What should you do after a Hurricane? After you finish cleaning up?
It took us a week to finish and after the dust settled I decided to….
Enlist the indentured servitude of my two year old, and her handy Radio Flyer wagon, to collect the fallen fruits of Gonzalo’s labour, our family crop of limes.
When we surveyed the damage from the Hurricane and ventured into the citrus garden to check on Eva’s much adored and feared Bee Hive to find that the wrath of Gonzalo spared the lime trees but not its crop, but for a few scraggly weather beaten ones that managed to hold onto their stems by some godly miracle. Looking at the two that remained on the tree, reminded me of how I felt after the first year of motherhood, and Hurricane Eva. Now that she is nearly three I have learned to buffet the changing wind and tide of motherhood, but now the monstrous storms have clinical names like salmonella, septicemia, or hand, foot and mouth and impetigo. As Eva has made it through the alphabet of diseases I have gotten less and less freaked out by disaster and to more or less expect it. So when Hurricane Gonzalo set its sights on us, all I could think was thank god I don’t have a breast pump dependant infant anymore, there was always a worse time for a Category 4 Hurricane or a better time to stop pumping if that had been the case. Anyway now that Eva is almost three, and we had a few dropped limes and missing trees, we were happy eventually to celebrate the passing of Hurricane Season 2014.
Super Eva and her radio flyer amassed several wagon loads of limes, which after a few rounds of pressing them on my juicer to freeze in little jars with a broken hand like the penny pinching artist I should be, but am not — I thought F…THIS… lets break out the Tequila. I was given this idea, by my aunt who informed me we are going to make my uncle’s 60th birthday party a Tequila party.
Patron Silver was the perfect muse to bring us all back to reality, after spending most of the week cleaning. In the true spirit of coming clean I have to admit that I had almost never cleaned Eva’s play pen in the several years it was in operation. After taking everything apart in preparation for the storm surge, when we came to put the playpen back we sorted through every toy and missing puzzle piece with the idea of restoring it to its former glory, just cleaner. To this end Chris cleaned the multicoloured padded flooring which had come apart into a million pieces in letters and numbers and weird corners and parts. After all the parts dried we did not have the heart, or could not be assed to put it back together so we normalized the living room and called it Eva’s big girl playpen. And she bought it – Phew.
The other casualty of the Hurricane recovery week was Eva’s unspoiled vocabulary. She has always had a robust vocab for her age, ever since she said her first word at the early age six months; it was “mama” of course. We almost made it to three without a terrible word escaping Eva’s mouth, or anything worse than “yucky” or “poo poo” until a terrible event spoiled everything. Last weekend, Eva was perched on Daddy’s knee while he watched the Spurs vs. Newcastle game. When Newcastle scored, he yelled “Fuck Off” and the little parrot on his knee echoed him back “Fuck Off” she roared toward the T.V. I laughed, finally, we had a bad parenting moment I did not have to take credit for!
Great I thought, in another six months she will be shouting “Yid army!” be wearing camo cargo pants and be unrecognizable underneath the Spurs regalia and swear words. It was probably predestined that I would give birth to a football hooligan and it was beginning to materialize before my eyes.
Maybe I will become one of those really bad parents who dress their kids up on Halloween as a football lout to explain away their potty mouth. But I am not sure that I will be able to explain why my two year old dressed up as a turtle is yelling “Fuck Off” to the princess and the witch instead of chewing on lettuce leaves.
I am sure Daddy won’t appreciate this revelation on the blog but he does have his own way of seeking revenge. Like when he came home from work last Friday and made a mischievous promise to Eva.
“Eva I promise that Mommy and Daddy will both dress up for Halloween.”
“Don’t make a promise to a two year old you can’t keep.” I said
“I bought you a present.” He said with an evil grin.
“What?” I asked in dread.
He went out to his motorbike and came back with an unsuspicious plastic bag, and gave it to me, still grinning.
I took a deep breath and opened it. Inside was another plastic bag, one of those all in one costume packages. I pull it out, and with one word, ruined my Halloween.
“You are dressing up as Velma Dinkley for Halloween.”
I looked back in the bag.
“If I am dressing up as Velma, where is your Fred costume?”
“They didn’t have any other Scooby characters.”
“I don’t believe you.”
“It’s true I looked.”
“Then we will make one up, we need to get you a yellow ascot.”
“Okay. Will you try on the red wig?”
“This is not Naughty Velma is it?”
“Maybe it is Naughty Velma!”
And so Naughty Velma was born a week ago, out of revenge and a plastic bag.
And so it was that the morning of Halloween Friday, I dressed Eva in her first of three costumes, the turtle and took her to school. When I left I made her my own promise.
“Eva when mommy picks you up from school I will come to get you in costume.”
She was so excited.
When I pulled out of my driveway at a little after five in a red wig and glasses my neighbors gave me a triple take.
“It’s Halloween people!”
More and more people stared at me as I drove by them in my familiar car with an unfamiliar look as if I couldn’t possibly be doing something as innocent as going trick or treating, they looked at me as if I was going to rob a bank, or maybe to everyone else in the world, Halloween is just for kids.
When I arrived at Eva’s school she burst into tears.
“Eva it’s mommy I’m dressed up as Velma.”
“I wanted you to dress up as Mommy Turtle.”
“Oh dear. Next year I can dress up as Mommy Turtle.”
After I wrestled my baby turtle into her car seat we headed home to unpack her school bag before heading out Trick or Treating. On the way home we passed a young woman on the side of the road dressed up as a playboy bunny, now I am sure she got a lot of looks, and I am equally sure no one thought she was going to rob a bank.
“Look Eva it’s a Naughty Bunny.”
“He He” she giggled, “A Naughty Bunny!”
“What are you dressed up as Mommy?”
“I told you Eva, I am dressed up as Velma.”
“Okay fine, Eva whatever you want, Naughty Velma! “
We trick or treated our way down to Eva’s classmate’s house where Eva resumed their ritual fighting over toys, while Naughty Velma had a glass of wine.
When Daddy finally turned up from work right in time for trick or treating he showed up looking every bit as dapper as he usually does on a Friday evening.
“What happened to Fred?”
“I ran out of time.”
“You broke a promise to Eva.”
“Naughty Velma is more than enough of a surprise.”
“It was the yellow ascot, you weren’t man enough.”
“We need to immortalize this moment with a picture.”
Chris photographed Naughty Velma at the party, to which my only response following the lead of my naughty turtle, was F*CK OFF.
On a side note, I have long wondered if hoarding was genetic and I think it is. Eva did not want to be just one thing for Halloween, so she dressed up as both a Turtle and a witch, and then when she went to bed she had to wear her skeleton pajamas because what is a holiday without at least three costumes. Or perhaps just perhaps my little Eva is turning into my mother and is already designing her future walk in closet.
I hope everyone had a HAPPY HALLOWEEN.
Xx Derelict Mom aka Naughty Velma.