A year ago:
Ella, curiously: “I want to have a baby sister. When am I going to get a baby?”
Me: “I don’t know.”
Nine months ago:
Ella, persistently: “When am I going to get a baby?”
Me: “Hmmm…I don’t know. Ask daddy.”
Six months ago:
Ella, annoyed: “When am I going to get a baby already?”
Me: “After your 5th birthday.”
Ella: “Oh yeah, my friend Justin is 5 and he has a baby brother.”
So when we took her to an ultrasound and the doctor told her she is going to be having a baby sister, she turned to me, eyes lit up, and said, in her best princess voice, “Wow, dreams do come true!”
Since then Ella asks “When is she coming out? Can she hear me? What does she think about my song? What did she think that noise was?” and has made a point of daily kissing “baby Paco” (affectionately termed after mommy’s affinity to tacos), handing her extra pieces of chocolate, getting her to try cucumbers, gold fish, strawberry ice cream. Meanwhile, mommy’s heart grows, together with her behind.
Ella: “Here, mom, eat.”
Me: “No, I can’t. Thank you.”
Ella: “But pleeeeeease, for the baby.”
Me: “Oh thanks. But mommy’s belly [and behind] is so big.”
Ella: “How many pounds is baby sister?”
Me: “Almost 2 pounds.” Unfortunately, the other extra 18 are all mine.
Ella: “How strong is she?”
Me: “Not strong at all.”
Ella: “Oh, she’s zero strong. When she is born, I’m gonna see if she can carry a rubber ducky.”
As for baby names, we went from Ella’s initial suggestions of Hello Kitty and Hannah Montana to Bella (“It’s a pattern! See, Ella = Bella”) to Ana, so we are making some progress.
The idea of a baby sister’s arrival, the name she might have and the food she will eat, brought with it some additional questions I wasn’t expecting.
“This is where mommy and daddy lived when we were in college.” I told Ella as we drove through familiar streets of Northern Berkeley last weekend on our way to Cheeseboard, the best pizza in the world.
Ella: “When I was a baby?”
Me: “No, before you were born.”
Ella: “But where was I? On another planet?” We have been reading The Little Prince.
Me: “No, you didn’t exist yet.”
Ella: “But where did I come from?”
Me: “From mommy’s belly. Just like your baby sister.”
Ella: “But how did I get in there?” Oh no, not yet.
Me: “When Mommy and daddy love each other, they kiss and make a baby.”
Ella: “But how did you put me in there?” She’s clearly not getting it but I’m not ready.
Despite what I read in a book or a blog or heard from more experienced parents, the only thing I can say is: “Magic.”
Ella, with complete awe and understanding: “OOHHHHHHH!”
Thus we continued to move from concrete to existential in a matter of days, out of nowhere, on the way to Taekwondo.
Ella: “Who created the world?”
Me: “Some people believe it was God.”
Ella: “Who is God?”
Me: “He or she is…” I was trying to think fast, not having given this subject a thought since my soul searching college days, “He or she is like… a magician.”
Me: “Other people believe there was an explosion in the sky that created everything.”
Ella, with the air of confidence and satisfaction: “I know! Maybe, we created it with our imagination.”
So whether it is our imaginations, our kisses, or our dreams that create life, new life is arriving to our family the first week of September.