My son is curled up on the couch, pretending to nurse his baby doll. Every once in a while, he strokes her head or kisses her. He's wearing Cars pajamas and has a purple bow in his hair. He stole it from the bathroom drawer and asked me to put it in his hair. He smiles at me, but I can tell he's not feeling well. His right eye is stained crimson from a ruptured capillary and his temperature occasionally spikes as high as 103. He's having chills, but he is still cuddling his baby doll. He won't let me touch him. I know his skin is hypersensitive because of the fever, so I let him decide when he wants contact.
Meanwhile, my daughter is content in her bouncy seat. She bats at a dangling toucan and giggles at her reflection in the mirror. She wears a football-themed sleeper, but her features are undeniably feminine. I usually dress her in her brother's old clothes and leave her peach fuzz hair unadorned, but no one has ever tried to call her a boy unless her face isn't showing. Right now, she is happy and healthy and I hope my milk is protecting her from this flu. I tried to give her brother some in a sippy, but he will only drink it if he is desperately thirsty. I think it's a little strange considering he only weaned three months ago, at the age of twenty-three months.
I spend today in a state of waiting. Waiting for my son to start feeling better. Waiting to call the collision shop so I can get the car repaired (I backed into my neighbor's car in November after she parked it too close to the end of our driveway in a blind spot), waiting for my friend to come over so I can help feed another baby. I have 257oz of milk in my freezer for her. My little girl has helped me donate 400oz so far and she's only eleven weeks old. When I'm feeling down about not being able to fit in my clothes or my itchy stretch marks, I remember that and it makes me feel a bit lighter. So what if my body isn't perfect when it can do such amazing things? It can grow, birth, and feed babies. It can snuggle them when they are sick. It can chase them when they try to run away at the park. It can hug them when they need reassurance.
My son's fever has broken again and he's now in the corner playing with his cars. He is both nurturing and traditionally boyish. I encourage him to express his interests, just as I will encourage my daughter when she is old enough to be interested in things other than faces. If they want to dance, they can dance. If they want be singers, or physicists, or doctors, that is fine. I don't care if they want to wear pants or dresses, or if the people they love end up being men, women, or somewhere in between. They never have to hide because they will grow up knowing I'll love them no matter who they are.