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Reel Mama: Sidekicks

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


I always wanted a sidekick.  You know, a Robin to my Batman.  Or a Shaggy to my Scooby (or would it be the other way around?)  My husband isn’t a sidekick.  He’s a partner, a fellow Wonder Twin, a right foot to my left foot.  (Okay honey, you can be the left foot if you want.  That one did have a movie named after it, after all).  Then my daughter Leilani was born, and my fondest dream was realized.  Leilani has become my ultimate sidekick.  She goes everywhere with me.  She even looks just like me, only much smaller.  I call her Mini Me.  And together, we accomplish amazing things. 

Today, for instance, she loaded my grocery cart with spray-on Coppertone Bronzer that I hadn’t planned on buying.  Leilani, having been born in LA, is a true California girl.  Even though she’s only 18 months old, I have a feeling she’s already commenting on my pale nurse-hose legs with this gesture.  On Saturday my sidekick was teething.  We shared a devil’s food-flavored frozen yogurt to sooth her swollen gums.  I’m teaching her to love chocolate.  Yesterday my sidekick started pulling old grocery receipts out of my purse and taking them to the kitchen, where she tossed them into the flip top trash can.  She carried them there one at a time, and her focus in this activity sent me a clear message: Mommy, you need to get organized.  It’s time to purge.

But tonight, as midnight approaches, I have a different sidekick.  Of the canine variety.  My 12-year-old Chihuahua Kika.  A few days ago I came across a random tote bag in the back of the closet.  Curious, I opened it, and out poured a mere half of the extensive wardrobe I’d invested in for Kika before my daughter was born.  This includes a ballerina outfit with a tutu, a shiny pink princess outfit with a cape and silver trim, a witch’s costume for Halloween, even a Santa outfit for Christmas.  And who could forget the faux cashmere sweater cape with feather trim fastened by a silver charm necklace I purchased in Coral Gables, Miami?  (Should I be admitting all this?)  It reminded me of just how much history I’ve shared with Kika. 

Before Leilani came along, Kika wasn’t the family dog: she was the family princess.  Now Leilani is here, and I can’t count the number of times Kika’s favorite Blue’s Clues stuffed dog toy with the corroded nose has gone unthrown as she sat waiting patiently while I handled one more diaper explosion, or shared one more happy dance with Leilani.  The treat begged for in the kitchen, not placed in her waiting mouth.  The sweet little head looking up adoringly from her basket, gone unpatted and uncaressed.  Before, Kika wasn’t just a lapdog.  She was an appendage, practically a growth on my lap, curled up while I worked on my brand new screenplay, which eventually became the screenplay I’d been working on too long, and still I could look down, and she was there.  Kika, you may have been dethroned as the princess, but you will always be my first real sidekick. 


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