One, two

June 17, 2010

My sister-in-law is visiting with our nieces.  The oldest is three and the other is eight months, and they are absolutely beautiful little girls.  I’ve been water color painting and reading stories and dancing (which involves picking my 3-yr-old niece up and spinning in circles till I’m dizzy, then resting for a few seconds and doing it again).  The ducks have taken over the bathroom, and the decibel level of our generally quiet house has grown exponentially, all the more so because Dot has decided that this would be a good time to discover what fun it can be to shriek like a baby pterodactyl for sustained periods of time.

The Armada

All we need is an elephant and we could call ourselves a circus and charge admission.

The cats slink and skitter around with shell-shocked expressions, and as wonderful as the chaos of three little girls is, there are times when I wish I could go hide in the basement, too.  Last night I wrapped my arms around Nathan and said, “One is nice.”


I’m filling out the weighty packet of forms for Dot’s day care come the Fall semester, and keep getting stuck on the line that asks me to list her siblings, if any.  It’s the “if any” that really sticks in my craw somehow.  If any, if only.  I have to write his name in, so that I don’t kick myself for negating him later, even though I don’t think they need to know.  And I watch my beautiful sister-in-law wrangle and cuddle her two girls and think to myself that it has to be intensely difficult to give enough time to each, and I think that she’s doing a brilliant job but wonder if I could have done half as well if my almost-two-year-old were running around adding to the noise levels.

We may not have another child – pregnancy doesn’t turn out to be something I’m especially good at and right now it feels good to concentrate our attention on Dot – but I”ll never have one.  My family is now only measured in imaginary numbers.  I have two children, but only one with me.  I have one crazy-loud and amazing baby pterodactyl baby who may grow up to be an opera singer or a human vuvuzela, but I also have one who won’t grow up at all.

And if I had an almost-two-year-old chances are slim to none that we’d have Dot, and it feels like she’s meant to be here somehow.  So if Teddy were here, running around and reading stories with his cousin and N in the tent in our back yard, Dot would be the imaginary number.  This is the part where my head feels explode-y.

What number are you, Teddy?  What number are we? There are three of us: me, N, Dot.  And there are also four of us.

I’ve never been good at math, but today I find myself wishing I could write an equation that would show me how to have two, how to be four.



  1. Love the pic of the ducks. The math problem when one has lost a child can be so painful. Your expression of it makes so much sense. Peace.

  2. Oh, I hear you on the “explode-y” head feeling. Great way to sum that up.

  3. Numbers are tricky. My very first blog post was about the numbers not adding up right and having three people in our house but four in our family.

  4. oh yes. i feel the same way. i look at Scarlet, watch her smile, something i’ll never see Ireland do…but if Ireland WAS here Scarlet would not be. I am extremely blessed to have 4 beautiful children, but where do my other 3 losses fit in?
    ~sorry for taking over

  5. I love the photograph of all the ducks.

    Strangely I’m going through a similar experience at the moment. My cousin is visiting with her three children, aged four, two and one. Combined with Jessica, nearly two, it does add up to quite the circus.

    I suppose I don’t have the imaginary number, head explode-y thing in quite the same way, losing one of a twin. J would still be here regardless of what had happened to her sister. But I wanted them both.

    I still think of us as four, even when I know that nobody else sees it. But thinking of us as four and being four, two different things. If I understood you right? I’d like that equation of how to be four too.

    Hope that your baby pterodactyl decides to ease up a bit. No need to become the first human vuvuzela sweet Dot! x

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