Things are bustling around the farm: The new kitchen is imminently finished. Katiuska has been working on finishing touches non-stop and really hopes that this weekend our group will be able to cook and share a meal or two in the new dining room. Jose and Marin have been literally building screens and a door that are odd shapes, rather complicated puzzle pieces of construction. The girls and I carried plates and cups and bowls from the old kitchen to the new yesterday afternoon, a tiny contribution, since we sometimes cause more disruption than help! The kitchen connects to the dining hall via a doorway and serving window, and altogether creates a lovely, spacious area, overlooking deep green forest foliage, nestled toward the back of the quad.
Later in the evening, Marin had gone on an errand so the girls and I were alone in the house getting ready for their bedtime ritual (several hundred stages that involve everything from negotiations to chases.). We were finally to the “leche en la mesa” part (milk at the table), calmly sitting there, when Sofia excitedly announced, “There’s a frog, Mommy!”
There would not be a frog in our house. Not while Marin is out. Please. So I was in total denial, and said, “I don’t think so, honey..drink your leche, let’s get ready to go tell a story…” “Right there, Mommy! With the fish!”
Holy darn it all (I’m trying not to swear in front of the girls). For some completely spontaneous male reason last week, Marin had purchased four fish in a bowl as we were driving back from the city. Every time you stop your car here, there are all kinds of people bringing items to your car for sale: We’ve been offered sesame bars, sunglasses, bananas, phone chargers, balloons. But this one was new, last week. At a red light, a man came up to the car with these four fish swimming in a bowl, and – call me a party pooper, but it seemed a bit inconvenient, given that we were about a 75 minute drive from home, which includes a bumpy dirt road – Marin gave the man some pesos and took the fish in the bowl. And a small bag of fish food. Sigh.
The girls were ecstatic. Three out of the four original fish survived the ride home. Sofia was able to feed the deceased fourth fish to one of the farm cats. The other three didn’t look so well, so Marin went to the river and brought back some river fauna, changed some of the water and the fish looked positively content the next day. They stayed on our dining room table until last night.
Sofia was right: On the side of the fish bowl was a (I’m trying not to exaggerate here..) let’s say, “medium” sized, really amphibious kind of fishy slimy looking frog, with one arm halfway hanging out of the bowl, as if trying to decide if he would like to jump out.
This is one of the kinds of things I find challenging for me, in terms of staying calm and managing well. Sofia was excited. When I saw it, I went, “Ohhhhh..whoaaaa…ohhh yes, you’re right! There he is…” a moment of shrillness forced into a pretend calm Mommy voice plopped out of my mouth, and Michelle started to screech. I continued, “It’s okay, Michelle…so! Right..okay, well, a frog doesn’t want to live in the house, does he? So we need to help him to the outside world…let’s seeee…” I could tell he was totally poised to jump but I still had to try, so I started to pick up the fish bowl, and sure enough, he leaped out in a puddly, sloppingly froggy fishlike kind of way, and flopped onto some papers we had on the table.
Sorry, girls, I did screech. I do my best to NOT screech at bugs in front of them, I just hate to pass this crazy phobia on to them. But I screeched. Michelle started to cry. Sofia started to jump around, pretending to scream but laughing mostly, at the coolness factor of the frog and my reaction both, I think.
Quickly, I stopped screeching, pulled my Mommy shit together, and said, “It’s okay, Michelle! Okay, froggy, it’s time to go outside..somehow..here we go…” and I don’t know what I was doing but somehow going over by him, and he took another big leap and landed on our window screen. Michelle cried more and Sofia screamed in further delight and I shoved the windows closed, trapping the poor thing in between the window and screen.
“Well, he can stay there til Papa gets home…and the fish..(which honestly, the bowl .. well, there’s a reason people usually have a filter when they have fish..and river fauna that must have had a frog attached to it somehow? Is all I can figure..)..The fish are going to go outside and wait on the patio also til Papa gets home..”
And lo and behold, Papa came home and took over. The frog now lives somewhere back near the river, and the fish made it through the night until this morning, and in my opinion will somehow now be “outdoor” pets.
Somewhere in the evolution of my highest Self, somewhere in this lifetime, even if it’s close to the end, I will find a way to calmly abide with creatures that jump and fly and sputter near or on my face and body. I’ve improved. Ten years ago, I would have moved the children and I into the bedroom and stayed there until Marin came home. I’ve improved. Gotta work on the screeching panic a bit more, but — step by step..
And I plan to ask Marin very politely to allow our pets to remain “outdoor” pets, for now. In the meantime, we did not have a flat tire on the way to school today, and I can’t wait for our group weekend and all of the practices that help me to become a little bit more collected, poco a poco..little by little…To everyone, may your journey every day be filled with peace, love, happiness, health, safety and goodness, everyone! xoxo