Ever since I can remember, I've had a healthy and completely normal (I'm sure) obsession with my belly button. When it started, I didn't care much for other people's belly buttons, but mine was the bomb. I used to bend over and stare and poke at it for hours, trying to keep it completely clean either with a q-tip or my fingernail scratching until it was all red and my mom screamed at me to stop. I don't remember her ever screaming at me because I'd pick my nose though (funny how we always find something else to poke after the phallic stage is over and then we forget all about it when the genitals become popular again, I'm sure Freud would find a way to connect these facts). I have a thing for fingerprints too, that was the reason behind one of my tattoos, but that's a different story, today's protagonist is the belly button.
Your belly button's the place where you were connected to some other creature with a tube and you got all your food from that creature via that tube when you were living in a balloon full of water and you had gills and you didn't breathe air or peed in a toilet, but did it all right there in that balloon for 40 weeks and it didn't even sting your eyes and all the while you were eating through a cord plugged into your stomach - now tell me that's not completely sci-fi. I'm still fascinated by it. Whenever I pet my mouse impersonator's belly, I always look for his belly button and think: "Wow, this is where you were connected to your mom when your brother and two sisters were living under water like SpongeBob." I'm sure all he's thinking is: "Rub my belly, bitch," but that's another story.
Since I think you're never too young to learn stuff, I always try to instill some wisdom into my 4-year-old nephew, one of them being the magnificence of the belly button, but most of the time we just go crazy. We play with skegagegas, who are these cool, mythical creatures living under our armpits or we run around our neighborhood shooting evil dragons with our laser beams coming out of our fingers, but my favorite game by far is the one where we lift up our shirts and run around and scream BELLY BUTTON from the top of our lungs. Of course we scream "belly button" in Slovene, which is "popek" and way cooler than "belly button" because it literally means a small flower bud - a buddy. Imagine that, you have your own private belly buddy permanently attached to you and that has to be better than any drinking buddy you might have. Then we run up to other people (we know), lift up their shirts and scream POPEK and run off. After doing that for several minutes, my nephew gets hysterically excited and starts jumbling up letters and "popek" becomes "pokek" and "bopek" and then we need to cool off (meaning I need a drink). Usually, that's when my mouse impersonator comes to see what all the hubbub is about and one time I decided that was a perfect opportunity for a learning experience.
"Wanna see how a dog's belly button looks?"
My nephew looked at me like I had lost it with a big frowning question mark smeared across his face: "Dogs don't have belly buttons."
"Yes, they do. See?" I said turning the dog over, pointing to his belly buddy.
"That's not a belly button."
"Of course it is, it's just like yours, but smaller." And on a dog. "All mammals have belly buttons..." realizing that's a lie since platypuses don't have them, I stopped. Then I realized I'd just dug a hole for myself, because it's not easy explaining what a mammal is to a 4-year-old, so I quickly changed the angle: "All dogs have belly buttons, just like we all do," even though some people claim Karolia Kurkova has none, but to say that a person has no belly button is wrong (and just plain stupid) because she does in fact have one, it's just shaped unconventionally, so they have to photoshop someone else's navel in its place, so (stupid) people won't think she's an alien and freak out. "But not all animals have them. Birds don't have them. Fishes don't have them. Sharks don't have them." He doesn't know sharks are just big fish yet, he just knows sharks are cool, so I had to mention them.
"What do you mean birds don't have them?"
"They hatch from eggs. Their moms squeeze eggs out of their bodies and in them are little baby birds. You were in your mom's belly, you got your food from her through your belly button, but birds don't need belly buttons, they get all of the food they need from the egg and when they're big and strong enough, they crack the egg and are born, just like you were."
"So when do birds get their belly buttons?"
"Um..." so much for my brilliant explanation. "They don't get them ever, they don't need them. You either have a belly button when you're born or you don't have it - ever."
"What about before you're born?"
"Before, when you're in mom's belly, you have a tube connected to it."
"What about before you're in mom's belly? Do you have a belly button then?"
"Erm... Hey, do you want to draw something?!"
"Yeah!" I love kids' short attention span. "Let's draw a dragon!!"
"Yes. We better draw a dragon."
You're welcome to follow FPS via Twitter for all the latest posts and other mindless babbling, feel free to share this post too if you liked it. There are new posts coming up every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, so do come by next Wednesday!