Friday, October 15, 2010

Being pregnant means you can't give airplane rides

When we first told River about my pregnancy, he didn’t really seem to process it. I told him again, a few weeks later, when he asked me for an airplane ride. I was too far along to be able to place my feet against his chest and lift him into the air with my legs. I felt bad denying his request, and explained why I couldn’t do it. That time, he seemed to understand.

There has been no more mention of airplane rides since that discussion weeks ago, and in fact, I’d forgotten about them.

Last night Mark pointed out my belly to River and how the baby in there would be coming out in a few months.

“Your stomach is very big,” River said.

“Yes,” I agreed.

“That means you can’t give airplane rides.”

At first I was taken aback. What does a pregnancy have to do with airplane rides? Then I remembered how I’d combined explaining the news to him with a denial of his request for an airplane ride.

“Yes, you are right,” I said. “After the baby comes I can give you airplane rides again.”

“Si,” he agreed, seemingly comfortable with the idea that rides would come again and that waiting for this bump to grow and then disappear is nothing out of the ordinary.

I know that memory should be functioning at this age. I imagine it starts much earlier than when we, as parents, are capable of noticing it. But still, I find myself blown away every time I’m confronted with him pulling out a single fact or incident he was exposed to once, in passing, weeks or months beforehand. The brain is a fascinating thing. I’m coming to accept that my child’s brain now contains a vast collection of impressions, connections, facts and memories that form a basis for all his subsequent interactions with the world. Still, I can’t help but marvel at what it is capable of doing, and how little of it I understand.

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