Out and About in the Neighborhood

Out and About in the Neighborhood

Yesterday morning Bella simply would not go down for a nap. Exhausted and crying, she clearly needed one; but when put in her crib only stood at the bars and screamed.

Fortunately for me, there was instant messenger and a level-headed husband who suggested I take her for a walk.

So walk we did, she calmed down and chattered away.

While we were out, I found something I’d never seen before: an adult cicada that had just moulted and was sitting atop its discarded shell. I’ve seen plenty of the discarded shells. When I was a girl the boys would frequently pluck them off of trees or fences and throw them at us. Ugh!! Of course, I’ve often heard cicadas singing their songs. But I’d never to my knowledge seen one. I wish I’d had my camera with me. Alas, in my hurry to get cranky Bella out the door, I’d left it behind.

When we returned from our walk, I was able to finally put Bella to bed and take a nap myself with just enough time to grab a quick lunch before heading out to the doctor’s office. I resolved to be better at taking her for walks. We’ve fallen out of the habit since our move.

Today after our morning nap (now that I’m pregnant I have to sleep when she does), I remembered my vow to take a walk. It was still cool out and we’re anticipating a heat wave this afternoon. I knew I’d better seize my chance before it got too hot and nasty out.

We walked a new route today, down to a local school. On the way we discovered a beautiful garden. Apple trees surrounded an area with corn, tomatoes, and who knows what else. Grape vines covered the chain-link fence, beautiful clusters of bright green grapes hanging among the leaves. An old couple sat beneath the shade of a vine-covered pergola, picking through baskets of greens. I can’t explain why, but there was something so peaceful, almost magical about that bountiful little plot of land. Like a glimpse into what Eden might have been like had Adam and Eve lived there into old age.

The school had no playground, but I sat for a while on a nice, maple-shaded hill overlooking a baseball diamond, a soccer field and a couple of basketball courts. While I was resting and sipping my water and Bella was roaming around, picking up sticks and trash and occasionally helping herself to Cheerios from the stroller’s tray, I noticed an old woman dressed all in black crossing the field. She changed course and headed right toward us, dropping her black leather purse and plastic grocery bags at my feet. She’d obviously just come from the local grocery store. She chatted with me for a while, admiring Bella and telling me about her own children and grandchildren. She showed me her broccoli-rabe and , mysteriously, told me she was going to use it to make rice. She evidently lived right around the corner. I only understood about half of what she said. She had a very thick accent that I couldn’t quite place. Probably Portuguese since we live in a very Portuguese neighborhood. (Our Lady of Fatima Portuguese church is just blocks away.) She was very happy though, smiling and laughing and full of joy. Finally, as a parting gift she offered us some lollipops and though I don’t really like lollipops and I don’t let Bella eat sweets yet, I couldn’t refuse.  So I graciously accepted a root beer- and a watermelon-flavored Dum-Dum and let Bella hold them.

Turns out they were heaven-sent. I’d been fighting nausea since I woke up from my nap. The watermelon lollipop was just the trick. Suddenly, I found myself craving the taste and, certain I’d take one lick and throw the thing away, I pried one out of Bella’s hand, unwrapped it and started sucking. it tasted wonderful. The best thing ever! It lasted almost to our garden gate and magically took away all my queasiness.

Unfortunately, as I was headed to the garbage bins to throw away my lollipop stick and wrapper, my famous clumsiness kicked in and I tripped on a break in the sidewalk and stubbed three of my toes. Ow, ow, ow! I hopped up and down on the other foot and tried not to curse. Then looked down to see half a dozen drops of bright red blood, looking like fresh paint or gleaming gems. I sat down on the step and contemplated my foot for a minute, then set about getting Bella and her gear out of the stroller and into the house: Please, don’t fight with me, Bell! Just go in the house. Mama needs you to cooperate. We managed to avoid most of the drama that ensues when Bella is forced to go inside. I think she’d stay outside all day if I let her. I hobbled to the bathroom and rinsed off my foot in the sink and cleaned it out with hydrogen peroxide. I’ve lost a bit of skin on three toes and it’s not a pretty sight.

Now Bella’s helping herself to raisins from the container on the coffee table as I contemplate hopping to the kitchen to make us some lunch. I caught Dom on instant messenger right as he was headed out the door for lunch with his brother. He expressed sympathy for my wounded foot, which was nice. Bella is too young to ooh and aah over mama’s boo-boo. Then he apologized for having to run off and leave me alone.

Such are the most recent adventures in my corner of the world. Tune in next week for more excitement from Super-Mama and Bella-girl!


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  • oh i’m glad to hear it all resolved well. I remember a car door closing unexpectedly with my car keys inside, a/c still running, baby in carseat <yes, that was YOU!> and desparately searching for a way to break into my car. Logic does NOT prevail when you are separated from the helpless innocent by locks and glass windows.

    Ran into the store and begged for a hangar, none available, and of course WAY before the days of cell phones. 

    but about 15 minutes later, a curious angel of a passerby had one of those long metal door-unlocker thingies….
    <maybe a quiet burglar?> and popped the lock… of course I’d been bravely trying not to panic, when you looked up and opened your eyes from what you thought was an uneventful nap and smiled…. what a relief…!

  • Glad to hear I slept through the whole ordeal! Hearing Bella’s panicked screams was definitely the worst part.

  • I think every mother ends up having at least one of these moments to look back on and shudder in horror.

    OK. Why, why, why can I not sign your blog up on my Google Reader page so that I don’t miss amazingly, wonderful announcements! Congrats to you and your hubby!

  • Oh, no! I’m so glad you got in!

    Matilda, I had trouble getting Melanie on Google reader at first, too—can’t remember if I did anything special. I think I just kept trying. grin