We’ve started to call Frida “La Bruta,” which literally means “The Brute.” We also sometimes call her “La Monstruo,” which you can probably translate for yourself.
Meanwhile, she continues overall to be quite angelic and sweet. People comment all the time that she “never cries” (at least not within earshot of them). And she loves interacting with new people. On the bus, she makes eyes at nearby passengers, smiling and reaching out her hand like she wants to more than anything to be held by them. More than once, a passenger has gotten off at her or her stop and then run around to wave goodbye to Frida once more through the window. It’s a little pathetic, but we let them think that she thinks they’re special.
With family, she’s even more adoring. Every time Frida sees her cousin Ana (who is one of the two extra children I mentioned in the last post), she lights up. But I mean really lights up. Her face expands in all directions and her smile stretches big and wide. Ana, of course, loves her, too. As do her grandparents, and the millions of aunts and uncles and other sundry cousins we keep meeting here (we’re in Marta’s family’s hometown right now and it seems like everyone is a cousin).
But we call her La Bruta and La Monstruo because, in addition to being sweet and adoring, she is also strong, fast, drooly, and seemingly born without a sense of caution or fear.
An example: Yesterday we went to go see two monasteries in a town nearby and afterwards we had lunch in a little cafe with outdoor seats. They also had a plastic playhouse, so Nico and Ana played pretend quietly in the house while we were waiting for our food to arrive. Meanwhile we put Frida on the grass to, in an ideal world, play quietly as well. But Frida never stays in one place for more than two seconds (unless she’s sleeping or tied down). So she took off immediately. First she army crawled though all the dirt she could find. Then she pulled herself to standing alongside the plastic playhouse and, somehow, managed to fall and bang her head on a plastic toy at her feet–twice. Then she tried to consume four or more five sticks, leaves, and/or cigarette butts.
And this was all before the food came. Once the food was there, she would occasionally stop her prowling to consume a mouthful of chicken or tomato or whatever we could manage to stuff in there. Then she’d be off again. She would have crawled all the way back to the monasteries if we had let her. In Marta’s dad’s house, she’s already climbed three flights of stairs. And gnawed on the edges of all the chairs. And broken one souvenir from China.
I know this behavior is actually somewhat normal. In fact there are probably other babies who are wilder. But, you see, Nico was not like this. When I think back on her early crawling life, in fact, I remember her being relatively still. She liked then–and still likes now–to stay in one place and observe things, sort through thinks, look at things. She’s like Ferdinand the Bull. Sweet and a wee bit lazy. Frida is like the bulls they wanted Ferdinand to be: all riled up and ready to bang her head into something.
To prove to you how brutish she is, I have tried to take some pictures of Frida in action. But the problem is she moves too quickly. Or she suddenly does something dangerous and I have to set down the camera and keep her from killing herself. So in the end I only have photos in which she appears relatively calm and sweet. Like this recent one of us on the seesaw.
But I did manage to capture one that almost gets to the heart of her brutishness. The fact that she’s eating tofu here instead of, say, raw meat detracts slightly from my central argument. But you can still see what I mean.