Sunday, January 13, 2013

The three year old philosophizes on life and death

I worry. A lot. When we decided to adopt I worried about what our child(ren) would ask in regards to their multi-parent existence. And how exactly I was going to deal with it. I read all the books, magazines and blogs, dutifully taking in the most appropriate responses that would have the least psychological damage. Then we adopted Paul. Who never asks any difficult questions. Seriously. Recently I have tried to bring up the subject of his adoption, and he pretty much blows me off. He has two moms (technically three if you count his foster mom). Big deal. He was a super cute baby. We have the photo album to prove it. He loves to hear us talk about his first weeks home with us. But that's about it. No queries as to where he came from, what his life in Korea was like, what his birth mother thinks about, nothing. Phew, I thought. This adoptive parenting stuff is a piece of cake. And then came John. John has THE MOST INQUISITIVE PERSONALITY EVER. We have been in the "Why" stage for about 18 months now. I often joke that I expressed concern at John's first few checkups because he wasn't saying much and I thought he might need speech therapy. He was simply taking it all in before verbally exploding. Anyone who has ever ridden in the car with John knows that I am not exaggerating. He asks questions about EVERYTHING, so I am not surprised when he had a million questions about his grandfather's death. Mostly they involved where Pop-pop was and when we were going to see him again. "How do we get to Heaven?" he asked. Oof. He became especially confused when we arrived at the cemetery and were carrying my father-in-law's cremated body in a box. Honestly, how do you explain to a three year old that our soul goes up to Heaven while our body remains on earth to be buried forever? As we were walking down the windy corridor of the mausoleum, John sweetly asked, "Is this Heaven?" And today he wanted to know when the men would open the wall and take Pop-pop out of the box. Hmmm....
But my favorite story from the week of dad's funeral was not about death, but life. On our way home from my sister-in-law's house minus our eldest, John was cuddling with his pillow in the back seat. The pillow was made by his birth mother and it is John's comfort object. He asked me if his tummy mommy (that's what we call her) grew it in her tummy and I said no, just him. Here is the conversation that followed:
John: "How did I get out of her tummy?" pause "Did I come out her mouth?"
Me: suppressing laughter, "Um..." looking at husband and deciding to just be totally up front, "No honey. You came out of her vagina."
John: after a beat of silence, "But how did I get out of China?"
Hysterical laughter from the front seat. How do we respond to that? Thankfully at that moment we drove over a small bridge.
John: "Look mommy! A bridge."
I love my kid.

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