Don’t worry. This will not be a blog about how babies are made. Particularly not about how I went about making a baby, which is certainly different from the way in which most people make babies and an interesting story in its own right, but one I think I’ll save for another time. No, instead I’m climbing out of three weeks of tedious nursing certification renewals (Basic Life Support, Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Pediatric Advanced Life Support, and Transport Professionals Advanced Trauma Certification to be exact) to tell you the story of how my 18-month old son discovered the moon, and a few other things while he was at it.
There was no space suit. Not unless you count the green Godzilla footie pajamas that could be a space suit if he were old enough to want to pretend he was wearing one, but he isn’t quite there yet. No, it was just our regular Monday night routine. I dropped Jonah off at Uncle Jimmy’s house where the two of them spent the early evening carousing in the park, followed by dinner and manly things like playing ball in the house, turning the TV on and off a thousand times just for the electronic bleep of it, and reading bedtime stories about dars and ducks (read: cars and trucks) so that I could go off to work on and workshop my book.
Every Monday night Uncle Jimmy puts Jonah to bed in his Pack n Play while we (his Mama and writing “Aunties”) attend Uncle Tom’s class, then return home from our workshop for a little late night dinner and dishing. And every Monday night we collectively wake him from a deep sleep where he is all groggy smiles, nuzzles, and hugs, and tuck him into his car seat so I can take him home to bed.
This past Monday night was an unusually warm one for the Bay Area so we weren’t in any rush to get him from the house, out of the elements, and into the car. The moon had just risen when we all–Uncle Jimmy with Jonah in his arms, Auntie Kathy and I–stepped out on to their front porch to say goodnight. It was a waning moon, but nearly full still, looming large and low in the the sky.
Jonah gasped and pointed, “Huz-zah?” As excited as he was, this was not sheer exclamation, but a question, too–his version of “what’s that?”
“That’s the moon!” I said, delighted. It makes my heart leap when he notices a part of his world, particularly a beautiful part, and wants the word for it.
“Moom!” He repeated, pointing. Smiling.
“La luna,” Uncle Jimmy said.
“Yuna!” Jonah turned and immediately pointed toward the house.
“Yes! Luna’s in the house. You’re right!” Kathy laughed. Luna is the name of their pet parakeet who lives in an elaborate enclosure in their kitchen. “Luna the bird is inside. Luna the moon is up in the sky.”
“Moom.” Jonah pointed to the sky. “Yuna.” He pointed to the house.
“Yes,” I reaffirmed.
Someday he’ll make the connection.
On the drive home I started thinking about all of Jonah’s words–from his firsts, “woof woof” and “Bubba” (the name of the family dog that has become the signifier for ALL dogs). And even before “Mama” came “trees.” Then dars and ducks–he will even distinguish between the “vroom vroom” duck and the “quack-quack” duck when asked, the latter of which sounds more like “cock cock” but we’ll save that for the blog where I tell you about how I didn’t make a baby. Or something.
The words he has now are all concrete words for concrete objects and I wondered when he would make the leap from concrete to abstract? Luna the bird to luna the moon.
We’re working on it. He knows my morning cup of coffee is “hot.” He reminds me everyday, just as he knows the oven and kettle are hot, too. We’re also working on “art.” I live in an eclectic community. Many of my neighbors have paintings on their gates, sculptures in their gardens, and collections of what I might otherwise label “junk” if I weren’t trying to teach my son kindness. As we walk through the neighborhood, we always stop to look.
“Art,” I say, showing him the weird Scooby-Doo-style swamp monster covered in Mardi Gras beads that hovers over a large wooden doorway at the top of our hill.
“Art,” he repeats.
This may in fact backfire on me someday.
The next night he made a new discovery. In the bathtub.
“Huzz-ah?” He pointed and asked.
Here we go. “That’s your penis,” I said.
“Pemit,” he repeated.
“Pemit.” Then he crinkled his nose and laughed.
For every moon, a penis. I laughed, too.
But on Wednesday morning, as we sat together rocking in the chair in his room, my coffee in hand, Jonah with his milk, he gestured toward the mug and said what I thought to be, “hot.”
“Yes, hot.” I wasn’t about to try to explain luke warm.
He said it again, only this time I heard, “art.”
“Art?” I asked.
“Art,” he repeated, then used his little finger to trace the geometric pattern on my mug.
“Yes! Art!” I exclaimed. Luna the bird, luna the moon. “Art is on the wall. Art is on our walks. Art is on mama’s coffee mug. Good job, little man!”
He smiled a milky smile, the bottle’s nipple still pinched between his teeth, and I beamed right back at him. It was a few beats more before he crinkled his nose, released a hand from his bottle and dropped it down to his diaper.
“Pemit,” he said, matter-of-factly. “Pemit.”