Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Another Five Man Band

I’m not going to sugarcoat it: there are certain inconveniences that are due to come along with our third child. Totally worth it, of course, beyond the shadow of a doubt, but conceding that the good and rewarding and fulfilling outweighs the merely annoying does not in turn make the annoying disappear with a gentle poof. It’s all still sitting there, on the outweighed side of the scale, to be reckoned with sooner or later.

I’ve mentioned the car situation. There’s a house situation, too; once we determine the sex of the littlest one (hopefully in about four weeks) we will know whether the path before us will involve at some point transitioning a baby girl from our room to our two-year-old daughter’s room, or transitioning a baby boy from our room to our five-year-old son’s room. The former would probably be the less traumatic adjustment, which basically guarantees that baby-in-the-works is a boy. But either way, we’d really only be postponing the inevitable need for a bigger house, whenever the same-gendered siblings are too old to share a room. (I know, I know, lots of people share rooms their entire childhoods, my dad and his little brother certainly did, so did my mom’s two brothers, and my Little Bro and I did from the time I was three until I was about ten. If we choose to prioritize every family member having their own private space and their own door they can shut, that is a self-inflicted situation. So be it.)

And there’s dozens of little things, too, myriad resetting of countdowns for me and my wife, as we thought we were getting pretty close to being permanently done with diapers, or to the feasibility of leaving a couple of relatively low-maintenance kids with the grandparents and getting out of town for a weekend, or whathaveyou. Ask me again about that stuff in another two to three years, I suppose.

But, as always, I try to look on the bright side and find silver linings and things to be psyched about. There are things which a family of five and only a family of five can do. Like pilot Voltron! Or possibly the Fiery Phoenix!

I know I’ve mentioned my love for the Lion Force and the Defender of the Universe in the past, but the Phoenix is arguably the better anime super composite battle vehicle for my family. It comes from the Japanese series Science Ninja Team Gatchaman which was adapted for U.S. kids as Battle of the Planets back in the late 70’s. I give the edge to G-Force over Lion Force partly on sheer cool points, because rather than just wearing color-coded but otherwise indistinguishable flight suits the five brave heroes from Battle of the planets wore bird-themed costumes with wing-like capes and beak-shaped helmet visors. (Other than that the G-Force line-up is exactly like Voltron’s, in that there’s the leader guy, the other guy, the girl, the fat guy and the little kid. But G-Force came first, so, respect.)

The specific birds referenced by the G-Force costumes above are Eagle, Owl, Swallow, Swan, and Condor. To be totally honest I was a big fan of Battle of the Planets as a kid but I have not revisited it (yet) as an adult. And I swear, every time I saw the cartoon on tv and right up until I was casually researching it for this post, I always thought that Keyop the Swallow was supposed to be a hummingbird. Why wouldn’t the littlest member of a kickass ninja-bird team be the hummingbird? Finally it occurred to me that hummingbirds are not indigenous to Asia. It’s a funny world.

At any rate, I don’t recall if I’ve ever directly spoken to the fact that my wife has always considered our children to have their own guardian spirit animals, but here I go. Early on in her pregnancy with the little guy she saw four crows together one day and was fairly (and correctly as it turned out) convinced that the baby would be a boy, as per the old nursery rhyme that goes “one for sorrow/two for joy/three for a girl/four for a boy”. And there were some complications and scary days during those nine months but more often than not my wife would see a crow when she was worried and would feel a certain totemic reassurance. A couple years later she saw a mockingbird chasing a crow, and figured that was a good indicator that a second child would follow our first, and lo and behold the little girl was on her way thereafter. By that point I was entirely onboard with the avian spirit guides as well, and this time around it’s been a hawk that my wife has caught sight of whenever the baby is on her mind.

So, three for three, and while crow and mockingbird and hawk don’t really coincide with the G-Force ninja-birds, I still think it’s a pretty solid line-up, and all that remains is to pick out a couple of suitable avatars for my wife and myself. Perhaps the scarlet ibis, a beautiful red-plumaged and socially gregarious bird, for my wife. And for me? I’m tempted to go with the grey parrot but it’s always a bit dodgy assigning these things to yourself. Still, as soon as I get that last piece sorted out I will definitely make arrangements for the racecar/motorcycle/jet-fighter/ATV/spaceship that our family of five will clearly be needing.

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