A baby dragon was born in my living room this morning. “Mommy, come see!” Henry said, leading me by the hand in his red Spiderman underwear. He led me to the side of the couch and held out his hand like a showgirl on The Price is Right. “A baby dragon just hatched out of its egg!”
“Oh wow!” I said. “How cute!”
Henry nodded proudly and scooped up the invisible guy. “He’s so small I can hold him in one hand!” he said, walking carefully with his hand cupped in front of him. He shows it to George. “Look Daddy! A baby dragon hatched!” George says “Oh look how little! But I hope he doesn’t breathe fire on you!”
“Dad! Baby dragons only breathe fire when they SNEEZE! They don’t breathe it!” Duh Dad!
This is Henry’s favorite game—Baby. He has a menagerie of babies—baby unicorns, baby T-Rex’s, baby horses, and baby dragons. They are always so small they fit in one hand, and he loves for other people to hold them. He takes very good care of them, walking carefully, cupping his hand around them for long periods in the car, an air of importance around him. He’s very busy, taking care of all his babies.
“You’re such a good daddy,” I say. “What lucky babies!” He nods at me solemnly. They are indeed lucky, as we all are in this household, to be surrounded by magical creatures. For weeks nearly all of them were named Micheal and occasionally one was named Jane. Now that we are reading Harry Potter before bed they all bear the name of Hedwig.
“Do you want me to draw a picture of your dragon?” Annabelle asks. Henry says yes and she’s off to her art area, sketching and coloring in a dragon. “He’s black!” Henry yells from the other room. She switches from green colored pencils to black to accommodate Henry. One of Annabelle greatest loves, right behind swimming, dancing, and theater is drawing. Her output is shocking. She’ll often make five pictures in one day. And they’re amazing! She draws princesses and witches and woods and oceans and sand. She is proud of the fact that she was born in Salem, home to many witches. She and Henry argue over who is more magical—she of the Salem witch blood or Henry who says he has Voodoo blood in his head because he was born in New Orleans, and wizard blood in his body. The other day he donned his knight helmet and breastplate of “armor” and Annabelle put on a golden cape and a crown and they went out on the lawn and had a fight. They choreographed it so Annabelle would win. She pretended to hit him and kick him and Henry would dramatically fall to the ground and roll. It was brilliantly entertaining. When they’re not having wizard fights, they’re dancing.
Tonight Annabelle put on a slinky shirt that was given to me that I had thrown into the dress-up basket. It fit Annabelle perfectly as a little salsa dress with a flouncy skirt and leotard look. She pulled her hair back in a bun, asked me to turn on a waltz, and proceeded to waltz, tango and cha-cha with Henry around the living room, grabbing his hand and turning in and out. He rolled his eyes but was a great sport, holding her hands and letting her shine. They danced until it was to go out to dinner. We asked Henry if he wanted the risotto fritters and he said, “Yes, I want the critters.” He and Annabelle played on the sand while the sun set while we waited for our food. Everytime a seagull landed on the beach carrying a crab in its beak, Henry chased off the seagull and stood guard over the crab until a grown-up came along and threw the crab back in the water. He said he was the crab “rescuer.”
When we got home tonight, it was time to put the baby dragons to bed. Henry finds the perfect places for them to sleep—tissue boxes, pillow case pockets, Daddy’s Gucci loafers. He covers them with soft tissues and kisses them goodnight.
And then George and I read Harry Potter and snuggle with him and Annabelle as they fall asleep. It’s a beautiful life, dragons and all…