the tunnel. She stayed calm and reassured me that everything was going to be alright. 

Well, she was DAMN right. After a trying and very difficult pregnancy, everything DID turn out alright.

I would like to dedicate this post to the people who stood by me and whose gestures of kindness helped me in one way or another to fight my inner demons and simply gave me hope. HOPE is a wonderful thing. HOPE is essential to leading a happy life. HOPE is priceless.

A big shout out to my enthusiastic sister and my loving hubby, who always encouraged me that I COULD do THIS.

Special thanks to my mom who showed empathy, compassion and patience when mine was running out and to my mother in law who went into the trouble of putting properly cooked food on our table, every single day.

From my real life friends who went out of their way to help me (thank you Iro & Daphne for that surprise delivery of burger & fries-you seriously MADE MY DAY) to my fellow blogger friends whose words of encouragement made all the difference (Matt, you might be right, he might turn out to be my favourite after all).

Thank you.

Life is good. Life is NOT PERFECT. It is blissful, chaotic, beautiful, frantic, challenging, stressful but most importantly BEAUTIFUL.

Yes, LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL

Until next time

love

t

happy

I think I’ve figured it out

10 Sep

It might probably be a bit hasty and I am almost certain it will backfire at one point or another but I think I now know the 1 thing it takes to master the magical number of three. Children, that is.

Are you ready??

Taratataaaaammmmmm……

If you want to survive the new situation with little or no help you will have to let go of wanting to do everything PERFECT. As a matter of fact, leave the word PERFECT out of your dictionary for good. As in, permanently. As in, never use it again. Because one thing is certain. YOU CAN NOT DO EVERYTHING PERFECT. Unless you are a superwoman. Then, kudos to you! You are truly ONE OF A KIND.

Back to the remaining human mothers, before (or in my case after) you hit rock bottom, LET some things GO. It won’t be the end of the world. I promise you that. Here is a short list of the few things I realized since the little guy inside made his debut:

1. Ask for help. If you are anything like me, too proud to ask for help, make an extra effort and DO ask for it. You will be surprised to see that there are more people than you think who are more than willing to give you a hand. I don’t know what I would have done this summer if I didn’t have my sister’s nor my mother’s help with the new addition. I felt a bit like a nomad moving from one house to the other and although it was tiring physically, it was the ONLY thing that kept me sane. Having someone to lean on is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING in the world.

2. Plan wisely whenever possible. Taking all 3 kids to the supermarket after school (as in tired and cranky & hungry) is a big NO NO. I thought I could manage it. Two days ago, I learned it the hard way. Let me paint the picture for you by describing one of the ‘beautiful moments’ I had to endure while trying the impossible. I was struggling to keep it together while Jannis was chasing Iliana in all four aisles of the supermarket and Iliana was screaming bloody murder. You can do this, I kept telling my burnt out & utterly exhausted self. The little guy outside was now WIDE AWAKE (in my mei tai) and slowly beginning to take his oh-my-God-I-suddenly-realised-that-I-am-starving-so-lets-tell-mom-that-I-need-booby-NOW face while I was staring on my phone’s shopping list in the hope that all remaining 23 items would just magically put themselves in the cart.  For a moment I decided to ignore the chasing & screaming and started speed shopping. Then, on aisle 3, I found Iliana sniffing on shower gel bottles (yes, THIS she learnt from me) and Jannis rubbing his hands with 1/4 of the coconut shower gel bottle which he accidentally poured on his clothes. I will let you imagine the rest. SPOILER ALERT: Multitasking: EPIC FAIL.

3. LET GO of PERFECTION. I can’t stress this enough. When I generously agreed to give N. some much needed personal time and go sailing with Ilianas’ godfather (am I not the COOLEST WIFE EVER???), I took refugee at my sister’s (AGAIN). We were two adults and 6 children. When he came back, 4 days later, he saw Jannis and commented on his change of colour of skin. Jannis, now looked more like a 7year old South East Indian rather than a Greek. What happened to Janni? Didn’t you put sunscreen on him? he dared to ask me. Oh honey, be thankful that all six of them are still alive.

I rest my case.

Until next time

love

tatu

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party of five

if you get easily disgusted, don’t read this

24 Aug

While we were vacationing in Pelion a couple of weeks ago, my sister and my cousin had the insane magnificent idea to go swimming on the beach of the busiest, widely known, beautiful beach of Mylopotamos.

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N. & Ch. (Alex’s husband), tried to talk them out of it, giving them multiple reasons why this would probably be the worst idea of the whole 7 day trip, but they were so persistent, they just decided to go along. Mistake No 1.

After a full breakfast, Mistake No 2, I had the splendid idea to switch places with Ch. & ride along with Alex & the girls (Mistake No 3). I do remember my last words to Ch. before I sat on the co-drivers seat: If Iliana complains that she has tummy ache, stop the car and we will switch places, ok? Ch. gave me the my-mind-is-totally-somewhere-else-and-I-will-nod-just-to-get-you-off-my-back look and said OK. I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN.

Half way through the 1 1/2 hour torturous ride up & down the mountain to the beach, N. stopped the car.

S H I T.

A semi panicked, semi guilty looking N. exited the car.

– WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED? I asked him. Of course I already knew the answer to that.

– Iliana just threw up.

– Oh no. No, no, no, no…If you know me, you know I can handle almost anything related to kid’s typical illnesses (sore throat, ear infections, bronchitis, you name it). Almost. The whole seeing what my kid just ate in detail accompanied by the most disgusting smell in the world thing I don’t deal with, well.

Numb and with the most disgusted look on my face I was staring at the 3-year-old who was crying like hell covered in the full morning’s breakfast, mumbling something about men being useless…

Thankfully my sis came to my rescue. She managed to calm Iliana down, clean her up (wet wipes inventor-I love you), put her dress and the 2 Barbies who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time into a plastic bag and into the trunk and pretended she didn’t mind. Oh yes, the whole puke-aversion thing runs in the family.

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we found a waterfall and tried washing everything under the crystal cold water that was coming down the mountain: including 3-year-old Iliana

Needless to say the already way too long drive to the beach got an hour extension and when we finally arrived at 3pm at the much awaited beach we realized we had to park 1 km away from the 300 steps which would lead us to it only to share it with another 1000 people who had the same dumb idea.

Tired, nauseous & fed up we took the absolute necessary things (or so we thought) and started to walk towards our destination. Nobody dared to say anything as we all felt like fusing time bombs who were just about to go off with the teeny – tiny – bit of stupid comment.

When we finally arrived at the beach, we discovered that there was no space left for 9 people so we squeezed our belongings together and shoved them next to some rocks convincing each other that, and I quote ‘we are so lucky, we found shade’, ignoring the fact that we had just carried an umbrella & a tent for 1 km and 300 steps.

The kids managed to stop whining & fussing as soon as they hit the water and N. & I decided to take turns in staying with Iliana as she didn’t really feel like swimming (can you blame her?)

After a couple of drama-less hours had passed I decided to leave everyone behind and go for the long-awaited swim in the sea. It was great. Worth it? Definitely not, but still I tried convincing myself that it was great.

When I returned to the gang, N. & Alex seemed eager to share with me the latest incident of the day.

Iliana had suddenly felt the need to pooh (after she had eaten two dozens of grapes, Mistake No 4) and thought to share it with the other 1000 people on the beach by shouting out: I HAVE KAKA!!!!! A painful realization: We had forgotten THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING OF ALL: the potty.

-SO? what did you do??? I was smiling….Finally, something that happened without my presence.

– She shitted in a plastic bag.

– Oh great! still smiling

– And while we were praising ourselves that we had brilliantly mastered the crisis, wiped her clean and threw away the only plastic bag we had, she shouted: I HAVE MORE!!!

– hahahahahahaha (ironic, right)

– And then we took the huge bag of chips (crisps if you are British) we had just licked clean and let her finish in there.

– Honey, I am proud of you!

Until next time

love

tatu

better than ice cream

6 Aug

If you have been a (stay at home) parent for a while I am positive you can relate with the following situation.

By the time the most challenging time of the day (a.k.a. bedtime) comes to an end, I feel eager to start my children-free-time, ASAP. Do I sound DESPERATE? Hell yeah. After all I am there for them 24/7, I NEED my couple of hours alone time to unwind, relax and do something – ANYTHING – as long as it doesn’t involve them.

Yiannis is a clever boy. He senses this desperation of mine, long before I actually realize it’s kicking in. He hates going to bed (like most children) and tries to get an extension EVERY SINGLE NIGHT.

It usually starts at dinner time. After he has a regular sized portion of whatever he chooses to eat he starts asking for more. I still haven’t figured out if it is ACTUAL HUNGER or just him prolonging bedtime.

After having devoured more than what his mother could eat for dinner (and that is a statement my friends), his stalling strategy continues. Now, the whining about being too tired to brush his teeth starts. By the way, this is STRICTLY the ONLY time he admits he is TIRED.  Whenever possible, I chose to withdraw myself from my 2 jewels at that point (and let N. take over) as I have usually reached the MOMMY RED ZONE by then.

I go to the kitchen (I am a foodie=the kitchen is my REFUGEE), clean up their mess & set the table for N. & myself. In these 10 minutes I try to recharge my batteries so that I can be the LOVING mom I want when I tuck them in & kiss them goodnight. It usually works.

When they are finally in bed, they start begging for more. More kisses, more cuddling, more, more, more…..

Until recently I played them the mommy-is-too-tired-and-too-hungry-and-too-dirty-and-needs-a-shower-ASAP card, gave them 5 kisses each and closed their door as fast as I could.

Two days ago, I decided to give in. I first laid next to Yianni and then I laid next to Iliana. I cuddled them, told them how much I cherish and love them, how much they really mean to me and that MY LOVE for THEM will NEVER CHANGE. Then, they practically copied what I had said and said that back to me. Although I knew these were not their words, I felt the LOVE.

Then, it hit me.

WHAT IF, I am losing the best moments of the day? What if, these 5 extra minutes make THE DIFFERENCE in THE WORLD? Right then and there I decided to stop and smell my kids….

Last night, as I laid next to Yianni, I hugged him, I inhaled him and told him: honey, this feels good. He turned to me, looked me in the eye and repeated what I had just said. Then, he added: this even feels better than ice cream…

Until next time

love,

tatu

an open letter to the chief of the mosquitoes lurking around my house

17 Jun

Dear Madam (yes, this Madam-the brothel Madam)

This HAS GOT TO STOP.

Seriously. I know your subordinates have needs (don’t play me the pregnant card) but this has gotten out of control.

I am furious as Iliana woke up this morning and looked more like Muhammad Ali than my precious, sweet little girl. NOT COOL.

First of all, you have half of the 24 hour circle to annoy us with your stings. This does not automatically give you the freedom to use the remaining 12 hours to sting along.

I know my kids are super sweet but there is a limit. 21 mosquito bites is WAY over that.

Don’t mourn over the brutal, smashed-on-the-wall death of one of your bitches. She definitely had that coming for her.

Should you feel the need to sting, please do so on myself and on other self sacrificing moms out there.

I am still holding a grudge against your zillionth African cousin for ruthlessly destroying my honeymoon. I haven’t let go. I probably never will.

Yours truly

T

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Hi, my name is T. & I am a screamer

3 Jun

There. I said it.

A few days ago I came across a post which made me cry. I don’t know if it was me (definitely me) but as I kept on reading I felt more and more horrible. Horrible for being able to relate, horrible for EXACTLY knowing what she meant when she said she saw the fear in the eyes of her child. JUST HORRIBLE.

I promised myself I would change.

15 Minutes later Iliana came to me and whined for the 358th time and I lost it. I screamed at her that I can’t take any more of her whining. WOW. The promise to myself lasted 15 fucking minutes. I should get a medal for that. Don’t you think?

The failing-to-be-the-perfect-mom guilt kicked in. Again.

Am I slowly turning into my father? He was the screamer in our family. My mom was the calm, the patient, the loving. My dad screamed. Not often but when he did he screamed like there was no tomorrow. I still remember it to this day. I remember I used to tell my mom that he scared me when he screamed and that I would NEVER do it. Funny (definitely not the appropriate word), how life turns out.

You see, I know the theory all too well. I have even read a whole book about being a scream free parent and I still think it belongs to one of the best parenting books I have read so far. But there are (sleep deprived) days that I feel I can’t deal with anything. I say something once, twice, three times and my children keep ignoring me. I know what I am supposed to do and what works with Yianni & what works with Iliana. Still, I lose my patience and what do I do? I scream. And what happens next? They obey. Out of fear. Total loss of communication. TOTAL FAILURE.

It breaks my heart. EVERY TIME.

I then ask them not to talk to me for a while. I stare at the wall, trying to comprehend what just happened to make me lose control. Sometimes I stay angry. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I just keep staring at the wall.

Yiannis knows better not to approach me in the following 10 minutes. Iliana on the other hand, waits for a few minutes to pass, checks for a window of opportunity and when she sees the sorrow taking over the anger she approaches me cautiously.

Mami, hast du dich beruhigt?  = Mom, did you calm yourself down?

It breaks my heart all over again.

I apologize and hug them and try explaining the unexplainable. And each time my kids tell me, it’s OK mom. It’s NOT OK though. It sucks.

Then I remember my blogger friend Jane’s words who embraces imperfection and accepts the challenges that parenting brings upon us.

At the end of that horrible day I feel less of a perfect mom and more of an imperfect, normal human being bound to make mistakes. I forgive myself. I give myself some credit. I usually end the day with a glass of a wine and a consolidating self talk: At least I don’t….them (I will leave it up to your imagination to fill in the blanks). I take a deep breath and promise myself that I will do it better tomorrow. At least I will fucking TRY.

love,

until next time

tatu

p.s. I am thinking of creating an A.S.(anonymous screamers) group, would you care to join me??

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my loves, my life

should she stay or should she go?

28 May

The last few days I have been running around almost all public services to obtain the necessary paperwork I need to enroll Iliana in kindergarten.

I HATE Greek public services.

However, I have a trick up my sleeve to obtain the papers I need in less time. I drag the children along. Yes it is a hassle, but it gets the work done a lot faster (depending on the social services of course and the ass lovely person behind the counter). Playing the I-don’t-have-any-help-with-my-kids-so-I-need-to-drag-them-along card usually works like a charm, especially at the local unemployment agency.

After four days and numerous public services visits I managed to get everything I need. I am relieved but not happy. Why?

Yiannis went to the same kindergarten and was being bullied for 9 months. So to say that I am not particularly fond of this school is an understatement. But at the moment, since I am not working, or better said I am not getting paid for the work I do, we can’t afford a private kindergarten for Iliana.

So, it comes down to 3 options:

1) She stays with me for another year and I will find myself in the same situation in a year’s time.

2) She goes to this kindergarten for 2 years until she is old enough to switch over to the German preschool.

3) I find a part-time job which will pay for a private kindergarten (with the unemployment at its peak at the moment the chances of that happening are close zero). Let’s say I do find a job, who will take care of Iliana when she gets sick?? Yiannis spent half of his first kindergarten year at home, sick.

I am tending to choose option 1 as she will be 3 1/2 when school starts and she is more than eager to make some new friends and socialize.

I honestly don’t know. Good thing I have the whole summer before I have to make a final decision.

What would you do, my friends?

Up until next time

love

tatu

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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

3 chauvinists and 2 parenting fails

11 Apr

I knew my day was off to a bad start when I spent the first half hour of the very early morning in the bathroom trying every parenting technique in the book to convince Yiannis to pee in the cup for his annual blood and urine examination. I think the I-will-slap-the-pee-out-of-you-if-I-have-to did the trick.

I then dragged his very hungry and thirsty little ass to the Social Security Organization to renew our family health book only to encounter Mr Chauvinist no 1 treating me as an imbecile for not understanding the 156th change in the renewal procedures.

After making us wait painfully for 25 minutes for no reason whatsoever, he practically threw the health-book in my face and told me that I had insufficient documents. It was 08:30 in the morning and I was already starting to lose my patience. I left frustrated and angry and remembered why I despise going to all Greek public social services.

While driving to the clinic for Yiannis’s  blood test Mr too-old-to-drive-let-alone-have-a-drivers-licence Chauvinist No 2 forced me to reverse my car when he misjudged the distance between our two cars and almost crashed into mine. He then slowly passed my car, lowered his window and started swearing at me for no apparent reason. Poor Yiannis heard more swear words in the one sentence the grandpa articulated than he has heard in his entire life.

The first tears of the day were shed.

A few minutes later I pulled myself together, entered the clinic with Yiannis, handed over the pee in the cup only to be told that he actually didn’t need a urine test. G R E A T. The whole parenting fail had been for nothing.

We returned home to cranky Iliana who was trying to deal with the lack of sleep and too much TV (fatal combination – I can reassure you). After inhaling a toast in milliseconds (have I ever told you I use food as comfort??) I played the referee between the siblings who were out to get one another and mainly THEIR MOM (or so I thought).

I tried to reason with them, it didn’t work. I tried yelling, it didn’t work either (it never does). I tried threatening that I would not take them with me to the local farmers market, it didn’t work either. In my last attempt to get their attention I turned into Cruella and started hitting the trash bin. Not only did it not work, I now have a semi broken trash bin.

We avoided each other for half an hour. It worked. I apologized and we hugged and then I tried explaining to them that I am not having one of the best days and they kept on saying: mama, es max nix! Oh but it did. I felt awful. I felt guilty. I decided to move on. I didn’t have the time or energy for self loathing. I left the house with the kids and went fruit and vegetable shopping.

In the late afternoon I kissed my kids goodbye, left them with my mother in law and headed to Yiannis’s school for a parent teacher meeting. I was tired and sad but I was thankful that I didn’t have to deal with bedtime as I was confident that I would commit the 3rd parenting fail of the day.

3 Minutes later I was pulled over by the traffic police.

‘License, registration & insurance’ were the orders of Mr Chauvinist no 3 (and worst of all). S H I T. The insurance paperwork had failed to reach our address on time (no surprise at all if one thinks of the lack of Greek postal efficiency) and although properly insured I was lacking the evidence to prove it. I tried explaining Mr Scumbag that and showed him the email of the insurance. Not only did I fail to convince him of my innocence I was ordered out of my car and threatened to be ripped off my licence plate & driver’s license should I not comply.

I approached cop no2, handed over my papers and tried hard NOT to completely lose the tiny amount of patience I had left. I was given 2 tickets. One was for 10 EURO for not carrying the insurance papers and the other one was for 500 EUROS for the lack of proving I do have an insurance. You see we still live in the Stone Age where police cars are NOT online with the system to double-check  the validity of the insurance. I now have to go to the post office, pay the 10 EURO, go to the police headquarters to prove the validity of the insurance and erase the 500 EURO ticket. WHAT the fuck FOR?

I love my country but not on days like this.

Until next time

love,

tatu

chauvinists

for Yianni & Iliana

12 Dec

I am in a bit of a weird mood lately. Maybe it is because of the funeral I just happened to drive into, or maybe because of Parenthood’s latest episode (yes I am Parenthood addicted), I am not quite sure. But what if something happens to me and everything I want to tell my kids is left untold?

This is a very short version of the most important things I would like them to know (for the purpose of actually keeping a few readers from leaving this post right now I have lightened it a bit up).

  • You are by far the best thing I contributed in creating. There will never be anything greater than that. You mean THE WORLD to me.
  • You bring the BEST and the WORST out of me. I would have never guessed that one single person is capable of doing that (well in your case two little creatures).
  • Although I might not look like the super content mom 24/7 I assure you that although switching from working full-time to being a stay at home mom full-time has been extremely challenging (to say the least) I would do it all over again. In a split second.
  • I don’t want to have another baby. Partly because I am out of patience(who knows why???) but mainly because it would mean less time with you two.
  • I sincerely apologize for the times I have lost control and yelled and shouted like there was no tomorrow. I am afraid that this has damaged you one way or another. I genuinely hope it hasn’t and if it has please try to find a way to forgive me as I am a person that is bound to make mistakes. It is the human part in me.
  • I love you to pieces. UNCONDITIONALLY and ETERNALLY. Please remember that.

xxx

T

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