Tuesday, May 3, 2011

One

If there's one thing that reading around in this corner of the net taught me, it's that having a subsequent child after your loss doesn't mend your broken heart and make the sunhine come out. Since for the longest time I thought anyone who wanted another baby after a horrific loss was a bit wackadoo, it was kinda nice to see that I wasn't missing out on some big wonder drug. I wasn't jealous of the babies really, but I was a bit envious of everyone's decision making power. That drive everyone seemed to have -- must have another baby! -- was totally lacking in me. Figured it was some evolutionary maternal instinct thing that got dropped along the way with the Easter Bunny (we don't do that. I refuse.) and my penchance for swearing during televised sporting events in front of impressionable ears. I would make a poor wild animal mum having to teach my three week old to hunt and defend ("I'll get it later. Look! Shiny thing! Muthafuckin' shiny thing!").

But, well, eventually I did make that decision, and here I am a whole year later.

It's been . . . odd. Truly joyful, but odd.

Having spent the entirety of my pregnancy with Muffin Man not bonding (why bother?), I've spent the entirety of the last twelve months doing so. It's a long ramp up. It's a good ramp up, don't get me wrong, and I've never felt angst-y or depressed or even anxious, more a sense of sheer amazement that he's here. That it worked. And that this isn't some bizarro nightmare like the last time, where I'll wake up and realize it was a dream. But it's not. I put my feet on the floor in the morning -- usually, way, way too early in the morning -- and am hit with the sudden realization that I have a son. Two daughters, and a son.

So I can't really say things like "well it feels like he's been here forever!" because I think I'm still getting used to the idea. I like it. So far.

Bella is also still getting used to the idea. We didn't do much in the way of preparation because we honestly didn't know what to prepare her for: do we buy her a nice doll to dress up and burp, or a box of kleenex and another childhood tome on death? So she's ramping up too, and it too has been a slow haul. She's been forthright with her displeasure at the lack of immediate attention ("It's always in a minute, or not now, or I'm busy") and I think purposefully doesn't whisper when we ask her to. You can almost smell the slow burn when a stranger stops to chirp how cute the baby is. She's cute, too. No one seems to notice her anymore, poor invisible thing in the corner. Having said that, she knows full well that he doesn't smile at just anyone, and he reserves an outright full-blown squinty-eyed cheshire grin when she enters the kitchen first thing in the morning. (Not surprisingly, "Bella!" came very shortly after "dog" and "mom.") She pushes him around in his car, and picked out -- without assistance -- two really solid birthday gifts for him. The night she was chatting with us in his room before bathtime and he spider crawled his diapered self over to her with "Go Dog, Go!" in an outstretched hand, smiling and frantically jabbering "Da! Da!", about reduced me to a puddle.

I've also never been one to muse on "Well if x hadn't have happened, than y wouldn't have either." I'm not big into math like that. Not to mention, with the gaps between my problems, these chances of fate aren't really. There was a nineteen month spread between my miscarriage and just conceiving Bella, so I never really stopped to think about one working out and the other not happening. As far as I was concerned, one was an unfortunate lost opportunity, and the other a stroke of luck. And here with three plus years between Maddy and her brother -- not to mention the relative ridiculous ease with which he was conceived compared to his sisters -- it's not hard to think about an alternate universe where she's here, and he's here too. Or, conversely, she's not, and neither is he. Because so much time had elapsed after Maddy that we had gotten very used to our family of three, and the breeziness of a four/five year old (so easy to travel with! And find a sitter for!) and so it was a real honest-to-god fresh decision about whether to have another child or not.

In sum, he's not my replacement toaster. Not that any of your children are replacement appliances, but I'm now grateful for my own crummy circumstances. The silver lining in waiting around for some medical bombshell that never appeared was that time flowed under the bridge and allowed me to get to a new place. I was already moving forward again when the idea of him came into being. I may be an old fart, but I was ready. Really ready.

As for Ale-One: He's turned into quite the eater. Apparently dissing the pears wasn't so much dissing the pears (which he now loves on an adult portion of oatmeal with a bit of yogurt), but just saying no to mushy baby food. And bibs, and little cups, and high chairs, and baby utensils. Which for a while left me wondering what on earth to feed him, and then at a holiday party after he sailed through the cocktail-flauta, pumpkin bread, and crudite with dip food groups within a 20 minute span, I decided to just up and feed him our food. And it worked out fine. We started with fish tacos on the floor sans utensils or pretenses, and went from there. He so loves his father's Sicilian chicken with orzo (his birthday dinner) that I'm thinking when we potty train I could probably make that the reward instead of m&ms.

He's quiet and observational and laughs on a dime . . . unless he's pissed. And then he's LOUD. I mean, scary hold him away from your head loud. His first comprehensible babbles were "dog" and "cat" and they've progressed so now there's a hilarious "Kirby!" yelled from his room (think "kuhbeeeeee") when the cat isn't in his assigned chair in the corner. Just recently we've even added what sounds like an occasional "good" in front of "dog." A few more months and he'll have "Asshole!" down, I'm sure.

Today he's getting a big ol' slice of Applesauce cake, because wouldn't you know -- the kid who will eat Soba Noodles with Salmon and Beef Tortellini in Brodo spits out Banana. Hates it. Huh. Funny, I will eat pretty much anything and I don't care for banana much, either.

He's definitely mine. He's definitely here, at least for the moment. Does he bring me joy? You betcha. Sometimes it's tough to discern joy from tangible relief -- the exhale and smile are similar -- but I think it's there. I've been told by a few neighbors, "You've never looked this good!" and I don't want him to be known as "he who turned your mother around." Because 1) Bella? Hello? and 2) like he needs that set of luggage to drag around. He's not the reason for the joy although it must look that way from the outside -- I think after four years I had this coming, anyway. I'm just glad he's the willing producer and recipient. I'm glad this isn't all on him, and he's a victim of good timing. In the end, I guess I knew that all coming in. And it's all ok.

Happy Birthday, little guy. We're all so happy -- phew! -- that you're here.

30 comments:

niobe said...

Happy First!

Sue said...

Love the expression on his face. Happy birthday!

Searching said...

Ah, that face makes me crack up! Love it!! Happy birthday little guy! I like how he adores Bella. Sweet boy. :)

Sue said...

LOVE the grin! Happy birthday, little one.

A.M.S said...

Oh, I just want to smooch that face!!!

Happy One.

still life angie said...

Totally. Agree. With. Everything. I feel like it hits me everyday--yeah, that's my son. I have a son. He headbutts me and reminds me that I have a soccer hooligan in the making. And that means he is here, breathing, smiling, headbutting. It is strange to not be able to imagine not having someone in your family and still getting used to the idea. Happy birthday, ALE! You are gorgeous, you are. xo

JoyAndSorrow said...

I will admit to not having followed your blog entirely, as I am new to this community, but I just wanted to say that I love the sense of hope you engender without sugarcoating anything. I really enjoy reading blogs from women a few years out from their losses. Your little man is adorable - Happy One! ~Lindsay

Hope's Mama said...

Yep, wow. Totally nailed it. Sometimes I can see that I would have been one of those people too terrified to try again, but it was just that Hope was my first, and I absolutely couldn't remain a childless parent. That was where the drive and focus came from in me. I just had to get at least one here alive. Now here I am, more than half way in to another pregnancy, and I can't quite believe I've got the balls to be doing this again!
So glad he's here. So glad he made it. So glad for all the joy he's bringing to your life. What an absolute spunk he is!

jenna said...

happy birthday little dude! (i never did figured his name out....) what a great grin!

erica said...

Happy Birthday, little guy! What a great photo - look out, world :)

The exhale and the smile are similar. I'm glad you've got both right now.

loribeth said...

I loved this post, Tash. What a cutie! Happy birthday, little man. : )

MsPrufrock said...

Do I ever come here and not talk about how wonderful/moving/amazing your posts are? They are always great.

I can't believe he's one. Yikes! He is beautiful.

Michele said...

Happy Birthday!

Ya Chun said...

OMG! What a stinker! Happy Birthday!

Wonderful reflections, as usual.

edenland said...

Oh, beautiful. I teared up - have been following your "journey" for a while now Tash. He is gorgeous, you write so beautifully ... I don't believe in happy endings, but this is as close to one as possible.

tree town gal said...

Tears. Sweetness. Love this post. Happy birthday, sweet boy. Raspberry those cheeks for me, will you.

Sophie said...

I CAN NOT believe he is one!!!! He is gorgeous! Happy birthdat lil' man. xx

Sophie said...

I CAN NOT believe he is one!!!! He is gorgeous! Happy birthdat lil' man. xx

Mary Beth said...

What an amazing picture--his face just sums it up, huh? Happy birthday, little boy. And congrats on making it out of the first year in one piece. You deserve the joy. And the applesauce cake.

Oh yeah, and bananas? Nuh uh.

luna said...

happy day, little guy. and wonderful to hear about your happy mama.

Jess (afteriris) said...

Happy belated birthday to your boy! And yes. Yes to the the rest. Thanks Tash.

kriswaldherr said...

Happy happy, little guy!~ So glad you're here. :)

CLC said...

Happy belated birthday Ale! You are damn cute.

moplans said...

Happy Birthday!
Great photo

cullensblessings said...

Happy belated birthday sweet boy!

Natalie said...

Happy birthday! I'm so glad he's here.

Hennifer said...

LOVE the photo! I don't get around the internet much the way I'd like anymore. I check in from time to time and never, never am disappointed by your words.

I'm so thankful for the joy in your life TODAY and the days forward.

Anonymous said...

Great post, thank you for sharing and including a photo.

Cloaca said...

:-)

I had a something awful day today. After my subsequent, I thought it would be rainbows and puppies. It was. I thought it was. But today in front of colleagues I just lost it. It's been years. I'm really shocked what doesn't ever really go away.

But, really, I'm very glad that your son has had his first birthday. I'm glad that you're chugging along and hopefully running.

Take care,

Laura said...

I gaze at my 18-month-old twins with wonder. How did I get so lucky?? Amazing.

Happy Birthday to Ale-- what a pumpkin pie!