Time is Now

My sister had a great idea for our mother’s birthday this year.  She suggested we get our mom tickets to see Juan Gabriel, one of the most legendary composers and singers in Mexico.  She thought it would be great to coordinate with our cousins so that our aunts could join her.  It was going to be amazing.  Growing up my mom would play his music as we cleaned the house on Saturday mornings.  I remember singing along with her.  I currently have a Juan Gabriel Pandora station on my phone for those days I might want to go back to my childhood, and sing to the top of my lungs.

Sadly, my sister called me today to inform me that Juan Gabriel passed away.  Selfishly, at first, I was very upset that my mom would now never be able to see him.  His concert was scheduled for this fall. We should have bought her tickets last year!  Once I got over the fact that my mother’s surprise was ruined, I thought about what a great loss Juan Gabriel’s death is to the Latin American world.  His death, I am sure, feels like a personal loss to so many.  He has been making hit songs since the 70’s with “Querida” and “No Tengo Dinero”.  Since then he has composed hundreds of songs. A wiki page claimed he wrote over 900 songs for 300 artists.  I am not sure if that is accurate, but finding exact numbers is not possible. I tried. I guess we can say he wrote countless amount of songs.  His songs were remade to different genres, including Spanish Rock, bachata, salsa, banda, etc. He recently collaborated to sing, some of his most popular songs, with young artists. The music videos made of those duets gives me the chills.  His lyrics are gold.  His songs are timeless.

It was the kid’s bath time at home, but I just wanted to sing so I turned on my Pandora Juan Gabriel station.  I bathed the kids with the music in the background.  I told the kids that Juan Gabriel was an amazing artists, and that I would listen to him when I was a child. Why didn’t I do this sooner? Ugh! Time is passing by.  My kids don’t know about Juan Gabriel. They barely understand Spanish at all.  My mom will never see Juan Gabriel.  Time all of a sudden seems so precious. My sister said she would now be on the look out for tickets to other Mexican legends that are aging like Vicente Fernandez, Marco Antonio Solis and Joan Sebastian.  I promised myself to start putting on music and singing while I cleaned the house, instead of putting a Frozen DVD for my youngest so that I could clean more efficiently.

As I listened to his music, I came upon “Abrazame Muy Fuerte” (Hug Me Tightly).  It is a very emotional love song about time.  It was a very fitting song for how his death was making me realize time is NOW.

Spanish lyrics:  “Abrázame que el tiempo es malo y muy cruel amigo, abrázame que el tiempo es oro si tú estás conmigo, Abrázame fuerte, muy fuerte, más fuerte que nunca”.

English translation: “Hug me, that time is a bad and cruel friend, Hug me, that time is gold if you are with me, Hug me tightly, very tightly, more tightly than ever.”

We don’t have time, especially with kids, parents and aging legends.

 

We lost a legend. We missed our opportunity to see him in person, but his music will be forever.  From now on I will give more than just my love and attention to my kids. I will share who I am, what I listen to, what I like.  They should know who I am besides mommy. How else will they know what concert tickets to buy me?

May Juan Gabriel rest in peace.  He will live forever in our hearts and through his music.

 

Juan Gabriel Duet with Juanes

 

Here is a mesmerizing Juan Gabriel Duet with Natalia Lafourcade “Ya No Vivo Por Vivir”

 

Mana singing Juan Gabriel song “Hasta Que Te Conoci”

 

Selena singing a Juan Gabriel song “Costumbres”

 

 

Catchy Phrases (Child Hypnotism)

In parenting some things need no translation, like the mom glare.  In English or Spanish (and I imagine any other language), the mom glare instantly tells a child that mom means business, and that they must start behaving or else!  It took awhile for me to master this look.  It was very hard for me to try to look mad and serious when a cute 11 month old was staring back at me smiling, but eventually parenting is more than just cuddles, diaper changes, feedings and raspberry kisses.

Eventually, I found my inner mom glare in addition to other disciplinary tactics.  My parenting strategy is a combination of ideas I picked up from my childhood, parenting books and teachers, but sometimes my ideas have come unexpected places like cartoons.  For example, my favorite, was saying “Swiper no swiping” when my kids would snatch things away from other kids (thank you Dora for the idea).  It was nice to have a specific phrase to repeat whenever my child took things from other kids.  Because it was short, specific and consistent it made sense to my child, but better yet, I was armed with a plan for that scenario.

A few months ago a friend’s child was crying because she wanted a different color cup.  My friend calmly told her daughter, “You get what you get and you don’t get upset”.  It was a cute and catchy phrase, but I expected the child to continue crying like my children often did when they really wanted something, but instead the child instantly stopped crying.  Her mom’s explanation apparently made sense to her. You get what you get and you don’t get upset.  I liked it and I stole it! I tried it out that same evening when it was time give my kids their gummy bear vitamin. Usually, I would try to find their favorite color to avoid whining, but this time I purposely gave them the wrong color.  They cried as expected and I said “you get what you get and you don’t get upset”.  They stopped crying, paused and then ate their vitamin quietly. Wow!  Since then I use that phrase whenever fighting, crying and whining starts about who has the biggest piece of cake, and why can’t I give them a different color straw.  It works every time no matter the circumstances.

I was happy to have a new idea to file into my mommy game plan.  I was new to this American mommy parenting thing. I was parented in Spanish and there was little rhyming involved, but there is one Spanish poem I remember and often use with my children when they fall.  My mom would say this to me after a fall, and somehow it made it all better:”sana, sana, colita de rana, si no se sana hoy se sana mañana” (heal, heal, frog booty, if you don’t feel better today, you will feel better tomorrow).  Not only does this poem make the pain go away, but it puts a smile on your little one’s face.

I like to find patterns in life, and it is obvious that we just need phrases that are catchy or rhyme. It seriously, falls short of hypnotism! I am on to something! If there are more rhyming parenting lines I must know them all! Bwahahaha (evil laugh)! Last week I asked local moms to share the catchy or rhyming parenting phrases that they’ve heard or currently use.  I made a list of these phrases, and added a few that I made up. Thank you to the local mom Facebook page for sharing some of these!

Catchy Phrases (Child Hypnotism)

  • “Criss cross applesauce”
  • “Crisscross applesauce with hands on your laps and bubbles in your mouth.” (so they sit still, keeps hands to themselves and don’t interrupt)
  • “You get what you get and you don’t get upset.”
  • “You get what you get and you don’t pitch a fit.”
  • “Get a tissue for your issue.”
  • “It’s time to clean your pits, your sits and lady bits.”
  • “God made dirt and dirt don’t hurt.”
  • “Take a break before you make a lake.”
  • When your kid is whining ask “what do whiners get?” pause and answer “nothing, whiners get nothing”.  I LOVE this one. My kids understand they need to use a different tone when asking for something.

I made up a couple of my own:

  • “Take a nap or mommy is going to snap” (ok, maybe this is not a nice one)
  • “After eight it is too late” (when they ask for snacks after bedtime).

If you know of more phrases in English or Spanish please share in the comments!  

 

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I caught them red handed, but I took a photo and laughed. Sometimes it is best just to laugh at the moment.

 

 

parenting
We are making it up as we go!
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This happens once a week at least. Sometimes moms and dad don’t know what we are saying, and our kids will gladly point it out.

 

Finally, I will blog!

I have dreamed of this moment since the day I read The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. Inspired by the book, I started writing in a journal at the age of 15 and wondered if one day my journal would be read by others worldwide. Fast forward to my mid 30s, and now we have the internet where I don’t have to be famous or important to share my experiences and thoughts with the world. The only thing that was holding me back was time. You see, I am a mother of a 4 year old boy and an almost 3 old girl.  There are many blogger moms, we have so much material to work with, and the thought of blogging has been on my mind since I started sharing my funny, warm or frustrating moments on Facebook.  I have wanted to share more and join all the blogger moms but during nap time, also known as “mommy break time” I gave priority to cleaning my house, exercising and watching Dr. Phil. My dreams of becoming a blogger, creating a business plan or starting a recipe book were just dreams.  Well, today my youngest started attending an early childhood center a few days a week and the Dr. Phil new fall season has still not started so here I am finally starting my blog! I would like to thank friends that have put up with my long Facebook posts and the people that have encouraged me to start a blog.

This blog is about me, a first generation Mexican American who grew up in South Chicago and now lives in a suburb of Atlanta. I am mother of two with an awesome husband who grew up in Miami. My husband and I both have humble beginnings in big cities and we are now raising our kids in a different world in which we were raised. It is a new world of beauty, peace, safety, pools, soccer, karate, joggers, play dates, stay at home moms…it is also a world where we are far from family and the cultural experience that was so rich in our childhood is now absent in our children’s childhood. Money can’t buy it and I can’t duplicate. I am only one person, I am not a village.  Join me on my family adventure in the suburbs! Parenting, cooking, suburb life and maybe even some politics will be my subjects of choice.  Much of it is universal, some of it will be my take on trying to fuse my present world with my upbringing, giving my children the best of both worlds.