Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Who said that men and women are equal? - Chi ha parlato di parita' tra uomini e donne?

Men and women are equal and have equal opportunities. Yeah, sure. Only a career woman obsessively chasing her dream job could come up with such a lie. Really.

Bullshit. Men and women are NOT equal. At least equality isn't true for most women. As a friend often said to me in London, women, whether they like it or not, are made to have (and raise) babies. Having and raising children should become their top priority, whether they like it or not. I remember my friend saying: "Don't kill yourself with work. You are a girl! Come out with us. Do what the girls do! Sorry to disappoint you but, whether you like it or not, women are made to experience the joy of (or bear the cross of) motherhood! Because, sooner or later, it'll come".

Then the words of my first landlord, a Turkish woman in her fifties with long dark hair, come to my mind. "Don't waste your time studying. One day, you'll meet a nice man and that's it. You'll have a bambino and all your efforts, gone! " I remember trying not to laugh at her. What a backward, sexist, narrow-minded loser.

Yet last night, those remarks were haunting me. I could not let them go.

Yesterday, I went to see my gynecologist and soon after I found myself in such excruciating pain I couldn't breathe. They gave me the highest dosage of Motrin allowed and it still took an hour for my cramps to subside enough so that I could leave the examination room. No, I am not pregnant with a second child, no. Three months after I gave birth to William, in order to avoid unexpected children, the gynecologist persuaded me (with all the good things she said) to have an IUD put in place... Yes, the one with hormones. The alternative choices would have been (1) go back to the unbearable devastating side-effects of the past birth control methods I used, or  (2) accept the risk that I might become pregnant again and resign myself to the idea that my London friend is right - women are made to have and raise children, whether they like it or not.

Although there were only few problems for the first two years - I felt like a girl who had just discovered condoms!, the IUD has turned out to be worse than any of the other birth control methods I have used in the past. Recently, I have even come to believe that it has played a role in my difficulties in walking (this morning, I was limping, while I was preparing Tronk's breakfast) and the mysterious swelling in my extremities. So I went to see the gynecologist to ask her to have it removed, once and for all.

So yesterday, after screaming several times while the gynecologist was trying hard to remove the damned thing, each time without the slightest hint of success, I finally had to settle with cramps up to my throat and with a half a smile on her face, while she was making her conclusive comment: 

"I am sorry to have to tell you this, but another option could be to take you up to the 8th floor to have it removed in the surgery while you are asleep. Sorry, but I don't know what else to do". On that same day, I had just finished reading a list of horror stories, written by women, on this particular worse case scenario.

And then... they say that women are equal to men?

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Recently Overheard - Origliato Di Recente

Overhead today, while Tronk, who is not three yet, was playing:

- Si accende il motore ed il trenino va di felicita'! (The engine starts running and the little train goes out of happiness!)

- Ecco, e' il motore che va, ed e' pieno di felicita'! (Here it is, it is the engine that is running, and it is filled with happiness!)

- Ascolta! Tu metti l'aragosta nell'acqua bollente e non si muove piu'! (Listen! You put the lobster in the water boiling and it'll stop moving)

- Questa e' la rana che salta nella fontana perche' fa caldo! (This is the frog that jumps in the fountain cause it's hot!)

I had to remove the other lines from this page as they were censored.

Monday, June 11, 2012

When I go to the bathroom I think of you - Quando vado al bagno penso a te

The summer has finally come, a bit more English weather than usual, but that's OK. I imagined lazy days, but I am already tired of potty training. This morning I was close to throwing the potty out of the window! (Naples style). Really. 

What depresses me is the amount of time I have spent in the toilet (please don't tell me I should call it restroom!) since 2010 and the little success I have had. Remember this posting? I started the potty training when he was 18 months old. No kidding. Initially, I was able to get him to successfully poop once a day. Later, he was having his long wee every morning. The potty training was going fine. Then something happened.

Last winter, I had to take a break from it to avoid falling with my glamorous boot on a bunch of poop while I was cleaning the potty. I then restarted the potty training in spring thinking we'd pick up where we had left off. Bad idea. In spring, not only Tronk was no longer able to tell me when he needed to go (his adorable "poop face" was gone), but also he no longer wanted to have anything to do with the potty.

So I went from singing "mi scappa la pipi' papa'" (I need to go for a wee daddy) to reading stories on animals crapping, to telling Tronk that if he doesn't learn to pee in the toilet he will no longer be able to play soccer. I was hoping that the situation would improve. It hasn't. It has gotten worse and I feel I am starting to go mental (sto per sclerare).

This morning, after spending more than 15 minutes playing with the potty, he finally decided to pee in his diaper while eating cereal. After that, I gave him a large glass of water and left him naked in the house - for three hours. For three hours he whined while he played on the large purple plastic tarp that we normally use for messy activities. No signs that he needed to go to the toilet. Then lunch came and I put him in a pull up diaper. He figured that time had come to let go and there was pee all over the chair.

Tronk is turning three in a month and I have decided that I have had enough with the potty training. He either figures it out by himself or he will go to college wrapped in a diaper!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Birthday Weekend in Cape Cod - Compleanno a Cape Cod

What I mostly wanted for my birthday was to get on the road and go to the sea, swim in a heated pool, browse through arty things in cute stores, eat raw seafood, feel the heat of the sun on my arms, drink beer and chill out with a Nikon in my hands. My wish came true.

After managing to get through the night despite the constant interruptions of a very angry toddler asking me to wipe his nose all night long - John is away on a business trip so throughout the night I was the only one on call - as soon as I woke up this morning I posted the photos below and looked at them with a dark cup of PG tips in my hand. Funny how caffeine and a bunch of pictures can brighten up one's day!

Tronk is now begging me to take him back to the green house and I am already dreaming of building one for Tronk in our back yard. We'll see what John will have to say on this. Ugh

Tronk's Favorite Lullaby is in English - La Ninna Nanna Preferita di William e' in Inglese

Tronk has made it very clear. It happens every night and I have to accept it. The last song he wants to hear before he goes to bed, despite all the ninna nanne (Italian lullabies) I made him listen to, is not an Italian song. Nope, it is an English one. The song is Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. John is convinced that he doesn't understand what it means because the song is in English and Tronk, until now, has only learned to speak Italian. But this time I have to disagree with him, for the following reason.

I used to sing to Tronk the Italian version. He knew the meaning of the words but he wasn't too keen on it. Then, one day he heard the original version in English from his dad and from that day on he rejected the Italian version and, subsequently, all the ninna nanne I used to sing to him when he was a baby had no chance. Now, no matter what ninna nanna I sing to him, Twinkle Twinkle (that's how he calls it) is the only lullaby Tronk wants to hear.

Italian Version
Brilla brilla mia stellina
Ogni sera sei vicina

Lassu' in cielo brillera'
Un gioiello sembrera'
Brilla brilla mia stellina
E sei sempre piu' carina.
     English Version
     Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
     How I wonder what you are.

     Up above the world so high, 
     Like a diamond in the sky. 
     Twinkle, twinkle, little star.   
     How I wonder what you are.  

I don't blame him. Did you see how the two versions compare against each other? The English lyrics are from an early nineteenth-century English poem, "The Star", which was written by a poetess, Jane Taylor, who was fascinated by the look of a star. The Italian version is a fake, an attempt to translate the English version into Italian, which fails miserably in the last phrase: E sei sempre piu' carina. Literally, it means, "And you are nicer every day", which sounds more like the improvised comment of a nanny than poetry. It's a bad fake and Tronk spotted it!

More recently, Tronk has learned to sing Twinkle Twinkle. You can watch one of his public performances below. He learned this phonetically... as you might gather by the way he pronounces sky as skype - Yes, the computer software that he uses to talk to Nonni, grandma and grandpa.

So, every evening, when Tronk and I reach the last word of the last book we decide to read at bedtime, every time, I say to him "buonanotte tesoro, sogni d'oro, ti amo" (goodnight my little treasure, sweet dreams, I love you)  and I sullenly leave his room, with my head lowered, staring at my feet. I then call John and ask him to go to his room to sing the English lullaby.

I really cannot blame him for preferring the English lullabies to the Italian ninna nanne. The latter are closer to somber songs and laments expressing mourning or grief than to nursery rhymes for soothing babies! In most cases, they either talk about the hard labor of mothers, the weight that they have to bear in looking after their babies, or are about mothers threatening to give their babies away to witches, wolves or saints if the babies don't fall asleep. To not mention the ones filled with tragedies such as the black bird losing his wings, then one eye, then the other eye and so on. I spare you the lullabies with unclear sexual innuendo. The words in the Italian ninna nanne seem to come from the selfish needs of the Italian mothers to get through the day and make their child sleep while everyone else is free. Surely, there must be Italian lullabies that are not so heavy and so depressing!

I searched through Tronk's books and I did some research on the web. I am afraid the closest correspondent to the upbeat Little Star that I used to sing to William is Stella Stellina (Star, Little Star), which brings a bunch of animals into the picture. Not so cheerful, as you can see below.

Italian Version
Stella stellina
la notte si avvicina
la fiamma traballa
la mucca รจ nella stalla
la mucca e il vitello
la pecora e l'agnello
la chioccia ed il pulcino         
ognuno ha il suo bambino
ognuno ha la sua mamma
e tutti fan la nanna.
 English Version
 Star, little star,
 the night is approaching.
 the fire is dying
 the cow is in the barn
 the cow and the calf
 the sheep and the lamb
 the hen  with the chick
 each and everyone has his child
 each and everyone has his mom
 and everyone goes to sleep. 

No wonder Tronk said "basta" (enough) and gave his preference to a well written (and lighthearted) English poem.


In the last week or so, Tronk has added one bedtime request to his usual repertoire. He now pretends that I stay in his room for one more lullaby. This time, luckily, the song is in Italian. The only problem is that Tronk is usually the only one who knows what is about, until tonight.

Tonight, just before I closed his bedroom door, Tronk sang this to me:

Original Version in Italian
Dormi, Dormi mia bella mamma
con la mia fronte in mano
Non andare a farti la bua 
Vieni, vieni qui con me.
     English Translation
     Sleep, sleep, my beautiful mom,
     with my forehead in your hand
     Do not go to get a boo-boo
     Come here, come here with me.
That song he sang, at the end of a long tiring day, is worth one million hugs. Thanks Tronk for making my job as a mother so worth it.