How to raise a happy child

Friday morning, Julia and I wake up on a sunny yet chilly day, since it’s winter time down here. We begin going about our business, me making coffee and Julia drawing on her green rubber play mat. We’re listening to some delightfully inspiring music by my new favorite band. I finished doing the little bit of dishes which had been left dirty from the day before. I got my cup of coffee ready. I turn around to observe what Julia was doing. I grabbed my phone and began taking pictures. She was busily playing with some colored patches of fabric from a toy she has, spreading them out, piling them up, folding them up into one single colorful roll of cloth, and starting all over again. At that instant, I heightened my senses to observe the ambiance in which this was happening. There was beautiful music playing, mom taking coffee, and no TV background noise. Julia was experimenting with free play, letting her imagination fly. I thought to myself how wonderful it is to allow free play to happen.

As I was taking some more pictures of her, I realized that there might be a Make on the make. I decided to put together a Flipagram, starting out with those photos of that Friday morning, and using a whole bunch of other photos I had in my camera roll, something I’d been meaning to do since I stumbled upon Flipagram. So as Julia played freely with her little unusual toys, I played with mine, my Iphone. I wasn’t sure what the name of that Make might be. I waited until it was ready to decide, like I so often do with my blog posts. I chose a beautiful song by brazilian singer/songwriter Caetano Veloso to be the soundtrack of my Make. It suited it perfectly.

Once I was finished, I watched it a couple of times, and a few times more. I felt a warmth in my heart and soul. I showed it to Julia. She asked to watch it again and again. Only then did I realize that this little Make of ours, Julia’s and mine, was a snapshot of our lives, mother and daughter, living together, finding happiness together every day in the little things, moment by moment. I felt somewhat proud of myself as a mom. Kind of like I was actually succeeding at propitiating the elements of a happy childhood to my beloved little girl. That’s how the title of my Make and this blog post came to be. It is not my intention, though, to sound as if we don’t have bad days, or face difficulties. Parenting is no easy thing. Yet, it is mornings like that one that may give us a real measure of how truly happy we are.

The following poster goes together with the Flipagram. I dedicate this Make / post to my beloved daughter, Julia, who makes me a better person every single day.

Untitled design (4)


  1. What an amazing process! The quote below ends with an appropriate comment:

    “Structures result first of all from movement and flows:

    The body does not behave like a plumber, first connecting the water pipes in a house and then turning the water on. … The first blood-like liquid … simply trickles through gaps in the tissues. … Preferred channels develop only very gradually as blood cells are deposited along the edges and eventually merge into the beginnings of vessel walls. (Wolfgang Schad in Holdrege 2002, p. 80)

    Similarly, the walls separating the four chambers of our hearts are already “there” before they exist as solid structures. At first they are simply “still water zones” between distinct, looping currents of blood, and only later do the walls materialize, taking their shape from those already structured flows (Holdrege 2002, p. 12*). No artificial heart is built this way. ”

    Holdrege, Craig, editor (2002). The Dynamic Heart and Circulation, translated by Katherine Creeger. Fair Oaks CA: AWSNA.

    Thank you.

  2. thanks Clarissa for another beautiful post… I really enjoyed every part of it – but mostly the Flipagram which I found out about from you earlier – and made me realize I might now have a use for all those photos I take of Hoda – you know where you take multiple photos coz she’s moving so fast, then many of them turn out to be beautiful enough to use? 🙂 Loved the song as well! That guy is really talented, and I didn’t know Brazilian singers sang in English, too (no reason to have assumed so, now that I think about it, thinking Shakira tho she’s Chilean, right?)

    1. Thank you, Maha, for your kind words always. I’m so happy you enjoyed reading it. Yes! I thought the exact same thing: finally found excellent use for all of the sequence of photos I’ve taken of Julia! Ha! I would love to see one about Hoda! Go for it!
      Caetano is a ‘monster’ of brazilian popular music. He has some songs in English. I’ll see if I can find other songs he sings in English to share with you.

      Besos! (spanish) Beijos! (portuguese)

  3. you know what, there is a Portuguese song I once heard but could never locate again. I know it’s Portuguese because I later heard it again at Nando’s which is a Portuguese restaurant chain in the UK (dunno if worldwide). I should sing it for you once and see if you know it 🙂 I don’t mind listening to songs in languages I don’t understand… sometimes you can feel it without knowing the words (and with Latin-based languages, you can figure out the words even if you don’t understand them all, if that makes sense?)

    1. I agree that music is that powerful. Even when you don’t understand the lyrics. Have you ever heard of the Pixies? They’re a 90s indie rock band from Boston, old school indie band… influenced a whole bunch of other bands. They sing in English but you won’t understand their lyrics… it’s nonsensical, it’s their thing. And the music is sooo powerful! Check out:
      Bird dream of the olympus moms: spotify:track:6qszTynyLR7C8kTXcEzzNh and
      Wave of mutilation: spotify:track:6EFpI8vHzGaWEa2d9JS0gO
      Tell me if you like them. They’re my old favorite band. Now I have a new one, Efterklang from Denmark.

  4. These sisters have very different voices and switch between what sounds like kid’s songs and adult harmonies. This one with a child’s toy for background is a favourite of mine. Guess I should check out Flipagram. Two daughters in their 30’s means we already have 200 pounds of pictures and are now taking in Grandson pictures. Every time we begin to sort we melt into blubbering memories–will technology save us from being silly?

    CocoRosie – Lemonade

    Lyrics are strange but include butterflies:-)

  5. I ‘get’ exactly what you mean when you say warmth. I suppose it comes from your burning heart. So glad you did this for your daughter and for yourself.

  6. wow. Love this post, flippagram and the poster. Reading the post and seeing the flippagram I could completely empathise with what you are feeling and thinking here. I think there’s something about being a parent that creates instant understanding and empathy with other parents with children about the same age as yours. Even looking at the photos of Julia reminded me of my own 3 yr old son – there’s something about the cheekiness of 3 yr olds that is somehow universal! Anyway – really enjoyed this and loved the story. Thanks for sharing it.

    1. Tanya, thanks for reading it and taking the time to write this lovely comment. It means a lot to me. Love and hugs to you and your little boy, my friend.

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