Friday, August 17, 2012

A Baby For Matthew

If it was just that easy, I'd go get my son a brown sibling today.

Two days ago he suddenly told me that he wanted a baby. It took awhile for me to figure out that he meant a living, breathing baby and he wanted it to stay here forever. I'm fairly certain this would last all of ten minutes and he'd be totally over it. I asked him if he wanted a "boy baby brother" or a "girl baby sister" and he gave it some good thought before responding, "I want a boy baby yike Matthew for me and a girl baby...for mommy!" He said the last part as though he was very proud of himself for being so thoughtful and, really, that was very kind of him to think of me like that.

When I ask his older brother what he would want if God ever gave us another baby he quickly replies, "A boy. I like boys and we can have wrestling fights." Sure. I'm positive that another son would just love to wrestle with a brother who was more than six years older than him.

So the fact that Matthew thinks pink ruffles, sugar and spice might just be a nice addition around here clearly makes him the favorite child. Until he starts pointing his finger in the faces of innocent adults and telling them that he doesn't have to listen to them and he's going to tell his mom on them. But that's another story for another day.

Anyway, later that day, after seeing some friends who have a baby sister, Matthew declared, "Pwease can we get a baby for Matthew?" (Should this third person thing be concerning?)

I began to reply, "Well, honey, I can't just go get--"

"No. Mommy, pwetty pwease?"

"Matthew, it doesn't work like that. It's not like I can go to the store to--"

"Mommy. Stop. Wisten to me. I want a Matthew baby. I be good!" And if ever there was a time when I'd go and, say, enroll myself in an adoption program just because my three-year-old asked me to, that was it.

"So, why do you want to adopt again, ma'am?" they'd ask.

"Because my three-year-old told me too." It's a great answer. Perfectly sound reasoning, no?

This went on all day on Wednesday. Him asking for another baby. A Matthew baby. We finally established that he wants a brown baby. And if that wasn't kind of heart breaking then I don't know what would be. We have a lot of books with people of all colors. We have brown dolls. We have brown toys. We have brown friends. We try to be conscious about not making Matthew feel like he's the only brown that God ever made.

But the fact remains. Matthew is the only brown in our family. And he's responding at a completely age appropriate level according to psychology. He has come to understand color (although getting him to name them is another story) long before he understands adoption and race.

And he wants a brown baby.

Last night we got to meet our friends' new baby and oh my goodness is he ever delicious. He is also their white biological baby. All the way over we told our rambunctious, crazy little men that they needed to be quiet and sit still and be very gentle because the baby is very new. They were super excited to meet him. When I settled down onto the couch with him in my arms, Matthew crawled up next to me. He took a good, long look and then let out the mother of all sighs. He whispered, almost inaudibly, "He's not Matthew."

"You mean he's not chocolaty brown like you?" I asked.

He shook his head.

"No. He's not." I said. I try my best to let Matthew make these statements, to figure this out, without giving him more information, without sharing through thirty years of experience what's going on. "Is he so cute though?" Matthew nodded and proceeded to pet him on the head.

On the one hand, it makes me happy that Matthew, who has always been kind of self-absorbed, who has never vocalized that he would ever want another sibling to share things with, actually thinks another kid is a good idea.

On the other hand, it breaks my heart a little that he wants to see himself reflected in the skin of a baby brother or sister. That the books, the toys, the friends, even, aren't always enough.

And then there is the fact that, not ten minutes later, both boys got knocked over by a dog. Matthew started sobbing and, while Garrett was running away he stepped in dog poop, fell over somehow and started bleeding in a couple places. As I carried a wailing Matthew and navigated a poop covered Garrett through the yard, I remembered that, 99% of the time, the question of more children is no.

Even when Matthew asks pwetty pwease.

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