Monday, August 11, 2008

laying the groudwork

Though the real test won't be until Ling Ling is actually, you know, born, I think that Cal is taking news of the new baby surprisingly well.

I started off easy.


MICHELLE
Cal, do you like babies?

CAL
(After appearing to give the matter some thought)
Yes, yes I do.

MICHELLE
That's good. Babies are nice.


Several weeks later...


MICHELLE
Cal, do you like babies?

CAL
Yes, babies are pretty good.

MICHELLE
Do you think it would be nice if we had a baby in our house?

CAL
(Thinking this over)
Yes. That would be nice. Let's get a baby tomorrow.

MICHELLE
Well, maybe not tomorrow, but maybe after Christmastime, we can have a baby in our house.

CAL
(Negotiating)
Or maybe we'll get a baby for our house on Friday.


A few days after that...


MICHELLE
Cal, are you excited about having a baby in our house?

CAL
(Nodding emphatically)
Yes I am. Babies are so cute.

MICHELLE
Yes they are. Sometimes. Hey Cal, are babies big or small?

CAL
Babies are small.

MICHELLE
That's right. And what do we do to take care of babies? Are we rough with babies or gentle?

CAL
Gentle. Because babies are so small and cute.

MICHELLE
That's right, honey. I think you're going to be such a good helper
when we get our new little baby in our house.

CAL
I'm going to hug the baby and maybe kiss the baby and hold him on the rocking chair.

MICHELLE
Sounds like a good plan.

CAL
And feed the baby milk in a bottle.

MICHELLE'S INNER MONOLOGUE
Well, that was surprisingly easy.

MICHELLE
This can all be arranged.


Finally, the tricky part...


MICHELLE
Cal, do you see how Mommy's belly is getting bigger and bigger and bigger?

CAL
(Wisely says nothing)

MICHELLE
Well, that's because that's where the baby is! And the baby is growing and getting bigger inside the belly.

CAL
It's getting bigger and bigger and bigger!

MICHELLE
That's right.

CAL
(Delighted)
And then the baby is going to come out!

MICHELLE
(Holds breath awaiting further questions)

CAL
Mommy, can we get the baby in our house tomorrow?


Obviously, if he has any further flashes of insight or questions, I will answer them (that's the great thing about kids as opposed to adults--it never occurs to them to be embarrassed) but so far, he has completely accepted this whole gestating-fetus-soon-to-be-sibling thing completely as a matter of course. Which to me is almost a little strange. I mean, if I was three and someone came along and told me out of the blue that we were soon going to have another kid living in the house with us FOREVER, and that this kid was still a MICRO-KID who resided in and was exponentially growing in size in my mother's belly, THE SAME PLACE THAT HOT DOGS GO, I don't think I would swallow the story quite that easily. I mean, it all must sound at least slightly insane the first time around.

And not that I don't expect there to be jealousies and little regressions when the time comes, especially after being an only child for three and a half years, but I think Cal's going to do well with this whole big brother gig. Plus, he's starting school soon, which is a huge, important step. He's going to start to have his own, separate life outside of home, so that his world and everything in it isn't going to just hinge on these four walls. Plus, he's going to have fun being older than someone around here, taking care of the new kid, showing him or her what to do, and having someone (eventually) to play with.

And I can see that he's already getting ready. Two weeks ago, the night after we had the conversation about taking care of the baby, passing by the doorway I saw him sitting in his room in the glider, holding his little stuffed chicken in his arms and rocking back and forth gently. The same way we used to do with him when he was a baby. The way we still do now.

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