Mafe Maria: Personal stories by autism parent mentor, Maria Stultz

Bolliti Panfriti

I always have a little bit of a hard time when guests leave my home after a few days visit. No, I’m no Santa Martha Stewart to host friends and relatives with the luxury and exquisite thoughtfulness of the best Bed & Breakfast in town. Yet, the loneliness left once they leave is always there… Specially — and those that know me may notice the irony here — when one of the visitors was a child. That’s right… As I do my runs through the basement picking up bedsheets and towels, I can’t help to feel this little pain in my heart when I stop on the room where the child slept. I truly miss the little thing who actually may have tortured me a little bit with the banging of objects on hard surfaces, and the extended display of toys all over the house.

I must say, we’re not talking about a bunch of children guests I’ve had. I’ve actually only had a few instances of this. And we’re also talking about a very specific age range, and of course, a certain closeness to me personally. Anyway, all this to say that I’m currently sad and missing the little bollito that just left my home. The bollito in question, in fact, may have done the trick: For the first time in my adult life, I actually feel a desire to have a baby. I was so not expecting that.

Ok, I do want a baby

Up until last night, I had long embraced some unusual aversion to any kind of idolatry towards babies around me. I used to resent the fact that babies needed sepulchral silence, and I would be very hesitant to hold any baby just because I didn’t want everybody’s attention on what I’m doing, and how I’m holding, and how I could potentially hurt or infect with my filthy and unworthy hands the precious baby everyone in the room is looking at. However, I must say that Nicki’s baby — my little guest — was a little different… Right from the beginning, I could tell that he was a lot less “fragile” than the notion of baby I had long kept in my mind. So I felt comfortable enough to hang out more than usual with the baby… to hold the baby… to play and observe a nine-month-old from first row… and to say “ok” when Nicki asked me to feed him last night.

How could I describe this experience? I really don’t know… Well, let’s begin by saying that baby Zachary just loves his food. He’s the best eater I’ve ever seen. Even before I fell in love with him, I could greatly appreciate the gusto and excitement with which he relished his food every meal. That makes the feeding experience go a little better than expected. Last night Nicki was trying a new flavor of baby food which Zachary wasn’t particularly digging. However, the sweet potatoes… Oh! The sweet potatoes… Those, he really loved.

Little eater

I had seen Zachary’s little chubby hands reach for the table and feed himself little pieces of food all these days, but last night he wasn’t trying too hard as I put the food bits close to him. So, I picked one by one and gave it to him… And this is where I can’t describe with words the tenderness I felt when that little mouth sucked each piece and munched it, making all kinds of cute baby noises every time. I wasn’t totally aware of what was happening at the time. I only knew it later, when after several hours of playing RISK I couldn’t stop thinking of that sweet little carita who was now sleeping. I told Nicki and Joey that I was feeling a different kind of tenderness towards Zachary, and I finally felt like I really wanted a baby.

And that changed everything. Last night Zachary woke up several times, and we all could hear it. In the past, I would’ve said “Awww” not really feeling a lot of empathy for the baby. But last night I really meant that “Awww… Poor baby”. Today, there was nothing Zachary could do to annoy me. I really mean it. He had a hard day and I spent a lot of time with him before they all left a few hours ago. And I enjoyed that time.

With this new tenderness I’ve found, it occurred to me that if there is any resolution I can really mean and think worthwhile today is this: If we can conceive and have a child, I really want to try to remember my feelings from these last days and keep them in mind during the future moments when I’ll be overwhelmed and stressed, and tired, and not understanding why our baby is acting so fussy. And hoping that my baby will be as good as Zachary is, I really want to try to remember how sweet it is to feed a baby, and play 1000 times the same little song he always smiles at, and ENJOY IT, because although on day 2 I told Nicki that one of the things that worried me about having a baby was the tremendous amount of time you must spend on, for instance feeding the baby, it truly is such a short amount of time in one’s life, and now that I wasn’t the mommy I could so appreciate it. I want to try to remember to appreciate those moments most of the times.

At midnight on New Year’s Eve, following my tradition, I broke an egg on a glass of water, and I hid it in the kitchen to see it next day. Two or three times since I first started playing this, the shapes found in the egg on New Year’s day have successfully forecasted the most important event of the beginning year. This time, the egg was perfectly consistent with the plan for 2007. The fact that I know what the plan is, and the egg confirms it, makes it sound less esoteric than usual, but still: I’m happy to have seen a little heart between two larger shapes, and a tiny bean… A seed.


  1. On , Ivan wrote:

    Hola prima, que este año te traiga cosas muy buenas y tus sueños se hagan realidad.

  2. On , Maria wrote:

    Lo mismo a ti, Ivan!

  3. On , Marla wrote:

    Oh Maria! What a blessing to have that little window to see and touch through. I hope it happens quickly for you.

  4. On , Maria wrote:

    Me too!… This is what I would call a “small miracle”. I seriously thought I would never feel this way. It is so much more meaningful now.

  5. On , Kim Rodriguez wrote:

    funny how the motherhood bug bites…….savor the journey….and marvel the process….you will be amazed at your transformation as it continues…..
    and when you think it’s “fun” to sit around and guess which kind of baby food different colored indescrimminate mushes are, you’ll know that you are most definitely ready for the impending arrival! heehee…..

    B12 and Folic Acid….bottoms up! ;-) cheers!

  6. On , Maria wrote:

    They (baby food mushes) all look like poop. Don’t they? :)

  7. On , Kim Rodriguez wrote:

    pretty much…but they don’t smell….and this is a classic baby shower game….you’ll see….