… îmi plac copiii mei. Mult. Enorm. Și pentru că îmi place să scriu despre ei. Trei esee pe temă dată pe care am avut bucuria să mi le citească și aprecieze… ei bine da, chiar ea, Patricia Wallner!
December 14th, 2016
The Mind of the Child
– an essay –
My 6 year old son enters the supermarket, heads towards the fruit area, picks a fruits-and-vegetables bag and begins to choose oranges. Slightly squeezes them, looks carefully at their peel. Are they ripe, are they too ripe? With a bag full of oranges he goes to the weighing scale, puts it on, presses the right image, waits for the label to be printed, takes it and sticks it on the bag. Puts the bag into the grocery shopping cart and while taking out the groceries list that he himself, in capital letters, has written, pushes the cart and walks by my side to the local fruits area. Once we’ll get home I know he’ll take the groceries out and put the fruits in the fruit baskets that we keep by the window. In the past six years, he had constructed his physical, functional and biological independence.
My 3 year old son is in a playful disposition. Walks to the fruit baskets, takes out an orange, says ‘Look out, mom!’ and throws it at the ceiling. Then runs to the place where the orange has landed, stoops to pick it, stands back up, laughs, kicks it. His gross motor skills have been perfected to the point of … no return, I think as I happily watch him.
My 2 year old son comes into the kitchen, grasps an orange with his whole hand and opens the juicer’s lid. We sit together at the table, peel the orange and put slices on a plate. We’ll slowly insert them into the mouth of the cold press juicer. He chooses a straw and takes a mouthful of juice. Frowns. Yes, I know, the oranges we had today were not as sweet as usual. He is the unconscious creator perfecting his fine motor skills. Along with his taste preferences…
My 18 months old baby boy points at an orange and says “po-co-ca-la”. I look at him in awe because all of a sudden everything makes sense. That “co-co” that he used for announcing me that he wants his orange juice or that we were passing by the fruit area in the supermarket starts to resemble the conventional “portocala”. These days is all about language and it sounds wonderful.
My exclusively breastfed 6 months baby is now ready for diversification. Or at least so I’ve read and today it’s the big day. With a small glass and a teaspoon I approach his chair and while he babbles at me and makes all these funny faces, I try to dismiss all the annoying questions in my suddenly irrational mind. “What if he does not like it? What if I try another day and he still does not like it? What if he’ll never like anything I give him? What if I’ll have to breastfeed him for my entire life?” And as I continue to ask myself all these questions my boy opens his mouth, takes his first teaspoon of juice, pauses for a second and looks at me as if questioning if I am going to forever remain dumbstruck or if I am going to feed him that thing that tastes interesting. He is sensorially absorbing information. The kind of information that stays with you no matter what.
December 15th, 2016
The Importance of Movement
– an essay –
This is the preamble of a letter to my unborn or very recently born daughters-in-law. Or to my somewhat long ago born daughters-in-law, supposing my sons will fall in love and marry women that are older than them. And the things I want to pass on to you are of much importance to me because, you see, they concern my future grandchildren whom I already adore!
So, my dearest, please allow me to tell you that from the moment my son’s and your baby is born, you’ll have to be aware of the beautiful challenge that he or she will represent, you’ll have to anticipate their needs, sense the time they are prepared to move to another stage of development and carefully adapt and prepare the environment that will help them harmoniously and joyously grow.
But first things first, so I’ll start by advising you to never underestimate the importance of a natural birth (even if by the time you’ll read this doctors will prescribe C-sections by default and I, your annoying mother-in-law, have underwent two C-sections myself… but boy was that husband of yours a handsome, spectacular, giant 4600 grams baby boy!), because natural birth is the first major aid in helping babies establish their body scheme, which I hope you already know what it means and are not searching it on the Internet as you are, hopefully, reading this… (but anyway I’ll give you a hint, it’s what helps human beings understand where their bodies begin and end and, in time, through parents’ and grandparents’ love and care, leads to the ability to move through the environment safely, confidently and… joyously – I really feel the need to add!). And once you have completed the birth naturally, or through a C-section if that was best thought, do go for natural feeding, because breast feeding (and I’ve done it, soon after my each C-section, it wonderfully worked!) will make the baby feel loved. Totally, completely, absolutely loved. And if this isn’t enough reason and you’ll find yourself confused in a world that offers a zillion varieties of powder milk and adds promoting the miracles they make, please rely on this piece of information that all mothers should have. Best food to produce myelin is breast milk. And myelin is that fatty white substance that surrounds the axon of the nerve cells, forming a layer that is ESSENTIAL for the best functioning of the nervous system. And it’s by the descent of the myelin from head to those cute little toes and by its movement from the inside to the outside that my gorgeous grandson or granddaughter will hold their head, their shoulders, will reach out for a toy or my nose, will roll, sit, slither, crawl and this happenings will bring along that beautiful moment of functional independence where he or she will be able to walk to the table and pour a glass of water just to keep their little body properly hydrated while climbing on top of your closet in order to reach for that precious artefact that I will offer you when we shall first meet, secretly wondering if you will throw it away that very same special day…
– to be continued –
December 18th, 2016
The Adult as a Role Model
– an essay –
Today it’s December 18th, 2016. Exactly four years ago, by the time I’m typing these words, my elder son was being injected his third insulin shot. He was three years and eight months old and had been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. One week later, he and his dad came back from the hospital, with dark circles around their eyes and with these all of a sudden long, very thin and almost translucent arms. Watching them play with a solar system toy that I had bought for Christmas seemed so surreal that I kept turning my eyes towards the baby boy that I was breastfeeding. My son’s younger brother. A six months old little being that happily looked me in the eyes giving me strength to cope with… what was it? … the thought that everything was going to be different. And it was different, for a while. We decided that the kids and I will move for a while to the small city were I was born. It was eight hours away from Bucharest and my children were going to see their dad only on weekends, but there they would breath fresh air, eat the best of food, live in a big house with a huge garden and my strict grandma could impose a routine that was now more than ever needed. And, last but not least, it was the place where I hoped I could pull myself together. I had to model strength. And optimism. Do everything as if those four insulin shots a day represent nothing more than a simple routine, something like brushing his teeth or me changing his brother’s diapers. Things were falling apart but it was the time to prove that I can pull everything through. And do it graciously. We went skying, we went sledding, we built snow men, we shoveled snow. And when he was sleeping I used to read Cousens’ books and any other thing that I hoped would help me offer him a life with less insulin. And as spring came in, we moved back to Bucharest where we started to attend nutrition courses and we bought a dehydrator and all those strange looking and smelling ingredients that were going to become a colorful and replenishing alternative to what we were raised to believe that it represents eating. I learned to do kale chips and paradisiac tasting smoothies and sugar-free, diary-free chocolate and biscuits. Before turning five, my son knew what mesquite and turmeric and lucuma were and how to use them. And I learned to do something that I thought I’d never learn. Bread. Good, tasty home-made bread to replace that 100-ingredients-fluffy-GMOwheat-sweet-tasting-supermarket-bread that we used to love.
He grows beautifully. And he lives a life that is not different in the sense that I feared. He eats anniversary cakes at his friends’ birthdays and he totally likes pizza and has his share of lollipops while at school, but he also adores his fresh juices and almonds and home-made goodies. He’s into sports, outdoor activities, he laughs a lot, reads a lot, plays a lot. He’ll soon turn eight and perfectly knows what a healthy, balanced lifestyle involves.