Understanding the Baby
I am 6 months pregnant with my second child and what I find delightful is the way my 2-year old responds to my growing belly and his growing awareness that life in our household will soon change. “Where is the baby,” I ask him regularly. He rarely says “In mama’s belly,” or even points to my belly as I expect. He often points to my breasts, though sometimes he will run into the kitchen and point to the new baby’s ultra sound picture we have posted on the fridge. For him any sign of change in my body, it seems, signifies the baby. Though his awareness of the ultra-sound shows the way we presented it to him—“look it’s the baby” we said pointing to the strange baby-like shape in the grainy picture.
Today though he patted my belly and said “want to give the baby a hug.” And because we’ve been reading a book about a new baby he said “in a place called the womb” (a direct quote from the book).
While all of this is entertaining and sometimes down right hilarious—like the time he quickly lifted up my shirt as though searching right then for the baby—really I find my own awareness and understanding of the baby is similar. Right now the baby is this round ball of belly under my shirt. Sometimes though it is the shirt, and the pants. The baby is these strange stretchy clothes I wear now that have extra panels or fabric for my belly and how they hug my body but also allow me to move and bend and stretch much better than my non-pregnancy clothes. The baby is an oblong pill I take each morning and night—a compression of things good for me—that sometimes has a hard time going down. The baby is a chant on a prenatal yoga video “ong nama guru dev nama,” it’s the ache in my side when I lay down at night, or the amazing flexibility now present in my joints and muscles.
I laugh about my son and tell the stories of how he conceptualizes the baby in the concrete things we talk about or sigh and shake my head and admit that I don’t think he has any idea that in a few months another little person is going to live in our house. And yet my 33 year old mind, too, cannot understand that soon these clothes, these yoga moves, these aches, stretches, ultra sounds and check ups, will also soon be a complete human being.