on being born

quotes from my three-and-a-half year old (he just celebrated his half birthday!) on babies, and the way they are born….


“now i’m big. i used to be a little guy/little baby, but then i got bigger, and now i’m big!” around this time he was playing a game with the “cast tummy” (my belly cast). he would make me put it on, and put his doll inside the tummy, and then he would tell me all sorts of stories about the baby hatching out of the tummy/coming out of here (the top of the cast- chest area)/ staying inside to grow bigger and bigger… he’d tell me big doll is “baby quinn” and then when big doll comes out, he has milk right away. well, of course. luckily the cast includes the “milks.” haha.

one of my favorites is his idea of a baby hatching out of a tummy- i haven’t actively told him what really happens. mostly because he is being so creative about it that i want to keep letting him have that blank slate. partly too, i think he is still young enough and uninhibited enough that i wouldn’t want to obliterate any true memory he actually has of his own birth. if it is possible, i would love to learn more about it directly from him… this next quote makes me think it might have something to do with his actual experience of birth.

inside his "egg" ready to hatch

“i was a baby and i was in the water. there was a whole line of a lot of babies in the water. then the one baby, me, started to push down and the water flipped upside down.”


“no! don’t get me out! you have to wait for me to come out all by myself.”

8-25-10 (immediately following the preceding quote, this one took place as Q was reenacting birth from my lap through the window of my car into dada’s waiting arms.)


the comment about needing to wait had us chuckling. he did indeed need us to wait for him to be born in his own time… 20 days after he was due. the comment about the water flipping upside down blows me away.

with all of his recent philosophizing about birth, he has also begun to grapple with the concept of death. he has seen a few dead animals, a bird, a mouse that my cat killed. one morning this week he brought a mouse to me- just picked it up by the tail and said, “look mama, i found a mouse that died!” !!! i did well suppressing the momentary alarm i felt. 🙂 we had a little ceremony as we “buried” it in the compost bin, wishing it a safe journey back to its mouse people. quinn pondered what we could do to help it “feel better” and thought maybe it would need some food. he chose a mint leaf to give to the mouse. again, i felt silence was the way to go, rather than impose on him the finality of death. i did talk to him about the mouse’s spirit going on a journey, now that it was no longer in its body. he replied that he thought this mouse would “grow a new spirit”. how awesome…  i think he will grasp all of this life-death stuff gradually on his own if he doesn’t already.

another similar story involving a little dead bird we encountered in a field while we were hiking, and he talked for days and days about it. he made an elaborate story about how if he found another dead baby bird, that he would like to get it, so he could open up a door in his tummy (there is a key to open it), and put the baby bird inside to “feel it better.” furthermore, he would keep it inside his tummy when it was cold, but take the key and open up the door in his tummy when it was a warm day, so the baby bird could come outside.

but then, death and birth are so entwined. maybe he is more right than i know.

mama bird protecting his baby quail eggs

6 comments to on being born

  • Wow. This is so amazing. I am in awe. Of course, Noble has seen birth recently, so he knows a bit more about how it works :)) In fact, he loves to tell people where babies come from, especially where his baby came from 🙂 The death part has me really thinking about Noble's fixation on a dead bird him and Kass saw on a walk once and on a couple mice my cats left as gifts for us (aww, thanks). He is a bit more versed on "dying", because of Kass and her friends and movies, but he thinks he can say "wake up" when we play fight. I am going to observe this more now 🙂 Thanks for the beautiful insightful post <3 Always a pleasure learning more about the daily ins and outs of MB and the mighty Quinn <3

  • I have to make a tab for you so don't forget to check!Love all his insights into birth and death.It is so amazing as they become so skilled in their language the insight they have.lots of love!

  • Sandy Lipkin

    oh man, how I miss that kid…he's amazing mb!

  • You are such a good mama! There is nothing more magical than stepping back, being silent, and learning from our children.

  • I love these types of experiences … what a gift to you both that you are able to receive his experiences in this way. both of my boys at that age in particular birthed and rebirthed themselves many times. so beautiful! thank you for sharing quinn's stories with us.



  • […] he comes up with on his own. with no coaching on how his birth came about, he came up with many great stories for understanding it on his own. and i love his take on jessa’s chocolatey complexion, […]

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