This is a post about Thor, my new-ish baby, and my three year old daughter Beezus. Grief makes a cameo, as it always does. Lucy is mentioned too. But I thought I should warn you if you do not want to read about such things. There is also a video of the boy.
Most days, staring at Thor, I think I can actually see him getting fatter. He was noticeably chubbier this morning. He has more than doubled his weight in twelve short weeks. Chunk and smiles. Goos and kicks.
I have an easy baby. It surprises me. I am the person with a dead baby and a sick father and a thousand other small tragedies that have filled my half-empty glass for thirty-six odd years. I am the kind of person that might have gotten a colicky baby if my life were an independent film. That is what I would have written for my character. Colicky baby goes to grief-stricken mother. Cue pit of despair. Sometimes this new found lucky/happy/fortunate/things working out thing befuddles me. Where do I channel all this angst?
I have one little quibble. Thor has taken to vomiting on me a few nights a week, just to keep it interesting, but much in keeping with his Norse god nature, he never cries about it. He's not much of a crier. He just chunders and goes back to sleep.
I cry about it, though. Some nights. When the girl and the man are sleeping next to me, I realize that changing the sheets is impossible at 3:47am, so I cover the wet spot in two towels, flip around in bed and sleep upside down while little Thor snores away in his co-sleeper. Then I cry. I feel sorry for myself for sleeping in a puddle of puke, even if the baby was good-natured about it all. Sometimes I cry because there are certain puddles of puke from a certain little baby girl that I wish I could have cleaned up. Sometimes I just cry because the hormones and grief and fatness and shame and hard relationships and loneliness demand it. And in the dark of those nights I wonder when grief becomes depression that has nothing to do with dead babies. I never suffered with chronic sadness or depression, and yet I don't know now, when I look at all the happy-ness in my life, if this sadness is all about the dead baby anymore. The happy column is much much longer than the shitty column yet some days I cry.
I awkwardly realize that my sadness is like a handmade poncho which clings to the worst parts of my body and prevents my arms from freely gesticulating. It is also ugly and out of fashion. It was made by my completely made up aunt who picks synthetic yarn and obnoxious colors. I sometimes wonder if I am just being petulant. Perhaps if I just tried a little harder to get beyond my grief, or if I just sucked it up, I could stop feeling sad. Many moments in my day, I would say the majority of them, I am happy. I have a beautiful family. A lovely home. More creativity than time. But every day, there seems a bitter minute or ninety, where I realize I am stuck in the loathsome poncho, spinning around, yelling at the children and the dog to get out of my dang way, trying to take it off only to get more caught up in it. And I wonder if the poncho has the label Grief or Depression.
Thor coos now. Little noises that mimic words and sentences. Some days, in my most deranged, sleep-deprived moments, I think the baby is speaking real words. I swear the kid said "Audrey" the other day when my niece was visiting, and I am certain he yells, "Mama" when he beginning to squawk. I put my face about four inches from his face, and repeat, "I love you. I love you." He stares at me, working very hard not to smack me upside the face, and says, "Goo." Mostly he speaks in newborn gibberish, or so he is leading me to believe. I am not buying it. I believe he speaks English and is simply annoyed with me. Hell, I get annoyed with me too with all my goos and shit.
Whatever tongue in which the baby is speaking, the girl understands it. Beezus has taken to translating for him, telling me what he is really saying when "goooooooo" comes out. She does what I do when I speak for others. If it is a man, I make his voice really low and Southern. If it is a woman, she is always high-pitched and my mother's weird Spanish/Pennsylvania Dutch accent. Thor's words are always said in an incredibly high-pitched voice, her fingers clasp together point down, like she is tiptoeing through Planet Baby Animal.
As the children bathed together with me (don't judge) the other day, Thor spoke an entire sentence in baby gnome, or whatever language he is speaking. Beezus said, "Mama, Thor just said, 'I can't wait until I grow up to be a big girl with a vagina.'"
"Thor will always be a boy, Beatrice, with a penis."
"But I want him to grow up to be a girl."
"You do? I thought you wanted a baby brother."
"No, I wanted two sisters, not a sister and a brother." Her voice broke as though I personally controlled the whole gender selection issue.
"I'm sorry, love, but you will always have a brother."
Did you hear that? She said she had a sister.
Lucy shows up a lot in our conversations now. Just ordinary conversations about the boy/girl ratio in our family, or who looks like whom. I love those moments when it feels like Lucy is living a normal life with us. And it hits me that I have three children, not just the two I am looking at. Not that I ever forget Lucy-girl, it is just easy to get wrapped up in the two whose butts I am wiping.