Me: (opening Hank and Molly’s bedroom window to let in the day and the smell of the rain) Good morning, chickens.
Hank: (groggy) Mama.
Molly: (chipper as a squirrel, bouncing in her crib) Papa! Papa!
Me: Your darling papa is getting ready, MaGooie, so you will just have to settle for your darling mama.
Molly: (disappointed) Papa? No? Harumph. (arms folded in front of her, low lip out pout)
Me: I will not take that pout personally, chicken soup. No matter how hard you try. (giggling, folding her into my arms)
Molly: No. (displeased)
Hank: I will get Molly’s and my milks ready, mama.
Me: (calling after him) Thank you, Hank. You are ever so helpful. I appreciate it.
Hank: (from the kitchen) You’re welcome.
Me: Soon your papa will come and smother you in kisses but first (grabbing the diaper cream to distract her) open this while I get you dressed.
Molly: (excited) Força? (with strength?)
Me: Sim, faz força, filha. (Yes, with strength, daughter)
Molly: (concentrating, grunting for the dramatic affect) Força, mama? (Am I strong, mama?)
Me: Oh, yes. (wrangling her into her clothes) You are very strong and clever and brave, Ms. McGoo.
Molly: (focus, more grunting and dramatic stares at the diaper cream)
Me: Well, done. (putting on her shoes, plain summer sandals) Now, are you ready for some milk with mano (your brother)?
Molly: Já esta (all done), mama.
Me: Thank you for helping me, littlest chicken. You loosened it. I saw. You are very strong and now it will be easier for me to open next time.(setting her on her feet) Now, go find Mano (your brother). I am right behind you. (collecting diaper, pajamas, etc)
Molly: (toddling into the hallway) Oh no!
Me: (looking up) What is it?
Hank: Mana (sister)?
Molly: (distraught) OH NO, MAMA! SHOES! (gesturing from her plain, practical shoes to her fancy shoes she was playing with last night)
Hank: What is wrong with her shoes? What is wrong with your shoes, mana (sister)?
Molly: (paralyzed in the hallway, gesturing to her shoes both on her feet and in the living room) Shoes! Shoes! (crying real tears)
Pai: (from the bedroom) What is wrong?
Me: I think we are in the process of having our first wardrobe crisis.
Molly: (face in her hands, sobbing) Shoes!
Me: (on my knees, arm around her) Amália, would you like to wear a different pair of shoes today?
Molly: Shoes! (pointing in the direction of her fancy shoes)
Me: Hank, you take your mana (sister) and sit her down with her fancy shoes while I get some socks. Molly, it is okay. You did the right thing by telling us. Força, filha (have courage, daughter). It is perfectly fine to have an opinion about your shoes.
Molly: (taking Hank’s hand, pathetically, exhausted from making herself understood) Força (strength).
Hank: Isso mesmo, mana, faz força. (That’s right, sister, be mighty.)
Walking away, mightily.
The phrase, Faz Força, in Portuguese has many different meanings in many different contexts. When you are struggling to open a jar or a heavy door it means: with force/with strength. At a sporting event it is a rallying cry. Yet when you are going through a tragedy, a health or personal crisis it can mean: be strong, have courage, be mighty.
One little phrase means so much. Faz Força means everything I want to teach my little girl even if it is about being mighty for the sake of fashion (this time).