OCD? Maybe not.

So, I thought that my OCD was what led me to Google “OCD” before writing this post. I was wrong. But, boy, am I glad I Googled it. It turns out, I don’t have OCD at all! I’m a little obsessive compulsive, sure, but who isn’t?! Not only that, but people with OCD take the term very seriously (as they should) and I am not about to upset a whole bunch of people after only 3 posts. No, no, no. I have to have at least 90 to 100 posts before I make my first enemy. And hopefully by then I will have my 2 or 3 loyal followers who will know me well enough and come to my defense! They will confirm that I didn’t mean any harm to those prospective angry readers. But, I digress…

As I mentioned before, I am a bit obsessive compulsive. OK, very. I like things organized a certain way, I obsess about the number 9 a little too much, I sometimes break into hives when someone incorrectly writes “your” instead of “you’re”, and the toilet paper is ALWAYS over – never, under any circumstances, is it under! And if you disagree, please don’t leave me a comment, because it is simply impossible to change my mind on this subject. Just ask Diane Sawyer. She tried really hard, and you know how persuasive she can be.

Anyway, if you are obsessive compulsive (let’s call it OC from now on) like me, you will agree that the worst thing an OC person can do is have a baby. Well, that came out wrong, but you know what I mean. I hope you do. The amount of stuff that suddenly appears everywhere when you have a baby is absolutely maddening. I was always one to secretly judge my friends who had babies before I did. You walked into their houses and there were toys everywhere, diapers, diaper bags, butt wipes, hand wipes to be used after you used the butt wipes, hand sanitizer to be used after the hand wipes that you used after the butt wipes, baby snacks, bibs, oh, the dirty bibs! I would leave their place saying “How in heaven’s name can they live like that?! I got dizzy just looking around for a clean place to sit down. Have they turned into cavemen? Are they starting a new reality show? From Chanel to spit up smell in just 5 days or How to lose your child-less friends in one quick visit: three simple steps. And the noise, the godawful noise from those annoying toys. They were loud and bright and just plain obnoxious! If I ever have a baby, I will tell everyone to never, ever give my child toys like that…”. Hold on, did I just say “If I ever have a baby”? Why would I say that? Why would that thought even cross my mind? I can’t handle a baby and the giant baby mess that comes with it. I am OC! I just can’t! No way, not possible, there is not enough Xanax in the world! But then, as unexpected as seeing my friend’s dog eating a dirty diaper (and enjoying it!), it happened.

I had a non-eventful pregnancy and 40 weeks and 5 days to plan for the next phase of my life. I knew I had it covered. Of course I did. And at that moment, when I saw my child’s perfect little face for the first time, all my worries seemed to disappear – poof! What was I so concerned about? This is a tiny human being and I am OC, there is just no possible way that my house will look like my cave-friends’ huts. Come to think of it, they were pretty messy already, before the babies came. I will be just fine…

And fine I was. The baby slept, I cleaned. The baby slept some more, I cleaned some more. Nurse, burp, put down for a nap, clean up, repeat. That was my daily routine for the first several weeks – I felt like I was in Groundhog Day. And then, sleep deprivation kicked in, and I went from Andie MacDowell to a zombie on cruise control. The house looked great though! You could tell the moment you walked in that no cave people lived there! That’s right! I was right! I was soooooo……….wrong! It was easy at first to keep everything somewhat under control, even with a giant spaceship-looking thing called a mamaRoo in the middle of the living room. But then the baby turned 6 months, then 9 months, then a year old. More toys were needed, more baby snacks, more bowls, more sippy cups, more toys, more and more toys. Suddenly, without a warning, my den became a smaller, slightly more civilized version of Toys ‘R Us on Black Friday. I felt this overwhelming feeling of defeat coming over me. But then, to my own amazement, I grabbed my wooden club with one hand, rocks with the other, proudly lifted my arms up in the air, grunted, and embraced the inner cavewoman in me.

 

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Southern-ish

I am a city girl. Born and raised in the New York City of Brazil – the prettier version, in my opinion – in an apartment building, surrounded by other buildings, rush hour traffic (which with the turn of the century has turned into 24-7 traffic), noise, pollution, noise pollution – yes, there is such a thing – people bumping into you in the crowded downtown streets, you know, all those perks that come with city living. But despite the daily frenzy, I really did enjoy growing up in Rio. Not that I had a choice, but… city life was fun. THE BEST PART: the beach! And I guess the fact that there are no natural disasters was a plus too. But the beach, oh, the beach. In particular, Ipanema Beach, my favorite hangout spot.

Life was grand when I was 18. I could finally drink alcohol (legally), drive, I had the best friends in the whole wide world, nothing could stop us … and I now that I come to think about it, I have a slight suspicion that Sex and the City was loosely based on our lives, sans the sex part. So, at what I thought was the peak of my life, this then 18-year-7 1/2-month old girl hops on a plane to “The South“. I knew very little about the town I was going to live in for the next 4 years and for some reason made no effort to learn more about it before leaving home. I guess I thought I already knew what it would be like. After all, I had been to the U.S. before. I was in Orlando for 10 days when I was 15. Disney World. Sure, that is the same. Silly little me.

It’s hard to describe what that change was like. I guess you could say it was like moving from Manhattan to Boise. Maybe not that extreme, but at 18, I felt like I was in a different world. A world in which people you don’t know say hi to you in the streets. It’s true. I am walking down the street and… what the hell?! Did that guy just say hi to me? Have we met? Well, he is kind of cute. He must be in one of my classes, or in my dorm. Oh, I wonder if he is my roommate’s boyfriend. It was kind of dark when I met him the other night. Wait, why is that old lady smiling at me? I know she is not in my class and she definitely does not live in my dorm. Why is everyone nodding and smiling? Oh, God, do I have a booger hanging out my nose? A giant pimple? I better go find a restroom.

It took some getting used to, but now I am one of the weirdoes saying hi to people I don’t know. It is the polite thing to do, the southern thing to do. I also say y’all. Yep, y’all is part of my vocabulary. I haven’t been able to say “I’m fixing to go cook dinner”, “Bless your heart”, or learned to refrain from using my horn, but maybe some day.

Speaking of horn, that was one thing that was so hard to get used to, and still is. See, in Rio, people have to have their horns replaced every 18 months (think NYC or LA traffic), because they get used so often. But here, people only use their horns when they drive by someone they know. So one day I am a passenger in my friend’s car, we are at a stop light and the light turns green. The car in front of us doesn’t move and we just sit there. “Use your horn”, I tell her. She responds with a confused tone “Why?” (she probably didn’t even know where the horn was). Look, I know people live at a slower pace here, but do I really have to explain why? Because that car in front of us is not moving, of course, and we just wasted 9 seconds of our lives sitting here. I didn’t actually get to respond because she finally got it “Oh, don’t worry about it. He will move eventually”. And he sure did, after the light turned red then green again. As soon as that sucker turned green the second time around, I slammed my left hand against the horn and there went the car in front of us. There, done, easy, now we can go on with our busy lives. My friend was so shocked that she never allowed me in her car again. I never quite understood why, after that day, she always asked me to drive separately whenever we went to the movies, or shopping… until I ran into a friend we had in common a few years later. Somehow the horn subject came up and she mentioned that our friend was so traumatized after that day that, after she graduated, she moved to a small rural town about 3 hours away, where they literally have ONE stop light.

Bless her heart…