Browsing Category | Parenting

No puedes saber quien eres, si no sabes de donde vienes

Choosing a name for your baby is such a process. I am first generation American and my parents called me Maria Ximena, a real tongue twister back in 1982 even in New York City. Yea sure everyone in Latin America is Maria something and down there people call you by both names but here? You have a better shot at winning the lottery. I was tortured my whole life by my name, first of all, no one could pronounce it, the X really throws people off. Then once you explained to everyone that the X makes a J sound, I was called “HeMan” you know the 80’s action figure? Then if you pronounced it with with an S sound I got called “Semen”. My husband’s name is Raul and you would think that wouldn’t be so hard to live with but when you grow up in an Italian/Irish neighborhood it is pretty rough. So as my husband and I are pretty traumatized with our very Spanish names we thought, ok we want to give our kids Spanish names too but something that is “easy” for Americans to pronounce. It was important to us that we kept it real with our kids. Sure we are American but we are no gringos, nor will we ever be. At the end of the day, our last name will always be Perez, my daughter might change it when she gets older and marries but I will NEVER let her forget she was a Perez first. Como dice el dicho “No puedes saber quien eres, si no sabes de donde vienes”. Translation: You cannot know who you are if you do not know where you came from.

With that in mind we made a list of several names but then the problem became how many people did I or my husband know with those names who were awful human beings, were sluts in high school, were ex boyfriends/girlfriends or whatever. Choosing a name became a real process!

For our daughter we finally settled on Adela,  yes Adela NOT Adele. We thought it fit perfectly. I don’t like naming my kids before they enter the world, I wanted to see them and hold them before I decided. The funny thing about Adela is that many Latinos think we call her Adela because we are speaking in Spanish so they assume when spelling her name or when speaking in English they have to refer to her as Adele. It is always something isn’t it?

When I had my son, my husband was so traumatized by my 24 hour labor and 2 hours of pushing that he pretty much told me I could name him whatever the hell I wanted. We had been torn between Xavier and Augustine (yes we like old people names) but I decided on Xavier, which is pronounced Javier and for soccer fans out there, yes, I know there are 2 very famous Spanish soccer players that have this name and pronounce it “Shavee and spell it differently (Xabier). Clearly my past has taught me nothing or I just have amnesia. Well I tell everyone his name is Xavi, and they have zero problem but always write it with a J and his pediatrician calls him Xavier pronounced “Ex-avier” so I have pretty much given up correcting people unless they are people I consider friends etc. I knew when I chose his name there would be confusion but I figured since I liked Xavier the way it was pronounced in English and Spanish it wouldn’t be an issue.

How did you chose your baby’s name?

 

BreastFeeding..Live and Let Live

I have a friend who recently gave birth to her second child and when I saw her a few weeks ago I could tell she was struggling with breastfeeding. When you only have 1 child the idea of having your baby on your breast all day is a shock at first but you do it, you get into a groove and you keep it moving. However when you have your second child you now have to breastfeed your newborn and chase after your other child at the same time. It is a challenge but that is why we Ladies have the babies!

My friend started asking me how long I breastfed my son and how I did this, that and the other. I answered her questions as best I could because truthfully I never breastfed my children that long(the longest I lasted was 3 months). My daughter had SEVERE acid reflux and by the time she was diagnosed my supply went down the tubes, I was told I had to go on a very strict diet (no diary or soy) and I was going thru SEVERE post pardem so I stopped at 6 weeks. My son got breastmilk for 3 months but I almost always pumped as he had a tendency to BITE me and it was horribly painful (did not have this problem with my daughter). I was told he would bite me because he was tongue tied but in reality he just had a high palette. I consider myself a practical person, so I did what worked for me and that is the best advice I can give to my friends and loved ones.

As we talked more in my friend’s living room I could tell she wanted someone to tell her it was going to be okay if she gave her baby formula, I sensed that she was being a bit bullied by either her pediatrician, her husband, family members or friends or maybe by everyone. All I could say was, do what you feel is right and tell those bullies to Fuck Off! You are a smart woman and a good mom and whatever makes you and baby happy is what is right.

When I first got pregnant and started reading and googling I found that so many people had such extreme views on parenting and especially breastfeeding. I believe that extremes of any kind are never good. Motherhood is so damn hard and when you are a first time parent every little article, fact or Babycenter email can send you into a tizzy at least that was my experience. Therefore the last thing we need as women is to judge one another or to tell someone what they should do. I would always think and say out loud to my computer screen ” ARE YOU IN MY HOME WITH MY NEWBORN AT 2AM” oh right, NO. So FUCK YOU! (I’m from New York, I love the F word-sorry!) I don’t know when we started living in a society where we think it is completely acceptable to tell people what to do with their lives. My mom always says , everyone has their own little book on how to raise their children and I could not agree more. My husband and I were formula fed babies and we turned out just fine. We also slept on our stomach and with 3,864,690 stuffed animals and blankets and a BUMPER and we are still here. Also, think about how many babies live in horrific poverty, their mothers often times do not have access to proper prenatal care, vitamins, healthy foods etc and they still survive. Obviously as educated women living in America we want the best for our children, we want our children all to be healthy baby geniuses but at the end of the day we just need to be GRATEFUL that we have options. My OBGYN with my daughter was the doctor who delivered me 30+ years ago and had such a funny outlook on pregnancy. He is obviously an older man and he is from South Africa so when I started reading off a list of everything I liked to eat and asked him if it was “safe” he laughed and said in his fabulous accent ” the women during the war had to eat rocks because they were starving and they had perfectly healthy babies-so just relax and use common sense”. I love that man!

Mami’s do what works for you! Breastfeeding is hard, you have to be 100% committed and supported. If it works for you awesome if it doesn’t that is okay too. Your baby is just hungry, feed him/her, be happy and enjoy every second because before you know it they will be going to preschool! And Ladies if you have nothing nice to say then don’t say anything at all..K?

Thanks

 

 

Sons vs. Daughters..oh boy is there a difference

When I was pregnant with my daughter I wanted it to be a surprise but with my son I wanted to find out. So when I told everyone I was having a boy I got a lot of “oh well get ready because Boys are way different than girls”. When I asked in what way I usually got radio silence. I wasn’t sure if that was because as most parents your memory starts to fade very quickly and you can never provide concrete examples as you can barely remember what you did 5 minutes ago or if it was because these parents just didn’t want to scare me.

Well my son is almost 9 months old and I now understand what they were trying to tell me. First of all, let’s make it clear that your 2nd child is always way different than your 1st because every child has their own personality and secondly you are more relaxed and in control and the baby can sense that. My son was a great infant he rarely cried unless he was hungry and pretty much let anyone hold him, feed him etc. You could feed him Chinese Food (not that I did that) and he would not get a single bit of gas. He slept thru the night starting at 4 months when he started solids and we haven’t looked back since.

Rewind to 2 months ago when he started to crawl backwards. I thought ok no biggie, he got caught under his crib and dresser a bunch of times but never got hurt and I could still get stuff done. Well that didn’t last long as he started crawling 1 month ago and my life changed forever. I cannot take my eyes off of him for a second! He gets into EVERYTHING, he has tried to bite the dogs tail, eat the cables behind the media console in the family room, rip the baby camera off the wall while I change him and the list goes on and on. What am I going to do?

Yesterday I tried to answer a text message as I was getting ready to pick up my daughter from school, so I put him down on the kitchen floor because if I carry him while on my phone he either grabs it and puts it in his mouth or slaps it out of my hand. Well in all but 2 seconds he managed to knock over the whole dog bowl filled with water ALL OVER HIM. This morning, he managed to get a twist and click sippy cup open just enough that the water spilled all over him. I realize that 99% of these things could be happening due to my lack of baby proofing or anticipating how destructive he is but I am just NOT prepared for this little boy. In retrospect my daughter was an ANGEL. I could answer an email or get up for a few seconds and not fear that she would seriously hurt herself or others. I had it soo good. Look I do not want to sound like I am ungrateful, I am happy that my son is thriving I am just not prepared for it. My daughter is mentally draining, my husband is rarely home and my ninja reflexes are failing me.

Mothers of sons you have my respect. From now on, when I see a mother in the market with multiple boys I will say a little prayer for her, ladies you are my heroes.

Christmas is coming, let’s craft…or NOT

Today I tried to be Marta Sanchez, the Latina Martha Stewart and well I failed, miserably.

It started with me dropping off my daughter at school, putting the baby to sleep and trying to make croquetas de pavo. Well the turkey legs were soo charred that the meat resembled tree bark. There goes that idea! Next, I thought I would make some manicotti with spinach and kale, so I opened the Ricotta cheese and despite it saying it was good until January it was moldy. So I tried again and made Arepas, they were a success thank God!

In the afternoon when I felt like I needed to be picked up off the floor with a shovel, I started to craft! Maybe that is where I went wrong, never start crafting when you are feeling the afternoon yawns. Since my daughter has a child friendly Christmas decor going on in her room but my son has nada I decided it was only fair to make him a felt Christmas tree with these stuffed animal ornaments that my mother bought at Costco years ago because “si no lo compras ahora ya no hay”..(side note I didn’t even have a boyfriend)

So it started off innocently, green felt, black sharpie pen, double sided tape and some glitter sticker board. My daughter and I were excited, she loves Christmas and her brother (thank you God) but it went south pretty quickly, despite the fact that I traced the tree; it was crooked. I couldn’t trace the star so I pieced it together and then the ornaments were too damn heavy, they wouldn’t stick with a stapler or double sided tape. Finally I used a safety pin. I only had 4 safety pins…Here is the sad, sad tree..

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Maybe I could have saved it if I had used a large red bow as the tree topper.

But it is okay. I am going to be positive.

1st. at least I tried

2nd. I should probably never do this again and instead spend my time reading to my kids

3rd. I am not perfect. No one is.

I will stick to cooking and buying things already assembled. Ladies do not feel pressure to be perfect, we cannot all be crafters, gourmet chefs, home school teachers, moms with six packs, CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies, fashionistas and everything else we should be doing in 24 hours. Life looks pretty and perfect on Instagram and Pinterest and every other lifestyle/social media site out there but we are all living REAL LIFE and that shit is messy, ugly and crooked at times.

Tomorrow’s chores: head to CVS in the morning for more safety pins and buy a big red bow, already made.

6:20am this morning..”Mami can you take care of 2 kids?”

ummmm..well that is the question I ask myself everyday! I guess my 3 1/2 daughter can read my mind. Daddy left today for a week long business trip and my daughter just wanted to make sure I could handle her and her brother. Well let’s see considering I do everything around the house (okay I do have a cleaning lady 1x a week but my husband always asks why since I clean every day), pay bills, make the tedious annoying phone calls that exist when you own a home, deal with the school, volunteer at the school, cook everyday for every meal and I don’t know do 1,257,888 things on a daily basis, YES I think I can handle 2 kids. Maybe not well but I can manage. I have no idea how those 16 year old girls have babies and raise them alone. Whenever I want to lock myself up in my room and loose my mind I think of them.

This past week during the Holidays was wonderful, joyful and challenging. I am getting old. I got woken up every day by my loving daughter before the sun rose, chased after my mobile baby and we went full speed into the holiday:

Thursday we hosted Thanksgiving

Friday we went into the woods/farm and cut down our own tree, visited Santa’s village, came home and decorated the whole house

Saturday I went to yoga (yea and I do not feel guilty), husband and daughter put up all the ornaments on the tree and I took the princess to her 1st musical. Side note-I got to shower and do my hair (with a hair dryer) so I looked like a nice suburban mom. Since I looked nice my husband and I took advantage, called my mom who cam over and went to Target and the movies. We saw CREED-go and see it, it was great!

Sunday my husband spent the whole day outside decorating and I watched the baby cheetah AKA my 8 1/2 month old son, made soup and cooked dinner oh and did 3 loads of laundry!

I am TIRED..

So how am I going to make it thru this week. I have no idea. I will need to meditate so I don’t scream like a banshee at my daughter who might as well work for the CIA. She wants to know everything, asks 5,643 questions a day and is the most persistent human being on earth, watch my favorite depressing show-The First 48 hours and oh yea, drink and eat lots of coffee and chocolate.

I figure I can loose weight in the new year and break out the faja (aka waistrainer for all of you in gringolandia) then..

p.s. my daughter has a cold AWESOME

Vicks Vaporub cura todo! It cures everything!

Vicks vaporubYo lo uso para todo. Esta en cada cuarto de mi casa!

I am like the old father in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, remember he thought windex was the cure for everything? Well I am the same way, except I think it is Vaporub. The fall and spring are the most common times for kids to get sick. My daughter just fell asleep, she has been coughing every night since Saturday.This is what I use because I have found that the following things cure all:

  1. Vaporub
  2. Sopa de pollo
  3. Humidifier
  4. Steam bath
  5. Vicks plug in strips

As a first time parent I was so scared to use vaporub on my daughter because the doctor would always say, do not put it directly on her skin, apply it to a tee shirt. But that doesn’t work. What works is putting it on their chest, back, behind their knees and under their feet. All of our parents probably had this stuff rubbed all over their body when they were babies and they survived. I always try to keep things in perspective.

One other thing that I always keep in my house are vitamins and homeopathic remedies. My daughter takes an elderberry and echinacea supplement every day, along with her pediasure (my pediatrician suggested I do this) and when she gets ill I give her some homeopathic drops that help congestion and the basic cold symptoms. My daughter is almost 4 years old and has only ever had to take antibiotics once when she had an ear infection. Everyone has to do what they think is best but this works for me.

Starting the Holidays off right

This weekend we had friends come and visit with their kids and enjoyed some good food, wine and playing outside with our dog. I try to work my kids out whenever I can so they go to sleep at night without a fight. I also tell them that they need to go outside before the snow comes and they are locked inside. I think I may have overdone it because I passed out at 9:30pm on Saturday. I started my Sunday by catching 20 minutes of The Pioneer Woman and am so glad I did. I am going to make her mash potatoes with shallot recipe this Thanksgiving. I love making things beforehand so that I am less stressed and crazy the day of Thanksgiving. Which is why after watching the Food Network I got my daughter to sit with me in the kitchen and work on our place cards. I usually try to incorporate something from our yard into our Holiday decor. In past years, I used acorns and spray painted them Gold and Silver and my favorite is using leaves from the yard as place cards. It was great for her because she has to practice her handwriting. Killed 2 birds with 1 stone.

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We had a great time at the Thanksgiving Day parade in our town, its short and sweet, just the way I like it. We saw 30,584 Sesame Street character balloons and then Santa! I then took the afternoon off and went to the Spa with my friend. I haven’t done that in oh never and it was soo much fun. I felt like my old self again. We even went on a girl date afterwards and had a delicious dinner and I had a little glass of white wine. It is amazing what the little things in life can do for your mood. A manicure/pedicure, massage and a nice dinner-kid free and poof I felt like I had gone on a mini vacation. I feel completely ready for the holidays.

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Now off to the supermarket to buy everything we need to cook this week. This is the 1 time a year that I actually look forward to going to the market. I am going to eat myself into a food coma and then squeeze my bloated butt into a faja.

It’s 9:22am now can I have some tequila?

My mornings with my 2 kids are mental and physical boot camp. It starts with my daughter coming into my room usually at 6:30am today it was 6:15am to tell me that its morning time, thank you time change! Then we have a discussion about how she needs to pee. Today thankfully she made it interesting by bringing me her USA map puzzle, placing it on my stomach and declaring that she  wants to go to Minnesota?! Why? Oh because there is snow there and there isn’t any here (yes and THANK GOD for that!). At 7am I usually give in to the fact that yes it is a new day and throw myself out of bed. I now begin to run around like a cartoon character with fireworks in my ass. I have no idea what I have gotten done and what I have forgotten. My husband is getting ready for work and is calm as can be, he might as well have just come from a yoga/meditation class. The longer it takes him to get ready the more ways I come up with on how to kick his ass. Where are those Gucci stilettos? My kids are all dressed, fed, brushed ready to go-they look adorable. I am still in my summer pajamas at 8am(my room is right above the furnace so its permanently 90 degrees in my room, while the rest of my house is Alaska), no socks and I still have morning crap in my eyes. I manage to chug the remains of a green juice that I made yesterday, throw clothes on and stumble into my car. I am not even in my seat yet and my daughter is making song requests. As I turn on the car and start to reverse out of the driveway I realize how cold I am, well am I wearing a jacket? No. Do I have shoes on? No. I am a  mess. I am wearing a striped sports bra, an old Mets tee shirt and yoga pants. Maybe this is why people think I am the nanny. Although to be fair nanny’s in my neck of the woods are fully decked out in designer clothes, full makeup and blinged out. I think I look more like the cleaning lady. Gotta love living in southern Connecticut-have I got stories!

For now it is 9:30am, I am having my coffee, my son is taking his morning nap and I will enjoy these few moments of quiet. I have to remember that before I know it my kids will be out of my house and I will cry like a baby when I reminisce of these days. Where’s the tequila? I have got laundry to do..

How did I get here?

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I NEVER thought I would be a stay at home mom. I always wanted kids because I was an only child with a very dysfunctional family and was always pretty lonely in life. But stay home and chill (hahaha how wrong I was) while my husband makes money? NEVER. My mother is a feminist of sorts and raised me on her own, true hustler. So when I found myself 5 months pregnant and unemployed I did not know what to do with myself. My husband has always had a demanding job and I wanted to be a present parent so that my kid would atleast know who one of us was during the week however I was soo not prepared for this new lifestyle. I felt suffocated, bored, as if my brain shrunk a little more each day. When my daughter was born I wanted nothing to do with her, I would yell at her and go ” what the hell do you want from me”, I wanted a newborn to speak so badly. I was a HOTT MESS, like so crazy I should of been put into a straight jacket. I managed and struggled to do it on my own and just deal with my new life as a stay at home mom in the suburbs. I thought, you ungrateful b&tch there are mothers out there who are 15 on welfare etc and are making it work, or mothers in third world countries trying to figure out how to get food that day for their family and you are having a hard time staying in a nice, renovated home while your husband transfers money into your bank account? Yea, poor you. So I would yell at myself and give myself a lot of tough love and just do it, take care of baby, clean the house, pay the bills, cook dinner every night, clean etc. boy was I miserable. My pediatrician just about forced me to seek help from a therapist and even though I would go and see her about once a month I was still struggling. Then one day in March I totally lost it, I mean Oscar award winning moment, I am Angelina Jolie in that movie about women in a mental institution? All I could do was cry on the phone with my mother at 2am while my husband was on a camping trip. That was the moment I realized how unwell I was and that I needed to do something. My loved ones were so worried. My husband used to say I am worried I am going to be Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie Revolutionary Road.

It took me a while, but with a lot of therapy, some yoga, a mom group or 2 and some help during the week I slowly became myself again, well my new self because what they say is true, once you have a baby your life completely changes. The person you thought you were is a distant memory. I have time now that I can leave the house by MYSELF and sure I am only going to the supermarket but it sure helps me stay sane. I now look back at my daughter’s first year a bit sad because I didn’t enjoy it enough. Luckily, I was blessed with another baby(yes your brain forgets how hard having a newborn is and before you know it you are dying for another), I didn’t have postpartum depression with him and now I realize why people have so many damn kids! They make you crazy but it is the best experience in the whole world. When my kids smile my heart jumps out of my body, like the Care Bears. I am not so hard on myself, I laugh and cry at every sappy TV commercial but I am living my life. Life is messy and thank God for that.