The Psychic, the Monster and the Witch

Dear Mica,

Allow me to kick off this letter with heartfelt thank you. Your sensitivity this morning was so unbelievably appreciative when you dutifully asked, “Are you ok Mom?” Sitting against the wall with my red shoe dangling aimlessly from my fingertips while staring blankly at the wooden floorboards, I clearly wasn’t “ok.” I felt heavy hearted this morning, unconsciously ruminating over a comment recently thrown at me in what I felt to be a passive-aggressive, reactionary…and at its deepest level, untrue manner. I felt frustrated that the world didn’t know how I felt, that my body language wasn’t clear, that my psychic abilities weren’t profound enough to penetrate the cosmos to expose my deepest feelings.

Sharing my random thoughts across the hallway in a halfhearted manner, you suddenly stop your Formula One training and saunter right up to my face. With hands on hip, and in fierce defiance, you shout, “Mommy, I told peoples to be kind to Mommies. I told them! Did Mommy say, Ai ai ai world, speak nice to Mommy?!”

Nope, I fucking didn’t, did I? I lecture you daily on the power of words. Our mantra has mutually become: we can never make assumptions, ever. Regardless if a pattern seems to be set in place, we must always look at the moment as completely new — a blank slate of opportunity. But did I do that? Did I share my feelings and use my words in a respectful and loving way? Did I ask questions and inquire about the source of the comment? No, I didn’t. Instead, I sulked in silent frustration like a toddler who wasn’t allowed to shove another peanut up his nose. I stared at the wall thinking that the act of ruminating was somehow magical and solved all problems.

“No, I didn’t use my words Mica. Not even a little.”

Putting your plump hands on either side of my face, you pull me closer and whisper with your insanely bad morning breath, “Mom, wickle monster.”

“Errr, what’s a wickle monster?”

Looking perplexed, you engage in extreme tongue-to-cheek protrusions preparing for yet another round of Guess WTF I’m Saying.

“Www…rrrrrickle Monster.”

“Love, I have no idea what either a wickle or a rickle monster is,” I calmly explain in a hushed, calm voice. “Can you please give me some context? Throw me a bone? Give me any other indication of what this all means.”

“Playground! Mom, you play RICKLE MONSTER!!!”

And then it clicks.

Just a few weeks prior, I found you in a pool of tears because a team of toddlers wouldn’t play with you. Joyfully running up and down the slide in total disregard to the existence life beyond their mini bubble, they screech in giddy delight. You, on the other hand, felt unloved and uncared for. You complained that they didn’t like you, that they ignored you and didn’t want to engage. “Mom, they no want to play with Mica!”

I hold you tight, wipe away your tears and explain that they have no idea what you want. “Honey, they don’t know you! Nor do they have any idea what you’re saying in English. All they see is a pissed off kid who’s hitting them with a stick out of frustration. Take a deep breathe and let’s try this again.”

Wiping your nose across your sleeve, we climb to the top of the slide where two kids are gregariously barking like seals. Introducing you, I ask if the cute seals are keen for a third member to their rambunctious chorus. “No, no we don’t want to play!” the bucktooth kid screams with an enormous smile. “No play!”

“Really?” I respond in a heavily sarcastic and mischievous tone. “Because I’m thinking you haven’t met the Tickle Monster. See this kid here (pointing to you), he’s the fiercest tickler in town. Sooooo, if I were you, I’d start running.”

The air shifts, and in seconds, you’ve transformed your stick from a witch’s switch to a profound tickle torture device. Using the commonly spoken language of seal to bridge the gap between English and Portuguese, you find the perfect tool to bond and express your needs.

Back in the hallway, I bring you close and wrap you in a bear hug. “I remember the Tickle Monster story Mica. I told you to never assume people know what you want and to always ask for it with an open heart. We can’t control their reaction, but we can at least be proud of how we approached the conversation.”

“Yeah! And….and you know why? Because…because….peoples who no talk kill the planet!”

A touch melodramatic, but strangely true Mica. Strangely true.