The Very Hungry Caterpillar, made it through Good Night Moon, and then we landed on another favorite, When You Were Born in VietNam. As he always does, he starts with the picture on the cover of the book of an adorably cute Vietnamese toddler.
That's me when I was a baby!
He identifies most all Asian children in photographs as either himself or Tess.
No, Jude. That's not you.
No. It's a little baby born in VietNam. He looks a lot like you because he is from VietNam just like you and Tess.
We flip the page.
There I am sleeping!
No, that's not you either. That's a little baby who lives in an orphanage. He's waiting for his mama and papa to come get him.
Who's that? (pointing to a image of a nanny in the orphanage feeding a baby)
That's a nanny that takes care of the babies at the orphanage. She loves the babies there very much. She feeds them, and kisses them, and holds them, and makes sure they are healthy.
We have a brief conversation about how beautiful the people of VietNam are with their gorgeous dark hair and almond eyes.
He moves on to the next book. His lifebook. He opens it in the middle to a picture of a nanny holding him as a small baby, amidst a sterile room of metal cribs all full with babies. The baby room. He recognizes himself. That's me!
Yes, it is Jude! You were such a cute baby!
He points to the woman holding him. There's my mommy!
He said it just like that. He pointed to a Vietnamese woman holding him in an orphanage and identified her as his mama. No questions. To Jude is just was his mama at the moment.
Thoughts flew through my head. He couldn't have confused her with me as we look nothing alike. There was so much in those brief 3 words. Did he really comprehend that he has 2 mamas that love him dearly? Did he mean his "first mommy?" His "birth mommy?" His "real mommy?" Where did that leave me?
No sweetie. That's a nanny at the orphanage. She loved you so much. She was sad when you left the orphanage, but she was happy at the same time that you had your family.
Ira Sleeps Over.
Didn't we just talk about nannies? Should I have pointed out that I was his mama forever and ever? I didn't want to be confrontational in what was just a normal learning experience. Should I have talked more about his "first mama?" I don't know. And although I've been literally preparing for years for these discussions, there was this sudden realization of how little I know about the actual words I'm suppose to have. A fear that I'm going to say the wrong thing and risk this sweet boy's sense of self.
I guess this is just one of the first small steps in his journey.