I can’t start this post without mentioning and congratulating my very talented sister who had her first book on cakes published here in Italy. It hit the book stores last Wednesday and I’m sure it will be a huge success!
It’s called La Torta Perfetta di Toni and available also on Amazon. I’ve carried my copy around for a few days showing everyone who crossed my path. So incredibly proud of Toni!
September was a very busy month and we are now already in the 2nd week of October. Autumn has arrived – well kind of…… The temperatures have dropped and the mornings and evenings are much fresher but It is still very warm and humid, especially for this time of year.
The most important event that took place in September was of course Matteo’s first birthday! We had a lovely little party in the Giardini della Carraia and Matteo was very spoilt by all of our friends and family. My sister, Toni made an amazing cake which luckily didn’t all get eaten so I got to indulge for quite a few days after the party.
This first year of Matteo’s life has really flown and when I look back at photos of Matteo since his birth, I can’t believe how much he has changed and grown. Being a foreign mother here has been interesting and I have been inundated with lots of well-meaning advice on how to do everything the Italian way. Weaning and Matteo’s diet being the most popular topics of expertise!
My lovely pediatrician gave me a little ‘menu’ for Matteo at 6, 8 10 and 12 months which I’ve included below. In Italy, the ‘Minestrina con Pastina’ is the most common of first foods and I was given many strange looks when I advised that Matteo was not eating the minestrine but instead was eating puree fruit, veggies and rice cereal.
Here in Italy, Olive oil and parmesan are added generously to nearly every baby meal as soon as they start on solids. They are a diet staple from the very beginning! An Italian baby’s diet also wouldn’t be complete without Plasmon biscuits, usually dissolved into their bottles of milk to ensure that their tummies are nice and full before they go to bed at night. I swore Matteo did not need these biscuits and then one night when he wouldn’t sleep, out of exhausted desperation, I tried some of this magic formula. Typically though, my answers to Matteo’s sleep problems were not going to be found in a bottle of Plasmon and milk!
So now my maternity leave is well and truly officially over and Matteo is at day-care. Most Italian families rely on their parents, the Nonni to look after their children when the mother returns to work but as Matteo’s Nonni all live far away, we had no other option but to send him to the Asilo Nido. I have to say though that it really is a wonderful place! The ‘teachers’ are all lovely, take their job very seriously and give me a detailed report at the end of the day on how much Matteo slept, ate and even pooed! He has a very impressive organic lunch and morning and afternoon snack provided for him each day but so far, he has not been eating much lunch at all. I think his teething combined with a yucky cold may not be helping. Hopefully the lunch chart will soon have something other than NO written on it next to Matteo’s name!
Matteo’s first day at day care was only for an hour and I sat in the room with him. Each day, he gradually spent more time there and this is called the Inserimento at the Nursery (Asilo Nido). It lasted two weeks and it probably would have lasted another week if I hadn’t pushed for the full days to start asap – not that I was looking forward to being away from Matteo for most of the day but I kind of have a job, a full-time job and as much as I like this half day routine, I had no more maternity or holidays to use.
Following is the amount of hours Matteo spent at day-care each day during his ‘Inserimento’ (love the way this word rolls of the tongue!)
Day One – ONE HOUR! With me sitting in the room with him
Day Two – One hour and a half – Me in the room for half an hour then sent to the room next door where he couldn’t see me.
Day Three – One hour and a half – Has figured out that it’s not all fun and games and that Mamma actually leaves so they had to pry his arms from around my neck this morning. Then he fell asleep in the teacher’s arms – snoozed for 40 minutes
Day Four – Two hours – Emiliano’s turn and I went to work for the day. – Matteo had another morning nap.
Day Five – Two and a half hours – Had morning snack
Day Six – Three and a half hours – Had morning snack
Day Seven – From 8.45am – 3.00pm – First lunch but didn’t really eat anything.
Day Eight – From 8.45am – 4.00pm – Threw his lunch across the table spraying his little class mate sitting next to him. :-/
Day Nine – From 8.45am – 4.30pm
Day Ten – From 8.45am – 4.30pm
We have now survived two weeks of full days and Matteo is doing very well! He doesn’t cry any more when I drop him off and today I finally saw the word Tutto next to his name on the lunch chart, meaning that he had eaten everything!
I have my first overseas trip coming up in a few weeks so it’s going to be interesting for both Matteo and me, not to mention Emiliano too!
As I write this, I am sitting on my bed, it’s 11.30pm and we have two members of the council here measuring the noise levels of the night club / bar that backs onto our place. Fingers crossed the music is loud enough tonight to get the place closed and we can finally have peaceful nights. Will keep you posted!