Mary sat with Dean on the couch after dinner the night of her doctor’s appointment looking at the sonogram picture to wind Dean down for the end of the day.
“How did they doctor see inside you?” Dean asked. “Did you get to wear x-ray glasses?”
“No,” Mary laughed. “The doctor puts this clear gooey stuff on my belly and uses a wand thing to make the baby show up on a screen.”
“It would be easier with x-ray glasses,” Dean replied. “It seems silly to use magic.”
“Right,” Mary laughed. “It does seem a little silly now that you say that.”
“I’m very smart, Momma,” Dean explained. “I know lots of things. Are those the baby’s feet?”
“Yeah,” Mary smiled. “There’s one foot and the other foot is right there. There’s a little hand. Looks like they baby’s waving to ya, doesn’t it?”
“Kinda I guess,” Dean replied. “Was I ever in a belly?” Dean asked as he poked as his mom.
“Yeah,” Mary smiled. “You were in there once.”
“In your belly?” Dean questioned wide eyed.
“Yep,” Mary answered. “You lived in there. Everybody was in a belly once. Even me and Dad. I think I got some pictures somewhere of when Daddy was still in Nana's belly. I know I got pictures of when you were living in my belly.”
“I would like to see them,” Dean decided. “Cuz I kinda don’t believe you. That sounds like something you maked up.”
“Let me up, kiddo,” Mary said. “I’ll go get them.”
Dean sat on the couch kicking his feet back and forth while he waited for his mom to come back from upstairs. All this baby business was a little bit overwhelming. It was hard enough to believe that one baby was inside a mom, but every baby ever was hard to wrap his head around. Mary came down with three different photo albums and placed them on the coffee table. Dean slid down to his knees and looked up at her as she opened the first book.
“That’s me and you,” Mary said pointing a picture of her a blue dress very pregnant, modeling for her husband behind the camera. “This was about three weeks before you were born. We were living in the other house. Do you remember the other house?”
“I had a green room,” Dean nodded. “I was really, really little when we didn’t live there anymore.”
“Yeah, you were about two and half,” Mary smiled. “Right after you did a header down the stairs and cut your head open.”
“I was sledding,” Dean said. “Daddy said it was okay. But then he got real mad cutted my head and I got brain juice on the carpet.”
Mary ran her hand over Dean’s head, messing around with his hair, but also running her fingers along the scar that went from his hairline to his eyebrow; something that could have been easily avoided if her husband could have kept a watchful eye on their son for an hour while she got her hair done.
“Are you gonna be that big again?” Dean asked innocently pointing at Mary’s belly in the photo. “You look like you got a watermelon in your shirt,”
“Yeah,” Mary chuckled. “Probably. Maybe even bigger.”
“Wow,” Dean replied, eyes wide. “And I fit in there?”
“You were a little bit smaller than you are now,” Mary chuckled flipping to the next page. “That’s you when were born. Me and you.”
“Is that me as a baby?”
“Yes,” Mary smiled looking at the pictures from right after Dean was born in the hospital. “That’s right after you were born. I think you’re maybe an hour old.”
“Wow,” Dean whispered. “I’m pretty weird looking. Are all babies so weird looking? Is the new baby gonna be weird looking?”
“All babies are very weird looking,” Mary confirmed. “I’m sure the new baby will be weird looking too.”
“I look like an alien,” Dean laughed. “I’m happy I don’t look like that no more. Now I’m cute. You look tired.”
“Yeah, having a baby is pretty tiring,” Mary nodded. “It’s pretty hard. But you were worth it. Might not be the prettiest picture but I’m glad I have it.”
“You look pretty,” Dean said looking up at her. “You always look pretty.”
Dean flipped through the pages pretty quickly. This particular album was the tail end of the pregnancy and the first couple of days of Dean’s life. They’d gotten a little picture happy, but Mary cherished every last one of those pictures.
“When to I start getting cute?” Dean asked. “I still look like an alien. Nana said that I was always cute, but I think she lied to me.”
“I always thought you were cute,” Mary smiled. “But you started to look more like you do now when you were a couple months old. “Let’s take a look at this one.”
Mary laughed and opened the next album; her mother’s.
“Who’s that? Is that you?” Dean asked.
“No, that’s my mom,” Mary answered. “That’s when she was getting married, a long time ago before I was even born.”
“She’s pretty like you,” Dean said flipping the pages, through other wedding photos. “Is that grandpa?”
“Yeah,” Mary replied sadness evident in her voice. She grabbed the third book and thumbed through it for the pictures she wanted to show her son. “This was before I was born, when they bought the house in Lawrence. I think the next page has me in her belly.”
Dean turned the page eagerly. “Oh wow, that’s you in there? I didn’t think you would fit”
“I was littler that you way back then,” Mary smiled, and then pointed to a picture on the next page, a black and white photo of her in big dress. “And that’s my baby picture.”
“You were really little too,” Dean announced. “I didn’t believe you. It’s very hard to believe Momma.”
Mary flipped ahead a couple pages to a picture of her in front of a Christmas tree in a tutu. “That’s me when I was four, just like you.”
Dean continued to flip through the pages, watching as his mom grew up in pictures mesmerized. Mary stopped him every now and again to tell him the memory attached: first day of school, first time her Daddy taught her how to shoot, dance recitals, school plays. He stopped a picture toward the end of the book of Mary standing in front a familiar car.
“That’s Daddy’s car!” Dean pointed. “Is that the car when it was a baby?”
“Yeah,” Mary chuckled. “That’s the car when it was a baby. Right after your daddy bought it. That’s Daddy right there. The day we moved in together. Then the other book starts, the one with you in it. This one is Daddy and Nana.”
“Whoa,” Dean stared at the picture wide eyed at a picture of a woman he’d only ever known as a small white haired lady that came to visit a few times a year. “That’s Nana? She’s not old! Who’s that man?”
“That’s your dad’s dad, Henry,” Mary explained, hoping Dean wouldn’t ask too many questions, she wasn’t exactly sure how to answer them. It wasn’t her story to tell.
“I thought his name was Grandpa Mike?” Dean questioned.
“No sweetie,” Mary corrected. “It’s complicated. Dad will explain it when you’re bigger. I think we got enough mind blowing material for one day.”
“Okay,” Dean nodded as he flipped pages. “Is that Daddy?”
Dean pointed a picture of John in a baptismal gown.
“Yes, it is,” Mary answered.
“Why is Daddy wearing a dress?”
“Because Nana put him one,” Mary nodded figuring that explaining baptism to a four year old would lead to more questions than necessary this late at night.
“That’s Nana getting married?” Dean asked, when Mary flipped to the next section she’d marked. “She’s wearing a dress like your mom it first one when she looked like you.”
“Yeah,” Mary nodded. “That’s Daddy, he’s thirteen I think.”
“That’s Daddy as an Army Man?” Dean said pointing to John’s enlistment photo.
“He’s a marine,” Mary corrected. “It’s like an army man, but better. That’s what your daddy would say anyway.”
“He fighted?” Dean asked.
“Yeah,” Mary nodded. “He got to go to the other side of the world.”
“Really!?” Dean asked astounded. “He seed the ocean?”
“Yep,” Mary nodded. “Right after he got done with school, when we were first starting dating. Maybe someday he’ll tell you about it. He doesn’t really like to talk about it very much.”
“If I seed the ocean I’d tell everyone,” Dean nodded. “I gonna see it someday when I’m big like daddy. Can I take the baby?”
“I don’t see why not,” Mary smiled. “Maybe me and you and daddy and the baby will drive down to Texas and spend some time at the beach when you two are a little bit bigger.”
“I can make my own picture album!” Dean smiled. “With new pictures! You can help, cuz you know how to do it.”
“I would like that,” Mary replied. She pushed herself up off the sofa to straighten to coffee table.
“I gotta another question,” Dean said as he pushed himself back up onto the sofa from the floor.
“What is it, kiddo,” Mary replied sitting back down next to him with her copy of What to Expect.
“When does the sister get a name?” Dean asked. “When does it pick its name?”
“Dad and I haven’t picked any names out yet,” Mary confused.
“You have to pick it?” Dean questioned. “The baby doesn’t just get its name?”
“No,” Mary chuckled. “Dad and I get to decide what its name is. Like how you named your teddy bear.”
“His name is Bear,” Dean said softly. “You’re not gonna name the baby Baby are you? Jamie will make fun of me if I gots a sister named Baby. And that’s what Daddy calls the car. The sister can’t have the same name as the car. That’s just silly.”
“Yes it is,” Mary agreed. “Baby is definitely not on the short list.”
“Can I help name the sister?” Dean asked drawing little patterns across Mary’s shirt. “Maybe a little?”
“We don’t really know if it’s a sister,” Mary replied. “It could be a brother.”
“I don’t want a brother,” Dean said with certainty. “I decided.”
“I thought you only wanted a brother,” Mary questioned. “I thought girls were gross.”
“Brothers will take my toys, but sisters have different toys,” Dean explained using the best logic the little four year old could come up with. “And I can make her not mean. You’re a girl and you’re not mean. Maybe if it was my sister, I would like the tea parties, because um… she wouldn’t make me have them with her. She would just have them and I could go to them if I wanted but would not have to. And I don’t think sisters have cooties, just like you don’t have cooties. I think a sister would be good.”
“Okay,” Mary nodded. “What do you want to name the baby, Dean?”
“Cordelia,” Dean replied. “That’s a good name for a sister.”
“Where on Earth did you hear that?” Mary laughed.
“I don’t know,” Dean shrugged. “I think it’s a good name. I’ll asked the belly what it thinks its name should be and that’s what the belly said. The belly wants to be named that.”
“Right,” Mary smiled. “Have you and the belly talked about what you would name a little brother?”
“No,” Dean shook his head. “One second.” He leaned in real close to Mary’s belly button and whispered into it. He then placed his ear against her stomach then looked up at his mother. “If it’s a brother, we decided it should be named it Batman,” Dean said seriously.
“Of course,” Mary chuckled. “I don’t even know why I asked.”
“The belly picked it,” Dean smiled.
“Of course it did,” Mary chuckled.
“You picked my name?” Dean yawned.
“Yeah,” Mary answered running her finger through his hair again. “I named you after my mom. I promised her that one day I’d name one of my babies after her, and you came first.”
“Her name is Dean?”
“No, it was Deanna,” Mary explained. “I shorted it and made it boy name for you.”
“And my middle is Michael, like Grandpa Mike!” Dean exclaimed.
“That’s right, sweetie,” Mary smiled. “Me and Daddy are still trying to find something that’s meaningful that we wanna name the new baby.”
“You can’t name a brother after Daddy’s mom,” Dean said seriously. “Milly is a bad name for a brother. Batman is much better.”
“I agree,” Mary nodded. “Batman is a much better name for a boy than Milly.”
“I like helping with the baby,” Dean nodded. “We’ll be good friends I think.”
“I hope so,” Mary smiled. “That’s what I want.”
“You getted a baby so I’ll have a friend?” Dean asked.
“No,” Mary replied. “But that was part of it. Both Daddy and I don’t have brothers or sisters. We decided that we wanted you to have some. Sometimes it can be really lonely growing up all by yourself. I think you’ll like it.”
“Just one,” Dean yawned. “We don’t need no more. Just me and Cordelia, that’s good enough.”
“We’ll keep that in mind,” Mary replied. “We’ll see how it goes after we have this baby. You think you’re ready for bed time, Big Guy?”
“Yeah, Momma,” Dean nodded. “I think I’m ready for a story and bed time.”
“When you’re a big brother, are you gonna read to you brother or sister?” Mary asked as she picked the toddler up off the couch.
“I don’t know how to read,” Dean yawned as they climbed the stairs. “I would if I knowed how to read. But I can tuck them in real good. Like Daddy tucks me in. I would be good at that. Maybe I can maked up a story to tell them.”
Mary placed Dean down on his bed and kissed him on the forehead. She grabbed his current favorite book, a Dr. Seuss classic and read until he fell asleep. She tucked his teddy bear under his arm and turned to shut off the light.
"Momma," Dean asked quietly as Mary turned off the light on her way out the door. "How many slugs would I have to eat to become a slug?"
"What?" Mary chuckled turning around.
"You sayed 'If you keep eating chicken nuggets, you’ll become a chicken nugget.’ So I eated slugs."
"Don't eat slugs, Dean, that's not good for you."
"I want to be a boy sized slug!" Dean protested. “If I’m a boy sized slug I can be the king slug.”
"As cool as that sounds," Mary smiled. "Slugs are gross and you shouldn't eat them. They are very dirty."
"One time I eated seven slugs," Dean told her. "But I didn't turn into a slug."
“That’s not how it really works, sweetheart,” Mary laughed. “Don’t eat bugs.”
“But you said,” Dean said confused.
“It’s just an expression,” Mary tried to explain. “It doesn’t really mean what it says.”
“Then why did you say it?” Dean asked.
“I said that to get you to eat other things,” Mary replied. “It’s better for you to eat lots of different things not just chicken nuggets and, apparently, slugs. Go to sleep, Deano.”
“You forgot about the angels,” Dean mumbled half asleep.
“What angels?” Mary smiled from the doorway.
“The angels that watch over me,” Dean explained. “You forgot to tell me. How are they gonna know if you amind them?”
“I’m sorry, sweetheart,” Mary whispered. “The angels are watching over you.”
“Goodnight, momma,” Dean yawned. “I love you.”