Mija by Iris Brito Stevens

Be a good girl; always say please and thank you. Never kiss anyone you don’t know, except your family, and always only on the cheek; never sit on a man’s lap; don’t you ever talk back; have you done your chores yet? Eat everything off your plate; be grateful for what you have; make sure you make the bed before going to school; don’t be mean to your brother or your sister; don’t fight; you are gonna get punished if you don’t behave; cross your legs and be a lady; don’t make me hit you; don’t lie to me; don’t take such long showers, who do you think we are, the water company? Who keeps turning up the heater?? But Dad it’s cold in the house! Ask your mother; ask your father; someone has to make a decision!! No one fed the dog! Someone has to pick up the dog DOO in the backyard; don’t go out with wet hair or YOU’RE GONNA CATCH A COLD. When in doubt, just put lemon in IT; close the refrigerator door; go stand in the corner; seeee?? God punishes! God works in strange ways; si Dios quiere (if God wills it); don’t go out without a sweater; don’t trust strangers; never talk to strangers; but we always talk to strangers! When someone offers you something, only take one and then say “no thank you” after that; just wait until your father comes home…why do we think that “white people” are okies? We’re going to church; cover your head; when you’re pregnant, you not supposed to sweep; a little yerba buena (mint) is good for your stomach; everyone get in the car, we’re going for a drive; who wants to go to Monterey? Let’s find Frankie’s ice cream truck! Look, mom’s favorite house, the white one and pink one; Daddy can we go see the airplanes? You washed my “Smokey The Bear” and killed him! He’s hanging on the clothesline!! Tata’s here; I hate being sick; I don’t wanna miss school; can I go color now? It’s good for you mija (dear); do it because I said so.