Since it’s been so long, let me catch you up on a few important events/developments
We spent the holidays in Philadelphia and New York, which was wonderful–if a bit too long (three weeks). Here are some photos of our various adventures.
Nico’s new favorite word is “caca,” which she says all the time. Sometimes when she has caca in her diaper and sometimes when she wants to sit on the toilet and imitate the grunting noises one makes when making caca, but never (yet) actually making caca herself in said toilet.
2. Scary Grandmas
What we were most worried about were the flights, which included two layovers both ways. To prepare, we stockpiled tools of distraction. We downloaded a video in Spanish. We brought some stickers because a friend of ours said her toddlers could be entertained for at least a half hour on a plane pealing stickers off themselves and then putting them on others. We brought several different varieties of snacks. Two books. Several toys. Etc. And in the end, it worked (at least on the way out). Nico stayed entertained and/or sleeping the whole time. It was a dream. In the first two legs of the flight we sat next to grandmothers, one Spanish speaking. And they both adored Nico.
The only problem came with the second one, who smelled like a dimly lit bar and kept poking a finger at Nico. Then to top it off, at some point she asked me: “So which of you is the mom?”
“Oh, we’re both the moms,” I said.
“We’ll she’s pretty well adjusted.”
3. Sesame Obsession
For Christmas, Nico’s Uncle Bob, who she calls Bobol, took her to the huge Toys R Us in Times Square and let her pick out whatever toy she wanted. She chose three bath toys of Elmo, Cookie Monster and Ernie, who are Elmo, Triki, and Epi in Peninsular Spanish. And since then her life has not been the same. Yes, our daughter has discovered Sesame Street, or Barrio Seasamo. And she is completely enamored, which I find both sweet and confusing. What is it about those puppet creatures that attracts kids so much? The other night she was calling out for Elmo in her sleep. Sometimes when she is sad or hurt, she’ll ask for Epi.
4. Messy side of motherhood
A few days before we were ready to head home, Nico got sick. It started with a fever and then her throwing up on both of us in bed. We cleaned her and me up, but I didn’t realize until the next morning that some of her throw up was still in my hooded sweatshirt, which I was sleeping with. I kept wondering why I still smelled vomit.
Then the next day she seemed fine so we took her and her cousins to the Franklin Institute in Philly, where there was a Sesame Street special exhibit (see note above). While we were outside the human heart exhibit Nico suddenly looked at me sadly and then began to throw up again. Don’t ask me why but for some reason my reaction was to try to catch her puke in my hands. Is this a mother’s instinct? Was I THAT worried about the Franklin Institute carpet?
We only had wipes with us, so we cleaned her up as best as we could and called for Marta’s brother to come pick us up. Then I took Nico to the cafeteria where again she seemed to be perfectly fine. We were playing a game of “Hug me” (so much fun) when all of the sudden she got that same sad look. This time she just threw up on me. On my pants. On my jacket. In my hair.
Of course I felt bad for her. She was the sick one. She was the one with no, or little, language to express how she felt. But I also have to say that I was feeling pretty bad for myself near the end. It had been raining all day and my shoes were wet. Then on top of that I had crusted vomit on me and I smelled like week-old garbage. At one point I had to take an elevator down to get our jackets and the other people on it were literally sniffing the air and moving away from me.
5. Keeping it in the family
After Nico got sick, I then got sick and then later Marta. I was sick for my birthday so stayed in bed most of the time, except for a foolhardy attempt to go to a brewery with my brother, where I only ate bread. Marta has a strange superstition, though, that if you have a bad birthday you end up having a good year. Let’s hope that’s the case.
6. Aside from her day of vomiting, Nico had a blast on our vacation. Marta’s niece and nephew are now 6 and 8 and the six year old, Ana, became Nico’s favorite person in the world. Aaana!? She cried for Ana whenever she woke up or whenever we had been away from Ana for more than a couple hours. She also soon fell in love with Marta’s sister-in-law Blanca, who she called Teeta, and her brother Luis, whose name Nico could easily pronounce. She clearly adored Jorge, but could not for the life of her pronounce his name.
7. We’re now back in ol Lubbock and, though it’s just as brown and boring as always, I’m kinda glad to be her. Our good friend Louise picked us up at the airport and I realized when she did that we’re starting to form a community here, which makes this place bareable. If just barely. Nico was also super happy to be home. She ran around the house pointing out Gogo, her stuffed bear, and then pulling her books off the shelf. At daycare yesterday they seemed a bit surprised to report that she’d had a splendid time. “She’s a creature of habit,” I said. “And she clearly missed her Lubbock routine.”
Speaking of routine, I hope to report back to you all on new Nico adventures and misadventures soon. In the meantime, Happy New Year!