The other day M and I had our first near-death experience. At first I was hiding the bruise on my knee from my husband. But then I showed it to him because he has to read the blog, so he's going to find out anyway.
We were on the upper deck of the jungle gym, M and I, at the 'far-away' playground. Some kids had just got out of school and come tearing through the place, flinging thier back-packs up over the ladder and through the opening, onto the upper deck, just before the curly slide. We love the curly slide. We were racing to the curly slide. M was shrieking with glee, running away from scary mommy, never looking where he's going, ever, and tripped on the backpacks, became airborne, and half flew out the ladder opening. No way in hell was i going to make the three steps to him fast enough so i threw my whole overweight self down face first onto the deck, letting out a low, hollow yell, landing on my knee, grabbing him under the armpit as his little face banged upside down against the top rung of the ladder and he screamed. Very nearby, the train came screeching into the station and no one heard us. But a mommy below us, playing some form of badmitton with a 9-ish year old boy, saw the whole thing, and skipped up the ladder to us, the scarf of her orange sari snapping in the afternoon wind. It started to rain.
"Is she alright?" the very nice mommy asked of my long-blonde-haired son. M cried and cried, grinding out these indignant moans between sobs. No welts rose, no scrapes seeped blood, nothing. He was just furious. Not hurt. I dragged his kicking, pissed off body down the ladder and put him in The Giant Double Stroller, where, exhausted from screaming and a little shock, he sacked out. I myself considered throwing up in every trash can we passed on the way home.
But as we clambered down, I had said to the mommy who'd come to our aid, "He's fine," and I smiled. "He's a boy," I went on. "He's fine. Thank you."
Why do I care if people don't know he's a boy? Why do people assume that he's not? He wears the most boyish, uninteresting clothes. Mud blue or brown shirts, cheap jeans. Plain grey sneakers. Navy blue boots with no details or characters. A moss colored sweatshirt that's too big but was on sale. He's not friendly or sweet. But the hair throws people. Maybe the eyelashes, too.
Why DO I care? I correct people. I can't be bothered to cut my kid's hair, yet I feel compelled to inform them that he has a weeny and not a giney. How twisted is that?
But of course it's not that I 'can't be bothered' to cut M's hair. I decisively don't cut it. I have never cut it. My mother-in-law wants M to "look like a boy." My father suspects me of cultivating androdgeny. My husband wants to cut it because he thinks it's getting ratty in the back, but I won't let him. It's not ratty, it's fine and honey blonde, it's cornsilk. And the back keeps growing while the front seems to have stopped; it's an organic mullet. It's hockey hair. It's beautiful.
And call me biased, but he's a pretty kid. So far I've gotten 3 'Steve McQueen' comments, dozens of "you should model him," and a disturbing number of melty gazes upon him from grown women. A neighbor of mine said recently, "You know, he is pretty, but he's rugged, too...." and she tilted her head in a vague gesture of longing. Rugged.... hmmmm... well, if you can call a poopy diaper rugged, perhaps... but I think I know what she means. He has a machismo. He has the foot-fall of a 10-year-old. He frowns and stares you down. He's mistrustful of adults and not at all flirtatious, and he emanates the wierd charisma of the mysteriously un-available men that enthrall us women in our 20s... then drive us irate in our 30s when the tick-tock kicks in...
Sometimes I say, snottily, "I'll let it be his choice. We'll cut it when he asks to." Please. I circumcised the poor little (near-) bastard (we only got married a week before he was born.) What am I trying to prove? The truth is I'm going for a look. The ultra-male clothes balance off the gold locks and the blue eyes. It's surfer-boy-meets-construction-brute. I get a satisfaction out of it, all this admiration of my kid, while pretending I'm above it. But of course, it's easy to be unusual when it looks good on.
Here's the thing, though; I love him. I LOVE him, and eventually, he'll leave. I can't bear to part with the hair, it's a few more inches of his bodily real estate that I can just HAVE. My father says the hair is part of M's being a baby, that I don't want to let go of, and I don't deny it. M is getting bigger under my eyes; he's taller and meaner this afternoon than he was this morning. I don't want to stop him growing up, my god no.... but it doesn't have to go any faster than it already is. I just feel like, let's, let's not rush into anything... let's just leave him be, a little bit. He was tongue-tied when he was born and we clipped that because he was about to starve, and a few days later we snipped off the end of his little pecker, and I promised him that night that he could keep the rest. So.... let's just not .... take him apart so fast. Hands off. Everybody just... hands off.
"MINE!" he says of everything that he won't share. "MINE!" of the jungle gym, of a ball, his scooter, his cars, his water bottle, me; "MINE!"
"I relate, man," I say to him. "I totally relate."
He'll be 2 in June. So when am I going to stop nursing him? Hopefully never. And I'm not going to start in on the nursing question right now... it's after midnight. I'll just wonder this for the moment; if the baby, my daughter, who is now 3 months old, is also still nursing when she's almost 2, will M still be nursing when he's almost 4?
AND WILL I STILL BE THIS FAT???
Please visit me again soon here in Maternity-Pants-Purgatory!!! I hope you have enjoyed this first installment of my blog! Oh, and by the way; M is not Minky. I am Minky!