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The Big Answer

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MC Perspectives From A One-year-old Named Amy

an article by our site

MC Configuration

Number of families: 7
Total number of children: 14
Number of adults: 10
Total number of individuals: 24
Family combos:
a. 40m, 38f , 18m, 16m, 13f, 3f
b. 40m, 39f, 16m, 15f, 14f
c. 39f, 12f, 8m
d. 39m, 38f , 9m, 6f
e. 36f, 1f
f. 35f, 4f
g. 33m, 11m

Economic factors: lower middle class

The Story

     I'm Amy. I'm one. I live with my mommy. This is how it feels before we live in our MC. Mommy is always rushing. And it feels like she is always cross with me. Just about always. I feel I must be very bad because she always seems unhappy. I can't make her smile or take a minute to be with me. I feel like I am a lot of trouble. When she changes me, or dresses me, or feeds me, or rushes me to my baby-sitter, she is always wishing she were doing something else. When she comes at the end of the day to pick me up from my sitter, she rushes home fast, rushes to fix dinner, and rushes me to bed. She hardly ever wants to play with me. I feel lonely when I'm with her. I like my day care better. But they won't let me stay there all the time.
     It doesn't feel right with Mommy. She's always thinking about something else, never about me. She doesn't want to have fun with me. And sometimes she hits me or spanks me. That hurts. And I don't understand why she does it. Sometimes she even acts like it makes her feel better to hit me. And that scares me.
     Sometimes she talks to me in words I don't understand. She says how she's so rushed all the time and so tired, how she never has any time to herself, how she works so hard at her job, but doesn't have anything to show for it. Sometimes she even cries when she talks to me about that stuff. I don't know what to do. I don't understand. She could play with me. I'm nice. That would be fun. But she doesn't. She seems to want to be unhappy.
     Sometimes she has one of her man friends over to visit. Boy, do those men hate me. If I get hungry or need to be changed, they get really impatient. One of them even hit me really hard once when I was crying because I didn't feel good. Did he think that hitting me would make me feel better? I just cried more. Mommy saw what happened and sent him away. That night she held me a long time, and she cried a lot, too. We both didn't feel good. But we felt close.
     Things aren't always so awful with me and Mommy. We have our happy moments. Sometimes on a Saturday (on days called Saturday and Sunday I don't go to day care and Mommy stays with me), we go to the park together and play; or she calls Doreen, and Doreen brings Sammy over, and me and Sammy play while Mommy and Doreen talk. Sometimes Mommy reads me a story and sings me a lullaby before I go to sleep. That makes me happy. I think it makes her happy, too. Sometimes she looks at me in a way that feels like she really wants to love me. But I can tell she feels sad at the same time. I feel confused when she does that.
     I think Mommy's pretty smart. People always call her and ask what she thinks about things. She got promoted at work which made her very happy for a few days. But then, she was even more tense at home from the pressures at work. I guess a person can be smart about some things and really dumb about others. Maybe she's smart about work, but she's not very smart about taking care of me. And she needs someone to take care of her sometimes. Somehow, I think she wants me to be the one to do it. Now, that's not very smart.
     Well, all this was before we joined our MC. Now things are very different for Mommy and me. One day Mommy started packing up all of our things and putting them in boxes and stacking them in the corners. All the books, all the dishes, all of her clothes, all my toys, and my clothes—everything—and the apartment was all bare, and it made funny echoing sounds. Every day when she came home from work she put more things in boxes until one Saturday. That day some friends of hers came and took all the boxes away. I started crying. I was so scared. I wanted my toys. I thought they would take me away, too. Then they started taking the furniture—everything— and there was nothing left, and then the apartment really echoed. I was crying. And Mommy kept trying to comfort me and tell me about an MC thing and a new home, and happiness, and lots of friends, and lots of mommies, and everything was going to be wonderful from now on, blah, blah, blah. I didn't understand. All I knew was that everything that I was familiar with was turned upside down. My world had been emptied of all the things that made it my world.
     Before this happened we had been very busy. Almost every night we went to places where there were lots of people and lots of kids. I played a lot with the other kids. And there were nice mommy-types and daddy-types that were there to take care of me if I wanted them to. Sometimes Mommy was taking care of me and the other kids. I liked that. I liked it when she would hold me and another kid on her lap and tell us a story and give us both a hug together. Mommy seemed different. Something was changing about Mommy. And it felt better to me. I hoped that we could go to these places all the time. Everyone seemed happy and excited there. Sometimes there were lots of people in a really big room, or we were outside. But lately it had been not so many people, and we all fit in one room, and it was always the same ones. The kids played a lot. I had fun, and there was always a mommy or daddy to take care of me. All the adults were pretty excited, too. I guess they were playing a game they liked.
     When we'd go home from these places, Mommy still was happy. Her faced had changed. She was softer. And when she looked at me the way that meant she loved me, she wasn't sad at the same time. And so I wasn't so confused.
     But then came the day when they took all of our stuff away. Mommy put me in the car, and I thought she was taking me to day care. But we ended up in another empty place. I was pretty uncertain about what was going on, but Mommy seemed so happy that I relaxed and got interested in exploring this new place. I was running around when I found a room that had my bed and all my toys and clothes and things. I started playing with my toys. Later, Mommy took me to a place that had those other kids we'd been seeing and some of those extra mommies and daddies. She was telling me stuff about staying here until she came back to get me, and other stuff, but I didn't pay much attention. I wanted to play with the other kids and the toys. So I did.
     It felt really good in this place. No one ever told me no or spanked me. I could do whatever I pleased. And there were always extra mommies and daddies to help me out if I needed them. I could even leave the place and go exploring. Once I just kept exploring down this long hallway and found myself at a door. Someone opened it and said "hi," and brought me inside and gave me cookies and milk and played with me for a while. Later they took me back to where all the other kids were with the extra mommies and daddies, and gave me a kiss and said "bye." I would have to remember how to find that door again. Those were good cookies.
     So every day I go to this place with kids and extra mommies and daddies. There's one mommy there sometimes that I don't like very well, so when she's there I always go to the other mommy. Sometimes my mommy is there, too. I like that. She seems to like it, too. We play together and the other kids play with us. I also explore the long hallways. I've been looking for that door with the good cookies. But I found other good stuff, too. Almost always I find a good adventure. Sometimes no one comes to the door when I get there, so I just keep exploring. Sometimes there's this sign hanging on the door and then I go away. That's a special sign called an "alone" sign, whatever that means. All I know is that I don't try for cookies or playing with someone who has that sign up. I even have a sign like that for myself. Some day I'll figure out how to use it.
     Me and Mommy stay in this new place now. It's a different place, but all of our old stuff is here. I see Mommy about as much as I did before, but guess what—when I see Mommy now, she's always happy. And I'm happy because I have lots of mommies all day long. When she comes to get me at the daytime place, she's always happy to see me. She doesn't rush me to dinner, or rush me to bed. She's always relaxed when she comes and we usually play together a while before we have dinner. Sometimes we have dinner with some of the other mommies or daddies and other kids, too.
     We have a big back yard with a big garden and lots of swings and outside toys. On those days called Saturday and Sunday, just about everyone is around, often doing stuff outside. Sometimes we're all outside. But no matter how many mommies and daddies are around, there are always two that are there for me (and the other kids). And if I don’t want to be with them right then, I can always see if there's another mommy or daddy available. Sometimes one is, sometimes not. But I've always got my two I can go to. I can explore everything outside, too (as long as I let them rub goo all over my face and hands and legs, and any other skin that's not covered with clothes).
     There's another funny thing here. Everyone has one on their computer or phone, and there's one in the daytime place computer. It's got words and numbers. I’m not quite ready to use it yet, but when we're at home and I tell Mommy that I want to play with some kids, she pokes at it on the screen, and then pretty soon the phone rings and someone says they want to come over, or she shuffles me off to someone else's house to play. Or if Mommy is feeling a little tense or unhappy, she tells me she needs to be alone for a while or she needs to have an adult friend over to talk to. She pokes at it and soon someone comes over to talk to her, and someone else comes over to take care of me, or take me to their place (this happens sometimes in the evening or on Saturday's or Sundays when we aren't at the daytime place.) I like the way it works. To me, it's like magic. If you need something, the computer makes it happen. I can't wait until I get to poke at it by myself so I can make new kinds of magic.
     I've got a very big world here that's full of adventure for me. I've got lots of mommies and daddies. I've got lots of kids to play with. I've got a happy mommy who—I guess—is, after all, even smarter than I used to think she was.