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.
“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.