(I’ve been getting a number of none-too-subtle hints that I haven’t been blogging enough, so here I am. I don’t promise eloquence or maybe even coherence, as I’m typing left-handed while nursing Wren, and Robin is sleeping fitfully nearby.)
Items that have made the anthro major in me prick up its ears:
- While the babies were in the NICU, Robin’s unexpectedly slow progress was repeatedly attributed to WWBS: Wimpy White Boy Syndrome. The first time a nurse mentioned this, I thought she was kidding. Then, a few days later, the neonatologist solemnly explained that it was common for caucasian male children to struggle in the NICU. “But he’s Jewish,” I protested. “Doesn’t that give him some kind of Semitic edge?” The neonatologist thought not.
- One day, the babies and I were at an outdoor cafe in the middle of Puzzletown. They were both asleep in their double stroller, and I had just purchased a turkey sandwich and a bottle of apple juice, which I was eager to devour. A group of Korean women was sitting at a nearby table; each woman had a (single) baby tucked into a fashionable stroller. “Twins?” one woman called out. “Yes,” I smiled back. There arose a generalized admiring mutter. Right on cue, Wren began to squirm and fuss. I sighed, put down my sandwich, and pulled her out of the stroller. One of the women came over to peer at the babies as I unclipped my nursing tank top and thrust a boob into Wren’s mouth. Then Robin woke and wailed his gentle, pre-meltdown wail. The woman asked if she could hold him for me, and I gratefully accepted. As he yelled in her arms, I thought What the hell, it’s worth a try. I pulled out the other boob and asked her to hand him to me so I could nurse him too. The next thing I knew, the woman had knelt down by my side and was trying to maneuver Robin’s mouth onto my breast without letting me hold him or actually touching my breast. It was very weird, but sweet. Unfortunately, it was also completely futile. Meltdown ensued, and I fled back home with thanks and apologies to my would-be assistant.
(Okay, now I have two babies in my arms, because Robin has decided that sleep is for losers.)
- Husband and I took the babies to the grocery store last week. A store employee was busily re-stocking the bottled water shelf and I couldn’t reach past him to get some, so I asked him to hand me a couple of bottles. He did so, and looked down at Wren, snoozing in her sling. Then he looked over at Husband, who had Robin strapped to him.
Then he surprised me. “Can I give them something?”
I was taken aback. What did this stranger want to give my children? Did this gift involve handling them? A kiss? A pat on the head? I didn’t want to be rude. “I . . . suppose so . . .”
He fished in his pockets and pulled out two dimes. He was from Guinea, he said. “In my culture, when you see twins, you have to give them something, and then you will get something later.”
*'”Twins?” “Yes.”‘ is maybe the most frequent exchange we have these days.