Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Operation Belly Button

Last week was natural disaster week here in Northern Virginia with an earthquake early in the week and a hurricane on Saturday. Luckily, we suffered no damage from either, so we decided to end the week on a high note and complete a mission we had been postponing for six months. It had to do with Chutney’s future and his belly button. Yep, you read that right.

Let me ‘splain. Since I hail from the wondrous and oft misunderstood land of Bulgaria, I am somewhat susceptible to various superstitions and old wives’ tales, one of which says that your baby’s belly button is so powerful that it will determine his/her future. Got that?

Just to clarify, when I say belly button I mean the left over piece of umbilical cord that shrivels up to almost nothing and falls off about two weeks after a child is born. It looks like this:


It’s kinda gross, I know, but it’s got strong juju, so you don’t just toss it in the trash. Oh, no! Unless you want your kid to be a garbage man, that is, for the kid’s future career is at stake.

So what do you do with the thing? Well, you think long and hard about your kid’s future and you toss the belly button at a place that matches your kid’s personality and your hopes and ambitions for him/her. For example, if you want your kid to be a soccer player, you’d toss his/her belly button at a soccer stadium; if you want him/her to be a lawyer, you’d toss it at the court house and so on, you get the idea. Some people set money aside for their kids’ college education, we toss belly buttons*. Much more cost-efficient, don’t you think?

Coming up with just one place for each of our kids’ belly buttons seemed quite limiting to us, so several years ago, when Her Cuteness was a baby, we developed a patent-pending diversification strategy for belly button tossing. It involves cutting up the little shriveled up thing into pieces and placing them in several strategic locations. In Nia’s case, since we lived in St. Petersburg, FL at the time, one piece went in University of South Florida – so she’d get a good education, the second piece went in the Salvador Dali Museum – so she’d be artistic, the third piece went in the Pointer Institute – so she’d be a great writer (like her Dad, who was a journalist at the time), the fourth piece went in a swimming pool** – so she’d be a great swimmer, the fifth piece went in city hall – in case she decided to run for mayor one day. There was one more piece, which we saved for years, so we could toss it in The White House. Yeah, that very important piece got lost in the move, ruining our daughter’s chances of ever becoming POTUS (President of the United States)!!! Unbelievable, I know – she will probably never forgive us…

So, we had to have a second child. That’s right, in case you were wondering, the only reason we had Chutney was so we could pile all of our presidential hopes on the poor little guy. No pressure, Son!

And guess where the first and largest chunk of his belly button went?

In The White House, that’s where. Or The White House garden, to be precise. It was a little tricky, with all the security guards lurking around. But we did it and here’s the proof. IMG_1049

But shhhhhhhhh, don’t tell anyone.  And don’t be surprised when he becomes president one day, alright?

But we didn’t stop there. Because being POTUS is pretty much as badass as it gets but he can’t do that forever. This is not North Korea! We have term limits, which means he has to have a regular career too, so we had to do the whole diversification strategy for him as well. So smaller belly button chunks went to Main State and the Foreign Service Institute– so he can be a diplomat like Daddy; the Capitol – so he can be a Congressman, the Kennedy Center – so he’s artistic, the World Bank, University of Maryland, the University of Maryland football stadium, and a swimming pool.

So, Operation Belly Button, Chutney Edition was completed successfully this past Sunday and now we can breathe a sigh of relief because our children are going to be OK.


*Although to be perfectly honest we are setting some money aside for the kiddos just in case too.

**When I say in a swimming pool, I mean in the grassy area at the pool entrance, not the water itself.


  1. I love that. I no longer have the boy's belly buttons but I do have teeth. I'm going to become part Bulgarian this week and strategically distribute baby teeth!

  2. That's a really cool and disgusting custom. Your kids are going to be awesome.

  3. That is the funniest, most disgusting thing I've ever heard! I actually forwarded this to a friend who's baby's belly button cord just fell off yesterday. She loved it!

    Also, which pool was that? Just want to know so I am fully aware of what any floaties I see really are. :)

  4. I agree with the rest ... disgustingly cool tradition!

  5. OMG. My mother-in-law recently offered my husband's shriveled up foreskin from when he was a baby. Maybe if I throw it at the laundry basket he'll start putting his dirty socks in there.

  6. This is a great post! Of course it's been a topic of conversation with my husband and me. Now I wish I'd have read this last week... I guess we've got a garbage lady on our hands...although it DID fall off and was disposed of in the medical unit at the embassy in Pretoria. I wonder if that counts for anything lofty?

  7. That is a totally cool tradition! I love it! :)


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