I think he would get under my skin if he could. He tries to crawl under my shirt. He looks up at me and says Look, mummy, I in your tummy!
It makes me think of Nicodemus.
I let him do it - there must be some reason he keeps doing this - but I make sure I talk a lot about pretending. Are you pretending to be in my tummy, Blue?
He nods. He curls himself tightly up on my lap and says Look, Mummy, I have a 'tend umbilical cord! Now that's not a sentence you hear every day.
|definitely too big for my tummy.|
We have a whole established patter about this. Here's how it goes:
When you were a baby, before you were born, you grew in your birthmummy's tummy and was it just you?(Noooooooo!)
That's right, it was Pink AND Blue growing in there together, because you are . ..(Twins!)
And what happened when you were in her tummy? Did you get hungry? (No!)
Well what did you eat? Could you drink milk when you were in her tummy? (Nooooooo! I had a Bilical Cord!)
That's right! You got your food through a special tube called an umbilical cord, and when your birthmummy ate food, some of it turned into food for you. And you got bigger, and bigger, and bigger, and then you got SO big that you wouldn't fit inside any more and you had to be born.
And when you were born, the doctor said: these babies don't need an umbilical cord any more, they are born babies! They can drink milk now! So he went (SNIP!)(Dramatic scissor actions at this point, of course)
And then in a little while the rest of your umbilical cord fell off and what was left behind? (MY BELLY BUTTON!)
That's right! That's how you got your belly button! So when you see your belly button, you can remember about how your birthmummy kept you safe and gave you all the food you needed when you were in her tummy. (Teachable moment or what? High five, Mummy, I've been telling myself. My children are going to be so well adjusted about their adoption).
She loves, loves hearing about herself as a baby, and this is her favourite story. But these days, she barely lets me get to the end before telling me and then Mummy and Daddy came and got me and we went home on a Neroplane and now we are a FAMILY!
Ummmmm, yeah, I guess we did, but that is totally not the point here, Pink. This is supposed to be a story about the umbilical cord, not the Neroplane. Did you not get the memo about the teachable moment? But at the moment, she wants to get to the Neroplane as quickly as possible.
I don't want her to skip forward quickly. I don't want him hiding under my shirt. This is slightly surprising to me. I thought maybe I would.
I always thought that it would be me who had to remember not to pretend that they came from my body. I always thought it would be that way. But no, it's them who want to gloss over what came before and pretend there was never anything except for this, the four of us.
Pink doesn't seem particularly sad about what came first, just not that interested. But Blue hurts.
Maybe one day that hurt will become I wish I had stayed with her. But right now it manifests itself as I wish I had always been with you. I'm astonished to find that this is as painful to witness as the other one would be. My boy wishes that I had been there with him, and I wasn't. Never mind the physical impossibility of what he wants - he wishes I had been there, and I wasn't.
I believe wholeheartedly that an attitude of openness in adoption is always better than the alternative. But I didn't realise this openness would be so painful for them - and especially for him - at this developmental stage. Right now, I think he would honestly prefer not to know that he is adopted. He would prefer that we were all complicit in his fantasies. Why am I surprised by this? As a adult, I have had to work and work at having an attitude of openheartedness towards my children's other family, their early history, their other selves. I don't think that children are naturally open-hearted; I think children crave exclusivity. He has no desire to be part of two families, and why should he? I wonder if sometimes we adults superimpose our own understanding of what they should want onto how they actually feel. After all, they are only three. How can they possibly understand any of this? I am eleven times that and sometimes I don't.
He knows that he came from anther woman's body, but he doesn't want it to be true. He wants to make it go away. I think he's waiting for the day when I will cave in and say only joking, Blue! You weren't adopted You were always mine!
He wishes that we had been joined by a real umbilical cord. Do I wish that? Not really, but I wish I could take away this layer of sadness from my sunshiny boy.
He wishes he had been born from my tummy - it's as simple as that.