Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What is this blog for? - A cosa serve questo blog?

William is becoming 10 months old this coming Sunday. Only two months before his first birthday! Hard to believe I have been his mother and John has been his father for all this time. With us as a family, this blog has grown fast. How did this all start and where is it going? The other day I read an article about the recent moms blogging phenomena. The article was saying that blogging seems to have become the favorite past-time of the moms, after shopping for clothes, going to get beauty treatments and drinking coffee. In the article there was also a mention to the moms being paid for talking about baby products in their blogs. I went to look at some of these blogs: mostly stories about super moms dreaming of publishing the next bestseller while talking about poop and poop and poop. Fair enough, but what about the babies? Do we get an idea of what is happening in the life of the babies from reading these blogs? Not really. From reading some of the postings, you do get an idea of what is happening in the moms' life though. Are the babies excuses for the moms to write and glamorize their no longer glamorous life? Perhaps. While I was reading one of the blogs mentioned in the article, I saw pictures of very expensive designers clothes, baby gears, toys and kids snacks like Kinder cioccolato (not the kind of food you would expect to see in the recommendations of a mom). One of the moms was even talking about her "secret pleasure of sucking a chupa chupa" lollipop after nursing her son. There was a very attractive shot of the product next to it!

So what is my reason for maintaining this blog? How about if I also end up increasing the market shares of Starbucks by repeatedly mentioning my visits to their coffee shops in my postings to take William out of the house and to keep the blog up-to-date? How about William's tommy time I keep talking about and the toys I keep buying for him, which I have probably shown in the blog more than once? How is my blog any different than all these other moms' blogs out there?

Let's see. This blog started when I first felt I had a baby inside my tommy (the day Dr. Vassilikis said that I was pregnant). On that day, all of a sudden, I felt the need to record everything. Every moment of his life. And when I first heard his heart beating, I felt the need to see him and to give him the ability to speak. Ho sentito il bisogno di visualizzare le sue azioni, i suoi desideri, le sue sensazioni, le sue emozioni. E di ascoltare la sua voce, le sue parole, i suoi pensieri. Sorry for suddenly switching into Italian. I sometimes feel that it is in our roots and upbringing (our parents' roots), it is in our mother tongue that we can sometimes understand our habits, our likes, our thoughts, ourselves. So perhaps here it is. The reason I started this blog was because I needed a place for me to tell William who I am, who he is and perhaps, one day, to help him understand who he will be. For this reason, in some cases, I switch from English to Italian.

Like now, for example...

Parte della nostra identita' e' l'identita' del luogo in cui viviamo, disse nel lontano 1997 la mia cara amica di liceo Laura Lettini nella sua tesi di dottorato in psicologica. In quell'anno, io mi trovavo a Londra, alla ricerca di nuove esperienze. Anch'io, come tanti italiani, mi trovavo alla ricerca di una nuova identita'. Anch'io evitavo gli zainetti Invicta ed i luoghi comuni, come ad esempio, il bisogno della marca o delle "cose alternative" e cercavo qualche cosa in piu'. In Inghilterra (a Londra ed a Oxford in particolare), non solo ho potuto continuare a fare l'adolescente, ma sono anche riuscita ad eliminare i sensi di colpa connessi con l'essere adolescente e con il non prendere responsabilita'. Questo da un lato ha rafforzato la mia pigrizia, dall'altro mi ha incoraggiata a fare cose con un po' d'incoscienza che, quando vivevo in Italia, probabilmente, non avrei mai fatto. Per esempio, a provare a fare la Senior Account Manager nella piu' grande agenzia pubblicitaria del mondo (la McCan Erickson a Londra) senza aver mai messo piede in un'agenzia di pubblicita' a servizio completo prima di allora, neanche in Italia. Ho avuto il coraggio di distribuire all'ingresso di un'altra famosa agenzia Londinese barre di cioccolato con il mio nome. Ho avuto il coraggio di inviare una spogliarellista che lavorava in un club notturno di Londra ad un dirigente della Leo Burnett per farmi assumere dalla loro agenzia. Studiando la sera, mi sono diplomata con un master in scienza a Londra. Prima di questa esperienza avevo soltanto studiato per un diploma in grafica pubblicitaria. Non per una laurea vera e propria. Senza avere una base ne' in ingegneria, ne' in infomatica, ne' in matematica, sempre studiando la sera, mi sono messa a fare un dottorato di ricerca in bioingegneria. Ho poi lasciato questo per sposare tuo papa', per andare a vivere con lui negli Stati Uniti e per occuparmi di te. Ed ora che sono lontana dall'Italia e che ho questa strana identita' italo-anglo-americana, se cosi' la posso definire, mi sento un po' piu' obiettiva, un po' piu' aperta di vedute, un po' piu' flessibile, in certe cose un po' piu' forte, in altre un po' piu' fragile. Allo stesso tempo, mi sento anche piu' italiana di quanto mi sia mai sentita da quando ho lasciato l'Italia. Ho una voglia matta di mangiare la pasta con il sugo, di andare al bar a prendere l'espresso la mattina presto, di sentire le canzoni melanconiche dei cantautori italiani, di essere coccolata e di coccolare, di immergermi nei libri di Calvino e di Pavese, di andare a fare una passeggiata la domenica mattina con le inferriate dei negozi giu' e di sentire la campana della chiesa della Crocetta vicino a casa far din don. Mi manca l'Italia.

Back in English...

So yes, this blog is not about poop and baby gears. It is about the story of my son William Mario, but also and above all about my daily need to communicate with him and with the people who love him, to cry, to laugh, to share, to relate and to be close to him.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Made with boiled water only? How about the fluoride? - Fatto con acqua bollente? Cosa? Senza fluoro?

The average American mom must go through an average of 200 (just a guess - it might be more) worrying thoughts and related bits of reassurance , per day. Take the teething problem for instance. I have not met a single mom who has not worried about giving their child toys that can ease the pain of the teeth growing and bothering their babies. If in the old days children were encouraged to deal with the pain of new teeth attacking their soft gums all by themselves as a way to learn and become strong, nowadays children are given "pacifiers purpose" rubbery toys of all shapes, colours, textures and sounds to put in their mouth and chew to make them feel better. These colorful evil things are hanging on the handles of strollers, car seats, they clutter people's cars and houses. You see them each time you meet a baby. I once heard a mom, whose's son was not sleeping through the night, say that she was considering buying the 20 dollars giraffe teething toy that mostly all moms I have met end up submit themselves to in order to avoid feeling the guilt that their children were going through more pain that they should have gone through!

I don't want to get too much into the food topic because that deserves a posting on its own but I will add some questions that are stuck in my mind from hearing them so often. "OMG, are you giving your daughter finger food at 8 months? Are you not scared that she is going to choke? What finger food are you giving your kid? Organic, right? Does that special cup from Fisher Price works? Cool, I am going to buy it!". As an Italian I grew up in a country where children are given pasta con il pomodoro straight from their plate in the first few months of their life (at 4 months). Despite children are kept either at home or bundled up to protect them from getting colds, in Italy being a good parent also simply means not leaving the kids unattended, at home or in the car for example. So I can't help finding the American super cautious moms' thoughts overwhelming. What do I do when William gets older and goes to kindergarten? Am I supposed to become that kind of mom too? Last week the super cautious better mom's behavior reached its highest point. First, a bunch of frightening emails on the bacteria present in the tap water, which were threatening the life of us and of our children, reached my inbox. My husband drove me all the way to Sloughton to get hold of bacteria free water. We ended up going home with nearly 300 bottles of water of 8 ounces each because the other bottles were gone. Did we really need to buy all those bottles to get through the two days of 5 or 10% of unsure water we could have been drinking before the 100% safe lawsuits proof Bostonian water would reach our houses again? At least we had some extra water, just in case, the temperature would suddenly rise up in the next couple of days, or just in case the baby would suddenly decide to eat more solids and to be more thirsty. But in this latter case, "would you give your child bottled water with no fluoride destroying his teeth?" were wondering a bunch of worried moms in one of the moms list I belong to. Here comes the question that has bothered me for a while now: "should I worry to worry less or to worry more?"