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Thursday, November 11, 2010


Of course Christian is a ridiculously proud father.

I should've seen it coming, but I hadn't put together his tendency to exaggerate, his supportive nature, and his blindness when it comes to love... Not that the signs weren't there; when we adopted one of our foster kittens last summer, and she became his, Christian would routinely brag to his dance students that "Snowflake is the smartest, best cat in the world." No self-consciousness whatsoever in having a cat named Snowflake, or that he was beaming with pride over the agility of a kitten.

I, on the other hand, grew up with a mother repressed of uttering praise, and a father who gave it but stringently and always with a comparison to something he did that was better, which made us feel bad as a result. We are not lovey-dovey: we are Japanese from Osaka. At best our family will show pride of one another only when speaking to other. In a way some might consider too direct, we like to keep it real. A good-natured jab must accompany every compliment because it would be too embarrassing to have said or received such adoration so openly.

I wonder how I will treat my own son. Only Chris has as much authority to dictate our behavior as parents; only Chris has as much influence over our child. But our roles as mother and father are distinct and simultaneouly uniquely important. So far, with no one to stop me, I kiss Zenas dozens, dozens of times a day. I trace my fingers over the silken fat folds of his face. I push back against his barely-there muscles, and when I cocoon his entire body within my arms I am so content I almost cease breathing, as if to stop time.

But it's Chris that tells Zenas that he's perfect and special on a daily basis. I'm more likely to point out the little oddities: that his nose looks a little pug, that his default look seems to be of one ready for a fight (think DeNiro "you talkin' to me?"), and that he's shaping up to be a bruiser.

Chris knows Zenas is special, and loves that other parents confirm this. Zenas has always seemed beyond his weeks. He had a focused gaze since birth, was early to smile, has always been a good sleeper- now up to 5 hour stretches, falls asleep in his crib after a simple bedtime routine, doesn't seem to cry much, is often called "mellow," and has now started to suck his own thumb (which apparently is a good thing since it means he can self-soothe, which I've witnessed when he's put himself to sleep that way). Friends of ours will support our claims of showing signs of being extraordinatory. Chris beams with pride and tells me everyday how much he loves his son.

I have no less pride nor love. I just find other ways to brag than to say it myself.

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