Thursday, February 24, 2011


So we settled into the Spring of 2009, waiting for Miss Marley’s arrival in June. We got Marley’s room ready, we spent extra time with the boys and began shopping (finally) for pink clothes. As a little girl myself, my parents’ nickname for me had been ladybug. I always liked that nickname, and always loved ladybugs. In fact, one year in the not too distant past, upon Pete learning of my childhood nickname and my affection for it, he got me for Christmas a beautiful charm bracelet with tiny, adorable ladybugs on it!

So when coming upon a tiny, newborn onesie in pink, with tiny, red ladybugs on it, I quickly snatched it up for Marley’s “coming home” outfit. I brought it home, eager to show it off to Pete. He, of course, thought it was precious; Alex, however, had a different idea. Alex took one look at it, grabbed it from me for a closer inspection, looked up at me as if I had lost my mind entirely, and informed me, “Dat’s not ladybugs, Mommy! Dem’s COCKROACHES! Don’t put my baby sister in cockroaches!”


Anyways, the hilarity while waiting for Marley didn’t end there. An episode occurred with Austin one evening that we still laugh out loud about to this day. One evening, all of us were in the den watching Animal Planet. The boys were roughhousing about, occasionally watching what was on the TV, but for the most part, just being boys....bumping, hitting, pinching, squeaking, squalling, carrying on, stealing toys from one another...until Austin looked up at one point and notice what was on TV. I don’t remember the name of the show, but this particular episode was about a momma cow, giving birth to a calf. It was very realistic and fairly graphic. It showed the farmers and vets all around in the barn....the momma cow laying down in the hay, and by the sounds coming out of the momma cow, she was in heavy labor. Austin stopped his horseplay, and began intensely watching the TV. The momma cow kept bellowing, in pain that I, as a “different kind of labor” pain-free adoptive mother, can only imagine. I’m not much of one to watch any television depicting any type of suffering, animal or human. Give me a sit-com any time. I started to tell Pete to change channels, but Austin hollered out, “No! No!” The calf was coming, the vets and farmers were helping momma cow, and Austin, spellbound, got up from the floor where he had been playing with his brothers, and, mesmerized, began walking towards the television set. His eyes were bugged out. He dropped his toy dinosaur. He continued on towards the television, never taking his eyes off the momma cow. The den got quiet as we all watched Austin’s progress towards the TV, the only sounds now being the sounds of the momma cow, the human on the show, and....finally, the newborn baby calf! Austin was, by now, standing right in front of the TV, his right hand out and touching the screen where the baby calf lay in the hay, between it’s momma’s hind legs. Austin’s never moved a muscle, never took his eyes off, never said a word. The vets/farmers were now beginning to check over and clean up the baby calf, and, eventually got the calf up on its feet. Austin.....still entranced. The baby calf began to nurse at it’s momma. Austin....fascinated. The baby calf nursed for a short while, then pulled away, and nestled with it’s momma for a bit, then went back to nursing. Austin, this entire time, has not moved a muscle, has not said a word, has not even blinked his eyes! Just standing there, hand out touching the TV screen, just overwhelmed by the miracle of birth, of a baby cow. Then, as the scene began to close and the camera was pulling away, taking in the larger scene with the vets and farmers and other people, the barn, the other cows, and just farm life in general, Austin, apparently finding his voice, finally, leaned his head back....way back, puckered up his lips, took a deep breath, and let out the loudest, longest, most passionate, heartfelt “MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” any human being has ever uttered. No cow ever has anything in our Austin. His alter ego was born.

Pete and I laughed until we actually cried, watching this whole thing play out.

Even funnier was about two weeks later, when they had “Zoo Day” at his pre-K, and upon picking up Austin from school, his teacher told us, “Ya know, Austin was just thrilled by the cows. And as a matter of fact, whenever we have play/pretend time, Austin is always our best cow. He can “moo” louder and longer than any of the other kids. He always insists on playing the cow!”

The teacher looked at us like we’d lost our minds when we both cracked up laughing hard enough to cry. And even to this day, almost two years later, whenever we’re out with the kids traveling and pass a field of cows, or even when we’re anywhere, reading a book with a cow in the storyline, Austin can always be counted on to reinvent his inner cow, bringing both of us to tears with laughter....the best kind.

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