A Thunderous Thursday

conversations with hank

Molly showing me her “tomatoes”


Hank: Oh mama! Those roses are beautiful!

Me: Oh, but Hank, smell them!

Hank: (drinking in their sweetness) Wow. Now they are even more beautiful!

Me: I adore my dumpster roses. Your papa came home from the Horta Pedagógica (community gardens) one night with a bunch of sticks wrapped in newspaper and said our neighbor stopped him and told him she had far too many roses and if he was interested she had thrown away a garden full and all he had to do was push those sticks into some soil and by the following year he’d have roses.

Hank: But you didn’t believe him. I remember.

Me: I had never grown roses before. I didn’t imagine it could be easy.

Hank: And so papa put the sticks in the ground.

Me: And I learned that even roses from the dumpster can bloom. I am sad I had to go and pick these but there is rain coming and these blooms would get spoiled.

Molly: (toddling into the kitchen) Quero (I want to) see.

Hank: (taking the largest rose to her to smell)

Molly: (breathing it in) Yummy. Mama, quero cerejas (I want cherries), pleeeeeeease.

Me: (plopping the roses into a vase) Sure. There is no better breakfast than a cherry breakfast. (lifting her up on the counter to sit next to a gigantic bowl of cherries that was full the night before)

Molly: Me do it.

Me: You have to be careful. Cherries have a stone inside. Don’t eat the stone. (vigilant)

Molly: Ta bem (okay). Look, look mama! (holding up a cherry) A tomato. (giggling and wiggling at her obvious joke) Yummmmmmy tomato!

Me: (tossing my head way back and praising her with a chuckle) A tomato, you are so funny.

Molly: (nodding, pleased as punch) I funny. (biting the cherry in half and handing it to me to take out the stone while selecting another one) Looook mama! Ah, ah, uh, uh strawbury! (tossing her head back, mimicking me, laughing)

Me: A strawberry? HA! (bending at the waist, rolling with laughter) Oh, that is funny. You’re so funny, MaGoo.

Molly: (nodding, beaming) I funny.

(roll of thunder)

Molly: What’s that? What’s that, mama?

Me: What do you think that is?

Molly: Ah, ah, ah, uh, ummmmmmm…. A dragon!

Hank: Guimarães is full of sleeping dragons, Amália.

Molly: (her finger to her lips) Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh, dragon sleeping.

(another roll of thunder)

Molly: Ah, ah, uh, umm… Dragon hungry! Mama, Dragon hungry. (nodding, serious)

Me: That was the dragon’s empty belly rumbling?

Molly: SIM (Yes)! Dragon? Dra-gon!? Queres Cerejas (Want some cherries)?

Hank: Amália, dragons eat really specific foods. Are cherries on the list, mama? Remember the list of dragon foods?

Me: I know that list by heart! I have been feeding dragons since I was your age and I am a rather old woman.

Hank: (nodding then abruptly stops nodding when he realizes his nodding is saying he agrees I am old) You’re not old. You’re mama aged.

Me: (giggling) What day is it?

Hank: Um…

Me: (pre-coffee haze) Is it Thursday?

Hank: Yes, yesterday was (my) chemo day* so it was Wednesday.

Me: And there is thunder?

Molly: Dragons!

Me: Then the fates have aligned! Dragons only eat cherries in the spring on thunderous Thursdays.

Hank: (gasp) We need to tell Alice. She has a cherry tree!

Me: Don’t fret. They harvested their cherries yesterday. All the best farmers know about the dangers of a thunderous Thursday.

Hank: (smiling because he is on the cusp between still believing in magic and wanting to be the maker of magic) Amália?

Molly: (having forgotten all about us, cherry stained fingers and stuffed cheeks)

Hank: Dragons are our friends. They will come here, eat these cherries and grant you wishes and bring you luck.

Molly: No mano (brother)! NO! My cerejas (cherries)!

Me: Oh MaGoo. We have cherries to spare and I promise if today the dragons come and eat all of your cherries I will buy you more.

Hank: It is important you share!

Molly: Dragons! Ah, Ah, ah… No cherries. Tomatoes! Holding up a cherry. Tomato no cherries.

Hank: (whispering to me) Will that work?

Me: (whispering back) You can’t blame a girl for trying!

*I take a low dose oral chemotherapy for my Rheumatoid Arthritis and Ankylosing Spondylitis every Wednesday.  Hank is a worrier and every Wednesday evening has an alarm on his and my phone to remind us that I need to take my medicine.  Wednesdays have been dubbed chemo day.



Learning What Tomorrow Means (Bilingual Toddler Problems)

Actual representation of what our Molly looks like when she reeeaaalllyyy wants to persuade you over to her side of the argument.

Actual representation of what our Molly looks like when she reeeaaalllyyy wants to persuade you over to her side of the argument.


Molly: (bathed, dressed in pajamas, minutes away from going to bed remembers I introduced her to Silly Putty yesterday) MAMA! Play eggs? Play eggs, please?

Me: Oh, Molly. We were so busy this evening, weren’t we?

Molly: Sim (yes)!

Me: And Akika (prima) came over for dinner.

Molly: Sim (yes), come on. Come on, mama! (reaching for my hand to pull me to where the Silly Putty eggs live in the book shelf)

Me: Amália, we can’t play with the Silly Putty tonight.

Molly: (starting to cry) Mama? Eggs! (pointing to the book shelf)

Me: I am so sorry, MaGoo.

Molly: (disappointed, fat tears streaming down her cherub cheeks)

Me: Tonight is a no, but tomorrow we shall play with the Silly Putty as long as you like.

Molly: (uplifted) Sim (yes)!

Me: (dubious) You’re happy about playing tomorrow?

Molly: SIM (YES)! Play! (giggling with tears still stuck to her face)

Me: Do you know what tomorrow means, Amália?

Molly: (nodding, doe eyed, shoulders lifted, tears frozen to her cheeks, the epitome of adorable, like that scene from Shrek 2)

Me: Tomorrow means not today.

Molly: (dreams shattered, tips head back, tears resume) Play!

Me: Tomorrow means amanhã.

Molly: NO, mama! (shaking her head and the tears from her face) No amanhã (tomorrow)! Play. (collapsing in my arms)

Me: I am so sorry, lovie. It feels terrible to be disappointed.

Hank: But you can have some milk.

Molly: Sim (yes), quero (I want) milk.

Me: And we can read a story.

Molly: Quero (I want) story(in the depths of despair) e (and) EGGS!!!

Me: (hugging her)

Hank: (rubbing her back)


Epilogue: Molly was fast asleep not ten minutes after this conversation


Arrumar (To fix, To Organize, To Pick-Up)

Where I found Queen Elsa this morning.

Where I found Queen Elsa this morning. Don’t worry, she’s not cold she is ice.


Me: Amália. It’s almost time for sleeping. Time to clean up.

Molly: No.

Me: Every single night we do this before we go to bed.

Molly: No.

Me: Shall we sing the song?

Molly: No.

Me: I need you to help me pick up the legos.

Molly: No.

Me: Everyone helps, Amália.

Molly: No. Quero (I want) go to sleep.

Me: Claro (Of course), your papa is making your milk while you and I arrumar (to fix, to pick-up, to organize) the sala (living room).

Molly: No, thank you.

Me: (tired, stern) Amália Sofia? Everyone pulls their own weight in this family. Everyone. To arrumar (to fix, to pick-up, to organize) is a very important job that must be done, every day.

Molly: (knowing after my stern voice is my angry voice, relents picks up legos while I attend to the dollhouses)

Me: Thank you for doing your share, MaGoo.

Molly: (singing) Clean up Clean up, mumble-body mumble-where. Clean up Clean up, mumble mumble do your share.

Me: Exactly. Oh, look. Poor Queen Elsa lost her dress. (handing over the Elsa doll and her dress) Poor Queen Elsa, help her get dressed before she gets cold.

Molly: (very serious) No, mama, no. Queen Elsa no faz (get) cold.  Uh, Uh, Uh… Queen Elsa cold. Elsa no need dress. (tossing the dress into jumbled toy box and hugging the doll) OH! Burrr. Cold. Elsa ice. ICE! (nodding)

Me: (realizing my daughter has watched Frozen 1,487,893 times, therefore making her an expert) No one ever called you dumb, not one day.

Pai: How is the sala (living room)?

Molly: (toddling to her feet) Arrumei! (Fixed it!) Quero (I want) go to bed, papa. Night, night mama. I luvf you. (waving, taking Pai’s hand)

Me: (still in a minefield of toys and nonsense soon to be transformed back into my living room) Love you, too. Good night, chicken.

Molly: Good night, chicken mama. (toddling off to bed, naked Ice Queen Elsa under her arm)

Me: (set to the task of fixing, picking up and organizing the living room, which takes little time at all when not done with a toddler underfoot, but this time smiling)