Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mothers Days

I was in the bathroom last week with Maya as she went potty. She looked up at me and smiled as if we were playing in the park.

“Daddy, I want a baby in my tummy.”

Um, what?!? But all I said was, “You have to wait until you are older and get married.”

“But I want a baby in my tummy now,” she said.

My next impulse was to call for Verna, who was on the couch and feeling ill from the effects of her radiation treatments. But Maya abandoned her insistence on having a baby right at the moment I needed her to pee, and we settled into a less troubling conversation.

“Verna, guess what Maya just said to me in the bathroom,” I said as we emerged. Verna managed a smile as I told her.

We probed Maya further and found out she plans to name her baby Tullen, which is the name our friends Kylie and Steve chose for their second child who was born about a year ago.

“I’m going to hold my Baby Tullen, daddy, but who’s going to help me?” she asked.

“I can hold Baby Tullen with you,” I responded.

“No, I can do it by myself,” she said.

Then she started asking me if she could still come home after she was a Mommy to Baby Tullen? Would she still be welcome? I told her that her home now would always be her home and she could come over anytime after she was married and a mother.

She smiled. I guess she needed some reassurance.

Maya has mentioned wanting a baby several times in the past week or two, so Miguel has heard her desires as well.

“Who do you want to be your husband, Maya?” he asked her the other day.

Maya has a stable of neighborhood boyfriends, so she usually just runs down the list or chooses one or two of them. On this day she answered simply, “Luca.” He lives down the block, is also three, and had played with her earlier that day. Other times, she says Ryder, oldest son of Kylie and Steve, who used to live next door, or AJ, who lives diagonal to us.

Verna and I were talking about Maya’s maternal wishes with a few friends over the weekend.

“One time,” Verna said, “Maya woke up from her nap with one of her baby dolls stuffed under her shirt.”

So the Mommy Instinct is also quite powerful in an almost four-year-old. We live literally right next to a city park, so Maya has seen her share of mothers and babies, and a few of our friends have had kids in the past year. Maya’s best friend, Jira, has a sister who is also almost one, Kaya. Maya regularly sees mothers breastfeeding and caring for their infants. Maya has changed a few of her dolls’ diapers with real ones.

Both Verna and I know Maya’s instincts to have a baby in her tummy are normal and sweet. All this practice and play and imagination will serve her well in the DISTANT future. But I draw the line if she asks soon how to get a baby into her tummy. For now and for a very long time, Maya is going to have to be content just to cram a doll under her shirt on her own.

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