terça-feira, 2 de setembro de 2014

Good Enough

There are days where I have to recruit myself to be nice. Something along the lines of, "Hey, come on, be nice to her, say three nice things to her, I think she deserves a break, some mercy from her own self, don't you think?"

Like I said to my therapist yesterday, I write ten things on my daily to-do list, get 20 things done, then it's 11pm and I put 5 more just to top it off, actually thinking it's possible, or that I am an endless well of energy and resources. No matter the 25 items on the list, I end the day feeling like I'm lacking, still feeling like it's never enough, like I'm pursuing some sort of incredibly elusive white rabbit.

There's no use making a list of everything that got done today in the effort of making me feel good about myself, it's something that's happening in a place unaffected by lists and their rationale. A place that just looks at distorted images in the mirror and crazy never-ending demands and expectations.

So out of another place, that which makes me realize how tired I really am, I choose to have a bit more mercy and lay off the never-ending lists.
For tonight, I am enough. I am enough. I do enough, I try enough, I am good enough. And really, there is no enough, that is the real trap and error in thinking. Good night.

segunda-feira, 30 de junho de 2014

Field notes on a bilingual Cora

Lots of people are curious about raising Cora bilingual and find it "sooo cute" when she spits out her interwoven dialect. Here are some notes of how this process has been unfolding, for those who are interested: 

She’s turning bilingual before our eyes. It used to be she would only say one name for an object – in whichever language she caught onto first – so she would say “pé” but not “foot” and “shoe” but not “sapato” that sorta thing. But this last week I’ve been noticing her “duplicating” her words, so she’s been saying “grande” as well as “big”- in other words, somewhere in her brain, she has understood that these two words have the same meaning, but work in different systems. I also notice her switch her language when interacting with me and when I change what language I address her in. It’s pretty interesting. There’s a whole system in her brain that is activated and calls up English or Portuguese. However, there are still “holes” in each language which she covers up by activating the same word in the other language. In other words, we’ve got a whole tower of Babel situation going on here, and depending on who’s around her, they do not understand one darn thing. But I do. I understand it all and am so in love with watching language blooming for her, and I LOVE being fluent in Cora. 
She started calling me Mommy, where before she only called me Mamãe. That was a complete heart-melting moment for me. It’s interchangeable, but I wonder if she’s transitioning to Mommy, because I call myself Mommy when I talk to her. We’ll see!
More loose examples:
Mamãe graaaande, Cuncun, baby!  She say’s “baby” to mean “little”. Hehe. Cute or what?
She’s saying “happy” too, except it’s Appy, because the H sound is not coming out yet, so that also means that, in Portuguese, she says ATO for “rato”
She says “yes” like “ice”, but more like “eeeesss!!””

Oh, and the best one yet – she’s using “has” – like, Cuncun has teddy! Before she only said “Cuncun tem” And verbs are starting to gain a past tense too…she’ll say “biu”’for abriu, or “pegou” “trouxe”…In English she’s not using that many verbs yet (just has, fall, up and down in the sense of go up and go down, and the beginnings of an "is" before adjectives) so I don't really know yet. But she was using the possessive s before, but she sorta stopped doing that. Where do these things disappear to? 
And it's the darndest thing the things she picks up on and how they pop up maaaany days later - I had no idea she had noticed or understood something, and then she goes and uses it spontaneously, I was not actively trying to teach it to her. I can't think of an example right now, but it happens al the time. Oh, "boat" is an example, I think I mentioned it once in a book, not giving it much thought because, hey, it's not like we see boats around our house here, so I thought she wouldn't be able to grasp the concept…but then we went to a place near the lake and she keeps repeating something I can't understand, until FINALLY i get it - BOAT!! She's saying boat and frantically pointing it out! 
Every day brings about so many new words and funny new phrases and combinations of languages, that I'm taking it for granted, stopped seeing how amazing that is. I try to always remember and register some of the more noteworthy examples, or just plain cuteness. 

quarta-feira, 11 de junho de 2014

You make me a better person

Baby girl.

You make me be a better person. But not for the reasons you might think. Not because I have to be self-less and patient and caring and etc etc…
No…it's because with you I cannot run away from all the darkness deep inside me. I am confronted with it every day, every day. And in order to provide you with the above mentioned patience, caring, time, presence, etc…I have to deal with the darkness. You make me move through it, dance with the shadows, really feel the fear. There is a lot of it. But I realized I can co-exist with fear, I can admit to being afraid and continue breathing, while looking for different paths. Being your mother takes me to this edge, many times over, and it's this edge that is making me grow.

segunda-feira, 26 de maio de 2014

The waters at 20 months of Cora

I am apparently doing better.
Better put, I am practicing the fine art of resilience. I keep bouncing back, bouncing back, bouncing back.
There are moments, there are days, when I feel like I'm drowning in myself, eternally swimming to keep my nose above water. There are moments, there are days, when things are okay, just floating along perhaps even enjoying the sun. But I would love to get to a beach, really, that would be ideal.

I get confused easily, dazed easily, my feet not quite on the ground. Or, to keep the metaphor going, floating in a large expanse of some strong liquid which alters my perception of up and down and all around.

I think so much about mothers, about mothering. I see women on the street with children, and I see how invisible they are, these mothers going about their daily lives. Does anyone ask how they are, what they are going through? Does anyone realize what is happening? I worry about mothers getting enough support, about people speaking out on the issues of motherhood beyond the superficial things we get advice about on sites and blogs and just in every day conversations. In ever woman I see, I see a story that is going unseen. I wish I could do something more than just worry about this.

So here, at home...
What I have beed doing, Cora-wise, is just taking it a day at a time, and facing this work at home experience as an experiment in early child education. After struggling with the idea of pre-school, no pre-school (and all the strings that come with it - financial, family configurations, cora and mine's emotional selves…) I have backed down from the idea, for now. For now. 2015 will tell another tale, perhaps. Or even next month. I don't know, honestly.

So we have at home pre-school…and I feel it helps me keep focused, remember where my feet are and even have fun with the whole thing.

We paint.
We play with beans and containers, spoons and cups.
We read books.
We eat. We snack. We experiment with new foods.
We practice our English.
We go to the park, we see ducks and monkeys, sticks and grass.
We go to the playground, we dig and bury our feet in sand and get absolutely filthy.
We take showers together and play with buckets and rubber ducks.
We snuggle. We nurse. We nap.
We color, we scribble.
We clean the house, sponge and cloth and brooms in hand. She is quite the organized and clean girl, I love it.
In the morning, there is iaiá, some afternoons, for about 3 hours, her grandma fafá.
And in the midst of all that, there are the cartoons, the pretending to be a duck/cat/dog/elephant, the chasing her around the house, playing hide-and-seek and just other silly-nessess.

And somehow, somehow...I find ways to translate, to type type type away. I honestly don't know how this keeps happening. Week after week, jobs get done and Cora keeps growing and I am not losing it completely. It could even be said that I am thriving in my own mayaesque way.

segunda-feira, 14 de abril de 2014

Since we're on the topic...

I've decided I have to get back to writing, for my own sake, for my psyche's sake. Several teachers told me, long ago, that writing was to be a path for me. And it really was, but I lost it somewhere along the way, amidst other priorities. But not completely, it has always been present, ever since as I can remember myself as me.
And writing about what I'm going through now, seems like a reasonable way through - a path, if I may.

Today was neither here nor there in the grand excitement of my roller coaster emotions. It just was. Duties were fulfilled, Cora was tended to, the hours flowed by almost completely gracefully.

However, there is a glitch coming up on my radar. Easter. Frickin Easter Holidays. FOUR WHOLE DAYS of HOLIDAY.

Have I mentioned I have a loooot of trouble with non-weekdays? With vacations, weekends, holidays - ever since Cora was born? I mean, I had this sort of trouble when I was a child, too, but then I learned to value free time and it ceased to be an issue. Until Cora was born. Then what happened? Routine became my saving grace - knowing what to count on became central to my sanity, for there is so so so much you cannot predict, at least a routine in a familiar place with familair people, in my safe corner of the world - it helps tremendously when I'm dealing not only with a baby, but with my own mind and its flights of fancy and extreme anxiety. Routine is my pacificier.

I have no idea what is to be of this holiday. I am dreading it, I am trying not to make it worse than it has to be by fretting, but I also want to take preventive measures, realistic measures, to help my own self out, since I'm the one who knows myself best.

We'll see...I'll keep this updated, because I need to, for me! I need to tell my own story and regain my voice, my many voices, I guess...VOICE, I miss you. I've got to stop caring what other people think or don't think, or whatever. This is, in grand part, what the blog is about. But I DO care about people who care and would like to share how they care (rhyme much?). That will mean the world to me.

domingo, 13 de abril de 2014

Its Ugly Head is Rearing

Mothering with depression. (Or anything with depression, for that matter)
I´ve had a long history with depression and anxiety disorders of many sorts, and ten years of being on on and off again medications of all sorts...and then I had a baby.

And I was able to taper off, to embrace my need to breastfeed her the purest of milks, to not haze my perceptions or days with the meds...
But that didn´t work for too long. Because, let´s face it, I am still me.

And recently, I have been struggling especially hard. The thing is, serious depression, yet non-debilitating depression, is really tough as well, becasue you´re out there, functioning, so it doesn´t really seem that hard, now does it? But there are days when all I wish I could do is sit in a corner and cry, cry, cry. My chest gets heavy, my mind comes to a halt, all sorts of negative voices stir up and emotionally whip me down to my metaphorical knees. And there are days when I can´t believe I got through it, that all was done, that it´s over...but then it´ll all start again in a few hours. Where is the relief?
I am so tired, guys. So tired. I feel caught, I feel misunderstood by those closest to me, I have trouble trusting that I am accepted and loved no matter what, that this too shall pass, that this does not define me, that this is what medication is for, don´t feel guilty...but guilt and negative future thinking is a bloody inherent part of this condition, so yes, I am struggling. There are days, and nights, especially, when I am running on close to empty, next to nothing but faith alone. Thank God faith can take someone a long way.

sexta-feira, 4 de abril de 2014

Today's Flitter-Flattering Musings

Flitter, flitter here, flitter flatter there. I have a toddler butterfly around the house. Today she flittered everywhere, between ducks in the park and crayons in the bathroom. Imagination unfolds as I see her in endless chit chatter with herself and the play she is engaged in, hard at work. 

Flitter flitter, little girl. 

I am less graceful. I am more of the "trying-not-to-trip-over-small-objects-and-toys-as-I-tend-to-ten-things-at-once." Not to mention, let's not trip over the flittering creature going to and fro, oblivious to my ten things all at once. 

I know I am becoming quite notorious for saying this - but I can't help myself, forgive me - this mothering thing is befuddling, befuddling! That is why I find myself talking in Dr. Seussian code and rhyme. The mysteries that lie behind this state of procreating, or rearing, of nurturing…I witness love and vulnerability so closely everyday it makes my heart hurt, for the tenderness, but also for the potential for hurt. There is so much potential for hurt out there for the pure of heart. It is this vulnerability that melts me and makes me want to hide away when I look at the world. But she also teaches me about courage, which does come from the heart - the coeur. Vulnerability would be null without the heart that declares, I am here, I am here, beating, give me your starving, your poor, your delights and your butterflies!