Monday, April 30, 2012


About a year ago my neighbor decided he wanted to build a deck behind his house. We live in the hills, so the deck would have to built up into the hillside behind his house. The hillside also happens to be the view from our bedroom window. Eventually it would just be a beautiful hillside with a flight of steps going up, but for a few months it was a hillside with a couple of workers who could have a great view into our bedroom. There was never anyone up there before so we never had to get window coverings, until one day while I was reading on my bed I looked out the window to see a man looking back at me waving.  That was my first encounter with Mauricio.

For months he worked on the steps. After two more waves, into my room I put curtains up. His intentions were good, but boundaries were crossed by him one too many times for me to be super friendly. I even wrote a blog post here about how he irritated me so much when he commented on Twig wetting her pants once and how inappropriate I thought it was.

One day a few months ago, while on a walk, I happened to feel particularly chipper and friendly. When Mauricio saw me, he commented on how strong my stomach was getting I felt carefree enough to tell him that there was a baby in there. A few weeks later I lost that baby. While mourning the loss I took another walk on my street. While trying to process how much pain I was in, I looked up and saw Mauricio walking towards me. I froze! I found encounters with people who had known about the pregnancy the most difficult thing about miscarrying. It was like a race to tell them I lost the baby before they could ask me how I was doing. This time I stood face to face with this man who I had tried so hard to keep a distance from in order to protect myself, and now I had to tell him my sad news. Now I know most normal people would say I didn't owe this handyman gardner guy anything. I am not normal though, I was too much of an open book when I told him in the first place. Since he knew I was pregnant, I felt like I had to remedy that misinformation now with the truth. As he opened his mouth to say hello I interrupted him with tears rolling down my face and said "I lost the baby."

Even with a language barrier, a cultural difference, and very few strained interactions between us, in that moment he understood and gave me a hug. He said it was all part of a plan. Now whether or not I believe in higher powers, things being meant for a reason, or "plans", I was grateful for his hug. Months went by and I kept pretty much to myself. I got pregnant again and since the hillside deck was done, I stopped seeing Mauricio on the street. Today I pulled out of my driveway and he was pulling up the street. He honked to wave and as I passed him I rolled down the window to say hello. He quickly noticed by very pregnant belly and smiled. He said congratulations and told me how it was all supposed to work out this way. He couldn't believe how much time had passed and as I was about to drive off he said "Bingo! You won the lottery!" Again there was a bit of a language thing but I knew exactly what he meant. Today running into Mauricio was as exciting as running into an old friend. He was so genuinely excited for this baby, and I was so happy to share that with him.  For the second time an interaction with this man has brought me to tears but this time they are happy tears. He said he will be around cleaning up my neighbors hillside and that he will get to see us again for a while.

With all that said, and in spite of our new friendship, I'm still so glad that I have shades on my windows now.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Miss McGinty

When I was a little girl, just about my daughter's age actually, my Grandmother used to say she would
shove me down her throat. She would follow that statement by calling me Miss McGinty. My sister remembers it as my grandmother saying she was going to jump down our throats, but regardless we both remember it scaring the living daylights from us. I spent so much time wondering how she would be able to do this, and how much it would hurt. We loved our Grandma and she was the sweetest woman, but we obviously didn't quite get her sense of humor at our age.

Last week at gymnastics Twig's coach told her she was going to eat her toes if she didn't point them. I feel like we say silly things like this to her sometimes and she laughs, but she definitely wasn't sure her coach was joking. In fact she asked about it the whole way home, and then continued to bring it up to whoever would listen. She would say it smiling and giggling but I could see she was still trying to figure out if anyone thought her coach would actually try to eat her toes. I explained that she was joking and promised her that her toes weren't going to get nibbled off by a hungry gymnastics teacher.

Today she had gymnastics again. It wasn't the best morning leading up to the class. She had already cried over tiny issues that cost her a bunch of tears and us both a bunch of time. I was patient and gentle with her and eventually the tears ended. We left for class with enough time to spare and when we got there she said she didn't want to go. I tried to talk to her about it and she seemed okay as we got her leotard on and got ready. Just as the class began though she clung to me and started to cry. She said she didn't want to go in. I asked her to tell me what was going on but (she is three in a half maybe -- self expression isn't a refined skill at this point) she shrugged her shoulders and said she didn't know. I said I would stay close and watch her but she insisted on leaving. This is where I started fuming up. This is the second time I drove all the way there to have her flat out stubbornly not go in to the class. I told her if we leave I will not be happy and that we are not going home to play. She would have to go straight up to a nap. She said she wanted to leave.

Pissed off and tense I strapped her into her car seat and drove home. Trying not to over react, I stayed quiet to make sure I didn't say the wrong thing, but within five minutes I exploded. I told her she wasted my time, and that I do not like driving all the way somewhere and turning around to go home. I told her I wasn't only around to drive her places, feed her snacks, play with her and then be okay when she gets into a bad mood. As I am saying this, I'm listening to my words come out of my mouth. Of course I am there to do those things. What the heck is the definition of a mother? Those are the job requirements. I was so angry and concerned that perhaps I had been manipulated again, or that Twig doesn't seem to be able to spring back from a meltdown the way other kids do, or why aren't any of the other kids even crying when they go in for class. If any of them get upset they can reel it in fast but not Twig. Then I realize two things. First off, she only does this for me. She hates separating from me and lets me know in the biggest possible way. Secondly, I forgot all about the toes.

Usually my friend drives her to school but last week my husband and I took her because we had a parent teacher conference. She had to be pried off of me while I tried to sit with her teacher in the same space. If I am around and she can't be with me, it is really hard for her. She is fine with anyone except me. Of all people, I should understand that. My parents worked at the sleep away camp I went to. I hated it because even though I wasn't away from them, I could see them on the other side of the dining room but wasn't allowed to be with them. It was a bit torturous. Also, I suppose if my toes were threatened I might be afraid to be alone with someone who I thought might eat them. It's not far off from Miss Mcinty and the throat shoving. I am years away from that threat and even though I don't remember how exactly she said it, the feeling of fear that it it caused is clear in my memory.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Lorax

My husband and I finally took Twig to her first movie yesterday. It was pouring rain and the perfect day for a movie. Our friends who have a daughter (Twig's little friend) had decided to go too. It was a spontanious choice and tuned put to be such a good decision. It wasn't that I was opposed to taking her to a movie earlier ,but there just wasn't the right movie or the right time. "The Lorax" seemed so appropriate since they just read it in school so she was excited to see it.
 She was so happy to see her friend there. The two girls sat next to each other and my husband and I took turns sitting next to her on her other side. It was a 3D movie but since it scared her when things began jumping off the screen, she decided she wanted to watch the movie without them on. She held my hand in her lap and stared straight ahead. She sat through the previews asking every thirty seconds where the Lorax was. When it finally began she got really into it. At one point she put her hand on her heart and said "Mommy, I don't think my heart is beating."

I got up at one point to switch seats with my husband and Twig quickly grabbed her friend's hand and the two of them sat hand and hand for most of the remaining part of the film. When the main character was riding his electric unicycle out of town, Twig told me he really needed to be careful. When one of the fuzzy creatures did something funny she would belt out laughing. The most touching part though was when the Lorax had to send the creatures away because they were having trouble living with out trees and oxygen. Pouting with their heads down they lined up and began to head out of town. I looks over at Twig and she was also pouting but very quickly that pout turned into her bursting out in tears. She climbed into my lap and asked if they will come back. She was so emotionally affected by the story and then of course I began to cry too. I explained that it will be okay and that it is just a story. Obviously there is a much bigger environmental lesson to be learned but she is three and her main concern were the fuzzy guys.She was so happy when at the end the fuzzy things came back.

She truly got a full movie experience yesterday. She even decided she was ready to try the glasses on. By then the credits were rolling but she didn't mind. My husband and I are both pretty sensitive people so when she teared up I whispered to him ow she is definitely our daughter. Later on in the day when we were talking about how sweet it was that she teared up, he reminded me that I cried the night before while watching a documentary. I may be a big mush, and now I have a little mush too. I can't wait to go see more movies with her. I just need to remember to bring double the tissues.