Category: Uncategorized

Being Rejected

I was in tears that day on his first birthday when he squeezed me tight and hugged me, that was the first time he had done that and at that moment I lost it, a whole year worth of diaper changes, cuddles, lullabies and endless feeding and patience and it was well worth the wait, from then on things got better, but mama was always number 1. Over the past three years, we’ve become closer and closer and while mama is still number 1… for a long time it felt well balanced. Then came yesterday.…

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A Rant About Children’s Guided Evolution

Ean brought a present for the classroom the other day. It’s crazy how much he loves going to school. He literally cries if he can’t go one day and he’s so psyched every day at drop off and pick up. I’m glad I didn’t push him to daycare and took it all at his pace to make it a good experience.

Today someone asked me if he lives up to my hype of how I raise him with all the careful calculations and plans I make and all the lessons I teach him in preparation for major changes and she was in disbelief when I said it’s all pretty much worked exactly according to plans.

I say almost because you have to leave room for the kid to be who he is too and adapt the circumstances to him to make it as optimal as possible. Now I know, it sounds like I’m programming a computer but in reality it’s not that different. You have an idea of what you want to achieve and you use common sense, research and a whooooole lot of loving code to achieve your goal. And my goal? I simply want him to be the best possible version of himself by taking who he is, adding my experience and knowledge together with research and science to give him the best chance at success. I study him carefully to find his strengths and weaknesses and take it from there. I strongly disagree with passive parenting, where they just let the kid be whatever without molding, shaping, assisting and guiding.…

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Why I Decided To Become A Father

Did I ever tell you why I decided to become a father? I’m sure I have at some point over the past three years but as I sat down this morning to prepare some things, I thought it would be a good story to tell as we’re drawing closer to the winter solstice.

I never wanted kids, ever. But, one day Ana brought me a present, a small citrus tree. That following spring, I became curious about how and what it takes for a tree like that to grow. Turns out, all you have to do, is to put some seeds in a wet paper towel, put it in a plastic bag and leave it in a sunny window. Two weeks later my seeds had a little tail and a head and were ready to be put in soil.

My curiosity expanded and I started growing chillies, ruccola, tomatoes, grapevines and my boring tiled roof terrace had turned into a green oasis where I used to spend days just sitting there watching the plants, eating fruits and veggies straight from the plants, in complete adoration of nature and probably a touch of hybris at playing God and bringing life to the world.

I think you know where this is going. I thought, if it was this intriguing to watch chillies grow, how amazing would it be to watch your own child grow?! In September of that year Ana got pregnant and the following summer my fascination with plants had gone from cherry tomatoes to that adorable little creation you all know as Ean.…

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Why Ana Is Perfect For Me

This morning, I walked Ana and Ean to the subway with him on my shoulders, holding an umbrella. I wanted to stop to take a photo with him because I don’t have a lot of those. In doing so, they missed the subway by a few seconds. She sent me an angry message “Damn picture, 2 seconds late.” to which I replied “Cherish moments, not schedules.”

Me and Ana are very different from each other. She’s the brain, I’m the heart. How does that work? It does because we are each other’s opposites. I give emotion to her logic when needed to create balance and she brings reasoning and reality checks to my sometimes extremely heart driven choices. Who wins? Whoever stands to benefit the most. I think we’re honest enough with ourselves and each other to be able to say when to insist and when to give in. Someone was asking how I make it work with someone who is so different from me and it’s actually quite simple.…

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The Benefit Of Insisting (or “forcing”)

 

Having trouble getting your kid to eat? As with everything else kids related, there’s a disagreement between whether or not you should force things on kids. We as adults “know what’s good for our kids” but if we push too hard it might have the opposite effect. For the longest time I prescribed to the gentle approach when it comes to food, fearing that forcing or insisting would result in a resentment against food in general… which for a food lover like me, is a nightmare. If he didn’t want to eat something I would neither insist or push it on him, thinking that he will eventually get around to it.

Fast forward to about a month ago when I… I don’t know, maybe I was just having a bad day or was just sad about all the good stuff he’s missing out on. Long story short, I sat him down in the kitchen with me and filled the countertop with various things to eat. He was kicking and screaming, crying and making a fuss when I tried to get him to try cheese, yoghurt, bell pepper etc. I guess I had enough and raised my voice as well, expressing my frustration about his refusal. We argued for a good while, both of us in tears of frustration and he finally gave in. Our deal was established, he doesn’t have to eat anything he doesn’t want but he has to try everything once, just ONCE. If he at that point doesn’t like it, he can spit it out.

So he did just that. He took a bite of the bell pepper, spit it out and described it… sweet, juicy, crunchy. This became his way of exploring food, by intellectualising it and describing it in flavor, texture and color.

Since then I have seen great improvements both in how he eats, chews and with which speed he does it. Now he tries almost anything simply from curiosity and he even understands when he likes the taste of something but is not quite ready for the texture, so he keeps asking to have a bite, chews it for a bit and discards it.

I understand that texture plays a big part but to deny the experience of a flavor simply because the texture is challenging, is a poor excuse to not experience it. Children especially vary a lot in gag reflex and what type of textures and flavors they can tolerate but it has to be taught just like “don’t put rocks in your mouth”. It’s a trained skilled, to learn how to be open to try and experience new foods, or things in general for that matter. Hiding in a shell of fear is for me not a valid option unless forcing it would be traumatic so I would argue that insisting is a useful tool, maybe calling it forcing is just semantics but I guess you catch my drift.

There’s nothing wrong with nudging the limits of a child, God knows we should do it more often as adults too!…

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Gender Stereotypes Ruin Relationships

Gender equality doesn’t mean that everything is split equally, it just gives us the freedom to choose our own equilibrium. Granted we have biological differences but we also have different characters and personalities. If we want to be truly happy, we have to be truly honest with ourselves.

Me and my better half Ana are very different from each other. If you look at us as individuals, you’d be pressed to even pin us as friends, let alone a couple in a relationship. Yet here we are, alive and kicking. We’ve been inseparable for about 6 years now and while I do roll my eyes and facepalm on occasion (believe me, she does too, with all due right), she is the most impressive and wonderful person I have ever met and I wouldn’t do or commit to half the things I’ve done with her with anyone else.

The reason why it works is honesty, tolerance and a healthy disbelief in conventional thinking. We see what we are and how we best function as individuals and apply that as a couple. Had we followed traditional gender norms, I would be at work every day and she would be home raising Ean. What’s wrong with that? Nothing, unless you look at us as people.…

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You Can’t Hurry A Toddler

Taking a kid like Ean swimming every day is a lot of fun, drains him of energy and increases his appetite. It also takes for ever! 🤪

Here seen, pretending to be invisible while I repeatedly asked him to come get dressed. Some days are easier than others but I’ve noticed that stress is the enemy of toddlers.

The more you forcefully boss him around, the more he will resist. He doesn’t know the parking meter is expiring and we’re going to have to pay more, he’s just busy making funny faces in the mirror.

So I decided to at all costs try to avoid stress by allowing ample time for both getting dressed and playing silly games. That way I don’t need to rush and he doesn’t feel nagged and we both leave the gym with a smile.

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Two Mothers And Their Two Children

Ana and Aida have been friends and neighbors since childhood. One day, about 3 years ago Ana contacted her to deliver the big news, that she was pregnant. It turned out, Aida was pregnant too! So they were kids together, grew up together and were pregnant together with just a few months apart and now our kids are growing up together in the same city, for now (I see you Malaga!)

Now, Ean and Chloe are pushing 3 years later this year and they are becoming good friends and quite the play team. From one generation to the next, the beautiful bond of humanity keeps twirling and expanding its branches.

They’re at that age now where they can play freely while the grownups talk (way too much and way too fast in Spanish for me to understand) and I just sit there and marvel at the beauty of human interaction, starting from such a young age and the desire to be heard, seen, understood and appreciated.

It’s easy, in this world of divisive thinking and hatred, to feel that we are fundamentally different and in many ways we grow up to be very different from each other. But, at the core, we all still just want to be heard, seen, understood and appreciated.…

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Reconnecting With Ean

Since we moved to Spain and have a more balanced division of time spent with Ean, I’ve felt like it kind of created distance between us. That raw bro vibe wasn’t as pronounced as back when we spent our days on beaches and in parks, training and doing everything together.

Well a few weeks ago I started training at a fitness club where they have a daycare and a swimming pool. So now, 5-6 days a week I go to work out, I drop Ean at the daycare and he loves it! Afterwards we go swimming together.

This has kind of recreated our old times of active play and fun, as opposed to just hang out at home playing with toys. Now, we’re back to being much closer and there’s a symbiosis that’s hard to explain but amazing to experience.

What I want to tell all fathers, especially those who don’t spend so much time with their kids because it seems like they prefer their mom, make time… quality time and really get to know your kid.

They will have memories for the rest of their life and you will reap the reward for the rest of yours as your kid becomes more than your offspring, but a friend and an actual person with their own ideas, opinions and quirky ways. It’s the difference between being a “father figure” and an actual parent. There’s nothing quite like it.

Before, Ean used to cry when his mom sent him over to me in the morning. Now he snuggles up with kisses, hugs and talks about what he wants to eat and do today. Between that and the gentle rays of the sun waking me up from over the snowy mountain tops, I am in heaven.

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