pearls around the neck 43
She is kneeling in the hallway of the local Montessori school nursery. Her body is tense; face closed,
the muscles under the perfect control of her nervous system, with eyes fixed on the green irises of a
frightened redheaded boy who is screaming with all his might.
“You’re sad because your mother will leave you this morning. I understand your feeling of deep
frustration and I comprehend your desire to stay at my side, but Mom has things to do. Mom knows
that you understand and she can guess how you feel. So I will give you a big hug - she opens her arms -
and I will convey my love to you, because you need the love of your Mom.”
The kid screams even louder, and rolls on the floor like a jumbled ball of yarn.
“Mom realizes that Emery is sad. She is also sad because the separation is difficult for her too. Mom will
transmit even more love.
The by now snotty-nosed kid calms down a bit and sits on a bench, where he takes off his shoes while
sniffling. Green strings are hanging from his freckled little nose.
“Thank you Emery for sharing the bench with your girlfriend Sarah.” But Emery has not shared the
bench with Sarah. It is she who has made a place beside her little schoolmate, on whom she’s had a
crush since Halloween, when Emery came dressed as Nemo, the clownfish.
“Sarah says thank you for making space for her, now she can also take off her shoes. You are a generous
little boy.
Emery throws his boots at Sarah’s head and it’s her turn to break into sobs. Was it done on purpose?
He jumps up, ready to fly into a rage, but his mom is still kneeling beside him. Staring at the green eyes
of the dwarf in front of her, she hypnotizes him just in time.
“Emery, you are going to remove your jacket. Mom trusts you, and knows you can do it. Mom is
convinced that you can unbutton your coat. You are going to undo the buttons one by one and
you will do it under the supervision of your Mother. I have the hope that you will achieve this new
challenge and I’ll be here with you.
The little urchin observes his mother as if he had just discovered her presence on the planet earth. He
tilts his little red head, breaking away from the stern look his mother has been giving him for centuries,
diverts his gaze and discovers…
Maya is two years old, like him. She’s dropped her muddy boots and taken off her bubblegum pink
raincoat. She’s wearing beautiful rainbow sunglasses and is swinging a small bell-shaped umbrella.
Maya sits in the hallway, on the carpet, and quietly draws a mustache with her mother’s (that’s me)
eyeliner. Maya’s mom is chatting in French on her cell phone, not giving a damn as to what her little
daughter is up to.
Emery approaches Maya. He enters Maya’s world and smiles. He knows he will not cry any more
and he knows he’ll draw a mustache like Maya’s. He also knows that his mother can henceforth “be
convinced that this path won’t be one full of frustrations”. He has the hope of conquering a totally
different challenge: a bigger and darker mustache than Maya’s.
Maya refuses to share the eyeliner she has stolen from her distracted mother’s purse. How lucky Maya
“No Emery, this is Maya’s,” she says to her buddy. The little fellow understands this very well.
Obviously, two year old kids don’t share things, lest be labeled a loser for life. But Emery also
knows that he can try and rip the valuable jet- black pencil from Maya’s little hands. Maya, who has
already anticipated Emery’s gesture, opens her mouth wide and yells “NOOOO, MIIINE, THIS IS
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