Monday, February 23, 2009

Moon in Virgo

My dear friend Sharon, woman of many talents (writer, shiatsu therapist, astrologist, former Wicca practitioner) did my chart last week. Of course I've always known I'm a Leo and as long as I can remember my mother brackets all news with "well, mars is in retrograde, so..." but discovered that I have a moon in Virgo - which explains my previous professional success in cubic worlds requiring attention to detail and a fastidiousness unheard of amongst generic leonines. Also, Virgos can be quite hard on themselves. Since Valentina's birth I can't seem to give myself a break on any one thing I used to do. Finding time for writing has been one of many postpartum challenges. With pregnancy came a surge of creative energy - last year I drafted nearly 30 stories and painted about 10 canvases. I'm trying to get back to writing now but it's all just shit. Mostly I whine like I'm doing right now. Nothing comes and if it does it bores me to hell. I fear the worst. So, friend Sharon and I are meeting weekly to write, sit in a cafe and encourage each other to do what we are not doing at home when we should - putting pen to paper.

The annual Feria de Libros is coming up at the end of April. To my horror and others delight, the US embassy wants to have our groups' full participation like last year. We'll publish an anthology of short stories, do readings at the booth and lead a workshop/speech on how to start and maintain a writers group. While others in my writers group have updated their bios to include prizes in writing contests entered, scholarships to prestigious writing programs, finishing a screenplay etc, I have nothing to add. Boo hoo. People keep saying "but you had a baby!" - as if that is accomplishment enough. The Virgo pouts.

Here's a photo from a one day writer's retreat we had about a month ago at Joanna's opulent home in Olivos - a wealthy suburb north of BA. We spent a glorious 5 hours beneath an giant avocado tree writing, recommitting ourselves to goals and eating well - as always. It was the longest stretch of time I'd been away from the baby. It both broke my heart and lifted my spirits.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A day at the office

At 3/12 months, we decided it was time for Valentina to get a job. So now as part of her daily routine, she goes to the "office" (the bed in her room) and sits at her "desk" (the boppy). Her "employees" (the pink giraffe, the blue suited bear, the formless duck, the multi-colored centipede, and the permagrin doll) sit attentively while she orders them around (more milk! fewer naps! sing me a song!) like a good chief executive. In Argentine style, she spends about 15 minutes at the office in the morning and maybe another 10 in the afternoon before calling it a day.

Now that she's entered the stage of being curious about the world, I am constantly thinking of things to keep her amused, engaged and most important - not crying. We go on errands - the butcher, the fruit stand, the farmacia, the newstand, the kiosco. I put her in the Baby Bjorn while I put on my makeup and putz about. We go to the park and sometimes meet up with other mommies. We look out over the US Embassy garden next door to see if the Jacarandas are blooming yet and what the weather has in store. Yesterday we watched a rainstorm that lasted 4 hours (her attention lasted two minutes). But, Valentina's favorite activity is watching the bulldog. Its like her own private zoo.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Park play

Just saying it out loud I fear jinxing myself but I'm too excited to keep the news to myself. Valentina is sleeping through the night. Monday it was 9pm - 5am. Then 9-5:30 then 9-7 and last night 9 -6. Always goes back to sleep after nursing and a bottle for another 3 hours. Starts her day around 9 or 9:30am with a huge smile and giggles. Is this a fluke or is it her new routine? I don't know. All I know is that the birds chirp louder, the sun shines brighter, the summer peaches taste sweeter and I don't wake up with a scowl. Sleep is a wonderful thing.

Argentines vacation in January (the July of the southern hemisphere). All around the city hand made signs posting vacation dates hang on closed doors. Most of my new mommy friends have returned and we are now starting to gather with the babes in the afternoons. Tuesday we met at Parque Las Heras. At this point the babies are too young to interact but we sit with them while they coo and burp. At least we have a chance to exchange info on sleeping patterns, feeding and tricks for calming the cry. My friend Mariela (Argentine) works at a telecom company and was the only one of the group to go back full time at three months. Her husband Paul(Australian) has one of those oddball expat jobs. He is paid by an Asian company to attend the local soccer matches and report the play by play to them via international cell calls so they can bet on it. I suspect its on the up and up the way he tells everyone freely what he does but it sounds fishy to me. Anyway, he is the stay at home dad. He joined our last mommygroup for a bit and complained there is no support for dads here. (which is true - stay at home dads are nonexistent) He asked me if Valentina jerks her head back when I hold her and how much she eats at each feeding. I try not to play the comparison game but its hard not to. Valentina has the most hair, the biggest sweetest smile and the cutest outfits by far (thanks to friends and family).