Next to music, my biggest passion is my kids. I am sure everyone can say that about their kids, but mine really are the most important things in my life! They bring me constant joy and occasionally worries, but in the end, I wouldn’t want to miss one single second.
My big girl is turning three this year and my son is just 3 months old. I think that´s the perfect age difference between them and hope they´ll able to really interact more and play with one another soon.
When I am asked, what it's like with two kids, my standard answer is: "it is challenging."
It really is challenging and I keep asking myself, why when I was a first time mom, did I feel exactly the same way?
First time mom
When I became a mother for the first time, my whole life changed. Before motherhood, my life was all about work - staying up late, sleeping in on the weekends if I did not have to work, etc. and then life changed A LOT! Today I rarely watch an episode of my favorite tv shows from the end to beginning - I tend to fall asleep after 5-10 minutes tops.
Flashback to three years ago... My life was all about: "when will I shower or will I even get to shower?"; "will I be able to have breakfast/lunch/dinner?"; "when can I get my make up done and will I ever look like a normal person again without food or baby spit-up/vomit stains?"
Let´s just say that after a while I got so relaxed about it, that I no longer cared what others thought, all I cared about was that the baby and I were happy.
In all honesty I was worried about a lot of things in the beginning. Having no experience with kids, I held a baby once, never changed a diaper, and never had to calm a baby down. I was simply inexperienced and insecure. Fortunately, I learned that a baby tells you exactly what it needs and when. And even if you are a bit overwhelmed at times (positively and negatively), you instinctually know how to handle the situation and your baby will be grateful for your love, care, and attention; so it will forgive your minor mistakes. What makes this period even more special, is that you grow with your child and with each experience and life challenge, you are both facing it together.
What to get and what not to
I think most parents get (buy, are gifted, or just acquire) too much stuff for their newborns. We probably did too. Most important of course, is clothing. Summer basics should consist of 6 long sleeved bodies, 4 short sleeved bodies, 1-2 light cardigans of some sort and a light pullover, 2-3 pairs of leggings or light pants, 2 pairs of leggings with feet, 3 pairs of socks, 1 pair of wool socks, 1 blanket, 2 pairs of rompers and 1 sleeping bag. Just bear in mind, that even though it´s Summer, it´s better to get clothing that you can layer, as it might get cold and babies need a little more warmth.
Another important “first” is a baby sling or stroller, though I would not recommend using a BabyBjörn or Manduca before the baby has reached 6 months of age.
Also worth considering is adequate diaper or clothing changing space and maybe a crib that you can attach right to your bed. The latter can be useful during the night to bring your baby into your bed for feeding, care and comfort with the benefits of sleeping close to the baby, but without the worries associated with co-sleeping.
For the moments in between feedings I would recommend getting a baby quilt, so you can have your baby lie next to you wherever you are. Having a music box is a plus and can be put on your belly during your pregnancy so the baby recognizes and can find comfort or joy in the melody later.
Other than the abovementioned items, your baby really doesn´t need much, except maybe a rattle or one of those wonderful “grip and play” Oballs by Rhino toys.
Mom of two children - new challenges
All of a sudden you can be confronted with funny or surreal situations such as both kids screaming, whining or crying at the same time, and these moments will make you want to bump your head against the wall.
If you are lucky, your firstborn child is in the middle of his/her defiance or rebellious phase. This will present you with the challenge of coping with an exaggeration of its kind. Our big girl´s defiance phase has grown exponentially since the little guy was born! In a flash you have a screaming and crying child next to you, who is overwhelmed by its own feelings and trying to understand what is going on. At least in this regard, our daughter is coping fine. Some days it is easier for me to stay calm than others, but at the end, it is a phase that will be over at some point. Right?!
When you have one child you have to establish some sort of schedule to give the child some consistency; this supports you in building up their self-esteem, and gives them the security of a reoccurring somewhat predictable, daily routine. This meant my husband and I making a conscious effort to have breakfast, lunch and dinner at almost the same time and trying to stay on the same schedule for activities, groceries or the like. We were never strict about it though, and let our princess decide for herself when she had to lie down for a nap or when she wanted to go to bed. We took her everywhere with us and she was fine with it.
But with two kids everything changes. The importance of a routine has become even more important than ever. Because if we don’t stick to it on a daily basis, the older child is at risk of being late for kindergarten.
I don´t know how others manage it, but I struggle in the mornings, getting the two of them, plus myself ready. Having one child means having a child that will also easily adapt to your schedule. Having two children basically means, you have to adjust your schedule to the children and be very strict about the routine. Sticking to this is good for the bigger child´s self esteem and sense of structure. Thankfully for us, we still manage to take both of them everywhere we go, whether it´s out to dinner, concerts or theater plays.
We were aware of the possibility that our daughter could feel dethroned by the new child, since our attention and focus would no longer be solely on her and that she might try to act out or misbehave to get it back. Within our circle of friends we have learned that sometimes this comes with the kind of behavior NO parent would approve of. And in such cases, one should be thankful if your child does not direct its rage and grief against the newborn.
Thankfully our big girl did not and seems to enjoy having another little person in the house.
I guess what I want to say is….it´s ok to feel overwhelmed and it is ok to feel overpowered; this is something I have to constantly remind myself. But every day, I am overjoyed to have two of the most wonderful human beings (besides my husband) around me everyday.
The next song has been around for quite some time now, but somehow it just fits here perfectly.
Why did I choose the name LALACHOUCHOU? It is quite simple, lala stands for music, for singing, my kid used to tell me to turn on the lala and my mom says I did the exact same thing, so it was a logic consequence. And chouchou means sweetheart or darling and music has always been my life, so it just fit.
As I mentioned before, I grew up in the music business. My parents founded their concert agency about 35 years ago and so I was always around music, surrounded by music, went on tour with my parents and several artists and got to learn the language of music.
Music nurtures most of us, helps us cope with bad times, helps us underline the good ones, tells us stories and gives us advise, it can annoy us, but in general we cannot live without it. To me it is not only an inspiration, it is also my passion and it is my skill. I call myself a truffle pig, because I claim to be able to differentiate between a good song, that has a hit potential or at least radio play potential, or is just a great song and on the other hand, a song that does not have a lot of potential. I am saying this quite carefully, as music is art and art always has its audience, sometimes you just personally do not get some of the pieces. You cannot ask yourself to understand everything though!
I have met many great artists during my life, some of them are still on stage, some are retired and some have been gone too early. Some of them have become friends, most of them have become lifetime companions, we have shared many laughs and most of the very well-known artists are more down-to-earth than some newcomer artists nowadays.
When I was born the band Tokyo played a concert for my birthday, when I turned 13 Luciano Pavarotti sang a birthday song to me in Paris. Those were very special moments, although I do not even quite remember the first one. I was lucky to make many great experiences like this. Being on tour and hanging out backstage with the artists and crew was mostly fun and the time between the get in/ set up for the show and the actual start of the concert was filled with table tennis, soundcheck and always with games for me.
I have to say that these times have been different though, some things have not been as professional as they are nowadays, because they were optimized through the technical evolvement, like ticketing for example. Remember how easy it was to duplicate tickets and I remember my parents talking about how many tickets must have been duplicated for shows as too many people were in the venues. There have been many ideas on the way to stop the black market and one was through special tickets. I remember this fan ticket that was an actual cd, which you could play. It was a Genesis tour. (You can find a picture here: http://soenner.com/images/music/genesis_calling_all_stations_shape_cd.jpg)
I am glad that the ticketing companies have finally found a way - or realized that they had to find a way - to print fan tickets again with the artwork of the artists, as it saddened me to think fans would not be able to keep their ticket as a memory anymore the same as they used to. Tickets used to be a piece of artwork, they used to be designed in order to fit the artwork of the poster or the tour theme itself, sometimes being an addition to the poster. Needless to say, I am happy they are going back to the roots in some sort of way.
The black market however has not been stopped yet, not all tickets are forgery-proof and secondary ticket market has become a big subject to the industry. There are companies buying tickets at a regular price and selling them for a fortune! Although this is not good for either the audience, nor the promoter/ artist or anyone actually involved in the show, companies who speculate with tickets have become quite popular. The only way to gain control again would be to avoid buying tickets from them. But I might get into detail about this at a later post.
So, as I said, I call myself a truffle pig. A talent scout. Someone who finds new music that might become a hit tomorrow or just has something special to it. If I look into music, I am always looking for something that captures me. It may be the voice, the special timbre, the special sounds used in the production, the mixture of genres, the song itself or a combination of everything. It just has to kick me in some kind of way, it has to give me goosebumps, bring me to tears or just set off my emotions. Another song I just recently found who does exactly this, is this one. So please enjoy!
When I write or talk about music, I always say that I would rather let the music speak for itself. I have been a talent scout for 20 years and managing artists for roughly ten. My roster has changed a bit over the years, but I once had a journalist and radio promoter tell me that he liked my style - that any band I picked had something special about it - even though they differed a lot from each other. And I said to myself, he gets me.
When I presented the music of my artists to labels, publishers or the like, or artists I curated for the concert agency, I would just take the music in with me and only get into the details, after the melody set the tone and emotions free among the others in the room.
But as I said before, Music is Art. Not everyone gets the piece or sometimes a person is just not as quick as you might be. Sometimes you might be ahead of the curve with the music you produce or you like. Taste isn´t confined to any given time frame, and eventually good music will find its listeners! But often it means a lot of hard work and challenges.
I have worked with extremely talented and gifted artists who have yet to achieve mainstream recognition, but had special something about them, that would have enabled them to build up a solid fan base. But somewhere on the journey, they either lost faith in themselves or did not have patience and persistence to stay focused through these hard and sometimes tough steps or difficult times.
When looking at it that way, we come full circle to the way things used to be. Bands need to play and play and play. And in the beginning, it doesn´t matter if it´s in front of 2, 5, 10 or 15 people.
Sometimes they have to pay to play (which I do NOT approve of) and in general, invest a lot into their career just in order to start off with something. They need to have staying power and longevity. They need to be patient. And they should never lose faith in themselves or their music.
Yes, easier said than done, but the reality is, so many people are able to produce music nowadays that there are many more great musicians out there. That said, many of these people who think they are great musicians, are just as hungry and driven and determined to distinguish themselves. So, the competition can be fierce.
This seems to be the issue in some areas of the music industry and has become quite common among the newbies. But in order to put on a good show, what goes on ON the stage, is just as important as what goes on BEHIND it. Everyone who makes up that tour has to be appreciated and not taken for granted. If the cleaning woman does a good job, along with the rigger, and the caterer, then the crew, not to mention, the artist, is happy.
I think everyone has their part to play and should be recognized for their job and constantly appreciated!! So please, everybody, clean up your mess in the catering area and don´t wait for someone else to do it.
On a slightly different note, one of the artists I worked with and that I really still enjoy listening to, is Roman. Unfortunately he never got the attention he deserved, but luckily for you, there is a band that sounds a lot like him – probably just a little more mainstream and called Bastille.
But here´s Roman, so take a listen for yourselves:
After years and years in my job, during my time off due to the pregnancy with my first child and such, I have never managed to write a blog, although I should have. Why is that, one might ask. Well, I am always hunting for the new, the unexperienced, the hottest stuff of tomorrow, the unexpected and over the years I never thought that it might be necessary to put it down, as I saw my success for instance with the bands I picked growing on an audience or releasing wonderful albums etc. But I had to realize the hard way, that even though you were the one who found out about that certain something, that sometimes someone else claims to have done it. So I will turn my back on the negativity of these certain people and hope that with this blog, I will make many readers happy and experience the same passion for things as I do. This blog will be about everything I love - from fashion to art, from music to movies, from advise to hauls, from vintage to the new, for mothers and fathers, for lovers and friends.
There are so many things I could start with, but I will just start off with myself. I am a mom of 2, a girl and a boy, who are 2.5 years apart from each other. I always say, it is a challenge I have been willing to take and love to be confronted with. It is not always easy, but I am deeply rewarded.
I grew up in the music industry, my parents owned a well-known concert agency, promoting wonderful acts. I officially started working in their company 1995, giving them tips about new music trends or trending artists. By that time, I just started working with a computer and you could still find a new artist via the radio or by buying a cd from them in another country. But yes, this has changed a lot. Nowadays you often sign acts right "off the street", when they are still unexperienced, do not have a professional team surrounding them or when they have just one of the many components besides their talent, i.e. a manager, record label, promoter, agent or the like. "Off the street" means by internet research, gigs in small venues, at music fares like SXSW, or sometimes literally on the street, although this is rather rare.
But I will get into detail of discovering new artists and talents over the next blog posts and have a song for you, which I could sing a long to all day long!
Trufflepig. Talentscout. Music Advisor. Booking Agent. Singer. Mother of Two. Wife. Artist. Trendsetter. Muse. Fashion Addict. Starry-eyed idealist. Hobby Psychologist. World Traveller.