Because I have spent both my pregnancies feeling like a bloated turkey vulture fresh off a whippet high, my husband and I decided to get the 4D ultrasound with this baby, too. Something about seeing a fetus roll around in goo and snuggle with my placenta makes me feel warm inside. I leave the ultrasound place feeling like, “I can do this! Just 10 more weeks!” And I go to bed that night feeling like a magical, life-bearing unicorn with sparkly hoofs. I ask my husband to call me “Rainbow Brite” and brush my beautiful mane.
The next morning, I wake up as a red-beaked turkey vulture. It never fails.
I’ve found one more thing to distract me from the thought that my uterus will soon be jackhammering itself with contractions: How much of my craziness did (and will) my kids inherit?
You see, here I am at the tender toddler stage:
I am totally normal. I mean I might have bottle mouth and furry brows, but I am your pretty average brown kid. I sort of remind myself of Elie Mae:
Okay, she’s way cuter and much more fun to be around, but you get my point.
I had a pretty normal childhood. Loving parents. Two wonderful big sisters. And a parakeet. But something went terribly wrong. And, like a slow fracking leak, that wrongness began to show up. Here I’m 3 or 4 years old, and I look cray:
It’s not just the offensive Native American headdress they forced me to make at my Presbyterian preschool. Or the fact that my hair is screaming for some Miss Jessie’s and castor oil. Or the white Barbie doll I’m torturing. It’s that I did this, all alone in my room, and I liked it. The Price is Right was on downstairs, but no.
It’s easy to write off a bit of weirdness here, a strange habit there. But I kept going with it. Here I am a couple of years later:
The hair is still offensive, and I have exchanged the headdress for a dangerous wire hanger. I’m not sure if I’m trying to get my parents back for taking my Thundercats album away, but I definitely want someone’s attention. I want them to know that I will do it. I will shove these Q-tips into my ears with nothing but a cotton ball between them and my eardrums. And if that’s not enough, I’ll wear these stone-washed overalls every day for the next week!
The good news is, for the most part, my cray-ness was self-contained. But sometimes, I lashed out against others. Exhibit A: My dog.
I colored this cockapoo with Crayola markers when I was old enough to watch The Golden Girls and get the jokes. He later died. Not from the markers, but he died nonetheless.
All I can say with this one is no wonder I had trouble getting a date to the prom:
High school was bad enough. I guess no one had the guts to tell me, “Just stay Black and quiet. That’s all you need to do to survive.”
My husband, on the other hand, has no trace of this nonsense in him. That is why I can sleep at night. There’s a chance that both of our children have inherited Paul’s dashing good looks and his, as Bobby Boucher would say, “medulla oblongata.”
This, ladies and gentlemen, this is the face of an all-American Long Island native breaking the color barrier. He is strong, poised for success. He assumes no “obvious” connection between coloring utensils and small canines. He doesn’t go to his high school prom. Not because he can’t find a date, but because he’d rather donate the money to help children left alone to play with wire hangers.
Alas, it’s too early to tell how much Eliot and baby boy have gathered from my DNA. At least I know that many of you will now spend countless hours praying on behalf of my children. And if these pictures have brought you closer to God, then by golly, I have done my job. I have done my job.