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

Changes: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

One reason why I called my latest playground entry “Signo Fijo” is because my Sun sign, confirmed by my actual personality, rules that I tend to not like or pursue change. Well, that is true and not… I have in fact pursued some huge life-altering changes, but I must say that normally, on smaller things, I think things over (e.g. “should I have sex with my boyfriend at 17?”), make working decisions (“no, for this three reasons”), and stay there for some time (I only thought about it again and had sex with him after college, after we had already broken up). So it is interesting to me whenever I catch myself having changed my mind about something, and the last days have in fact surprised me with several revelations…

So you remember that I used to fear babies, right? And I stubbornly refused to melt at the cuteness of any of those critters… You follow?… Well, either pregnancy changed me, or I just never had been introduced to newborns, but the way how I’ve felt the last two times that I’ve seen a newborn at my doctor’s office is just something to laugh at.

This week, while waiting for my appointment, the nurse pulls out a 10-day-old baby boy and gives it to the granny sitting by me. As a gaze at that TINY almost bald cabecita, my heart proceeds to melt all over the floor as I take notice of how tiny this thing is and how he’s rubbing his face with those tiny little arms, and I immediately picture my own gordito, now that I can constantly play with him during the day because he moves so much and interrupts my activities at the most random moments with moves that I can see through my clothes. I’ll rub my belly around the area where he’s moving, and chant “Joaquin, Joaquin, que haces Joaquin?”, and wait for his answer through a new move. Joey’s totally freaked out by the possessed belly, but when he hears my “Joaquin, Joaquin” song, he completes it with his own line: “the disco machine”.

So, yes. It was expected that in the privacy of my home I would turn into a mommie, but now I also melt at newborns in public. That’s some change.

Then, there’s Mimi’s…

Two years ago, during our first days in this city after having moved from Texas, Joey took me to Mimi’s Cafe. Every time my father in law hears that we’ve been eating out he asks “At Mimi’s?”, he loved the place when he was here… and the answer is always no, because from that one visit I decided that I did not like Mimi’s AT ALL, and have refused to try it for the last two years. But this week I suggested Mimi’s. And then, I LOVED Mimi’s and the sinful Carrot Raising Loaf they bring to your table without even asking, and I wouldn’t shut up about it… And Joey had to laugh at my sudden love for a place I hated for so long. So yes, Pete… Next time you’re in town we can all go to Mimi’s.

Now, this next one is not a voluntary, I’m–ok–with–it, change: I actually blame the bollito chiquitito for it. But it is so important, it needs to be documented, if for no other reason, at least to keep written evidence of the many sacrifices I have done for my child whenever I need to pull out that card later in life…

My sleep is ruined.

You don’t understand… I was A CHAMP at sleeping!

A long time ago there was an earthquake or some kind of natural disaster somewhere in Colombia. My aunt is a journalist and she was covering the news. Some time on the site, she was told that experts were studying the possibility that a similar thing could happen in Bogotá in the next hours. She called my grandmother immediately, and then my grandmother called my mom immediately (3 am that night). Knowing how heavy my sleep is, mom woke me up and talked to me for maybe 30 minutes to make sure that if tragedy stroke she could get me out of the house in time. She wouldn’t let me fall back to sleep until she heard me say coherent things in reply to her conversation. That’s how well I used to sleep.

Up until a few days ago, I could sleep through anything, completely undisturbed by noise or light. I just had to put my head on the pillow (or bare mattress), and pufh… I was on my way to dreamland… But the arrival of the third trimester has taken that away from me in a second. Joey’s now sleeping in the basement, not because it’s more comfortable for me, but (as I learned recently), because I take so long to fall sleep, and I toss and turn, and wake up so much, that HE can’t sleep with me around.

This morning something woke me up around 4 am. While I tried to fall back to sleep a leg cramp hit me, and then I had to pee, and after all that action I couldn’t go back to sleep for a long time. So I finally got up at 5:15 am, ate a snack, and turned the computer on wondering what I could do with all this time before breakfast. Then it hit me… Why not tackle that illustration Marla and I started so long ago?

So after six months, we finally have a third move on the Illustrator Tennis match none of you are probably following at this point.


  1. On , Jennifer wrote:

    1. Pretty next step to the illustration! (And yes, I was waiting for the next one! THANK GOODNESS.)

    2. I ENVY your sleeping – rather former – sleeping habits. I am so affected most often anymore, as you seem to be now. I’ve never been a good sleeper… heheh, maybe if *I* ever decide to change *my* view on babies (as you have) I’ll be able to sleep soundly? Heheh…

    Enjoy the restlessness — that’s sarcasm, if you couldn’t tell!

  2. On , Maria wrote:

    If you ever change your view on babies and get one in the oven, you’ll be able to nap soundly. I could never nap before… Me? Sleep during the day? Nonsense!… If I ever took a nap (only because school or work had made me go straight through the night), it ruined the rest of my day as I couldn’t get up from it.

    Now I take DELICIOUS naps. In fact, I think I’m going to need one today.

    But forget about night sleep. The baby waits quietly for the precise time when I turn the light off, and then the show begins. During the last days I have woken up almost every time around 4 am. I wonder what it is about that specific time. I’m suspecting Bolliti… That evil little bugger is trying to train me for his imminent arrival.

  3. On , mandarine wrote:

    We have a saying in France: “il n’y a que les imbéciles qui ne changent pas d’avis” (only the idiots don’t change their minds).

  4. On , Maria wrote:

    Hmmm… A certain stubborn President comes to my mind…

  5. On , Petie wrote:

    Yes, little Joaquin is getting you ready for his arrival. Almost every woman I know (who has had babies, of course) suffered with sleep during that last trimester. I felt like it was a curse during my two third trimesters. Why is it that we can’t enjoy that glorious sleep until they arrive?? God may be trying to train us, but it didn’t work for me. It just made me grumpy!

    Now do you wish you had seen Elise and Joelle as newborns? Interestingly, I still don’t usually melt over newborns. I’m enamored with the early interaction periods and the point where they are still tiny, but mock big people actions.

    My dad will be esctatic about Mimi’s!

  6. On , Maria wrote:

    Right! It’s not like we have an option… I mean, with or without training we’re going to have to get up several times at night to feed. Why not let us enjoy those precious last moments before hell begins?…

    Yes, I’m sure I’ll also like it better when the baby begins to interact more… I’m just thinking: I really hope that I don’t get funky depressions or blues that will ruin my appreciation for every different phase. I don’t think I will. I just hope that will be the case.