Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween


and Moooooo!!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Valentina's 1st Birthday








A homemade heart-shaped banana cake with pink-dyed whipped cream frosting and sprinkles.

A few hours with a few friends at our neighborhood playground.

A tantrum and then home.

Just another day with my now toddler.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Gone Baby Gone


My monthly e-newsletter from babycenter.com says that the dividing line from baby to toddler is the one year mark or walking. Last week Valen took her first solo steps and next week will celebrate her first birthday. Its both exciting and sad to witness this passage. My baby is wobbling around upright, even more curious and excited to explore the world beyond momma's arms. I've been reflecting a lot lately on what this one year milestone means for me. I guess I should stop referring to myself as a "new mom" although most days I still feel like a rookie. The argentine custom for celebrating a one year old's birthday is to hold a pseudo-wedding with 100 or so guests, catering, music, live puppeteers and oodles of sugary snacks. We're opting out of that tradition. Instead, I've invited my friend Abril and Carolina along with their babes to a "party" at our small apartment. I bought a few heart shaped cake tins, some Winnie the Pooh paper plates and will play my best Betty Crocker for the afternoon. The next day we are going to a big Halloween gathering at the home of one of the expat moms from the English speaking playgroup. I'm not embarrassed to admit I spent two hours surfing Amazon.com for the perfect costume for Valen. My friend Wendy is bringing it down from the states this week. My friends from Schwab remember how crazed I got for Halloween dressing up. The fact that nobody dared relinquish their suits and perfectly coiffed hair on a workday in the financial district made it even more fun. I guess its fitting my girl arrived just in time to pair her birthday with my favorite frivolous holiday so I always have an excuse to don a wig, fake blood and/or fair wings.

On Sunday we celebrated Mother's Day (always the 3rd sunday in October in Argentina). Hugh surprised me on Saturday with a spa day and lunch with my best girlfriends Gaby and Judith. Sunday we went to lunch and the park with Valen and I got several gifts including a card of printed out best wishes from all the women on both sides of the family. If I were keeping a well organized baby book, the messages from my family would be the perfect bookend to this remarkable year.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Bikram in BA

The first bikram studio in argentina opened recently near our apartment in Palermo. They have a newcomers promotion to get you hooked – one week of unlimited classes for 55 pesos ($12US) so last week I signed up. I needed a break, an early mother’s day present to myself (mothers day in argentina is the 3rd Sunday in October – this year October 18th).

New rosa came in to work last week and quit. She found another job that pays her more and has her working less hours per day. Also, she doesn’t have to clean, only cook and look after a 5 year old. I can’t say that I blame her but I do blame her. Valen just got used to her and was happy to see her when she arrived in the morning. Just stopped crying when I’d leave to go teach a class or run an errand. So, back to square one with the search. In the meantime, I’m taking 90 minutes a day (plus 15 minutes each way travel) for myself to sweat and stretch.

Bikram is a controversial figure in the yoga world. The more commercially successful he becomes, the less yogi-like. His brand, and it is a brand is like mcdonalds. You get the same big mac all over the world. My first class here was an eerie déjà vu experience. I practiced bikram in san Francisco for a few years when I lived in the mission neighborhood. But it’s been 4 or 5 years since my last class. Still, I remembered the poses and the instructor here used the exact, and I mean word for word, phrases as the instructors at the mission studio in san Francisco. You can really tell they all train together at the center in la and are given a script.

"Lean back, look back, all the way back, sit back, eyes back, one more breath, change…."

bikram yoga is yoga bootcamp. Maybe that’s why its so popular in the us. The instruction is directive, confident, commanding and no wimps allowed. The second class I attended here, a young blond expat was taking a class for the first time. She reached down to take a sip of her water bottle in between one of the allotted water breaks and the teacher barked “no drinking water now, wait until I indicate it’s time!” she cowered eyes staring at her towel on the floor. will be interesting to see if it catches on with the laissez faire attitude of the porteno locals.

Still, the physical benefits are undeniable. The toxins seep out of me and the hot room is a comfort. The barking cues from the taut instructors leave no time for the mind to wander – that is what yoga is about – giving the mind a rest from restlessness.