I find that this story begins somewhat before I feel it ought to and really makes a very good starting spot for the last several months. Despite the fact that the finding of avocados takes perilously little time.
We recently relocated. We moved from Redding, CA to the southern end of the San Fransisco Bay, into the heart of the Silicon Valley. My husband acquired a job down here and after a short period of consideration we jumped on the opportunity.
I would like to note: It is far easier to move with a two-year-old than a three-year-old. A two-year-old is briefly traumatized then gradually curious. A three-year-old is briefly curious then gradually traumatized. Mine had not realized prior to moving that moving meant not being able to continue going to preschool (you will hear a number of rants about this shortly I’m sure) and not being able to have play dates with her favorite friends and not even being able to go to the swimming pool at the YMCA and drown her sorrows in chlorine and swimmers ear. She has been… perturbed by these realizations.
After a week of unpacking to the tune of an increasingly distraught melody of whining and crying, I decided it was time to start making some friends. We started out the processes by attending the meeting of a local Moms Club. After a moderately shaky start, neither Fiona or I instantaneously clicked with any of the women or children present, we began to join conversation and play respectively. Soon we were enjoying ourselves, I heard a wail and jumped up. There really are times as a parent when you know unequivocally that the child in distress is your own.
Fiona had fallen. Badly. She had a gash in her chin. The kind that made the queasy among us turn away. The kind that caused me to clap a napkin over my face and ask for directions to the nearest emergency room.
There is nothing like the sensation of panic that grips you when your child is seriously injured and you have no idea where to take them for help. Luckily, we were attending a moms group and they rapidly organized themselves and one of the other moms led us to the ER. Not only that but she also stayed with us throughout the emergency room visit. Friendship forms in unusual ways. Sometimes it’s instantaneous. Sometimes you bond over emergency room protocols.
I have to say, throughout everything, except the actual stitching, Fiona was a brave little trooper. Once she knew that she was going to be okay, she laughed and talked. She was subdued, in pain, but calm. I was very proud of her.
She had ice cream for dinner that night. That was Wednesday.
Have you ever tried to explain to a child that they need to take it easy? That jumping off the couch with stitches in your chin is just a poor plan? That the arms of chairs that move make unstable balance beams? That you’re distinctly disinterested in acquiring a close person relationship with the charming doctors and nurses at the local emergency room?
Don’t bother. They don’t listen. And on the rare occasion that they do listen, they will reply with such gems as, “No, Mommy, I won’t fall. I’m sticky man!”
So, when she fell on a chair on Sunday I had several advantages in coping over Wednesday. The first was that I had updated our first aid kits and knew where they were. The second was that looking at the cut I knew it was nowhere near as severe. In fact, I knew it probably didn’t need stitches. But it was a cut. On her eyebrow. And it was too deep for a regular bandaid. And it was too close to her eye for butterfly bandaids. And my husband doesn’t deal very well with blood or damage.
So, back at the ER, they glue her together. I’m feeling a little as though I’m parenting Humpty-Dumpty at this point, but the doctors and nurses were sympathetic and no one called child protective services so I feel relatively lucky. Seriously, what child needs to be seen twice in one week for lacerations to the head? Seriously?
Which brings us to a very quiet week that I tried to have last week. We read stories. We played computer games. We watched movies. We played board games. We opened more boxes. We played with toys. We took a short excursion to have stitches removed.
We opened more boxes. We unearthed more toys.
We found the hobby-horse. My beautiful ratty hobby-horse. The one that I played with growing up. My noble stead who fought with me against the dragons and galloped with me across fields and woods. Who has become her noble stead. And who was brought to me by a very concerned little girl with the pronouncement, “Poor horsey! He has an owie. He needs stitches!”
After short time searching, I located my sewing kit and began to doctor the horse. All to the soft crooning of Fiona stroking the horse and assuring it, “It’s okay. It’s okay. Easy. Easy.” In short order, the owie was mended and the needed bandaid applied.
Then she asked me for an apple, “Because the horse is hungry. He needs a treat. He was very brave.”
One firm green apple was supplied and I headed off to the shower.
When I came out, the horsey had been tucked gently under a blanket in the hallway and Fiona was “reading” him a story. By which I mean she was telling him a story she has heard often and taking the time to show him the pictures.
Sometime later, she was playing and I was busily unpacking, putting away, and continuing to locate, arrange, and tidy our lives back into a functional state. I crossed over the horse once, twice, a dozen times back and forth.
Which is how I found an avocado. With my foot. And a sickening crunch. Under a blanket.
There is really no sensation that I can describe that matches the feeling of stepping on a ripe avocado, hidden under a blanket, with your full weight. There’s the slightly firm feeling that makes you start to hesitate just a little too late, followed by the slightly hollow popping sensation of the skin of the avocado giving way, rounding out with the squishy sensation of standing in avocado all buffered by a fleece blanket.
And all of that is how, last Thursday, I came to be sitting at my dining table with Fiona with the golden sunshine streaming in our windows eating a lunch of mashed avocado.