This article is from the May 2002 The Mexico File newsletter.
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°Mio!

by Bruce McGovern 

Some people have the stereotype of Mexican kids as being sweet and well behaved. In the house I visit in Cordoba, live two little girls who are anything but sweet and well behaved. One cousin lives downstairs, the other one upstairs. 

If you are a true sadist, donít pluck wings off flies, nor tie cats over a clothesline by their tails. No, siree, if you want true chaos, buy one elegant present for these girls, toss it in the middle of the room, and run for your life. 

In fact, I suspect two of each present is not enough. You need to give them so many, each girl has both arms full, and one in her mouth. Then, they might stop trying to steal from each other, but Iím not sure. 

The elder, the upstairs cousin, is about three. Do you remember that movie with the little girl who could kill people with her mental powers, and the look of a monster that she had on her face when she was torturing or killing someone? Thatís what this kid looks like most of the time. 

The younger, the downstairs cousin, is about two, and she is a pretty, little girl Ė but appearances are deceiving. 

All day long, the house is filled with the hysterical shrieks of, "°MIO! (Mine!)". The women have tried to let them fight it out, in hopes they will work it out. Iíve never seen them wear out, no matter how long it goes on. They roll over, kicking, slapping, screaming, and tugging the desired object all over the house. The older girl is bigger and stronger, but the little one is much more determined, so itís usually a close battle. 

I think theyíve experimented and found exactly the right shriek to create near lethal resonance in the brain of any adult silly enough to hang around. I consider myself to be rather paternal, but when they get to shrieking, I have a mad urge to take them upstairs by their heels and dip them into the water tank.