Italians are funny people. They don't follow the rules that seem perfectly rational to me, like red lights and stop signs. Yet they have all of these other rules and restrictions, some spoken, some unspoken, that they seem to make up and that make no sense. Like not being able to have cheese on pasta with porcini mushrooms. Or only being allowed in the thermal pools for 20 minutes (and they have a guard who strictly enforces this). You also MUST wear a swim cap in any pool or you will be stared down like a criminal. In fact, in general, Italians have no problem staring at you with looks of disgust if they think you are doing something inappropriate, like say, having a baby outside with only shorts on as the weather is getting chilly... As I have done several times - it is Southern Italy after all. When the sun sets, it is not THAT cold. I feel like arguing with these old Italian mothers - look, he was born in Seattle. He can take it. They have no problem sharing with you what they think. I have had several ladies tell me things I am sure are some type of criticism. This is when I am actually glad I don't speak much Italian, when I can overhear that they are most likely talking about me & my parental behavior. One women in a town square told me, basically, don't feed him that (vegetables from our salad), he's so small, give him milk! I felt like telling her, "look lady, he's actually allergic to cow's milk, and so i can't give him that, but thanks for your concern'. Instead I just smiled and nodded. They are a very un-self-conscious people. Today at the beach, they were loudly blasting the chicken dance, and there were twenty older people in their bathing suits, all out there dancing and carrying on, whooping it up. Most of them heavily overweight, and not a care in the world about their appearance. They are not afraid to look crazy as long as they are having a good time. I have to admire this.
Bodhi and I have both gained a few "Italian pounds". It is good because we probably both needed to. Me with my feeling drained by over a year of continuous breastfeeding, and him from my dwindling milk supply. We were both getting a little scrawny and frayed. Now there is a little plump. In fact, my baby now officially has his first 'roll' of fat on his legs - it's a miracle! I wish for both our sakes it wasn't mostly centered around the middle as Italian bread and pasta tends to do, but 'allora', it is what it is. He's been guzzling European soy milk like it's momma milk. Probably because it has a load of sugar added, but I don't really care now. Funny how I wouldn't let a single non-organic thing touch his lips the first few months, and then I let him stick his whole face in a cupcake of bright blue icing on his birthday. And now he's drinking daily soy milk, no idea if that's a good idea for a boy, and eating non-organic veal. But those are our options here. Hmm, funny how travel really takes away a lot of prior necessities, for better or worse. He's thriving - healthy and full - and that's what's important to me now. I still remember back to what the teacher of my prenatal childbirth classes told us about birth: the most important thing is, healthy baby, healthy momma. So we wouldnt get too caught up on the process. I repeat these words still often about parenting - the most important thing is a healthy baby, healthy momma, no matter how we all reach that point.