Tag Archives: mom

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

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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‘I still have plenty of time, right?’

5 Mar

Yiannis is a quiet boy. He doesn’t talk much. Large crowds of people tend to make him feel uncomfortable. He rarely opens up and when he does he usually chooses the worst timing (like bedtime), unless we are in the car. The most heartfelt discussions I have with my son occur while I drive and he sits in the back.

When I picked him up from school yesterday I was trying to find the right words to tell him that the uncle of my brother-in-law died the night before. He was pretty tired and didn’t really respond to the news, apart from acknowledging the fact that it was something really sad. He had only seen him a couple of times and didn’t really know him. Still, the subject of death is always a hard one.

When my grandfather died a few days after Yianni’s 4th birthday I was trying to figure out the ‘best’ way to explain death to a 4-year-old. Yiannis had always been mature for his age and I opted for the honest approach (surprise surprise). 

A few hours later while I was leaving my mom’s place and driving home he started the following conversation:

Yiannis: Mom, can I ask you something?

Me: Sure honey, go ahead.

Yiannis: I still have plenty of time, right?

Me: What do you mean honey? I was way too tired to realize what he was talking about

Yiannis: I will not die yet, will I?

Me: too shocked and too sad to promptly reply…it took me a few seconds: No, honey, of course not.

Yiannis: I mean, I am still a kid. I first have to become a dad and then a granddad, right?

Me: Yes, honey.  I was an emotional wreck by now. This is how it USUALLY works and how it SHOULD work….I paused for a minute or so wondering whether I should just shut my mouth right then and there or go on and be as honest as it gets: but…unfortunately, life doesn’t always go as planned and sometimes terrible things happen. 

Yiannis: Like what? I was obviously dreading that question but I had decided to go down the honest road and now I needed to finish what I had started

Me: Sometimes, moms and dads die as well. And sometimes, something terrible might also happen to a child. Too much information??

Yiannis: A child can die as well? As If I needed to paint a clearer picture!

Me: Yes, honey. Unfortunately some children die as well. That’s life. Seriously? A life lesson at  5 1/2??? What was I thinking??

How about you? How have you dealt with this subject with your little ones?

Until next time,

love,

tatu

Image

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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today a boy stole my heart

17 Nov

No. It was not my boy. It was someone else’s boy.

We went to a birthday party this morning. Both Yianni & Iliana had been waiting for this party the whole week. You see, being able to attend birthday parties during wintertime is something rare. Chances are that either one (or both) of them are down with some sort of  flu. Surprisingly enough, this time we managed to make it.

While I was trying to convince Yianni to mingle with the crowd and terribly failing at it, I saw this boy. A tall boy. A happy boy. A different boy. I stared. I know how rude it is to stare. That is something I try to teach my 2 kids. But you know when you see something different and sad and you just can’t keep your eyes off of it? That is what happened to me. While I was staring I tried to comprehend the difficulties and problems and worries his mom must be going through and I felt so little.

A few minutes later I saw a girl go to him and ask him something. He did not reply. He just smiled. The most genuine smile I had seen in a long time. She turned to his mom with a bedazzled look and asked her: ‘Does he not speak’?  The mom replied: ‘No, he can not speak. But he can give you great smiles. And hugs. He gives the best hugs in the world.’

A profound sadness overcame me. I struggled to hide my over-emotional reaction.  Who was I anyway? How can another mom’s struggle affect me in such an intense way? I ll tell you why. I can not begin to understand what she must be going through. I will not pretend that I can relate and the truth is I do not want to relate. I will let this be a reality check for me and N. and whenever I feel like parenting my 2 healthy kids is difficult I promise I will think of her and her boy with the million dollar smile.

xxx

T

(not) unleashing my full potential

28 Oct

The potential to look good is there I guess. What I do with this potential on a daily basis is the absolute minimum. I don’t have enough time to dress up in perfectly matched tone in tone clothes, put on immaculate make up, make the perfect hair do etc…Or so I tell myself. I have the perfect excuse: I am a stay at home mom.

Looking back though, making the most out of my looks was never my thing. Growing up in a messy, artistic home (mom and sister both painters) is probably one of the reasons. My mom, Petra, devoted her time on making the most out of our childhood, not her looks. She spent endless hours playing, painting, cooking and crafting with us. She hardly wore any make up, she just wore the funkiest colours anyone could wear. She could pull that off. She still can. At 68.

Having overdosed on rainbow colours over the years I spent half of my latter life dressed up in browns, dark greens, variations of greys and solid blacks. Despite the effortless attempts of my mom and my german grandmother to add some colour into my life I stuck to my earthy tones.

About a year ago I had enough. Dark colours officially depressed me. I felt the need to lighten my wardrobe up. I entered the magic world of feel good colours. Don’t get me wrong. Apart from missing the funds to renew my whole wardrobe I am positive I would look ridiculous dressed up in more than one happy colour at a time. I could not pull the Petra thing. Never in a million years.

Although my colour preference has changed a bit, I still can’t be bothered to do more than what is absolutely necessary. These are the 3 official versions of myself (No 1 being most frequent):

  1. Comfy sweat pants (no, I don’t work out) & no make up when staying at home.
  2. Casual clothes & a hint of make up (just enough to cover the dark circles under my underslept eyes) if I am going out to run errands.
  3. Dressing up & sufficient make up to make me appreciate the true wonders of camouflage.

Please note that the 3rd and most improved version of myself is only executed on christmas eve, new yeas eve, weddings & parties. Let’s be frank, how many of these do we really have the pleasure of attending throughout a year??

xxx

T

15 things that define me

6 Sep
  1. I have my ‘sunny’ moments and my ‘rainy’ moments. I am rarely in between
  2. I consider myself both lucky and doomed being half German, half Greek.
  3. My sister, Alex, means the world to me. She is my rock and my savior.  
  4. I am passionate in everything I do. I can’t do things half way. This is one of the reasons why I decided to quit my job and focus on raising my kids.
  5. I come from an artistic family (mom and sis both artists, dad a great hobby photographer) and whenever I am asked if I inherited this talent my response is: I am a good cook. I now realize (in writing) that this sounds quite pathetic.
  6. I love animals. One night I even managed to convince my dad NOT to kill the ENEMY (mosquito) in my room as it needed to be fed since it was carrying the baby enemy and needed the nutrition. Shockingly enough, my father agreed and for this one time (and one time only) I was not stung. RESPECT. Needless to say, mosquitoes are still very much the ENEMY and the only reason I (occasionally) dislike summer nights.
  7. Although I have lived my whole life in Greece, I can still not get over Greek driving.
  8. My junk food cravings: chips and gummy bears 
  9. I don’t like beer, never did. No one can seem to remember it.
  10. I am loyal, trustworthy and honest. Getting less sensitive and more positive (less realistic) are two of my new years resolutions (every year).
  11. I tend to keep people who make me laugh the closest possible to me. 
  12. I am very close to my mom. We are totally opposites but love each other intensely. 
  13. Working together with my dad for 10 years proved to be one of the most difficult things I ever had to do. If you ask me If I would do it all over again:NEVER. I still love him though.
  14. My new life (as a mom) has taught me to NEVER say NEVER. I officially take back all the stupid wise-ass comments I made of how I would NEVER co-sleep, breastfeed until I pass out or drive around the block for half an hour until the baby sleeps …the list is too long, trust me on this one.
  15. Since my husband N. will most probably read this post I have to say that he is the best thing that has happened to me! I will forever be grateful to him for contributing to creating our extraordinary, beautiful, astonishingly wonderful family (although it is still short of a little four legged creature).

XXX

T.

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