Tomorrow, I head back to the doctor for an important scan. The last one told us that the baby is looking healthy and isn’t showing any signs of developmental issues or birth defects. This time, we’re going to find out if I’m growing a little Mason or a little Harley.
It’s an odd situation to be in, hoping that the munchkin spreads its legs and shows us what’s there (some babies are very shy on the scans). After that point, I won’t have to do the him/her thing anymore but can embrace which ever name and sex the kid is going to have. It’s yet another step towards making it real – to actually be able to refer to him or her by name, to start thinking of the alien I’m growing as an actual being.
I like to think that I’m generally pretty true to myself. It’s taken me a long time to get to a place in my life where I can be open and confident about all facets of my personality, where I don’t have to hide who I am. I proudly declare my interests, my irritations and those causes for which I’m willing to stand. I suppose that’s one of my proudest achievements as an adult – I feel like I know myself and I am not afraid to be my own person.
That is, until this new phase of my life started. I don’t like to pigeon hole myself as a general rule, but there are certain identities that I accept and have embraced. Things like geek, gamer, woman, journalist, blogger, food pornographer. Whatever the case may be, I’m happy with the things I do and how I’ve chosen to define myself.
Even while being worried last night about what the future might hold, I had a brief glimmer where I imagined holding that little baby in my arms. It was exactly what I needed and a beautiful moment to pause and realize that in a few short months, the life I’m growing inside me will be out in the world. And in that same moment, it made me think about when he or she is out in the world at large. The little life that isn’t even fully formed yet, growing inside me, will one day go out and talk to people, make friends, fall in love and maybe travel the world.
I have all these things I want to do with the little rugrat while he or she is growing up. I want to read all my favorite stories with him or her, as well as teach mythologies of all kinds. I’d love for the kid to be fluent not just in Greek or Norse mythology, but also in Lovecraftian mythos and Star Wars lore. It’s the combination of all those ways of explaining the universe that help us create our own mythology; our own way of interpreting the world and how we want to behave.
There was a running joke in my family for years. You see, my parents didn’t get along well with their parents, and the acrimonious relationship led to some rather awful comments over the years. Now, I’m not entirely sure what the context was or even whose parents said it, but all I know is that at some point my parents were arguing that they just wanted to do something and be happy together, to which one of their fathers said, “Happy? Who’s happy? You think your mother’s happy?”
It’s one of those awful quotes that made us laugh for far too many years as we wondered how anyone could be so blatantly and proudly unhappy. It’s been a joke we whip out whenever one of us is saying how something might make us unhappy, or how all we want is to be happy about something.
I learned how to read at a rather young age, and I still consider myself an absolute book worm. In those rare moments when I don’t have a book to read, I feel adrift and lost, even if I barely have time to read and only manage a couple pages (or sentences) a night sometimes. But I’ve always loved reading, and it’s a gift that I want to pass on to my kid.
I read an article about why reading is so good, and basically the reason is… all the reasons. Reading is good for building empathy, improving social skills, lowering older people’s risk of dementia; the list seems to just go on and on. I love to read, and I read books across a range of genres. But how do I pass that on?
My first way is quite obvious – I will definitely read to the kid every night. I have grand plans for all the books that I want to read to the little munchkin, from large scale works to adorable bedtime stories. But is that enough? That might make bedtime more fun, and teach the kid that being read to is loving, but how do they make that leap to wanting to read by themselves, and continue to enjoy it?
I remember reading a comment from Neil Gaiman about that moment when his youngest kid was no longer interested in reading with him. She wanted to finish The Lord of the Rings by herself instead of reading it together. He was both incredibly saddened by the fact that he wouldn’t get to read the book to the end with her, but also so proud that she was ready to read it by herself, and wanted to do so.
I suppose that’s what I want one day, and I just need to figure out how to achieve it. I’m sure reading together is a big part of it, but will it matter that I’m the only one who reads for pleasure while my husband doesn’t? Does it matter whether we encourage reading in digital or physical format? There are still so many years to go, and I’m sure even more awesome kids books will be on the market by then, but I suppose it’s all part of the teaching that this poor little one will be subjected to. Geez, between all the games I want him/her to play, and all the Disney movies Dean wants to watch with him/her, I’m definitely going to need to carve out a chunk of the day for books. And, you know, all the other activities kids will need and want to do.