Why You Feel Weirdly Depressed on Labor Day

TIME

Come, children, time to don your traditional back-to-school scowl, for it’s Labor Day weekend! Time to wear fake mustaches while dressing up like early labor leaders Matthew MacGuire and Peter J. McGuire, both credited with suggesting the holiday in 1882. Time to sing hymns in honor of the workers who perished in the Pullman Strike in 1894. And don’t forget to leave a quarter under your pillow for the Union Dues Fairy to collect!

Just kidding, we all know what Labor Day is really about: mourning all the fun stuff you didn’t get a chance to this summer. Most holidays offer up equal doses of delight and disappointment (Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve, Christmas) but on Labor Day, that balance is especially stark: whatever summer fun you’ve had by now is pretty much all you’re gonna get.

And that’s terrifying, because, let’s face it: the “last” barbecue of the summer…

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Stop calling it skill. It’s really just luck.

Life After Liquidity

What if you were born as this girl? What if you were born as this girl?

Not many people know that I am North Korean. Sort of.

My father was born in North Korea. The same day that he arrived to the world, his family had to flee to the South in order to escape the communists. The journey had to be taken on foot during the cover of night; naturally, it was extremely dangerous and risky. Capture could have meant death, or perhaps a life in a North Korean gulag.

At one point in the journey his family had to cross a river via a small boat. His mother was told that no noise could be made during the crossing. She was instructed to immediately drown her infant (my Dad) if he started to cry.

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Did it again in the car!!

I can’t believe it myself, but I did it again…

In the car….

While my in-laws were with us!!!

Yep, I managed yesterday the unthinkable, I breastfed my sunshine on the highway, with the whole family in the car, without taking her out of her car seat! I can only imagine your face, lol!

I had tried this before a few times out of desperation. My little one can scream very loud and for very long periods of time… Not ideal when you’re husband is trying to figure his way out of that city with a rental car… Now, I recommend you to try this when alone with your hubby driving until you get some practise. And no, I don’t have massive num nums. I wish mine were bigger! But a bit of contorsionism can go a very long way, together with a nice scarf to hide from high way drivers and/or in-laws and desperation to calm a screaming baby while still having maaany miles ahead. The funny thing is that my mother in-law seating next to me, just assumed that I was trying to put the baby to sleep and covering her with my scarf to block the light. They didn’t even realize! And in the end and after about 30 miles, my little girl finally fell asleep and we had a nice and quite drive back home after a long and lovely day out with the family.

Oh, boy! If you had asked my old self a couple of years ago if this could even be possible, I would have thought you were crazy!!! Haha, and here I am, boob out on the high way and almost everywhere! I’m sure I’m not the only one to have insolite breastfeeding episodes… As the cars were passing by I was laughing at myself and the little show I was hiding under my scarf (which by the way, my daughter was trying to kick and pull away, of course!). Furthermore, we passed several traffic controls. Can you imagine the face of the police officer if one had asked me to expose the little show? Not to mention my in-laws…

Happy Mother’s day!!

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A while ago and after that positive pregnancy test, life changed forever and now everyday is Mother’s day… (sigh for the cliché)

Some days being the “mama” is easier than others and in this digital era you may find yourself (after a “not-so-easy” day) checking for online feedback about parenting – when what you should be really doing is resting. A few days ago, I saw a kid wearing a funny t-shirt with the slogan:
“I don’t need google, my grandma knows it all!”

Well, I have to say that sometimes it feels really hard to follow your own ways. As much as I love my own “mama”, I do not share her views in parenting and it seems hard for her not to take it personally as an attack on how I think she should have raised myself…. Nothing farther than the truth!
I can’t blame her and all the mommies in the “western” culture for following doctor’s advices, sometimes almost orders. I was myself convinced on that same way of parenting before I became a parent myself and until my very, very demanding baby decided she was going to be the one to make me a “mama” and not the other way round. After a few adjustments in trial and error, we as a family started learning to function together and figure out what worked best for all of us without following the “magic” books. With time and little patience, my sunshine has taught me more of being a mother than any doctor or my own mother ever could do.

So, in the end and once again my daughter turns out to be the protagonist in “my” day, Mother’s day, because I love her and she is making me her mama.

Happy Mother’s day to you all and enjoy your little ones!!

Transition from a woodlouse in NYC…

Traveling and living together

When I flew to NY for the very first time I couldn’t help it but think that I wanted to go back some day for a bit longer than just a week and with somebody I like more than just a friend…

Funny enough sometimes wishes are granted!

I met somewhere else in the world this marvelous New Yorker that became the father of my little “sunshine”. So I find myself there these days at least twice a year for a month or a month and a half to visit my in-laws. Visiting my family with a baby was clearly not the thought I had on my mind while at the top of the Empire Estate, as you could imagine!

Guggenheim NYC

On my first flight to New York as a single woman, I slept over two hours and watched two movies in the plane… I am not very big, so…

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From smuggling to clothing…

Talking about diapers

If you had one or more babies I would love to hear what brand of diapers did you use… I was lucky enough to be able to breastfeed my little one and let me tell you that the milk was going in at the same pace as it was coming out…. She would nurse every 90 minutes to two hours (or sometimes just nurse through the day and/or night…) and so we found ourselves having to change diapers at midnight and at 2am and at 4am… and still having some major explosions, “pee-xplosions” and the more feared “poo-xplosions”. And the list of things to change in the middle of the night starts getting big all of the sudden: diapers, sheets for the cot (where the incident started), sheets for us (I brought the incident into our bed for nursing), pajamas for everybody…. Lights on and action!! Dear daddy was soooo tired once that when I went to change my little sunshine one morning, I discovered she was wearing two diapers, lol!

We started trying every brand they had at our local shop and I even looked into ordering some different brands online. We were living in a “baby-incubator” area, so we pretty much had all we could possibly need within 5 minutes walking distance. We found out that the diapers that best suit my girl were neither the most expensive but nor the cheapest either… I have to add that my girl was already relatively big at birth – 8lb 12oz (pretty much 4kg) – and her thighs are still today quite chunky. And finally one day we had a winner: HUGGIES!!

Where had you been all this time? I know, I know, the amount of pee, poo and other fluids spilling around or onto you reduces considerably as the baby grows. But hey! From one Day to the next our laundry basket finally could take a breath and so did the washing machine and the drier! It was a very cold and humid winter…

We were so happy! A couple of months later, we went to the States to visit the in-laws and we discovered “Huggies Nite”, what else could be better than those?!! We bought a lot of them, forget about Pampers or anything else, we became Huggie-addicted. A month later we returned to Europe and started looking for those magic night diapers with super powers, that would allow us to sleep “through the night” without getting up for several diaper changes. Oh well, they didn’t have those in Europe, but ok, we still had Huggies “basic”, which were pretty awesome compared to Dodot or other brands… By the way, it goes without saying that diapers causing any sign of diaper rash were soon discarded and used only as emergency stack, if at all.

And now the catastrophe began, our most beloved diapers started disappearing from the shelves in the supermarket. What was going on??! We started driving to the suburbs to buy them in boxes, the diapers were literally disappearing from the supermarket shelves. So I did a little research and I couldn’t believe what I read online….. Our favorite brand of diapers was interrupting its production in Europe!! We started to reserve our valuable stock at home for nights only. It is much easier to deal with a leak during the day than it is in the middle of the night…. And we also started counting the days to go visit in NY again. We were “forced” into smuggling diapers into Europe! Haha! In our last trip to the States, one of our suitcases was entirely packed with the magic diapers. They are heavier than they seem… So I continued doing my research and read about those “new” cloth diapers, it would take a lot to convince daddy, but maybe it was something we should try!! But that’s another story for another post….

I would love to hear about you. Which brand did you use? Which one was the winner? How long did your little one need diapers?

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Breastfeeding forever…

When I got pregnant with my little “sunshine” I started reading all about pregnancy and “forgot” to read about parenting. There was this little superstitious part of me that didn’t want to deal with anything real until my girl were with me. My pregnancy was not exactly an easy one, it became physically challenging and giving birth was a very difficult experience, to say it in a nice way… My partner is still traumatized and I am trying hard to convince him to get a little sibling for our first one. But that’s another story to tell another day…

Lucky me, after such hard 41 weeks of pregnancy and almost same hours of delivery breastfeeding started smooth and easy with my big and beautiful baby.

I had this great, young midwife come to check on us and say loudly with surprise:
“Baby! You were born to suck!!”

So, finally there was something that was going to be easy! I thought. And indeed it felt sooooo easy to nourish and connect with my sunshine through the breastfeeding hours.
Breastfeeding my baby has made me see parenting in a very different way to what I had in mind… It literally opened my eyes!! I thought my little girl would sleep happy in her little Moses basket next to me. Ha! If we managed to put her in, she would wake up within 30 minutes (sometimes 15) screaming bloody murder. Forget about trying to take a shower during the day or even disappearing for longer than 2 minutes in the bathroom. And so many others I could add here… So this is how we slowly transitioned into things like co-sleeping and baby wearing. Now, at that time I was completely unaware of what attachment parenting meant… But after doing some research during the long hours I was breastfeeding, I realized there was a whole world of theories and “tendencies” supporting our “intuitive” style of parenting.

And that is when it hit me, it may not be me who decides how long my sunshine is going to be breastfed, 3, 6, 12, 18 months… She will probably be the one who decides when is it time to self-wean. And so breastfeeding still continues today and maybe forever…