Monday, November 22, 2010

My ordinary boy

I want to tell you about my boy. He has an ordinary name - Glenn. But we never call him that. He goes by Turtle which fits him much better.

He's no ordinary boy. He loves to dress up in his sister's dresses, he loves to use their underpants as a "foofy" comfort item while he sucks his thumb, he loves to play with their ponies just as much as his cars and weapons, he's extremely affectionate and loves to snuggle and say, "I love you" many times a day, he loves Dora the explorer and Strawberry shortcake, he loves dancing and singing and winning us all over with his charm.

And this was his hair.

It really suited his personality. Easy going, non stereotypical, soft and flowing, uber natural.

But people kept calling him a her. Or a she. He may not be stereotypical boy but he is certainly all boy. Maybe not like your boy or your neighbor's boy, because he is neither of those. He is Turtle. A boy Turtle. I could tolerate the gender confusions well enough, but his hair was constantly in his eyes and he hated having it brushed. He'd cry and scream.

So we decided the time had come to have his hair cut for the first time. We took him to our favorite cost effective barber shop and ask the lady to make it short at the back but keep the length at the front. She responded by talking aggressively for about 5 minutes in Chinese with her colleagues while Rene and I smiled nervously and gulped heavily and hoped for the best as she started snipping off his beautiful baby locks. He sat perfectly still the whole time in his chair, drowning in the big protective cover, he was just a little baby face poking out of a mass of black cover and rejected snips of beautiful white, soft hair. I think he rather enjoyed the pampering.

She got his hair looking *just* how I wanted it. A surfer dude sort of style - long at the front and short at the back. I gave lots of praise and was ready to welcome him back into my arms, but she just kept snipping! And snipping and snipping and my heart about stopped. I made sure to say about another 3 times that I want to keep length in the front. One time she responded with, "Is he girl or boy? Well then, I cut it boy".

I was hovering over him and biting my nails and was about ready to just pull the lady off of him and throw her scissors to the other side of the room. I kept looking to Rene for support but...well...Turtle's easy going attitude definitely comes from his Daddy. Rene was just smiling and admiring the pretty pattern of the wall tiles.

Eventually she asked me, "will I cut more?" and I enthusiastically pleaded with her not to! So she released her captive and I swept up this tiny boy who now seemed like a stranger. I couldn't stop staring at him for the rest of the day. What bothers me most is he looks like any ordinary boy. Just another American kid. No distinguishing factor. And that really troubled me.

But I've come to realize that just because his appearance is one of any ordinary boy, he is still 100% Turtle. He's still completely charming even if his hair doesn't represent it. He's still quirky and endearing, just like his Dad. And yes, I intend to let it grow! I must admit, he wears this ordinary hairstyle much cuter than most ordinary boys do. :)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Philosophies of a 3 year old

I like to try to teach my kids Christian values, like turn the other cheek and blessed are those who are poor in spirit. To be humble and patient and to do unto others yada yada.

But they quickly pick up on an alternative ethos, one heavily promoted in today's America: - The customer is always right!

And Zoe has well and truly picked up on this. She's a savvy little shopper already. She adores her little pink princess purse that I snagged for a quarter at a yard sale for her. She carries it around, jingling her coins and selecting her next purchases with caution.

We were at JoAnn's fabric store, where Zoe usually delights in running rampant, hiding from us between rolls of fabric and leaving a trail of knocked down rolls and destruction behind her. But this time she was somewhat calmer, because she was on a mission to spend some allowance. They have a nice little section of kids craft items for $1, and Zoe found a pack of elmo crayons that she fell in love with.

So she took them to the checkout, and placed them on the counter. The lady gave her a total of $1.08 and Zoe was not at all amused. She became very animated, her purse swinging against one hip and her hand on her other, a look of aghast on her face, her jaw fell to the floor and she said with much intonation, "A dollar eight?! That's TEH-WIBBLE!!!"

The lady at the checkout smirked a little, but remained professional and composed while she hit a button on her cashier till, giving Zoe an instant 50% discount. "How does 54c sound?". "Yes, that's bedder".

What's the point in trying to teach her that complaining gets you nowhere. It quite obviously gets you something. It gets you Elmo crayons for half off, I mean, what more could a 3 year old want?

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Queen Of My Heart

She had this babygro/sleepsuit with pink and white and purple stripes and glittery sparkles on it. So I called her my Sparkle Queen.

We used to have lazy mornings together. I was tired from the lack of sleep that most new parents are familiar with. So I'd grab a sandwich from the fridge that Rene had prepared for me earlier, and I'd plop myself on the couch with a cover and my wee baby beside me. She loved it. She had her mum all to herself, lots of hugs and milk on demand. We'd just nurse and watch British morning TV and take it easy, spending sweet time with my lovely little girl.

One such morning, when she was almost 10 weeks old, we were watching This Morning and they were interviewing boy band Westlife about their newest single, The Queen Of My Heart. I half watched, but I was too busy squeaking lovely little baby cheeks to pay much attention. They then performed their new song and it was the perfect opportunity for a little dance with my own Queen. I didn't listen to many of the lyrics, they didn't seem very fitting anyway. But that one line, The Queen Of My Heart, well the title fit this little girl perfectly. So I dedicated it to her and danced with her on the couch, holding her up in front of me and bopping her gently from side to side while she looked at back me somewhat unamused but not disturbed. She was quite accustomed to me being silly.

A few days later I was shopping for an outfit to wear to her funeral. It was surreal and horrible. It didn't feel like I was really there, or like I was really me. People were rushing about in the middle of their mundane business while I tried on black dresses that were not at all my style. And then I had a moment of familiarity, when I was projected back into myself momentarily. Over the store's speaker system they played Westlife's Queen Of My Heart. I sat on the chair beside my broken husband and cried without regard for our appearance in this public place full of pretend people, while my mum tried to ease some of my burden by rushing around choosing various sizes and styles for me to try on. I sat waiting for my selection and I listened to the song, to all of the lyrics this time and they fit. As much as a cheesy boy band song can fit something so profound anyway.

A few days later after a very powerful service that moved my spirit, my husband carried a painfully small white box with our daughter's name on the outside and a body she no longer needed on the inside. And at our request, they played the song Queen Of My Heart through the speakers while he took all he had left in him and marched this box out the door of the church with gentleness and pride. And the words fit.

Westlife - Queen Of My Heart
So here we stand
In our secret place
With the sound of the crowd
So far away
And you take my hand
And it feels like home
We both understand
It's where we belong

So how do I say?
Do I say goodbye?
We both have our dreams
We both wanna fly
So let's take tonight
To carry us through
The lonely times

I'll always look back
As I walk away
This memory
Will last for eternity
And all of our tears
Will be lost in the rain
When I've found my way
Back to your arms again
But until that day
You know you are
The queen of my heart

So let's take tonight
And never let go
While dancing we'll kiss
Like there's no tomorrow
As the stars sparkle down
Like a diamond ring
I'll treasure this moment
Till we meet again

But no matter how far
Or where you may be
I just close my eyes
And you're in my dreams
And there you will be
Until we meet

Jessika Heather Burton Docherty (Peach)
Aug 29 - Nov 9 2001