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The Future’s A Surprise

In the days before and after my first daughter was born, I spent some late sleepless nights writing this (long, rhyming) story to/for her.

I: A Story to Tell
Ladies and Gentlemen, gather round, gather near.
I have a story to tell, one you will all want to hear.
There once was a girl, beautiful and wise.
An amazing young girl – only problem was her size.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it was out of her control.
Change was deeper than her body, it was part of her soul
Every now and again, her nose would shake,
And then her fingers and toes would all start to ache.
Once her nose and her toes were finally still,
She was sometimes the height of a one dollar bill.
But sometimes this was not the result at all,
As every now and then, she’d end up 10 feet tall.
But even those did not happen every time.
I know that once she spent hours the size of a lime.
And once for five minutes, she was as tall as a mountain.
I was there that time, and I hope it never happens again.

When she becomes so big, I worry about food.
Ah yes, that is something I have not yet reviewed.
Because you might find it sweet, or touching, or cute,
That the only food she’ll eat is a type of fruit.

Ladies and Gentlemen, let me introduce you to Maia.
The size changing girl, who would only eat papaya.

II: The Future’s a Surprise
When Maia was younger, each time it happened she’d cry.
With the shaking, and aching, she didn’t know what was next.
Now that she’s older, she’s no longer so perplexed.
Feeling her nose tremble, all she does now is sigh.

Sigh and stand up, can’t forget to do that.
It’s safer to shrink or to grow standing tall,
Because shrinking while sitting can result in a fall,
And growing while snuggling might squish the cat.

Luckily the shaking and aching wake her up,
And lets her know to jump out of bed.
Quickly she stands, she doesn’t want to bump her head.
Or get lost in the covers when she’s the size of a cup.

Is that laughing I hear, snickering back there?
Do you think this story’s made up, or that I tell lies?
Her life is not easy, when the future’s a surprise.
Listen to her story, maybe then you will care.

At home we have a special area just for papaya.
Because when she is big, and it’s time to eat,
I need dozens on hand, and even then it’s just a treat.
But I love her so dearly: she’s my daughter, Maia.

III: The Time Has Come
And that’s only the beginning, only the start,
Of the multitudes of stories I’m able to tell.
Because the fact is we’re rarely apart,
Even when I can’t see her, when she’s the size of a cell.

I’ve seen her small, riding Oskar our cat,
And I’ve seen her big, hunched from the ceiling.
What her next size will be, I’ll never know that.
I just have to be careful when she gets that feeling.

But luckily for everyone, cats and mommy too,
She spends most of her time at her normal size.
With a normal papaya appetite, along with normal poo,
She is beautiful and wonderful, with love in her eyes.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the time has come.
Now that you know what you need to know.
I’ll start with the time she was as tall as my thumb,
The whole thing happened not long ago.

IV: Her Baby Wasn’t There
It happened one day, a quarter past three,
Or maybe that was the time she grew as big as a tree.
Oh yes, I remember, the hour was nine,
Morning, I recall, our home filled with sunshine.
Light poured from the windows onto our chairs and our beds,
Light shined on our faces, and on our cats’ little heads.

Maia, Mommy, and I were at the table eating,
And Maia was pouting, and crying, and pleading.
All she wanted to eat, once again, was fruit.
But Mommy said “No, your cries I must refute.
You must eat what I cooked, these wonderful eggs,
They’ll give you strong bones, and don’t you want long legs?”

I looked at Maia, and made a gross face,
Because I also could not stand the taste.
I wouldn’t eat the eggs, not even a trace.

Mommy said “Daddy, please don’t do that,”
And she put eggs on the plate, I heard them go SPLAT.
“She needs more than fruit, and there’s nothing to laugh at.
If you’re done eating cereal, go play with a cat,
Because I’m feeding her eggs, and that is that.”

Upon hearing that news, Maia squealed in fear,
A squeal so loud, so painful to hear.
And it was right then, that her nose began to itch,
And in her side, Maia felt a painful stitch.
She felt her toes swell,
And her eyes began to well,
And before Maia could let a sound loose,
Mommy turned around, to go get the juice.

When Mommy turned back, her baby wasn’t there.
I remember Mommy’s scream: there is nothing to compare.

When he heard the sound, even Oskar knew,
Because Oskar, of course, he loved Maia too.
So I immediately returned to the breakfast table,
I ran and jumped, as quick as I am able.

V: I Checked Her for Fur
Mommy searched everywhere, overtaken by fear.
“What happened”, Mommy asked, “she couldn’t disappear.”
I immediately looked down into Maia’s seat,
In hindsight, I must admit, what I saw was kind of neat.
But only in hindsight, because at the time I was freaked.
In fact, if you ask Mommy, she’ll tell you I shrieked.  
Because our baby girl, she was still in her seat,
But she was now the size of one of her feet.

I leaned in really close, to make sure it was her,
And not a little mouse – I checked her for fur.
But even at that size, I immediately knew for sure.
And when she waved her hand, her health I could infer.

But just to double check, I asked, “You okay?”
I don’t know what I was expecting her to say.
Our girl, shrunken down, not an act, not a play,
What were we to do, but to love, and to pray?
I suppose it doesn’t matter, but I asked anyway.

Maia covered her ears,
I dried Mommy’s tears.
We waited for Maia to speak,
But all we heard was a squeak.

As this was a first, my story is now one of fear,
But there is a more interesting one to hear.
It was the story that Maia later told to us,
About the time that she shrunk, and we made such a fuss:

VI: Her Skin Smelled of Lavender
“When everything got huge, I got really scared.
It was the first time, and I wasn’t prepared.
Looking back, I think I’m lucky I didn’t fall.
Because back then, I hated eggs, and I wasn’t very tall.
But I shrunk straight down into my seat,
And I agree with Daddy: after a few tears it was neat.
I saw mommy huge, searching frantically,
And I tried to yell for her, but she couldn’t hear me.
But then over my huge seat, I saw Daddy’s huge head,
This time instead of talking, I tried waving instead!
And it worked, he saw it was me,
He knew without asking that I was his little sweet pea.
But I saw he was worried, I saw his huge frown,
He gave a long sigh, and it almost knocked me down!
And when he asked if I was alright,
His voice was so loud, it gave me a fright!
I told him I was fine, but I don’t think he could hear,
Soon in front of me was his giant ear.
His ear, top to bottom, was taller than I was,
And I decided it would be fun to grab his ear fuzz.
So grab on I did, to his fuzz, and his lobe,
Then I swung around back, and his hair covered me like a robe.
I screamed “I’m okay” into his ear hole so he’d be sure,
And that’s when I saw Mommy’s giant manicure.
The nails scared me at first, because I didn’t recognize,
Her fingers or her hands, on account of the size.
So as a result of my initial fear,
I tried to hold on to Daddy’s ear.
I heard him yell ‘ow!’ so I finally let go,
And I fell backward, not sure what was below.
But Mommy’s soft hands caught me like a giant bed,
I knew then they were hers, because the smell filled my head.
Her skin smelled of lavender, vanilla, and Mommy,
I was so excited I kissed them, even though they were balmy.
It was the fear that made them wet, she later explained.
But at the time I was wondering if it had just rained.
But they were still Mommy’s, and the smell made me tired,
To curl up in her hands and sleep was all I desired.
But before I could, Mommy put me down on the table.
I saw a swimming pool of eggs, and ran as fast as I was able.
Under my feet was white, then brown, and then air,
And I’m lucky that Daddy was very aware,
Because I fell into his hands when the table ended,
The smell of Daddy’s skin, just like Mommy’s, was splendid.
I heard them talking loud, and sad, and stressed,
But I ignored it all, because I was so impressed,
By the deep wrinkles and folds of the skin on Daddy’s hand,
I couldn’t imagine a better place to land.
So I kissed the skin, and I nuzzled my nose,
And I thought how wonderful it might be to doze.
But I felt a pang in my belly,
And remembered the eggs, and how they were smelly.
But I was still hungry, I needed to eat,
Though as small as I was, how was I to entreat?
And the more I thought about it, the hungrier I got,
Then I cried, out of fear, and down my face ran my snot.
Before I knew it, I was swooshing through the air,
So fast, it was like a ride at the fair.
When we stopped, Daddy’s hands let me go,
Onto a cold silver surface, and I screamed ‘Please no!’
All around me, all I could see,
Was silver and hard, was cold and shiny.
I realized then, that I was in the sink,
And thought for a moment, I could use a drink.
But then I realized, with a great big frown,
That a drink from this sink could make me drown.
So I tried to crawl out, but it was too steep,
And it was then that again, I started to weep.
But I heard Daddy say ‘Don’t worry Maia dear,
You’re going to like what’s about to appear!’
And I trusted, so I waited, and then soon enough,
Mommy’s hands dropped off a giant mound of orange stuff.”

VII: I’ve Been Here the Whole Time
“I went closer, I smelled and I inspected,
I have to say it was the last thing I expected.
But thrilled I was, beyond all belief,
A humongous piece of papaya, what a relief!
It was as tall as me, a real dream come true,
How did they know, that was the greatest they could do?
I chomped and I bit, I swallowed and went back for more,
Into that sweet sticky papaya I tore.
I thought to myself, being small isn’t so bad,
And then I noticed my papaya shrink just a tad.
I was confused but I kept eating away,
But then I felt wobbly, my body started to sway.
My fruit was indeed shrinking, I noticed with dread,
And then out of nowhere, the faucet hit my head.
‘Ow!’ I cried, as I sat down and closed my eyes,
I rubbed my head, and felt a bump begin to rise.
‘Maia!’ Mommy and Daddy said at the same time.
‘Where’s my papaya?’ I asked, not meaning to rhyme.
‘It’s right there’ Mommy said, as I opened my eyes,
I looked, and stuck to my butt was my papaya prize.
It was all squished, and smaller than my hand.
If only growing could be planned…

Daddy squeezed me, hugged me, and lifted me out of the sink.
Mommy kissed me and said, “Thank God you’re back my dear Maia,”
“I’ve been here the whole time,” I said, “now can I have more papaya?”
Mommy sighed, I laughed, and Daddy gave me a wink.

VIII: The Dress Couldn’t Keep Pace
“Wait!  Don’t go!  I’m not finished yet!
I just started; that was only one occasion!
Oh I get it.  You think I’m lying, I bet.
Perhaps showing you this will add some persuasion.”

From my pocket I withdrew a small pink cloth.
It was frilly in the front, but torn open behind.
Then, as if I were a light, and each of them a moth,
The crowd approached to see what they’d find.

“This here is the dress that she wore that day.
It was once her favorite, she loved the lace.
When she shrunk, the dress shrunk the same way.
But when she regrew, the dress couldn’t keep pace.

“When we welcomed her back, 
She was naked like a newborn.
Under her was this tiny sack,
Which could no longer be worn.”

The crowd peered closely at the 3 inch dress.
One man yelled: “that’s the dress of a doll!”
I said: “Listen to the tale I am trying to profess!”
He replied: “I still think your tale is tall.”

“Please wait, I’ll tell you about another time next.
When she grew, and the logistics left us all perplexed.
I need to share my story, my reasons will become clear.
And don’t worry, soon more proof will be here.”

IX: Let me give you a Mwah!
We were all on vacation, somewhere in Arizona.
Maia was playing in the water like she loves to do.
Oh wait, there was sand, so it must have been Kona.
Yes, we were on a beach in Hawaii the day that she grew.

After building a sandcastle, our little Maia was bored.
So I asked, “Dear little sugar plum, what is your wish?”
I was ready to do anything for this little girl I adored.
“Um, Daddy,” she said, “I’d like to see some fish.”

I don’t like too much time lying in the sun.
So while all Mommy wanted to do was bask,
I jumped at the opportunity for some fun,
So I got the two of us a snorkel and a mask.
But we couldn’t go in yet, we weren’t done.
“Maia, before we go in, Mommy you must ask.”
With tiny mask in her hand, I watched Maia run.

“Mommy,” she said, “Can Daddy take me for a swim?”
“Well that sounds fun,” Mommy said, “but don’t go too far,
And make sure you stay very close to him.
And watch where you step – that’s how I got this scar.

“So you can go, but come back soon.
But first come here, let me give you a Mwah!
Tell Daddy we’ll have lunch around noon.”
As Maia left, Mommy yelled “Ostorozhnya!”

“Yay,” Maia said, and ran to my side.
From up the beach, Mommy blew me a kiss.
When I blew it back, “Ostorozhnya” she again cried.
I smiled, and put the mask on our little miss.

“Walk in slowly” I said, and Maia complied.
We splashed through the waves, and entered the oceans abyss.

X: As Large As My Chest
50 yards out to sea, with snorkels providing us with air,
Maia squeezed my finger tight, but was obviously unaware.
She stared at the colorful fish as they swam here and dashed there.
She used her other hand to point, trying to share.

We saw a giant school of rainbow colored guppies.
Through the water I heard her squeal, like she did around puppies.
We swam past some parrot fish, who showed their giant teeth,
And Maia pointed out a rock, with a long eel underneath.
Along came a giant turtle that swam up beside us.
Even though it was bigger than her, Maia didn’t make a fuss.
She actually bravely reached out, and touched its shell.
But the turtle didn’t like that, and made its farewell.

Everything was great, until I saw the black wings.
I knew Maia had never seen one of these things.
It was giant and flat, with huge wings that were thin.
I felt tiny sharp nails dig in to my skin.
Mental note: next time I take Maia on a tour,
Don’t do it after Mommy gives her a manicure.
Maia was clearly scared of the giant black creature,
And though I knew we were safe, I had no time to teach her.
So I pulled her toward me, and held her tight.
But she lifted her head up, and started to fight.
The problem was, there was nowhere to stand,
And that’s when I felt her start to expand.

Soon she was too big for me to hold her near,
So I lifted my head, overtaken by fear.
I tried to stand, but we were also too deep for me,
So I had to tread water in order to see.
And what I saw was my poor little girl

Making a face like she was about to hurl.
As her head grew larger, she was clearly distressed,
And soon that head was as large as my chest.
When she stopped growing she did calm down,
Especially when she realized she was not going to drown.

She was able to stand,
Feet on the sand,
And with a smile quite grand,
Big Maia took my hand.

XI: People Never Understand
“Ouch!” I cried, “You’re squeezing too hard!”
With her new giant size and her new giant strength,
Her giant hand grabbed mine without any regard.
Once she let go I looked down to check out her length.

5 yards below, her feet rested on the ground,
And each of her toes was bigger than my finger.
The Manta Ray at fault was nowhere to be found.
With a creature this large he was not going to linger.

“What now?” I asked as I treaded the water.
“Let’s swim more,” Maia said, “now that I can stand.”
Thinking through options, I listened to my daughter.
Chaos would erupt on the beach if we returned to land.

I shrugged my shoulders and said “Okay you go first.”
She put her giant mask back on with no assist,
And then, with our sizes clearly reversed,
I grabbed onto her pinky using my entire fist.

We swam around some more, but now the sand was bare.
As much as we looked, there wasn’t a fish in sight.
Clearly little Maia had given them quite a scare.
Fish are skittish and smart, and they all had taken flight.

Thus, before long, Maia was bored.
For swimming she was no longer in the mood.
We were in trouble, for this girl I adored
Told me that what she wanted was food.

I still didn’t want her to return to the beach.
If possible I would try to avoid that commotion.

So to my little Maia, I decided to beseech
That while I got food, she stay in the ocean.

“Am I scary?” she asked, a tear in her eye,
“Now that I’m big, am I no longer pretty?”
“My love,” I said, “That’s not what I mean to imply.
But people never understand: that’s the world and it’s a pity.”

“Let me assure you, you’re as beautiful as ever.
Now that you’re big, your beauty’s that much greater.
You’re still my Maia, sweet, lovely, and clever.
Keep that in mind, but for now please let me be your waiter.”

After kissing her giant salty cheek, I swam back to shore.
Returning without Maia, Mommy freaked out,
So I tried to explain, to plea, and to implore.
We needed to bring Maia food – this was no time to pout.

XII: What About the Skin?
Mommy is clever, and to the restaurant she ran.
With her daughter hungry at sea, she already had a plan.
She frantically grabbed the first waiter she saw.
 “I need some papaya to go” she said to the man.
“One papaya to go?” he said with a guffaw.
“Make it ten,” and she watched the drop of his jaw.

“Also,” she said, “don’t worry about a plate.
Just give me a trash bag, I’m already late.
I know you’re confused, but please do it quick.”
The waiter ran off, trying to minimize the wait.
Soon he brought a pile of papaya and a bag that was thick.
“Perfect,” Mommy said.  “This will definitely do the trick.”

With her bag of papaya she returned to the beach.
She handed it to me and started to preach.
“Don’t worry,” I said, “I’ll bring it right now.
She’ll be fed within minutes, there’s no need to impeach,
You did great,” I said, “Maia will love this chow.
Now don’t stress, we’ll be fine.  To that I can avow.”

With my giant bag of fruit I swam as fast as I could.
Though it was slower than I wanted – it felt like a bag of wood.
Either way, within minutes I finally reached Maia.
As I pulled out a green fruit, she immediately understood.
She smiled cheek to cheek, as I delivered a gift from Gaia.
Before I opened my mouth she was devouring the papaya.

She ate them like plums, each smaller than her fist.
She ate the seeds and all, unable to resist.
“Is it okay?” I asked.  “What about the skin?”
She laughed, my concern immediately dismissed.
She said, “I’ve never had papaya where it was so thin.”
I laughed as the juices dripped off her chin.

Around the eighth or the ninth, she began to slow.
She was full, she was happy, her face was aglow.
She took one last bite, and her body started to wiggle.
Her face grimaced like it did when she started to grow.
But I knew she was fine when she started to giggle.
“It tickles!” Maia yelped, as she continued to jiggle.

Within seconds, she was back to her own size.
It all happened right in front of my eyes.
Immediately I lifted her out of the ocean.
As she could no longer stand, to her total surprise.
When I lifted her up, it felt like slow motion.
My daughter was back to normal, and I was floored with emotion.

The first thing Maia did was spit the papaya off to the side.
“Ew!  The skin got thick again” she cried.
We swam back to the beach, her tiny fingers holding mine.
Mommy waited with a towel, immediately applied.
And Maia, butt naked, did not decline.
The giant swimsuit and goggles were gone with the tide.

XIII: The Plight Was Me
“Proof gone with the tide?  I don’t believe this.”
Another man yelled: “I agree, something’s amiss!”
“Wouldn’t giant goggles float in to the shore?
Yet you want us to believe they sunk into some abyss?”
A woman screamed: “Of this proof, you said you had more?
Now is the time to tell us what you have in store!”

I was taken aback by the crowd’s disbelief,
Though the fact there was a crowd was truly a relief.
I needed to tell many people, for I needed their assistance.
“I don’t know why the goggles disappeared in the reef,
Maybe the tide took them out, gone in the distance.
But please, one more story, then you’ll understand my persistence.”

“I suppose,” said the woman, “I’ll stay for one more tale.
But then I have to go to Nordstrom’s half yearly sale.”
“That’s today?” asked a man who was dressed to the nines.
“I think I might go now, let better sense prevail,
For I don’t believe these tales, and I don’t like waiting in lines.”
“She’s missing!” I cried.  “And she’s lost in these confines.”

A hush gathered over the crowd.
“I’ve lost her,” I said, “and of this I’m not proud.”
I looked out to the faces of fear, of sorrow, of care.
“What are you doing here?” one man said out loud.
“Instead of telling stories you should be searching the square!”
“Is this another lie?” cried a woman.  “How could you dare?”

“Come now,” I pleaded, “you must understand.”
“She’s been lost all morning, and I’ve searched this whole strand.
The police won’t believe me about her shape or her size,
So I am hoping on hope that you’ll all lend a hand.
All these stories I tell, none of them are lies.
In fact, there’s one more I must tell you to advise.”

“Advise us on what?” a man said, clearly upset.
“A young girl is lost, or did you forget?”
“Come now,” I said, “That thought is first on my mind.
But part of the problem is something that I regret.
Her mother believes she knows where Maia is confined,
But her size is so miniscule, hence our bind.”

“I don’t understand!” a different man yelled.
“First she’s lost, then she’s not – what have you withheld?”
“Her mother thinks, but she’s not sure, for Maia is smaller than ever.
And I think it’s my fault that her size can’t be quelled.
I don’t want my daughter to be tiny forever,
Which is why I’ve embarked on this story telling endeavor.”

“So please, stay with me, for one final elucidation,
And I think you’ll have your proof, and I’ll have my elation.
One last story, about when her size shift ended in a fight. MAIA BORN
When I realized that I contributed to the duration,
And that it was up to me to make things right,
To realize that I was contributing to her plight.

“Actually, more than contributing – the plight was me.
One more story, and then you will see.”

XIV: Hey Little Duckies
I remember the day well: the sky was clear.
We all went to the park after walking the pier.
Walking through grass, holding tight to Mommy’s finger,
Maia spotted some ducks, and started to linger.

Maia left Mommy, and loudly yelled “Quack!”
And immediately the ducks quack quack quacked back.
She giggled and said that each duck was her friend.
I smiled but told her: getting too close, I don’t recommend.

There were ducks in black, and ducks in white,
With their big yellow bills it was all quite a sight.
There were big momma ducks and tiny baby ducks,
One was black and white like he was wearing a tux.

Maia was mesmerized by each and every duck, 
So closer and closer she carefully snuck.
Now nervous, each duck stopped and stared.
Maia said, “Hey little duckies, no need to be scared.”
One of the mommy ducks, big and all white,
Decided she had enough of the threatening sight.
She nudged each of her babies using her bill,
And with them in tow ran away up the hill.

“Wait!” Maia said, “don’t run away yet!”
“I’ll be gentle and nice, like you were my pet!” 
With that yell, she scared the entire flock,
And they all ran off, unable to talk.

Maia ran back to Mommy with tears in her eyes.
“I tried so hard, I didn’t mean to surprise.
Why don’t they like me?  Am I someone to despise?”
Mommy replied: “No, they’re just scared of your size!”

XV: Your Size Isn’t Normal
It was then, with a snivel, Maia started to shake.
She made a funny face, and she started to shrink.
The shaking continued, like a personal earthquake.
We looked on, afraid, but it was over in a blink.

Our little girl looked up at us, smiling wide.
For Maia, after a while, the change was no bother.
Though only a foot tall, she was content as a bride,
And the only concern was from me and her mother.

Now smaller than Oskar, she ran off toward the pond.
Diminutive yet quick, she eluded our grasp.
“Wait!” Mommy said, but Maia didn’t respond.
I got nervous and ran after her, and I heard Mommy gasp.

Maia was on a mission – that was the crux.
No matter what I said, she wouldn’t be deterred.
Now their same size, she was off to play with the ducks.
I heard her start quacking, like just another bird.

The ducks were busy looking for food.
In the pond they would dive, butts in the air.
Just beneath the surface is where they pursued.
Maia joined them in the pond, water up to her hair.

I looked around frantically, worried someone would see.
We were out in public, with nowhere to hide.
“Come out now!” I yelled.  “Please listen to me!
People will see, we’re not home, we’re outside!”

With that, Maia looked at me, sad and serene.
She yelled, “So what, Daddy?  Why can’t I have fun?”
Now I can play with the ducks – this one’s name is Eugene!”
Now that I’m small, the ducks, they won’t run!”

“That’s not my point,” I said, and into the water I went.
“Your size isn’t normal, people will think that you’re strange.”
I picked her up out of the water, though she tried to relent.
“Let’s get you out of here, until you once again change.”

At that Maia screamed as loud as she could.
“Shh!” I said.  “At home, you’ll get some papaya maybe.”
But the tears started flowing, my pleas were no good.
Though smaller, she cried louder than she did as a baby.

“Shush!” I said again louder.  “People are starting to stare!
It’s time you returned to your regular size!”
“You think it’s that easy?  Daddy, that’s not fair!
Am I not still your daughter, with love in my eyes?”

XVI: No Matter What
“Whether I’m big or I’m small;
If I’m short or if I’m tall;
If I’m fat or if I’m thin;
If I lose or if I win;
If I’m slow or if I’m smart;
If I poop or if I fart;
If I smile or if I cry;
If I’m outgoing or if I’m shy;
If I’m clumsy or if I’m agile;
If I’m tough or if I’m fragile;
Whether I’m clean or make a mess;
Whether I wear pants or prefer a dress;
Whether I’m confident or insecure;
Whether I’m serious or immature;
Whether or not I have perfect eyesight;
Whether or not I’m able to sleep through the night; 
Whether my skin is rough or smooth as silk;
Whether I smell like cherries or stink of sour milk;
Even if I like to eat all the time;
Even if when I speak I like to rhyme;
Even if I make Mommy’s nipples sore;
Even if I decide to join the Peace Corps;
Even if I only have one kidney;
Even if I study abroad in Sydney;
If I’m fussy or if I’m easy;
Even if my diapers make you queasy;
Whether I’m awake or I’m tired;
Even if I’m not what you desired;
I hope you love me no matter what;
And that your heart will never be shut,
And that you’ll never want to hide me,
Just because I’m different than I could be.
Because I’m your daughter, and I’m doing my best;
Even if my best makes you all stressed.

Even if I’m twice as tall as you;
Even if I could sleep in your shoe.”

XVII: She Was Right
I never wanted to hurt my daughter so,
Never wanted to bring her woe,
So I pulled her close to let her know.

With tears in my eyes I held her tight,
And told her I never wanted to fight.
That I was sorry, and that she was right.

No matter who she was, I would never exchange.
With that message, I felt something strange,
And in my arms I felt my tiny one change.

Seconds later, she was back to her regular size.
After our talk I saw relief in her eyes,
And I knew she was beyond her years wise.

XVIII: Adding to Her Chagrin
Back to Mommy we walked, hand in hand.
Tears in her eyes, Mommy saw Maia and was relieved.
I told her what happened, made her understand,
But for the moment she was simply glad that Maia was retrieved.

On the way back Mommy said “she’s right you know.”
“I know,” I responded, “no need to rub it in.”
She said, “But this shrinking and growing, it’s a lot to undergo,
And the last thing she needs is Daddy adding to her chagrin.”

“Actually, Mommy,” Maia said, “shrinking’s not so bad.
I got to hang with the ducks, and it’s also fun being large,
Some day I’d like to be able to play on a lily pad,
Or be able to splash in the bay when I’m as big as a barge.”

“Ostorozhnya” Mommy said, “We don’t want you to drown.”
“I know,” Maia said, “I’ll be safe Mommy, don’t worry.
With Daddy’s help I’ll learn how to swim all around,
And I need new goggles, so my eyes don’t get blurry.”

“What happened to your old ones?” Mommy asked.
“Remember, it was when Daddy left me alone in the ocean.
We were in Hawaii, and when I shrunk I was unmasked.
Daddy wanted to hide me, and caused a commotion.”

“That’s right,” Mommy said, getting mad.
“What if Maia had shrunk again quicker?”
“It’s okay Mommy, Daddy’s already sad,
And I don’t want to hear you two bicker.”

“But thinking about that time in Hawaii” Maia continued,
“Daddy, even if you share with me your love and glory,
You can’t prevent me from ever being viewed.
To keep me safe, you have to be willing to share my story.”

XIX: Make Myself Clear
“Okay, your last story is over!” yelled a man.
“Your daughter is lost, and it’s time to hear the plan!”
Your stories are cute, but you have us concerned.
So out with the truth!  Story time is adjourned!”

The crowd was still skeptical, bordering on mad.
I was still standing there talking: what kind of dad?
I promised them that the duck story would be my last.
It was time for the truth: my die had been cast.

“Now I will tell you all why you’re here.
Now I can explain and make myself clear.
When Maia shrank today on our trip to the water,
I knew I had to share my love of my daughter.
Because beyond what I said, I had to prove,
That no matter what she does or is, I approve.
So I decided to share our story with all of you,
And explain I have nothing to hide, that my love is true.”

“So, Maia, if you can hear,
Let me publicly make myself clear:
Whether you’re big or you’re small;
If you’re short or if you’re tall;
If you’re fat or if you’re thin;
If you lose or if you win;
If you’re slow or if you’re smart;
If you poop or if you fart;
If you smile or if you cry;
If you’re outgoing or if you’re shy;
If you’re clumsy or if you’re agile;
If you’re tough or if you’re fragile;
Whether you’re clean or make a mess;
Whether you wear pants or prefer a dress;
Whether you’re confident or insecure;
Whether you’re serious or immature;
Whether or not you have perfect eyesight;
Whether or not you’re able to sleep through the night; 
Whether your skin is rough or smooth as silk;
Whether you smell like cherries or stink of sour milk;
Even if you like to eat all the time;
Even if when you speak you like to rhyme;
Even if you make Mommy’s nipples sore;
Even if you decide to join the Peace Corps;
Even if you only have one kidney;
Even if you study abroad in Sydney;
If you’re fussy or if you’re easy;
Even if your diapers make me queasy;
Whether you’re awake or you’re tired;
You will always be what I desired;
And I truly love you no matter what;
And my heart will never be shut,
And I will never want to hide you,
You’re my perfect daughter, no matter what you do.
I’m your father, and I’m doing my best;
Even if my best makes us both stressed.

Even if you’re twice as tall as me;
Even if you’re as small as a pea,
You’re my Maia, and all I want to see.”

XX: Under Yellow and Red Trees 
Out of nowhere I felt a tickle in my palm,
And felt tiny fingers wrap around my thumb.
Maia stood next to me, full of peace, full of calm.
And though I had no idea from where she had come,
My idea had worked, and it was time to find her mom.
I heard a woman ask, “Where did the naked girl come from?”

The three of us walked home, under yellow and red trees.
“Mommy,” said Maia, “My favorites are the ducks with the hair.”
“You mean the ones who stick their monkeys in the air?”
“Mommy, why do you call butt cheeks monkeys?”
“What are butt cheeks?” asked Mommy, and she gave Maia’s a squeeze.