Monday, November 15, 2010


He is dragging us forward, kicking and screaming. Literally.

Nothing screams "your dead baby is frozen at six days" like a live baby. Used to be when walking him around, trying to get him to sleep, I could sidle up to a picture of Maddy sitting on a shelf and do a quick back/forth to see if they resembled one another. I became convinced that Maddy's hair was indeed of a reddish tint like her siblings, and finally steeled myself and and brought up all her pictures. And there, in a particularly grim one, with her head just tilted so, with the god-awful light shining just right, so that the wisps of hair on the side of head were visible over a white cot blanket: red. I imagined were we able to take her outside and hold her in the bright winter sun after a snow, that her hair would've been evidently red especially in relation to what would've been her father's days-old tired, unshaven red beard.


Ale-Muffin is progressing forward, so fast at times I need to back up and study him to remember last week.

He has two tiny (motherfuckin' sharp) pearly white teeth on the bottom.

The teeth have changed his facial structure somewhat.

He loves zucchini.

He hated Smitten Kitchen's vanilla pears -- which initially broke my heart. (It was the only food so far where he has scrunched his face and stuck out his tongue, and practically shouted, "Are you trying to fucking poison me?") My son will not be a foodie! Until I tasted them. And then sat completely unashamed and finished the bowl with the baby spoon and then licked it clean while my baby and dogs watched in silent alarm. The only thing that could be better, I decided, was to have them warm over ice cream, and now at least I don't have to share the remaining frozen squares. Heart mended.

His favorite book is "Dog." This is really the only one he will sit and ponder and poke at the pictures and make excited noises and not deign to grab out of my hands and eat in the middle of the climax. (Micky does not get baked! Please let me finish!)

He is not even like Bella anymore --

Everyone studies him to figure out who he looks like, and the jury is still out: sometimes me with the double dimples and round face; sometimes dad with the brow line and chin; sometimes just a bundle of cute like my brother was. He is his own person now.

He sleeps better than Bella did, but cries more and more loudly -- ironically, when it's naptime.

He is a giggler, a smiler, and a belly-gut laugher. His sister can get him going so hard I worry about aneurysm.

He is not a drama queen. We're all suffering from that dry nose/throat/crusty eye crap in the morning since turning on our heat coupled with our concomitant slow-ass ability to get the humidifiers up and running. Two weeks ago, Bella woke in the night with her eye crusted over and after dealing with a warm cloth, she moaned and groaned for a solid two hours. "Mmmmmooommmmm, Mmmmoooommmm, my eyyyyyyye." Oh go to bed already, it needs to be closed. We'll deal with it in the morning. (She was fine by the next morning, incidentally.) So a few nights ago, after stupidly getting Ale's congestion moving with a bath in a steamy bathroom (note to self: try and do this earlier in the day), he awoke in the middle of the night with snot drippings and a crusty eye. I used the snot bulb (which he likes, for some reason) and started to deal with the eye. Which I hate, because involuntarily closed eyes take me right back to the NICU and Maddy's tightly shut lids, which never opened. So there I was, bent over the baby, strings of mucus streaking across his cheeks that I had hadn't wiped up yet, holding a warm washcloth over his eye, trying desperately not to have a flashback, and he . . .

began to giggle. Until we were both a booger-covered giggly wreck in the lamplight.

Thank you, I murmured holding him close. One dramaturge in the family is plenty.

He is almost as heavy as Bella was at this point, his big head already making it tricky to pull on 9m necklines; but not as long as Bella.

And I realize through this emerging person, this person unlike no other, that he is drifting farther away from Maddy.

I walk him by her picture now and I can't see him in her anymore, or her in him.

I actually have half a mind to send out holiday cards this year, for the first time in four years. And I wonder how or if to include Maddy in this, and she appears as some sort of Macabre Flat-Stanley, existing in two dimensions, quietly radiating that one-week baby look while Bella and her brother are seemingly captured in three dimensions, the voice and drool palpable.

He is not six days, he is not frozen. (Although his room can get a bit chilly at times.) He is no longer that generic baby, the one that looks like Yoda. He is doing that lunging thing when he sits, putting down his hands and then propelling his feet and upper body and throwing himself forward. He will realize soon, too soon I think, that by gently moving forward onto his knees he can indeed move ahead less violently.

He is pulling us all forward with him, in fits and starts, for better or worse.

I need to be pulled there, even head first into a basket of toys. But as healthy as it is -- and oh jeez, what a relief not to be stuck anymore -- it makes me sad to know she will always be stuck, there. I'm moving on, Love, and you're frozen. Beautiful, but frozen. And getting more solidified by the day.

It's a sad thing, this.

And yet, it's altogether wonderful.


Sophie said...

Yeah. Just yeah. I'm here too.

Mary Beth said...

Gosh I was thinking this thing in the shower today. She'll always be what she was, a silent newborn, never to age or grow or cry or laugh.

And now here we are with our new guy, changing each day. So wildly different.

A.M.S. said...


loribeth said...

(((hugs))) Tash.

About those Christmas cards -- a couple of ideas. I have always used a Classic Pooh card, when I can find them, or included a Classic Pooh stamp or cutout on my Christmas letter (Katie's nursery was to have been Classic Pooh themed). I know some people who use the stamp of an angel or star on their cards every year. One couple from our group used to take a picture every year of their other kids, holding a teddy bear that belonged to/was representative of their lost baby. Would love to know what you come up with!

Anonymous said...

Another thought on the Christmas card, maybe you take the picture of all of you some place where there is a picture frame of Maddy on the side table.

still life angie said...

Thor always reminds me of how little I knew of Lucy. He changes so much, that I realize nothing I thought I knew of Lucy would have been true had she lived--her eyes might have been brown later, or her hair blonde. It made me grieve all over again in some ways, and really accept that she is dead.

About Holiday Cards, I always sign them: Love, Sam, Angie, B., T. and Remembering Lucy. I think I read that on IrishDad's blog and it helps me feel like she is still part of our family.

Ya Chun said...

Nice to have a progress report... these ones sure do cut into our blogging time...

I think I am getting closer to a point where I carry the love for Serenity with me and try to leave the hurt behind. I don;t know if that makes sense, but your post made me think of this.

Jeanette said...

This post had me laughing and crying. Yes, they pull us forward, and I think I'm resisting a little, I'm so scared, but I guess we have to be pulled forward don't we. x

Hope's Mama said...

"some sort of Macabre Flat-Stanley"

Aint that the truth. One of those lines where if you don't laugh, you'll cry.

A post I was very much able to relate to. Have so missed your voice here. Great to get an update on the little fella.


niobe said...

Gorgeous post.

Though I couldn't help thinking that, in my case, it's my live babies that are the frozen ones. As in, you know, FETs. Because, apparently, I'm hopelessly literal-minded.

Audrey said...

What a treat your post is today! I wonder about the cards, too. Haven't managed those yet.

k@lakly said...

Hit it on the head Tash. They take us there before we even realize it and by then the looking back feels almost futile. It will always be there. They will always be there.
How great to see your space pop up in my reader this am. And even better to read how terrifically ordinary life has become for all of you.
I too want a way to include them on cards. I like the symbol/stamp idea. Will be checking back to see what other ideas materialize.

Michele said...

You're right... It is sad... And wonderful all at the same time.

Hugs, Tash... Hugs...

Betty M said...

Lovely to see an update from you and the giggling new boy.

erica said...

I love this post in so many ways. I was just thinking today of how funny it is that we have so many silly nicknames for Dot, and then found myself thinking of how I'll never know what nicknames would have fit Teddy.

I may have to try those pears.

Dora said...

What a beautiful post. Glad to hear from you.

CLC said...

Great post. I know what you mean.

As for the Christmas cards, I just signed ours last year "the "fill-in-the-blank" family. I know most people won't remember her when I do that, but in my mind, I am signing it for our whole family. I did include her name on D's birth announcement...very few people commented on it. They all probably thought just get over it already...

Brenna said...

Beautiful post. Whew! What a pleasure that was to read--tear-inducing as well, but lovely.

Anonymous said...

I always wonder how I will see things down the road. Thank you for this perspective....