Monday, September 14, 2009

On umbilical phobias and hernias

My husband is afraid of belly buttons. Yes, it's as weird as it sounds (but not as weird as the fact that he still sleeps with his childhood blankie wrapped around his head!). He refuses to touch his own or anyone else's navel, and would really rather others not touch their navels in his presence. We don't know what deep cave in his psyche this phobia stems from, but one thing is for sure, the belly button sends cold shivers down his spine.

And now cue in Alanis' "Ironic," because the man who has been avoiding navels his entire life just begot a son with a belly button the size of Mount Everest. Ok, maybe Mount Everest is a stretch, but it would totally be the perfect ski resort for ants. Yes, Luki has an umbilical hernia, and as much as Ton Ton tries to cover it up and pretend it's not there, it simply cannot be overlooked, especially when the kid cries and the thing grows three times its size.

Now, I'm not really worried about the's not a serious condition and should go away by the time Luki is a toddler (I had one and it went away on its own), but it has gotten me thinking about the kind of mother I'm going to be. You see, it's not just Ton Ton. Lots of people, upon seeing his protruding umbilicus, make comments like, "eww how weird", "it looks like it's about to pop" or "gross". And then I have to summon every ounce of self control in my body to keep from yelling "YOUR FACE IS GROSS YOU DOUCHEBAG, MY CHILD IS PERFECT!" And I want to lie to Luki and tell him that they're just jealous because his belly button is special, it's a real button that can actually be pushed in and gives him magical powers.

But that's not the kind of mom I want to be. You know, the mom who hides or ignores all her child's flaws, assures him that he is perfect in every way, and ends up raising a mediocre, pompous, jerk.

So, when Luki is old enough to understand and ask questions about the mountain growing out of his abdomen, I will simply tell him the truth. That it's an umbilical hernia. That it's not pretty, but it's also not that big a deal because it doesn't hurt him or prevent him from executing any of life's major functions. That it should go away with time. And that if it doesn't, there's a lot of money to be made in the ant tourism business!

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