A dreadful day

Just a quick note to thank all my visitors, mums and dads, who ever you are, you re not alone in this although sometimes it might feel like it. I am sorry for not writing in such a long time but i am a very busy full time mum 😉 However i am always keen to answer your e-mails so continue to write and i ll continue to answer 🙂

Cheers to USA, France, China, Canada, England, Switzerland, Portugal, Brasil and to you! Thank you for passing by.

This is the testimony of a friend who was kind enough to share it with us. I can t imagine a more frightful situation except for a catastrophic outcome which fortunately didn t occur. Her baby is fine and healthy, several tests were done (blood tests, urine, a brain CT scan and a MRI) and in her words miraculously all was good.

It is so important to be aware, to trust your gut feeling and to not be afraid to let the paediatrician/family doctor know even of the slightest, insignificant thing. Don t feel embarrassed to say absurd things because those can be key in determining what is really going on. Your baby is doing things like day dreaming a lot and doesn’t respond when you call his name and shake him? Do you hear strange, different noises through the baby monitor? Does he look confuse? Speak up and stay up to date, information is powerful. And that is why i feel it is so important to share this with you.

Mum testimony:

Can you imagine being at home, your husband just arrived, you re laying on the sofa finishing pumping milk to your baby, you hear a noise at the baby monitor, it s a different noise. You check on him, he s laying down apparently sleeping – he looks a little more absent than usual, in what seems to be a profound sleep – he must have had a dream you say to yourself ignoring that gut feeling you ve been having all day that says to you something is very wrong. Suddenly, he s screaming, crying. You rush towards him, he s crying hysterically, full lungs but doesn t seem able to move. You pick him up and he shuts down completely. His body his flat, his neck is flat, his eyes are closed like he is suddenly asleep again, you call him, you hug him, you shake him, nothing. It seems like he is unconscious. You start crying, yelling to your husband your baby can t move, won t move. Suddenly he wakes up again, crying, yelling, full lungs. Now his body is all tense from the neck down, it looks like he s paralysed from the neck down. You want to help but you don t know how. You re rushing to the car, you have him on your lap, you take off full speed knocking down garbage bins. It s heavily raining, your husband is calling 911 while driving full speed to the hospital. You re holding your baby who in between the crying, the yelling and the passing out continues to have his body tense, flat sometimes from the neck down, twists his arms like a deficient person would and rolls his eyes like a blind one. You re in panic, screaming, yelling, crying and the next thing you know you re in the hospital emergency room half naked with your baby in your arms surrounded by more than 10 nurses and doctors asking you what happened. You re in shock and can barely talk, you just cry and cry and whisper in your baby´s ear Mummy is here`.

This all happened to me a week ago, i didn t want to talk about it, i didn t want to write about it. But it was either doing that or entering a dark inner cave from which i don t know i could ever get out.

If this never happened to you, you re probably asking what happened. Your baby had a seizure they said to me.

I did a first aid course to be able to be prepared for emergencies and yet there was no way i could be prepared for this.

I am writing to make you aware it might be important to learn what a seizure is, how and why it happens, how you should deal with it and its cure. Please visit http://www.epilepsy.com.

If you have something you would like to say to this mum and all parents out there who might be reading this and who are struggling with similar situations, drop a line.

Kisses & cuddles,

Maria Monteiro

How to deal with a disobedient child

I heard this psychologist called Clarissa Yakiara and loved the way she explained children transitional behaviour from babies to toddlers:

It is very important for parents and caretakers to observe more their children in the more attentive, observing and impartial way. It is important to take part of your day to observe your child, what he does, how he does it, the words and sounds he says, how he looks at you, to the world, how he plays. Be available for your child because the answers you re looking for to any challenge you re living with your child rely in there, in that relationship.

Around 2 to 3 years of age you can observe a change in behaviour directly connected to disobedience, stubbornness and lack of cooperation.
So why is the child changing? when she is born the plan is for her to stay connected and dependent of her caregiver so she can survive. Human babies are extremely dependable and demanding, they need someone by their side preferably their mother who full fills all their needs.

When she child reaches 2 years old in general she already walks, she communicates and feeds herself in a less dependable way. Nature plan now changes direction towards autonomy and to free herself from her caregiver. It s time for detach. Children understand this message and start right away expressing it. And they do this in the most simple way they know how: rejecting everything we say, our rules and orders. And this NO they say around 2, 3, 4 and even 5 years old is not to attack you, it s not because your child is annoying, stubborn, wants to test limits, fussy, unbearable and many other terrible adjectives we use to refer to the small ones. It s simple because he s following nature s plan and this is the best way he has found to show you that.

You choose an outfit for your son and he says no. He s simply saying mummy, i can choose differently from you. Or when you offer water to him, he says no and 30 seconds after he asks you for a glass of water – at the time he denied water he was testing his power to be autonomous and to choose things by himself which is so important to the future life of this being.

And sometimes because we lack knowledge or are not available to observe our little ones we cannot perceive this message and this would be the first point to start with: observing and reflecting if your child is in this stage of his life and is manifesting this disobedience. When we understand this we can seek more loving and respectful ways of dealing with our children beyond that point. Something that I think is fundamental for children to cooperate more is to establish a routine based on children’s needs, a routine that creates a safe space for your child to grow.

Here i leave you some simple tips i am trying with my son and from which i am already having positive results:

– Strengthen the affective bond -try to strengthen more and more the affective bond with your child. She needs affection and a time to “talk” with the parents (even if they don t know how to speak much) and also a moment of family play. The child should also feel valued in the home, taking her space on the table and their space on the living room sofa, for example. This way, she feels safe and part of the family routine and environment;

– Strengthen your child’s self-esteem – help her build a positive self-esteem by positively reinforcing her attitudes through praise, caring, and attention;

– Create rules and explain them: Children do not know what is right or wrong, so they need rules and discipline.The correct thing is not to impose but to explain the reason for each thing, for each rule, for each limit, for each NO. Children understand much more than we imagine;

– Give clear orders: use words she understands and always look her in the eyes while you speak, preferably crouched to the height of your child. When asking for something wait a little while and if after that she has not done it, ask her why. If necessary go with her until she understands that it must be fulfilled.
Don´t ask the child for something else before she even had the chance to do what you ve asked in the first place or have it finished. This creates confusion and increases the chance that they will not meet a future request;

– Focus on the problem – don t bring things from the past or something that can affect her self-esteem;

– Don t give up your rules – even if your child still behaves badly, breathe. Firmly and calmly explain to her what she did wrong and why she should have done it right. Do not go back on the rule;

– Do not expose the child: whereas the disobedience happened in a public place the guidance is to never speak loudly, exposing the child. The ideal is to get her attention,be firm and emphasise that at home you ll finish your conversation (and do not forget to do it yourself). And to avoid crying or some nasty scene, try to divert the child’s attention;

Hugs & Cuddles,

Maria Monteiro

My Super Baby

Being a first time mother is hard, being the mother of a gifted baby is extremely hard and challenging. Before my baby was born i read several books about good sleeping habits, health and milestones. All went down the drain as soon as my son was born. He completes the milestones earlier, he sleeps less hours or almost none at all no matter how consistent i am and he s always eager for challenges.

Sometimes he sleeps 6 hours a night and 1 and a half hour during the day, sometimes he sleeps 12 hours per night and naps 2 hours during the day; Sometimes he naps in the morning , sometimes he naps in the afternoon; Sometimes he goes to bed at 6pm , sometimes at 10pm, we never know.

I knew i was in trouble when my husband had to leave me alone with my baby for 1 hour at the hospital bedroom. He was 1 week old. I said to my husband oh My God, i don t know if i know what to do when being left alone with him. When my husband shut the door my baby starred at me smiling like he was mocking me and saying don t worry, i ll be a good boy mummy. But even before that, when they gave him to me for the first time, his eyes opened widely and his crying stopped as soon as i told him don´t cry honey, mummy is here. He starred at me the whole time and didn t cry again until we bath him.

So how do we know he is gifted? Here are some signs from which i can tell from his first year of life:

  • An intense look shortly after birth
  • Observing baby – gifted babies tend to be very observant, paying more attention than others to everything that occurs around them and focusing for a longer time than other children their age on a particular object or person. This can start soon after birth or develop as the months go by. So with a month of life, many gifted babies already follow objects with their eyes and smile or make other sounds than cry.
  • Good memory – in babies this may appear in the fact that the little one knows a certain story that you tell him in ALL the possible details
  • Curiosity – gifted babies have a curiosity above normal. These little ones want to understand how things work, so it’s very common to see them dismantling and assembling toys, for example
  • Fast learner – gifted babies tend to have a greater facility to learn. These little ones see something and soon they can do it
  • He s very active and have lots of energy
  • Sleeps less hours
  • The ‘social smile’ appears at an early stage
  • He is very impatient with the lack of stimuli
  • For gross motor: crawls before 6 months and walks before 11 months of age. Other children skip crawling and start walking at 8 or 9 months
  • As for fine motor skills: very developed and can pass pages of a book at 9 months using his index finger and thumb. They are able to assemble puzzles with more pieces than other children with normal development
  • As for language: the child says words at 8 months and with one year old already knows more words than the child with a normal development. Gifted babies often talk before others and learn more complex words before. Gifted babies show early on a fascination with words
  • Also begins to differentiate: calls things by its name and does not use only one word to refer to objects of the same category. That is, he does not call all flowers plants, for example, but distinguishes between rose, daisy, etc.
  • At 2 years of age already speaks in sentences, with verbs with their correct time. Some children are slow to speak, but once they do, they do it very well. Gifted children can skip the phase of babbling
  • Relates in an early manner the facts between them. Something that can happen at two and a half years of age
  • Knows the concept of permanence (hiding an object that must be somewhere and does not cease to exist when not seeing) between 2 and 3 months. Something that happens at 18 months in normal development
  • Non-conformist and disobedient
  • Can manifest anxiety and fears.

The fact that our babies show such characteristics does not mean that they are gifted. But the more features match his behaviour, the more likely you are to have a child with high abilities. Therefore, we as parents should be attentive to the development of our children and provide them with every possible opportunity for them to realise their potential and be happy.

I subscribe an online programme to daily help me with new games and ways to help him succeed at his goals. I pay attention to his interests and try to help him develop them, i read to him and have always lots of toys available and i take him to different parks 3 times per week.

I read and research as much as i can because what i least want is for him to feel frustrated and bored.

What about you? Do you have a gifted child? How do you deal with that? I would love to learn about it.

Hugs and cuddles,

Maria Monteiro

Help please

When pregnant i knew i was in need of an housekeeper but i did not take the time i needed for it, i was so consumed with all the other things i had in mind i kept postponing. So when i got out of the hospital the first few weeks were very tough, i had a newborn with who i wanted to spend all the minutes with, the house to keep and 2 dogs to daily walk, feed, etc.

I immediately asked a few companies for a quotation and was appalled with their rudeness and laziness. I talked to an American doctor who lives in Kansas and shared with him my experience, he shook his head reaffirming what i was saying and then stated he was never going to let anyone in his house. I said how bad can it be? are they going to take the toothbrush? He looked at me and said in a very serious tone they might take more than that.

In Countries like Portugal and Brazil it is very easy to find trust able help, people are grateful they have a job. But here cleaning houses is perceived as demeaning. I hear housekeepers saying online that does not define me, if i want to i can get a course. There s a inferiority feeling by some people who clean houses and a constant question in the air do you think you re better than me? I certainly don t think i am better than anyone else or find me in the position to judge anyone. I hear millennials saying it is offensive to treat housekeepers as housekeepers, that you should treat them as friends. I am just offering a job to someone, i am not asking for a friend or an enemie, just an housekeeper and what i ask in return is to be treated with the same respect. I dignify their jobs and their payrolls so why don t they?

This being said, i ended up doing it all myself but i am still in hopes i ll find the right housekeeper for me and my family. I try to minimise the chorus around the house while my son is awake and give him as much attention as possible. I do it all while he s asleep. Meanwhile organisation, dedication, love and patience are the key. Everyday i take time to myself. Can be as simple as taking a bubble bath, watching a movie or ordering my favourite take-out but i really need to feel i am rewarding myself for all my effort. That s the most important thing, taking care of ourselves to be able to care for the ones we love.

Hugs and cuddles,

Maria Monteiro

The Journey Begins


and thank you for joining me in this big adventure.

When i became a mother i had no idea the kind of challenges i would be facing, i found myself feeling alone in a rural region of a foreign Country with no friends, no family and worst of all no good prospects.

You see, i had been travelling around Europe living in Countries like Netherlands, England and Portugal when i landed in rural Kansas. I did not identify with the life style or the majority of the people but i wanted to be have a baby and to give him the World. Because if the world were to be Europe and USA then i would be accomplishing that mission.. when he is about to be 18 he can dwell like i always did through It, no paperwork required..

But i didn t expect to have so many mixed emotions, to discover strengths and weaknesses i never thought i had and in the end to gain so many grey hair.. yes, i now have more regular appointments at my hairdresser.

I rediscovered myself, my husband, our relationship, me as a mother and the world. Malice gained a new meaning, every single action is now measured, analysed, carefully though ted. In the end all that matters is `how is the baby?`.

I found out so many people want to explore your new `weakness` and so many people want to support it..

All my doubts vanished, i was never so sure about what my goals are. I had no one to turn to but a few people online who sometimes did more damage than good but you need to keep going, to push forward because that s what life is all about right?

Hugs & cuddles,

Maria Monteiro