Mummy Diaries: Control

I´m not completely sure when it happened, but happen it did.

It wasn´t when I gave birth, and it wasn´t during my breastfeeding trials either.

I think I can identify one moment in particular that has caused me to admit that I, Helen Cordery, a woman with 29 years on this planet, am no longer functioning as myself. I am Mother.  And I can crookedly trace that moment back to September 14 2016.

The date when my 2 year old became a 3 year old.

Photo: Sibylla Michelle Photography

(To those of you reading this without children, or still at that stage where your offspring are all squishy, cuddly and (dare I say it) unable to form complete sentences, you may be a little confused or even think I´m dramatizing an evet as wonderful as toddlerhood. But there are others out there who are living this reality with me, and who have lived it many, many times … and to those ladies, I salute you with respect).

September 14 2016 appeared, for all intents and purposes, as an ordinary, innocent date. The sun shone and cracked through air still bearing the touches of Autumn´s chill, panaderia staff rose early and churned out the day´s supply of bread, dogs went for their usual wander around the neighborhood leaving their gifts for those unlucky souls trudging their way to work, and at least half of the residents of Chile looked outside their window at the mountains and let out a little sigh.

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Well, my son rose on that particular day and thought ´the time has come´.

It was not to be a day just of Thomas the Tank balloons, colorful cupcakes, forgotten wrapping paper and healthy-snacks-to-prove-a-point, for this was the singular moment in my son´s life when he realized who he was.

And that he was no longer my baby.


Perhaps my greatest challenge these past 29 years has been acknowledging and dealing with the fact that my son is his own person. He is not someone I can just dress in any old clothes, or tell to eat his dinner, tidy his mess, or be nice.  I can not just hug or kiss him with abandon, like I would when he was smaller, when I´d squeeze him so fiercely because he did something so cute that I just couldn´t contain myself.

The day E turned 3 (or there abouts) was the moment when he grasped fully what ´No´ meant, and that he had every right to say it.

And say it he does.


In fact, it feels like all I ever hear these days is a big, fat, loud ´NO!´ and this word … this word makes me want to throw every single item we own and hold dear out the window until there is nothing left but a plate that is finally empty, because it´s 1.35pm and jardin started 5 minutes ago.

This word grates on my last nerve and consumes every inch of my brain because it seems like now there are no longer enough hours in the day; time is ticking on and you, beautiful, infuriating child, are not helping us to progress through it.


And this is what I mean about now being all Mother.

Each day starts and ends almost exactly the same and I, as the Mother, am the sole person responsible for keeping it that way (you don´t want to know what happens when the routine breaks – think tears, lots of tears, them and me).

I am driven by this purpose, and although it may seem like all I am doing is keeping a baby, toddler and 2 adults on schedule, what I am really doing is fighting a war.

I battle the clock, where each tick leads me further and further away from where I need to be. I battle my partner, who often appears to be completely oblivious to the chaos unfolding around his feet (usually E and M fighting). I battle the endless dishes, the washing that never seems to dry because we have now entered the six months of the year when Santiago is not a desert and more like one overflowing drain (go to Huechuraba in the rain and you will know what I mean).  I battle work deadlines, the stress that winter brings to my children´s immune systems, endless assignments that are far too advanced for my poor son to comprehend at his jardin and now I battle the constant sound of ´no´ ringing in my ears.

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When I was pregnant, my mum bought me a Baby Record Book. We both thought this would be a lovely memento to have of my first child´s early years. I sat with this Record Book resting on my ginormous stomach, chewing the end of my pen, while pondering about those big, important questions that you only think about when you´re pregnant with number 1. The book told me to write down Our hopes for you in the future. ¨Be strong, know who you are, act your age & don´t grow up too fast¨ was some of what I wrote down, when E gave me a chance (he was always kicking away). And that is exactly what I got.

I have a son that is like me in so many ways – who speaks his mind, is strong and likes to laugh – which is exasperating at times, but are qualities that have always been so important to me. It is difficult sometimes  regularly but as a parent your role is to guide your child not force them, to lead by example and not by pressure, and to show them love when it all gets too much and they fall apart. I wrote in my Record Book,´I hope you always have a parent who shows you love and is present´and this is the greatest lesson I have learnt across my adult years on this earth: you will lose control at times and so will I, a bit, but I will always strive to be someone that is with you and for you, in that moment.


I am not a perfect mother – far from it. And my son is not perfect either – far from it (though maybe to me). They say control is an illusion but I think it means balance, as we live each day moving between the ´yes´ and the ´no´, the right and the wrong, the good and the not so good, looking for – aiming for – that moment when it all balances out, the world is smiling and you look into those tiny, round eyes and see nothing but happiness.

What the Words Mean

Panaderia – place where they make bread (most corner stores serve fresh bread morning and night)

Jardin – kindergarten/nursery

5 BestOff-The-Grid Getaways

Did you like this blog? You might like to read:

Mummy Diaries: Love 

Mummy Diaries: Day in the Life Of

Mummy Diaries: Respect

Mummy Diaries: The Truth

Pajarito de Mimbre: Children´s Books & Toys with a Heart

¨They say that pudus do not know how to ride a bike. But this tiny Pudu went far, very far. This is his story …¨


Recently Emilio was gifted a new book, called ¨El Largo Viaje del Pequeño Pudu¨ and I liked it so much that I contacted its maker to see if they wanted to be featured on my blog.

The Long Journey of the Small Pudu, is made by Pajarito de Mimbre, and is a beautifully designed treat for the eyes, taking the reader down the length of Chile and calling attention to its flora, fauna and amazing wonders that makes this country so special. What really makes it stand out is its attention to Chile´s many cultures, and the little Pudu makes friends with them all, from Mapuche to Aymara, Kawesgar to Selk´Nam. Emilio enjoyed playing Spot the Pudu on each page as we read it (it´s been one day and we´ve read it three times!).

A browse through their Instagram feed reveals exactly the kind of thing I look for when I shop for my family: handmade, made in Chile, and with the theme of promoting creativity and inclusion of all.

Muñeca Sirena. Photo: Pajarito de Mimbre

Ten Questions with Pajarito de Mimbre

1) Who is Pajarito de Mimbre and when did the business begin?

We started up several years ago with the desire to make children´s books and today we are devoloped by Fita Frattini and other amazing people all working to turn their dreams into a reality.  We have also progressed into decoration and children´s toys.

2) What is the concept of the store?

We are a design store that creates illustrated children´s books.  We have created a space for decoration, toys and incentives for the imagination, creating objects for children.  Each item is hand made with dedication and affection – from the initial drawing right up to the finished product.  It´s a careful process which involves each material personally selected – this means that each product is designed, written and illustrated at home!  Our motto is ¨sow a spark in the soul of a child and you will see that light shine more than any star¨.

Muñeca Mapuche. Photo: Pajarito de Mimbre

3) What makes your products different?

Their exclusive design, featuring the themes of Chile and what is important to children. From there, we take those featured characters and develop them into other products.

4) What are your favorite Pajarito de Mimbre products?

The Bird Calendar, the canvas Map of Chile, Chile Memory Game, the dolls to go with the ´Largas Viajes del Pequeño Pudo´ book, and the mermaid.

Photo: Pajarito de Mimbre

5) You also offer activity classes – what are the options?

We offer basic illustration classes, where we teach you how to illustrate your own book which we then print for you to take home. It´s a really beautiful way to learn and makes a beautiful object to share with others.

Mapa de Chile. Photo: Pajarito de Mimbre

6) Where is your favorite place in Santiago to eat out?

At home, where I can cook and eat what I like. If i go out in Santiago, it is to Barrio Italia.

Photo: Pajarito de Mimbre

7) What do you like to do on your days off?

I like to do acroyoga, bike and go climbing.

8) Where is your favorite spot in all of Chile?

I like the Parque Nacional Nahbuelbuta and Chiloe, Panguipulli, Puerto Varas … there are just so many!

Estuche Lapicera. Photo: Pajarito de Mimbre

9) As a store dedicated to children, what do you think is something really important for their childhoods?

I think it´s important to receive love and containment, within the family environment.

Carpa. Photo: Pajarito de Mimbre

10) What is next for Pajarito de Mimbre?

This year we will begin a mini line of clothes and some new books to work the emotions.

Special Offer for My Readers!!!

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Email Pajarito de Mimbre quoting my blog and you will receive 20% off your first order! This offer runs until June 17 2017 so get in quick.


  1. Follow Pajarito de Mimbre on Instagram @pajaritdemimbre
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A Mother´s Day

Teachers Appreciation Week (2)


For my eldest son on Mothers Day:

Baby boy can I hold you?
Can I help you as you cry?
Come lay your head beside me
And place your hand in mine.

Baby boy can I touch you?
Can you come here and sit?
Before you run away from me
Please stay with me a bit.

Baby boy you are no longer
You now stand up so tall
Your features have changed so much
You don’t reach for me when you fall.

My boy you are a man now
So sure of yourself and grown
You’ve found a place in the world
And made that spot your own.

Sometimes I stare at your face
Search it for the boy i knew
I once kissed those tears and held you tight
– the child i gave everything to.

My son, my hands are withered
My face has found its lines
But still I remember clearly
That moment you first opened your eyes.

One day you will understand
Why I am the way I am
One day you’ll watch me close my eyes
And it will be you holding my hand.

Until then please humour me
While I write poems and kiss your cheeks
I am your mummy always
while time it slowly creeps.