Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Thor, God of Chunder

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.


  1. Try putting more than one set of sheets on the bed. Then you can at least peel back the top layer and roll it to the side without waking everyone else up. (I have three crib sheets, layered with waterproof covers, on the crib. And Elizabeth has repaid me for this foresight by only throwing up on ME during the night. Never once in the crib.)

    It's nice that Lucy-talk is just part of your lives. :)

  2. Insanely adorable. But he really needs to cut down on the walrus milk ;-)

  3. My word, Thor is bloomin gorgeous, I want to come and squidge those lovely thighs!

  4. What cuteness! Love the video... though I need a translator too (his english is better than mine or is it his accent?) ;)

    Glad Lucy is part of your daily lives. Wish she could be here with you. Sending big loves! xoxo

  5. Oh I'm sure he said hello! Funny, I was going to post this week about Angus, and mostly Angus. Go all mummybloggy on everyone. But with Angus being the difficult, colicy baby, I just haven't had the time or energy. I need to find more energy to write about these times, because as hard as they are, I don't want to forget them.
    Loved the poncho analogy, loved this post.
    Love to you and your kids, Angie. Those whose butts you wipe and those you don't.

  6. Love the little film of Thor, he is just gorgeous!! Lovely little chubby boy.

    Wish I could help with the poncho. It's hard to find the way with all the emotional confusion and difficult to separate the pure grief from the other emotions. May you be spared the depression, depression is tough one on top of grief.

    In my opinion/experience it helped me to hold on to the good thoughts so that I don't get sucked down into the abyss. Bit like counting your blessings when the sh*t comes flying in your face. Sorry about the graphic language... :-P

    Love your little family all 5 of you.


  7. he is too reakin' cute. and kind of a giant since i saw him! i'm sorry he is puking on you - clearly he is keeping a lot of that mama milk down, though.

    i love that bea talks about lucy. it is just so sweet.

    poncho. ugh. just ugh. xoxo

  8. Thor is such a cutie!

    Hooray for so many happy moments. I think that when you find the poncho has forced itself on you, curl up into it, define all of the colors, look at the label over and over until you can read it. I think that if you suck it up you can look like you don't feel sad but truly not feeling sad happens in its own time.

    Sorry you are getting puked on - eww. How about putting the towels down first then taking them off of the bed if they are vomited on?

  9. He is so adorable - and I think he and Toby might be in secret communication (in whatever language they happen to speak - Toby mainly speaks bellow currently!) because Toby is also a chunky monkey who delights in throwing up over his mama. (Only once in my MOUTH ... so far ... Eeewww! Teach me to dandle him over my head after a feed)

    Do you know - I wondered the exact same thing about three months on. When does grief and baby hormones become depression. I think until then I had lived in the land of gratitude - He's alive, he's alive. Look, my baby is alive - and then I sort of emerged into day to dayness and, yup, I found I had one of those auntie ponchos too. Sometimes I still feel like that.

  10. I can relate to this post alot. Caelan went through a stage of wanting Jasper to be a girl too. He wanted another sister to replace the one he lost. Actually he wanted them both.

    I'm glad she talks about Lucy. I know it's bittersweet but I love hearing Jordan's name come out of Caelan's mouth.

  11. Oh, he is so darn cute. I just want to give him a squeeze!

    I hear ya Angie. Some days I am still incredibly sad, and really my life is pretty good and there's not much I should complain about. I just think it will ebb and flow for a while. I just spoke to an old high school friend whose baby son died 9 hours after he was born from an undiagnosed heart problem. His 15th birthday/anniversary just passed last week. I wrote to ask her what it was like 15 years later and she told me that she is at peace with it now. But that the first 5 years (that's right, I wrote 5) were extremely difficult. And then one day she realize that she needed to live for her family that is here. She says that she always thinks of him, but it is with happiness now that he was in her life, if even for that short time. I just find that amazing that our journey may bring us to a place of peace eventually. And in the meantime, I am not going to feel bad about feeling bad sometimes and neither should you. After all, our babies have only been gone 2 and 1 years, respectively. That's a short time when you put it in the grand scheme of life. XOXO.

  12. Hey, Angie - just sending love. xo

  13. Thor is so chubby and adorable. I will totally eat him up, and I mean that seriously.
    The poncho metaphor is brilliant. I think it speaks for many of us.
    The bath conversation with Bea broke my heart... it did, completely. xoxo


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