Thursday, April 30, 2009

It's Not the Stork

I have been given no reprieve from the discussions of baby making. Suffice it to say that my child is not interested in the city or hospital he was born in when he asks "Where did I come from?" I have been a little shocked at some of the opinions shared when I've asked others how they have handled questions of bird and bee. One person with several kids insisted, adamantly even, that it is best to tell children a story about a large, baby delivering bird. Seriously. Another friend reminded me to make the distinction about the parties being grown up and married. She would be one having a more clear understanding of my baby loving and scientific son.

The best advice of course is to simply answer a child's questions as they come up. Don't offer more than what they are asking and they will only continue to ask what they are ready to hear. Okay, makes sense. Or so I thought. I actually do know my son relatively well and have had very long question and answer sessions about such things as how electricity flows through power lines, the origin of the foods on his plate, and the detailed operation of a motor vehicle. Why I thought I would be able to have this conversation in 22 seconds or less, is really beyond me.

I have checked out many books from the library and also searched on line for just the right presentation for my inquisitive son. I had yet to pre-screen the books and had to come up with some answers fast so I resorted to Google. I was directed to the Mayo Clinic's website where they offered a bit about babies being created from a "very special hug" between a mommy and a daddy. I thought this might be the perfect response. Pretty real with no gory details, no experiments that needed to be carried out et cetera. Nathan asked the question again not ten minutes after I read this suggestion so I decided to give it a try. I regurgitated it verbatim, my words carried with the tone of a gentle breeze I was so confident. That feeling lasted all of about a nanosecond, at which time Nathan looked at me like I was the idiot I am and said "But...How?" The moment of truth was upon me. I joined him at at his little table in the kitchen, elbows on knees, looked at him intently and said, "A baby is made from a very special part from a man and a very special part from a woman. Those special parts come together and they grow and grow in the womb until they make a baby." As I said this, I motioned absently with each of my index fingers and then brought them together signifying the joining of the special cells to create a zygote. By the time I finished my sentence and brought my fingers together, his eyes lit up, the corners of his lips crept into a smile and he exclaimed "I wanna do that!" Yes indeed.

Ever since, the conversation is easier, a good book is on the shelf, special parts have been named properly. I am hoping we are good for awhile. These posts are all about preserving memories for our little family, so I can not close without mentioning another related conversation that is particularly relevant to us.



"So, Mommy, what if I find someone I really love, and then get married, then 'cide to have a baby, and then, what if I can't?"

He is a gift I tell you.

"Well, then there are other options," I said. "One option might be that you get help from a doctor to have a baby, just like Daddy and I had help to have you."

"Oh, okay."

And then, there was the photo shoot. Though we have gotten down to real terms on a lot of things, my initial explanation combined with the joining of pointed index fingers has made a lasting impression it might seem. Last weekend Nathan was tooling around the house taking pictures of everyone and everything. Soon enough he was commanding us around like we were contestants on America's Top Model or the like and motioned me in the direction of Shaun with the wave of a hand, "Mommy, go sit next to Daddy!" Another snap happy person might ask his subjects to "Smile!" or perhaps the traditional "Say Cheese!" But no, he jumped up and down and happily directed us to "Pretend like you're making a baby! Smile, put your fingers together and pretend like you are making a baby!"

Monday, April 20, 2009

Joy and Sadness

Joy is a big word for me, one that elicits an immediate visual. Until this day, the vision has been of two blond golden retriever puppies frolicking in the sunshine atop freshly mown, fragrant grass. They are romping around, tumbling end over end with one another, stopping only to hunker down, inviting, low playful growls with butts in the air, front paws forward, one offering a fake me out left and then going right, begging the other to make chase. Simple, pure and natural.

Joy, as I define it, is one of the gifts I hope to bestow upon my child in particular. I hope to learn it, accept it well enough to embrace it, give it and teach it as a way of life. Incidentally, this is a relatively lofty goal, as I was not born on a particularly sunshiny day.

Nathan recently bestowed his gift of joy upon me, teaching me, as he so often does, that which I wish him to learn.

It was Monday, April 21, 2008. We were out shopping for a friend’s birthday gift. I was five and a half weeks pregnant. In a cooking gadget store, I picked up and offered Nathan a pair of kids’ chopsticks to keep him occupied as we wandered. Of course he required a full explanation of this odd utensil and later insisted that we try them out over a lunch of sushi. I was happy to oblige. He was pushing for Sushi on the Rocks, but I managed to convince him that Jimbo’s would do the job just fine, thank you very much. We got our California Roll and big bottle of Pellegrino and headed to a table at the front of the store. Sushi on the Rocks may have offered a better ambiance to the typical diner despite its darkness; but for me, I was happy to be seated in a grocery store in the brightness of a spring afternoon watching the light play in my son’s beautiful blue eyes. If this weren’t enough, Nathan was so enchanted with the sushi, the chopsticks and the bubbles of the Pellegrino, he would intermittently, without notice, sort of throw himself at me in celebration of it all--arms around my neck, hanging, giggling and chattering about the ‘spiciness’ of the Pellegrino. I can still feel the weight of his three year old body flinging himself at me, the sweetness of his breath in my face, and the music of his laughter. Simple, pure, and natural.

We wrapped up our lunch, collected our trash and prepared to make a trip to the restroom before heading home. As I stood, I felt a warmth rushing from my body. A wave of knowing came over me, weakening me. Everything began to move in slow motion. Oddly, I was completely patient with having to wait our turn for the restroom, with Nathan insisting he take his turn ahead of me and then continuing a little happy dance around the facility. None of it was to make a difference and I knew it.

Thankfully, the restroom was private and Nathan was still inebriated from the bubbles and sushi, only requiring the slightest distraction as my disposition deteriorated to stony cold as my heart, my hopes, spilled from my body in a place almost as impersonal as they entered it.

The rest of the afternoon was carried out as if by some oddly efficient, glassy eyed, numb Stepford wife well versed in the perils of family planning for the less fortunate.

That day, a year ago, held some best moments and certainly some worst. In the end I am ever grateful for our son and the joy he brings to our lives, not just that day, but most days.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Nathan has started the daunting task of figuring out what he'd like to do with the rest of his life, and none too soon I might add, he is four years old for god's sake.

No shock, that most important, and first on his list when he reaches adulthood, (you know, at ten years old), is marriage and babies. Only then, can he settle into some type of work that pleases him. Initially, he considered being a policeman; next I heard doctor; and most recently, he changed his mind from whence I never knew it flit. Indeed, he has now informed me not once, but twice, that he no longer wants to go to magic school. Why, why would any boy of four years change his mind about the wonder and excitement of a career in magic? His unsolicited explanation was, because he may learn to make me disappear and never be able to get me back.

He's a heartbreaker this one. I'm pretty sure that sentiment won't last beyond next week, but I intend to enjoy it while I can.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

In case you were wondering...

"We can't kill our pets and make them into boots ya know."

(This was a residual comment a few days after visiting the reptile house at the zoo.)Slightly awkward that this post follows the one remembering Jasper who we lost in December 07. I better talk to Nathan about the sequence of his comments, doesn't he know I'm recording some of this stuff?!?!)

Remembering Jasper

Nathan: "Is Jasper in Heaven?"

Mommy: "Yes, honey."

Nathan: "What do you do in Heaven?"

Mommy: "Well, I think you do all of your favorite things."

Nathan: "I think you do nothing in Heaven cause you're died."