At dinner tonight the kids asked if I have any pictures of myself from when I was little. I was impressed by their maturity, you know, because there was a time not too long ago when both of them would’ve insisted I sprung from a pod as a full-grown mother, never having eaten marshmallow breakfast cereal or practiced kissing on my poster of Rick Springfield in a past life.
I assured them that I did, and when I was done eating but they were still flicking rice at each other, I went and grabbed my baby book. My mother gave it to me a little while ago, and I knew there were a bunch of school pictures piled in the box the book came in.
When I returned to the table with the book in hand, their jaws dropped. Thank goodness they hadn’t actually been eating any of the food in front of them, or that would’ve been gross.
They found the pictures fascinating. First, because I was small and snaggletoothed and had frightening hair. Second, because everyone was dressed funny. And third, because I could look at the pictures where the entire class was assembled and name off most of my classmates. (It’s not as impressive as it sounds; I showed them how most of the same kids were in every picture, as is the case when you grow up in a small town.)
Chickadee studied my second grade picture carefully. “I look JUST LIKE YOU,” she said with wonder.
“Yep,” I said, “except you have MUCH better hair than I did.” She agreed (a little too quickly). Actually, she has her father’s eyes, but she is looking more and more like me as she gets older. I should probably start apologizing now.
Monkey pulled out my kindergarten picture, when my hair was super-short. “I look just like you, too!” he crowed. “Cuz you look like a BOY in this picture!” I did look like a boy, and the resemblance between him and the picture he’d grabbed was pretty strong. He, however, has his father’s chin, complete with a deep dimple.
They were marveling at the pictures of me as a child (okay, maybe it was more that they were mesmerized by the vast assortment of psychedelic polyester I sported), and I was thinking how weird it is to sit at a table with two people who look so much like me, and yet utterly like themselves.
After a while we moved on to reading my mother’s comments about me written in the baby book. We flipped through… all of the typical stuff is in there… when I held my head up, when I could sit unassisted, which foods I liked, etc. Further along, the comments tapered off, until eventually whole pages were blank.
“Why isn’t it filled out?” asked Monkey, filled with disappointment. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I think my mom did a remarkable job considering I’m her second child. I think I only filled out one page of Monkey’s baby book.
I was about to close the book when Chickadee flipped it to two facing pages all about the parents. My mother had filled these out, and they contained their childhood addresses, social security numbers, and blood types.
My mom’s blood type was written down as A positive. And my dad’s as AB positive.
Which is really interesting, because my blood type is O positive.
The kids were talking to me and I sat there looking at that page and trying to remember back to the unit on phenotypes in 9th grade biology. Hmmmm. Pretty sure you can’t mix A and AB and come up with O.
I started laughing, and the kids wanted to know what was funny, and I told them to PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD EAT YOUR DINNER, because of course during all of this they hadn’t eaten a thing. And then I went and called my father to ask him his blood type.
It turns out my father’s blood type is actually B, not AB. When he asked why I was asking and I told him about the book, he laughed and assured me that I am definitely his kid. (His tender fatherly words were something like “Your first clue should be all that hair on your back.”) I wasn’t worried, you understand, but for a minute there we had the potential for an exciting scandal.
I mean, one worse than all that laser hair removal I had to have.