A lighter moment in Ciudad Juárez

I still like to rib my niece about this…

Chapter XV – August 1998

When we arrived from our morning swim on the third day we rousted Claudia off the sofa with an offer for lunch. I wanted her to sample a true burrito: a freshly made, fluffy, hubcap-sized tortilla filled with chile Colorado or delicate green chile relleños without the mushy rice, lettuce, sour cream, cabbage, or other fillers that Americans used to make their “Super Burrito.”

I put the boys in the shower and as I bent down to lather them up, I felt dizzy and light-headed. I hadn’t eaten my usual pan de dulce with my coffee.

“Claudia,” I called out as I rinsed Ricardo. “Do me a favor?”

She stood by the doorway, brushing her hair.

“I’m feeling a bit dizzy. Would you dry and diaper Ricardo while I get a drink of water?” I grabbed a towel and wrapped it around his little body and helped him out of the shower stall. Agustín was entertaining himself by blowing bubbles with a mixture of snot and soap.

“Sure.” Claudia took my place.

I left for the kitchen while Claudia danced with Ricardo into their bedroom. I pressed the cool glass against my forehead, when I heard a loud gasp.

“Oh, my God. I cannot deal with this.”

Had Ricardo peed or poop on her while changing his diaper?

“His penis. Something is wrong with his penis.” She stood in the bedroom doorway with one hand covering her eyes.

I squeezed by her and ran to the bed imagining the worst. Why hadn’t I noticed while I was giving him a shower? Had he hurt it in the pool? Was it bleeding? Ricardo was sitting up, drooling on his chest with the diaper laying flat next to him. His penis looked fine.

“What’s wrong with it, Claudia?”

“Look.” She refused to remove her hand from her eyes. “Look at it.” My niece pointed an accusatory index finger at Ricardo’s chubby thighs.

Then it hit me. His penis wasn’t circumcised. He had extra flesh covering the tip. I explained to her that most Mexican boys didn’t have their penis circumcised.

“No way!”

One of the many surprises and false assumptions that lead to unintentional hurt feelings with my family during the messy, tender, sticky moments when they witnessed me becoming a mother.

A mother hyper alert to any one dissing her babies. Now fourteen years later, not much has changed.

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