It turns out every other kid in Paolo's class knows what a woman walking around toting an enormous belly means. Each time I enter the classroom, another ankle-biter runs up and asks if I have a baby in my belly, if I'm going to have a baby, or why my belly is so fat. I should really work on an answer to that last puzzler that's better than, "Because it is" or "Well, your belly isn't so small," both of which are things I have actually said. If I could be sure that Paolo knew the current location of his brother, I'd respond like I had two brain cells to rub together, but I don't think he knows. As I've mentioned before, we decided not to bring it up unless he asks.
This morning I was fending off another probing question when Paolo hooked one arm around my leg and put his other hand protectively on my stomach and steered me away from the interrogation. It reminded me of the phase he went through at three when, if another child approached me, he would jump between us, arms out to ward off the interloper, and shout, "MY Mama," as if I were his greatest possession. On the other hand, he may have just felt bad for me because his friends keep calling me fat. Whether or not he has a clue what's inside, Paolo loves my belly. He likes to pat it, lay his head on it, or - my favorite - grab me around the legs and look up at me from beneath so only his eyes and the top of his head are visible. Cracks me up every time.
Paolo has picked up on the whole pampered pregnant thing, too. Last night he asked me if I wanted a glass of milk, and I said I did. (I drink about a cow and a half a week.) He instantly called out, "Daddy, you gotta get Mama some milk." That's how it works these days: I have two boys attentive to my comfort and every need. It's overwhelming, slightly embarrassing, and lovely. It's also temporary, so SOMEBODY FETCH ME SOME LEMONADE AND RUB MY FEET.