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.