Posted by: alegra22 | May 22, 2008




Zaviera is strapped into the highchair with her big-person-poke-her-eye-out fork and a blue glass bowl filled with daddy-spice pasta. Sol is sprawled out on the floor watching Heffalump. Puppy is waiting patiently for Zaviera to drop all of her pasta on the floor.

Peace. A chunk of it doing slow somersaults through the sky and then landing at my feet, shattering. The dull-edged conflict of two giant wills trapped in small bodies, my giant-to-them body exhausted by conflict years before they were born. I go through the motions, grabbing my son in this choreography, swinging him into the corner, twirling Zaviera up and away. Three minutes pass and I glide down, down, down to his level and wait for the apology, the cuddle, the smile.

Another moment of temporary peace.

This morning, on the way to my tutorial in Tauranga (I was so pleased with my students – it was seminar day and they were all amazing) Dan reached into the glovebox and jumped at a small piece of fluff that came out with his cellphone.

Did you think that was a spider?

No, chur’ whatever.

You totally thought that was a spider, you maori boy.

What. Ever.

As a general rule, Maori men are the first to run for the hills when anything from the insect world makes its presence known. They aren’t entirely comfortable with most things from the animal kingdom unless it is cooked and sitting next to a generous helping of potatoes and bread.

One of the first times Dan came out surfing with me he saw an otter in the water. He freaked. He couldn’t stop thinking of its little teeth and claws. Dan is not exactly a confrontational kind of guy, even though he loves abusing his clients, egging them on until they spew, he is otherwise not naturally inclined to confrontation in any form.

This is why, when he began to talk to me about walking around Manhattan by ourselves, I went silent. I don’t believe in limiting people, especially my husband, so I am always open for the possibility, that hey, maybe two skittery, generally smile-alot kind of people like Dan and I could navigate Manhattan. *ahem* Being open does not mean I don’t already have doubts.

This afternoon Dan said, “Yeah, maybe you should have Papa come meet us on like the second day, you know, to tour around…”

“What made you decide this?”

“Oh well, you know Sol’s cartoon, ‘Oliver and Friends’?”

It is an old, old Disney cartoon about a kitty lost on the streets of NYC and adopted by a bunch of tough stray animals. It scared Dan out of wanting to navigate Manhattan on our own.

I love that man.



  1. Hey Alegra, I’m back in LA now. it was great meeting you – a fantastic partner in crime for the whole agenty businessy elevator pitchy thing. I hope we’ll keep in touch. I’d love to read your sample chapters, if you’re up for sending them to me! My email is

  2. I’m opening a new blog. I’m just taking this site one for a test drive. You show up on google here, by the way.

    I’m glad you two figured out how to navigate NY just fine

  3. Navigating NYC is yet another metaphor for your life really isn’t it?? Us Maaori boys are BORN navigator, historians belive that we arrived here in Aotearoa by was not accident cuz! Our tupuna read the stars and the stars said “bro, you guys should seriously leave Hawaiki and head south westish”…BOOM, Aotearoa “Land of the long white cloud”…NOT discovered by Captain Cook or Mr Abel Tasman, those historians trying to re-write our history. Thank you Kupe for discovering NZ.

    SO, given that it’s in our blood your lovely husband would’ve been able to navigate NYC like that back of his ma whero ringa ringa!! We’re not stupid though, hence the waiting to get reinforcements to enter a foreign city. Think yourself lucky your husband is Maaori Ahh-legg-Rahhh!!!!

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