Westcoast Connection

Meet Cristina!

Christina: I was raised in New Rochelle, and my parents are Argentine, so I’ve always lived wherever I can find the best Empanadas. However, my husband and I just moved to Greenwich a little over a year ago, and we love it!

Child(ren) and Age(s)? We have a two-year-old daughter Ophelia and a four-legged, six-year-old named Teo. It’s debatable who’s most domesticated.

One thing people would be surprised to know about you… As a child, I never dreamt of going to the Olympics, I wanted to be Madonna, (in her Like a Virgin phase), but I can’t sing.  My 2-year-old daughter tells me, “No mama, no sing.”

Anyone special you’d like to thank for helping you through parenthood? My husband said I should put him down on this list, so he’s going first!  In all sincerity, he is an incredible man.  He has patience with our daughter and can talk her down from a tantrum.  I don’t think I could make it through this wild adventure of parenthood without him even though there is a strong chance he is the original source of the line “no mama, no sing”

My close girlfriend Rachel.  She lives across the country, but we usually call each other while one of our kids is screaming in the background.  It always makes for a light-hearted moment when we ask each other, how are you doing? And the other trying to speak loud enough over the yelling in the car while saying, ‘living the dream’.  Just that bit of laughter in those moments of chaos and during days where things feel harder, helps so much.

Finally, I’d say my daughter Ophelia even though she sometimes hampers my mostly dormant Madonna dreams. As a mom I get the occasional bout of Impostor Syndrome (an inability to internalize accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”) you know, where you are hard on yourself.  And, then my daughter will do something incredibly wise and tender, like take my face between her hands.  With mayonnaise on them.  

Favorite things to do with your kids? Go for a family hike that really turns into a ten-minute walk back-and-forth to the parking lot, but the energy expended makes for a great nap. That and the 2 hours spent cleaning up after it.    

Or exploring a new place and seeing it through my daughter’s eyes.  We went to the aquarium recently and it was so fun to see what she got hooked on and what she whizzed right by and couldn’t be bothered by, no interest at all in seals, penguins or sharks, but oh boy the excitement when she saw slides/ramps.

Eating chocolate with my daughter.  To watch her delight in melting chocolate in her mouth, but mostly on her hand makes me giggle.  She puts it all in her mouth at once like she fears I’m going to change my mind and take it away from her.  Which in fairness has gone through my mind many a time. We Argentinians love our chocolate. While her mouth is completely full, she’s already bartering for another piece.  I also love taking her for a hot chocolate.  She confirms that we are getting hot chocolate about ten times on the way to the cafe, then makes sure I order it, and she basically just eats all the whip cream.  Our date is over in about seven minutes, which is all she can stand to wait for the hot chocolate and sit on the stool before we’re running down the sidewalk to burn off the sugar rush.

Are you involved in a business venture, a local organization, a creative endeavor, or in the corporate world? Please share! My husband and I founded the Sweet Blue Swim Academy (sweetblueswim.com) here in Greenwich CT.  Our school is a strong combination of our swim and education skills. Thankfully for the world, I put my dodgy singing desires on hold and by some wild combination of good fortune and hard work was lucky enough to swim on the USA National team for 8 years, and end up a six-time National champion, and representing the US in two Olympic Games, winning a Gold and Bronze medal. My husband, Ame, bless him, tells me that’s cooler than being like a Virgin at my age. He spent two decades at Yale with his last eleven years as Dean of Pierson College. At the Academy we focus on proper technique while fostering a community built on promoting self-confidence, resilience and self-knowledge in our students. While we look to secure a space for our own pool, we are enjoying renting space at the Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich.  It’s a wonderful warm pool with lots of natural light. It’s also where my daughter can be found with her developing (and much improved) chant, “swim mama, swim”.

How has this community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?  What I love about this community is that people take care of their own.  Moms who have appreciated our swim classes for their kids, have spontaneously shared our information with friends and colleagues.  Our clients want to see us grow, and we are so humbly grateful for that vote of confidence.  Women rock!  We have to support each other.  Or at least grab a drink together and discuss 80’s pop stars and “borrowing” chocolate from our kids.

Time-saving Tips? 

Dry shampoo is the best invention since chocolate fudge.  What a time-saver.  I particularly like Bumble and Bumble’s dry shampoo because it has hairspray to give you lift and also goes on clear.  Klorane is another favorite, but you need a thick hairbrush to blend in the white cloud it can leave.

Groceries delivered—Fresh Direct is here in Greenwich.  I’m waiting for Amazon Fresh to get here.  Groceries may not be like you handpicked them out, but it saves time and sanity to find them at your doorstep.

Crock pot your meals – Although all of you ‘This is Us’ fans may never use a CrockPot again, putting a meal to cook in the morning and coming home at night to a slow-cooked meal is the best. You come home to a healthy warm meal for your family.  My next adventure is with the Instant Pot.  That one you can make a meal in 30 minutes, and I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews.  I’m a fan of kitchen appliances that cook for you.

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