Lately I have come across a few articles on how to talk to your kids while they are toddlers or preschoolers so when they arrive at ¨that¨ age (tween/teens) they talk to you, or better yet... listen to you. And guess what, as interesting as these articles are, and as many times as I have read articles like these, nothing prepared me for teenage years.
I have two tweens at home and we all have Ari, our toddler! Raising my girls while they were little was really a piece of cake.. hard work? well yes, but hard work the of the type that just gets you physically tired but not emotional exhausted....
When your children are little you just have to get them through life and teach them fundamental values and pretty basic things to ¨survive¨... we teach them how to ask for things, how to say please and thank you, brush your teeth, go to bed.. eat your vegetables... we also help them make sense of who they are in relationship to others, and how to interact with people around them... we even teach them to smile when they say hello... But then, all of a sudden comes life and changes everything... and your baby is not a baby anymore, she is ten or twelve and no matter how many books you have read, how many parenting classes you have attended, once again you feel like you are in in a whole new world... like a brand new mama.
And then suddenly you are speechless.... You doubt yourself, and start over-thinking how to approach things with them.... it doesn´t matter how many books you have read, nothing prepares you for this. At least... nothing prepared me. Ale has always been very strong-willed, we even called her Jack Bauer (the actor form 24) since she wouldn´t break ever.... when she said NO, that was a NO, one of the happiest girls I´ve known, but strong willed. Emi has always been much on the lighter side, maybe sweeter, and more attentive to other people´s feelings, easier child I would say.
So up to now for me it has been more on understanding personalities than following a guideline for speaking to your tween. For example, with Emi, and maybe because she is only ten, we still have a very open and straight forward conversation. We can speak about anything and she welcomes me in every aspect of her life always valuing what I have to say. With Ale is a complete different story. At this point in time, what has worked for me is doing a little research with other friends and moms (AKA spying!!!) and talking to her as if it had nothing to do with her. I make up stories about imaginary teenagers, and talk about topics that I know she is going through, but if I try just ¨interviewing¨ her I will not find a very receptive Ale!. That has been the best way that I have found that allows me to really say my word in a way that I know she is listening without feeling judged or analyzed. And some days... I just feel happy and satisfied by just watching TV at night with them, no talking needed, just plain hugs and kisses.
At the end, all I want for them is to one day live with the confidence and independence to make it on their own, the conscience and compassion to do right by others and not be indifferent to other people´s sufferings, the strength and the courage to be humble, and to trust me and their home as their safe haven today and always. But first we need to get trough these teen years, through the eye rolling, the arguing, the back talking... because at the end I know that right now they are figuring out who they are in this big scary world... and I have to trust myself that maybe am teaching more by example than by words!
So the one advice that I could give you is to follow your heart, teach by example and simply LOVE your children! All you need is LOVE!
¨People often consider walking on water or thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk the earth. Everyday we are engaged in a miracle which we don´t even acknowledge a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black and curious eyes of a child... our own two eyes. All is a miracle.¨ Thich Nhat Hanh
Oh I wish I could walk around always looking through the eyes of a child!
Today, this is the miracle I choose to live, my baby girl walking around our block, a beautiful flower that matches Ari, a flower that wakes up and goes to sleep everyday... a walk guided by my baby´s footsteps! So simple yet so hard to see!
Ale has been my little artist since she first grabbed a pencil when she was around one. I have always taken her to art lessons, but they were more about interpreting art than about real technique, the good thing about this classes was that they were one block away from our home, so they were painless for me! My uncle had tried impatiently for maybe over a year for me to change her to a more advanced class but I always told him that she had all her days tied up with gymnastics and that I was not going to take her to another class on Saturdays which meant another day of hurrying people up. So he took it upon himself to take her every Saturday morning to this amazing class where again she says is one of her happiest places in the whole world and her favorite time of her week, and where she is definitely showing off her true talent! So thank you Tio Alberto for never giving up, and thank you God for this very precious gift you have given to my Ale!
This is her latest work in progress...
Friday night movie with pizza, popcorn and our girls!... more than fun I would say is a blessing!
After a whole week of taxiing the girls around Caracas, we got home early on Friday, and as I was sitting there watching the girls do their thing on the trampoline I was rewarded with this beautiful sunset.... which felt to me like God´s way of saying... ¨Keep it up mom!¨... it was really picture perfect!
Hope you all have a great week!
Today am joining Tamar at:
Lately I have been kind of like in an uncreative state.... I feel my writing muse is on a break. There is something that I have not been able to put words to that is screaming inside me to get out. And it screams louder everytime I am with my oldest daughter Alessia. Up to now, I have been living my life in a world of endless childhood, I have been the best mom, the coolest, the cure it all, know it all mom, the one that they run to with whatever question, or joy, or problem they want to share. I have been needed for anything and everything for the last 12 years. But now, it seems as Ari is the only one that doesn´t shy away from the camera and the only one always super excited to be with me, well and Emi is still there too... always sweet and wanting.
During all this years, days have been long, but years so short. I have become immerse in a world of games, and joyfulness, and 24 hour shifts. I have become the most patient person on this planet and the most impatient at times too, and creativity has taken over me for explaining life´s challenges to my girls. I think that I have been a mom since the day I was born, still... it has changed me and shaped me into the woman I am today. My happiness is pretty much intertwined to being a mother... I have many things I could be, and maybe I am many other things, but what I feel I am, what describes me as a human being, the one thing that gives me the most joy and feelings of realization, is being a mom, not an architect, not an MBA, or a blogger, just a mom....
Motherhood is hard, is not always picture perfect, or blogabble. I have sometimes thought of it as a prayer to God, as something spiritual where I have given my life and body to a my children... I have given my hands for them to hold, my shoulders for them to cry on, or sleep on, my laps for sitting, and my body just for snuggling them. So when Ale is starting to somehow break away from me.. and start being her own self, when I am not needed to sing for her to fall asleep, when I see her dreaming of her future, when I see the beautiful woman she is becoming words stop coming easily to me. I Know I am happy, and it feels like so far we have done a good job, but it is also overwhelming to see how life is again shifting, and how fast it goes, and how nothing ever stays the same. I try to keep the part of her childhood of holding her close intact and we often hug and kiss and kiss again as we always have... but I know that she now needs more form me, not just a loving mom to teach her the basics in life, but a mother to teach her how to be a strong, sweet, intelligent and loving woman. It scares me a little, and has made me rethink the way I mother her. Hopefully, my example says more than my words, because with her I am a little short on words lately!
Well, anyways, I might not be making much sense today... but maybe tomorrow I will... and maybe just maybe am doing just fine with my first baby girl!
I told her I just wanted to compare our eyes....
Today I wanna dance, I wanna sing to the top of my lungs, and twirl around in circles with a flowery dress, or maybe with sequins, I want high heels and red lipstick, and maybe even curl my hair! My baby is turning two and I am happy... unearthly happy, I want to cheers to love and babies, and daughters, and friends, and all that is good.
Lately I have been immerse in a sea of things, I have flamenco, and gym, and school, and a husband, a house to tend to, and basically no time for myself. But then in moments like a traffic light with a good song, girls singing out loudly, Ari laughing and trying to sing along...then I think ¨heck why not, turn it uuuup¨ and I feel this rush of "this feels good" right then and there, the world stops, and sings and dances with us.. to our rhythm, to us! And it's worth it. Life is worth it, the smile on my girls face is all worth it... and a 2nd birthday is worth it!
Today I held Ari so close at 6:50 pm., the time that I herd her cry for the very first time. The moment I birthed her into this world, and the moment were life once again stared back at me with two beautiful little big black eyes, that filled my heart with so much love that I thought I would never stop crying.
Our home has always been pretty loud, there is always something going on, I love that is never quite even when I want it to be quite.... and then comes Ari, to complete our perfect mess with more giggles, and curls, and chubby hands and feet, and a smile that melts your heart. And yes... she owns us.. all of us!
On Thursday, her birthday... I thought that a cake with her sisters, her big brother and her mom and dad would be more than enough.. I mean she enjoys anything sooo much that that would do it...
But then.... life... why stop at a cake, why not really turn up the volume and celebrate it? So there I was with happiness and willingness to celebrate one of the many reasons God has given us to love and live fully. So on Friday I went and got some flowers, made some colorful hearts to decorate the house, called Daniel´s girlfriend that has a cake factory, called my closest friends and family and got ready to party!!!
Got some pretty cool presents!
And I got to take a beautiful picture of my birthday girl... pinkier than the cake, oh and that dress....!
Happy birthday mi puchipluncita... te amo con locura! Life is good!!! Thank you God... really...
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I have never seen a baby jump like Ari!
In Venezuela Sundays are almost sacred... is a day to spend with family. When I was little we would ¨dress up¨ for Sundays, first we would go to Church and then to grandma´s. Any other plans were forbidden and really I don´t think nobody planned anything different. Sundays were pretty quite too since nothing was open, and when I say nothing I really mean nothing.
One of the things about living in Venezuela, and I would think in many latin countries, is that the city were you are born is the city were you will live your entire life. Families stick together, and grow up together, that´s why we are so close to our cousins, and aunts and uncles and also friends. Family is not limited to your mom, dad and siblings... family involves everyone! It can get complicated at times, but we have learned to master the art of family throughout our history. Everybody you have met since childhood is probably still living in Caracas, I for example got my architecture degree here and then went to the US to get my MBA at U of I.... and then returned home, and like me, Gabriel, my sisters, cousins and many friends. In fact I learned to speak English while my parents were doing their masters at University of Florida, which by the way will was one of the best parts of my childhood. This has changed radically with all the political and economical situation happening in our country, and a lot of young people are leaving... Fortunately for our family, we are still all here (except my little sis) and so in this chaotic times, we still have kept our sense of normalcy, and our family Sundays!
Anyways, life has change in the city, there are many things to do on Sundays, everything is open, sometimes we plan eating out or going to the beach, or to the mountain... but still families gather at least twice a month for lunch! We rotate between my mom´s, my sister´s and our home, and usually try to make it special. The good thing about this is that I know that when our children grow they will not remember how Mondays felt like, or Tuesdays or Wednesdays... but they will surely remember how family felt like on Sundays!
Ari... give me some moves for the camera!
or laugh like her!
Have a great week!!
I often find myself rushing through the day... and I mean rushing and hurrying everybody up since 6:00 am. ¨Hurry up we got to leave.. brush your teeth, I´ll wait for you in the car, grab your bags, move...¨ this phrases are repeated several more times a day before Flamenco, Gymnastics, a play date, a trip to the grocery store... or whatever it is that we have to do whether is fun or not, we are always rushing through the day. We are usually home before 6pm, and then is like a count down to bed time. At night I find myself usually not really paying attention to what they are saying, and my mind is in other places thinking about what I am going to do after the girls are sleep, which a lot of the times is really just falling asleep myself or binge watching tv with Gabriel.
All my three girls are happy, cute, and bubbly girls, all in different ways, but bubbly! Emi is always always dancing and tapping her feet away, Ale is always in a hand stand, or hopping her way around the house, and little Ari is deciding which of her two big sisters to imitate! And then suddenly I ¨see¨ them and want to freeze my girls in this moment in time, so they never get older. It makes me so sad to know they won’t always fight for space on my lap or climb on the bed, or just compete for a kiss.
Yesterday was one of those moments of clarity when I ¨saw¨ I needed to stop, as I was heading out to take Ale to gymnastics.... I decided to pause the day, to stop the clock for two hours, so instead of leaving Ari with the nanny at home and running errands while Ale was training, I brought her with me and stopped the clock for two hours at the park. My baby and me, no phone, no chats, no interruptions. I picked Ale up and also enjoyed her company and held her hand in traffic, and then I got home and had a little time to watch Emi ride her bike around the block!
So yes, life has it´s very real timelines that we have to meet everyday, but we can also pause for a while, and the world will still be there at its own pace, and the only thing that can happen is that we are more fit to tackle it with a lighter head, and maybe, just maybe a little bit late!
This park is very 70´s Show style! but then.... it also brings me back to my childhood!
this weekend we also celebrated Ale´s 12th birthday with a slumber party! The girls had the time of their lives... and let´s say we didn´t have the night of our lives... haha. But I guess it was all worth it, I had never heard as much giggle and laughter in my entire life!
If you follow my blog, you will be wondering when will all the birthdays end, since we´ve been celebrating since November Gabriel´s (Nov 10), mine (Dec 2), my dad´s (Dec 18), Emiliana´s (Dec 26), my mom´s (Jan 25), Alessia´s (jan 31) and February 19 we´ll close the cycle with Arianna! And of course we have Christmas in the middle, so by Ari´s birthday we are all kinda like with a hang over.... haha
Anyways, Ale will be 12 tomorrow! My baby, the one that made me a mom, my little artist, the one I held for hours on end, the one that didn´t sleep through the night until she was about 2, the one that cried the most, the one with the tantrums but the happiest baby alive, my baby... the one that taught me that life was nowhere close to what I thought it was until she was born. The one that made me see the colors of the sky again, all the beautiful flowers that crossed our path each day and that I had stop seeing a long time ago, the one that made me see how beautiful life can be in every tiny little detail, the one that awoke my sense of wonder again.
Is Ale´s birthday tomorrow, and my birthday as a mom! We have learned together, I have failed at times and she has forgiven me with wanting eyes, arms wide open and a head full of hair for me to caress. She taught me to laugh my head off, or just sit silent immerse in my own thoughts, she taught me to be patient, to keep my cool, she taught me to see the colors in my own garden, Ale showed me how to be generous at heart... she taught me how to be a mom!
So tomorrow, I´ll miss my baby girl because as hard as I try to stop the clock, time goes by and quickly, and all I can do is watch my baby blossom into the most stunning of flowers, into a big girl, into the daughter I have dreamed of, and painted through out all these 12 years. We are beginning a new road again, parenting has again become something new to me again, we are learning again how to walk this new path of teenage years where I don´t always know if you are listening, where am not the idol, or the coolest, or the funnest... but then comes the night and you still hop into our bed, and curl up underneath the blankets with me and I know that no matter how old you are, you will always be my baby... my very first one!
Happy birthday mi Alessita bonita.... te amo de aqui hasta el cielo y mas alla! te amo te amo te amo!
I love rainy days, truly and deeply.. they are cool but they give me this warmth that I love. They make me think, hope, wish, dream... even at the beach I don´t mind some rain. It kind of feels like Christmas to me!
Yesterday was rainy, the whole city was collapsed, and I had to pick Alessia up from the gym early as it was flooded. Once I got back from that, it was too late to take Emi to Flamenco, nor that I wanted either... I mean literally I think I would have been eaten alive by traffic. So home we stayed. I was at the computer and decided to come down to see what the girls were doing... any time and every time I see these three together my heart dances, sings... and I embrace life sooo hard.. and I feel blessed, and I thank God!
This to me is food for the soul, specially when is rainy, and cozy, and home is about the best place on planet earth to be at! This image is perfection to me, three little girls, each one with a dream, each one different from one another, and different from me, each one happy in their own little big world. I love how they embrace life, happy and loud, yes it might be a little bit loud in this home at times, there might be music, dancing, yelling, bumps, fighting... we might be doing homework, planning a trip, seeing old pictures, reading a book, watching TV, or listening to each other´s stories, or just trying to be heard above all that´s going on.... we are not close to being perfect, but there is always a hug, a kiss, an I love you to share... I´ll often say I´m sorry and many many times you´ll hear me say TE AMO, because I know that even though we cry, and yell and laugh... we love. So I guess this is my reflection on this rainy day: it all comes down to LOVE, and maybe a little bit of rain!
Another good thing about this particular rainy day is that they even posed for a minute, which specially with Alessia is hard nowadays!
and then daddy got home, and my heart melted again... and we were complete! so let it rain!
I went to Ari´s preschool the other day for a mommy-teacher meeting, I knew I wasn´t going to be the youngest mom there, but really I wasn´t expecting to be the oldest! And I was clearly that.... but to make matters worse, they were all first time moms... OMG.... this was even worse than being the only in her forties!
So I sat there, listening to all their questions, concerns, and worries.. and just observed, trying not to judge them. Of course I was the rookiest of rookies 11 years ago, and I made the same questions, and had the same concerns about raising a baby and trying to be the perfect mom. But with Ari, I have to admit that I am basically sitting back and enjoying the ride! I am enjoying my baby without worrying if I am doing the right thing or not, and then you can add to that that she has been an ¨easy¨ baby (if this is even possible...) Gabriel often tells me that he doesn´t get how I can say that Ari doesn´t cry....haha! Of course the age concern often hits me, but there are so many things going on on in our house and so many different ages, and siblings, that the atmosphere will always be vibrant and young, at least that´s how it feels like, and what I strive to always have!
So in the morning I felt as the ¨master mom¨.... then came the afternoon and Ale was in her typical tween mood, eyes rolling, inpatient, moody, edgy, and guess what.... there I was as rookie as the moms at the preschool. I have as may questions, concerns, and worries as I had 11 years ago. I need to often call my mom and ask her for advise, and I am constantly on the phone with my sister trying to figure out what our best move with these girls is! So there.... when I thought I had it all figured out, I realize that I might be as rookie as 11 years ago!
Sometimes I doubt myself, and judge myself, but as long as my room is the room they want to be when the day ends, and as long as they want to be hugged and kissed a million time before going to bed, I guess that we might be doing something right. So rookie mom or master mom... I just love being their mom !!!
Hi! my name is Carolina Perisse de Rico, I am a stay at home architect with the biggest project ever... my girls! The oldest is 16, then I have an 14 year old, and my miracle baby who is 6. Glad you are here, hope you stay a while!
Am now a member of Communal Global!!!