This post over at Julia Hippogriffs' reminded me of the funniest joke Monkey ever came up with. She has come up with a few funny ones before, but this... This one was so good she used it again and again.
So what you need to know is that we speak a language other than English in the house. And in that language, "sweet" when applied to a kid has a heavy connotation of "edible," as in "you are so sweet, I could just eat you up," but a lot less cheesy.
So one day, must have been around November or so, when I was already pretty big but not yet enormous, Monkey decided to give me a hug, pretty much out of the blue. I love her hugs, so I told her that, and then I told her she was very sweet and she was putting herself at risk, 'cause I might just have to eat her. No, she says, you can't do that. Why not? And here is where she gets that look of wait till you hear this, and says: "Because you already ate the Little Brother."
We laughed, and then we made sure that she actually knew she was making a joke by rather lamely asking her if she really thought mommy ate the Little Brother. She looked at us like we were nuts and said that no, she was making a joke. So we told her it was very very funny. Of course that meant she had to keep using it. You'd think it would get old rather fast, but somehow it never did.
Until A died.
After that, the first time I joked about eating her, Monkey's face lit up, but only for a split second. I saw her lower her eyes to my stomach. And then she just said, no, don't do it. I don't tend to tell her she is edible as often as I used to now.
I hate that she had to do that. I hate that a friend had to explain to her particularly observant two and a half year old why Monkey isn't going to have a little brother just now. I hate that another friend's seven year old had taken to asking her whether the baby she was carrying was still alive. And that he asked whether what happened to A means anyone could've died before being born, even him? I hate that Monkey's best friend got introduced to the concept of death in such a rude manner, and that her mom has to keep explaining it to her because her four year old brain keeps looking for how this could mean anything other than what it means.
Actually, I don't know whether I have the energy to hate these things. Hate required energy, I think. They make me very sad, yes. But there is also another feeling mixed in, and I can't quite name it. It's not exactly guilt, but it does come with a sharp pang, like another reminder of how wide the circles of this thing go.
I know the only thing we can do now is make sure that Monkey comes out of this emotionally healthy. We are trying. But I wonder whether if/when I am sporting a big belly again she will let herself make the same joke. I hope so. And if she does, I will try not to cry.