a ~ But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:


B had a doctor’s appointment yesterday. Perhaps you heard his shrieks? He was fine until he learned he was expected to take off his pants. When you are five, pants are almost always essential, except when there is swimming to do or sand trapped in a sensitive place or it’s the end of a long day of being dressed. Otherwise, pants need to stay up, and getting him to reverse this concept took much prodding and promising of stickers. Finally his bottom half was revealed and we both climbed on the table and the doctor listened to his heart and his lungs. She let him listen too, and while she was busy digging out his earwax he whispered to me the sounds he’d heard: “Bumpity bumpity bumpity bumpity!”

I told him that’s just what he sounded like when he was in my belly all those years ago when Daddy and I would visit the room right next door and listen through my taut skin: like a Dr. Seuss creature with a thousand legs crawling up the inside walls. He was impressed with the thought of himself making secret noises like that.  Being impressed lasted right up until the doctor turned into a raging lunatic and stabbed my poor sweet boy in the leg with a needle THIS LONG and broke his heart. The pants went back up and we left in a roar of loud betrayal.

The boys are familiar with their ultrasound pictures; three of them hang on our living room wall, prints from woodcuts by my mother-in-law, Gwen Diehn. They can point out who’s who. They recognize that those squiggly blobs are a form of themselves, but they don’t dwell on it. Life right now, with its camping trips and ice cream feasts and Dr. Who marathons, is far more interesting than any view of life past. I like the bit of overlap, though. The creatures they were, present in the room with the creatures they are.

I remember when those pictures were taken. Laying with my own pants pulled down past my belly while a kind woman shined her magic lantern through my skin. Oh, hello, I thought. It’s you. How nice. I didn’t know the kind of guys they’d grow into, but I suspected they’d be decent ones who stopped to help animals in need and only cursed when circumstances called for it. And they are. Even if they don’t always say please and thank you, even they say things like “I hate that doctor!” in a voice the whole town can hear, they are at the core good boys who are stretching into good men I’m happy to know.

*I’m late. I’m so, so late, and late is only good when you are hoping you have a baby in your belly. Oh, no, don’t worry, I’m not THAT kind of late. I’m late with this blog because life has been crammed full of other things, small things, important things, like picking kids up from camp and watching movies in bed with my honey and going to yoga class and buying someone else’s reject furniture. Life has been busy, and happy, and I decided (mostly unconsciously) that this blog would take a way way back seat for the week. Apologies, dear ones. I know you understand.

About andi

Writer, editor, wrangler of small boys and dogs.


  1. vtbee

    i love your blog, and i will miss you while you’re gone. but, yes, i understand. enjoy.

  2. Much much better late than never! I love all of your posts. It was really fun seeing the ultrasound print up close.

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