Sun 27 Aug 2006
Oscar has a brand new baby cousin. and he’s a boy, to boot…which delights me, in a brand-new kind of way.
i think his parents might have suspected a girl was waiting in the wings, as the family was statistically due for one, but Angus Phillip Joseph Lastnamehere made his grand entrance safe and sound on Thursday morning. he’s beautiful…in the two pictures i’ve seen, his eyes are huge and he has that wary hangover look that newborns carry off so much better than adults.
and he makes me want another, suddenly and fiercely. from another province, separated by four hours of driving and a sizable body of water, i pine to hold him. not because i’m short on baby-ness over here, but simply because he’s so new. even though Oscar is a wonderful wee snuggler and well within carrying size, he’s no newborn now…he’s a full-fledged person, with communication skills and wants and a will to see them served, if one takes the time to pay attention. and i love that…love watching him laugh and grow and pout and interact. in truth, he’s a hell of a lot more fun now than he was four months ago. but, looking at Angus, i realize how far we’ve come, and i miss O being new. and i long for that…that wondrous, momentary gift of holding such total vulnerability in one’s arms. until i had Oscar, i really didn’t realize how quickly that moment fades…and like all things fleeting, it glitters in the rear-view-mirror with a particularly palpable sheen.
“but if we did have another,” says me in my must-be-addled-to-even-be-considering-this mind, “chances are good it would be a boy.” this is simple fact. i’ve had two sons. statistically, for some strange reason, couples who’ve had two boys line up with a 55-60% chance of having a third. the Internet swears it. :)
even two years ago, if you’d told me i’d be happily considering having a third boy, i’d likely have spat, crossed myself, and tottered off to a corner to hide, perhaps permanently.
i mentioned months ago that i decided at the ripe old age of four that all my children would be girls. obviously, i neglected to register this decision with the Ministry of Storks, or whatever random power determines these particular matters: “all sperm vying for fertilization opportunities, please line up here…ys on the left, one cross each…”
boys scared me, to be honest. i secretly thought of them rather like viruses…something one might catch if one were unlucky. at my most generous i viewed them rather as a cat person looks at dogs…nice for other people, but an awful lot of unpleasant work for those who aren’t inclined that way. i really didn’t know any better – i’d never been around boys. i believed all the snips and snails stuff…i thought everybody did. then i had Finn – tiny, sweet Finn – and lost him. now there’s Oscar…who coos at me and delights in show tunes and has the gentlest nature i could have ever imagined in a child of my own, and yet is all boy and a bruiser for four months, and will likely play hockey before he can form complete sentences. and i wouldn’t trade him, or even change him, for all the girls in China. just the fact that he is himself trumps all my old prejudice and preferences.
but it’s not as if having boys has wiped all thoughts of girls from my mind. i still feel vaguely jealous of other people giving birth to girls, just as i feel envious of other people giving birth to healthy, full-term babies with no complications. to long for something that you cannot have, or at least cannot control, is like having an open wound that will not entirely scar over. yeti am blessed…and i know it. i wanted children, and was able to conceive them. i have held both of them. and i wake to Oscar – and his father, who is my friend and love and partner – every morning.
having boys, then, has taught me that it is babies that are wonderfully sweet and delightful…that their gender is irrelevant. an unavoidable part of life, yes, and something that gets read onto each of us with various sets of expectations, and then internalized and performed…i took my Queer Theory classes. but i really didn’t know how little gender affects love. and having Angus join the family has hammered that lesson home…because he is the fourth male grandchild born into Dave’s family, and yet – and this is what i really did not know could happen – he is just as warmly, excitedly welcomed as if he were the first girl. he is special, because he is himself.
god, i’ve been dense all these years.
welcome to the world, baby Angus. thanks for teaching me something so valuable, so early on in your career…may it be a long and wise one.Â can’t wait to meet you.