Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

My Beautiful Awful Diminutive One

On July 30th, amidst the craziness of the funeral and back to school preparations, my youngest child turned eight years old. Since then, I have been struggling to put into words exactly what parenting him has meant to me. But my feelings for Diminutive One are complex, and he is an exceedingly complex child. I first wrote about him in this post, which I think paints a very accurate picture. But he has grown and matured since then. Some things are worse, and some things are better. I have written several other pieces about him as well, but they tend to be a little one-sided, probably because I wrote them on days that I desperately needed to focus on something positive.

I'm going to be honest, because I think it's important that as parents we are true to our feelings and forthright about our struggles. I'm not interested in reading about perfect parents and their perfect kids, especially when I am beaten down and disheartened by a particularly volatile run-in with my Spirited child, and I doubt you are either. I want to hear about real parents and real kids, I want to hear about the stuff that happens in the trenches, not the stuff that happens in soft-focus snapshots and heartwarming magazine articles. love for him is deep and profound. It never diminishes. I realized that long ago, with enormous relief. Early in his life, I questioned. It seemed that I had nothing left over from doing battle with him day in and day out and I wondered if I was missing some essential component that allowed me to love him unconditionally. But I've learned, through a series of parenting experiences, mistakes and misadventures, that I love him just as fiercely when I need to walk away. I've realized that I'm always ready to give my life for him, even when life with him is arduous and exasperating.

But the fact is, there are days that I don't like him. There are days that I count the minutes until bedtime. There are days that I have to leave the house so I don't say something horribly ugly to him. There are days that I don't do it in time. There are days that we both crawl into bed demoralized, remorseful, and sad. There are days that apologies don't seem like enough, though I've grown adept at issuing them. Those are the days that all the Spiritual Lipstick in the world cannot help me and those are the days that I wonder why I was given this child to raise to adulthood when I am so obviously ill-equipped to do so.

On these days, I think back to the day he was born and the day he died.

My pregnancy with him was fraught with complications and his birth was the culmination of nine months of near constant anxiety. When at last he made his appearance, my labor was long and painful. Near the end, my blood pressure spiked dangerously high, nearly killing us both. By that point, I was really oblivious to everything due to an excruciating headache cause by my severely elevated blood pressue. But shortly before that, as my husband and I sat quietly enjoying a few moments of intimacy before the hustle and bustle that is the modern birth experience ensued, listening to the steady cadence of our baby's heartbeat.....he died.

The beats, which had been so steady and reassuring, suddenly slowed, and then stopped. My husband and I stared at each other in sickening shock and horror. I opened my mouth to scream, but no sound issued forth. I was paralyzed with fear. I watched the blind terror and naked grief play accross Husband's face and he was undoubtedly seeing the same on mine. Our beautiful baby boy was dead.

Husband started to rise, but before he was even out of the chair, the door to my hospital room exploded inward and the OB, along with three large orderlies, descended upon me. They lifted me as if I weighed no more than the baby I was carrying, and flipped me onto my side. Something was injected into my belly. The doctor barked orders which were obeyed without question. They were preparing to transfer me to an OR when suddenly, miraculously, the baby's heartbeat resumed. The rythmic tocca-tocca-tocca once again filled the room, strong and true, as if it had never ceased. Never, before that moment or since, have I heard such a beautiful sound. My baby was alive. My baby was alive.

Everyone in the room stopped what they were doing and stared at the monitor, as if it could somehow explain what had just happened. When my son was finlly born, safe and whole, we realized how big he was and the doctor offered a theory. Diminutive One was born weighing 9lbs 3 oz, but was only 19 inches long. He was portly and barrel chested and while passing through my pelvis, he was likely compressed to the point that his heart stopped momentarily. Several hours later it was found that he had a hole in his heart, which lent credence to that theory.

But I didn't care what caused it. I only cared that he was alive.

On the days that I feel as if I cannot take one more moment of his incessant arguing, his mulish stubborness, and his unabating defiance, I think back to that day and I remember how I promised a God I didn't even really believe in, a lifetime of service and devotion if only he would give me back my child.

It works.

These days, things are a little easier. I can talk to him about my frustration, and he can talk to me about his. And as he gets older, I begin to feel a sense of connection that I didn't before, despite my love for him. He has always been breathtakingly smart and perceptive and wonderfully offbeat and unique. But he has been such an enigma, that I have struggled to find a common thread between us.

Lately, his creativity, which has always been inherent, has blossomed into a dominant and consuming aspect of his personality. His brain is awhirl with thoughts and ideas, which he is constnatly jotting down to be crafted into stories and screenplays and works of art. Sometimes he can't sleep because he can't turn off his brain, he can't stop the ideas from fomenting into grandiose plans and projects.

There is a book in that child, hundreds of them. And I see now, that he is part of me in a way I had never anticipated. It's more than the color of his eyes or the curve of his lips. It's more than being right handed and hating peas. We share a passion and it feels so good to recognize in him, that which drives me. It feels so good to share something with this child who has been such a mystery to me.

I worry that all he will remember from his childhood are the times I lost my temper. The times I didn't count to ten, or follow Mary Kurcinka's advice. But what I've learned from my own Mom, who is sure she screwed us up in a similar fashion is this: If there is a strong foundation of love and support and encouragement and praise, the bad stuff gets left behind in the hazy netherworld of memory with bad dreams and childhood fears.

So Happy Birthday my Diminutive One. I love you. I have learned more from you than you will ever know, and I feel there is much more in store for me. I do not doubt for a second that you will be an amazingly successful adult. The determination, drive, and single minded tenacity, which cause us to clash now, will carry you far and serve you well. And I will do everything in my power to see that all your dreams come true and that you realize all your glorious potential.

Godspeed, Little Man. Sweet Dreams, Little Man.

Baby Diminutive One

Classic Diminutive One
"You can make me sit here, but you can't make me smile asshole."

Happy Diminutive One
(One of Mom's favorites)

Determined Diminutive One
"That ball is outta here."

Cooperative and Mature Diminutive One


  • At 6:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thanks for crystal clear glimpse into some real life parenting thoughts, skills, and lack thereof. It's not easy being a parent --- and when you find yourself the parent of a more demanding personality (in whatever fashion) it's exhausting and sometimes debilitating. I know. Juan is quiet and thoughtful and good-natured, but he is so pensive and deep and rooted in sameness that he sometimes literally sucks the energy right out of me just handling things the right way and using all the right words. The busy buzzing bee who is singing laughing story telling her way around the house while she is skipping that is Pippiiee --- is actually the "easier" child. And people wonder why I NEED school to start. As always, B.A., you hit the nail on the head. Thank you.

  • At 7:55 PM, Blogger OhTheJoys said…

    BA - I read this - and all the links - (I feel caught up having only recently started reading you.)

    You really are a great writer. I share of have shared many of these feelings about raising a boy, not seeing myself in him, etc, etc.

    You are a beautiful writer. Maybe it's easy for you, but it seems like one would have to spend a lot of time and thought on posts such as yours.

  • At 9:39 PM, Blogger Jess Riley said…

    This was such a wonderful post. I'm not a parent, yet I could relate to this, very much so. The mark of a gifted writer...thank you for the honesty.

  • At 9:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    BA - I am right there with as I am sitting here listening to my special child scream and cry upstairs for many many different reasons but all of which are the result of some bad choices she made this evening.

    It is so nice to have someone out there who understands that there are days when having a spirited child tests you, your patience and every single nerve in your body and you really just want them to stop being themselves.

    I am so with you.....

  • At 6:23 AM, Blogger Sandra said…

    Spectacular account of the reality of parenthood in both its challenges and its moments of magic. Happy Birthday Diminutive One!

  • At 8:21 AM, Blogger Bea said…

    There are so many parts of this post that speak to me, and move me. I'll list a few:
    -"There are days that I don't do it in time." All the things that statement doesn't say make it very powerful.
    -Your birth story: It make me gasp and cry and hold my hand over my mouth - I can see how a moment like that stays with you for the rest of your life, and changes you.
    -The part about your Mom: I've been thinking about this lately, the way our mothers' mistakes empower us to accept our own shortcomings as a parent, to realize the power of love, even when it is imperfectly expressed.
    -The baseball pictures: Those steely eyes! That ghost of a smile! Amazing.

  • At 6:40 AM, Blogger Ruth Dynamite said…

    Really beautiful post that many moms can appreciate.

  • At 9:24 AM, Blogger Jeanne Tuthill said…

    I can relate on so many levels. I'm pretty darn sure I have a "spirited" child...or after reading the link for "Spirited" on the other post you wrote about the Diminutive One I think I may very well have an "active alert child". Thank you for that post! I needed it today and I look forward to reading through more of your posts as time permits!

  • At 10:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wonderful pictures of your beautiful little boy. Happy birthday to him!

    Thank you for what you said about the foundation of love and praise. I needed to hear that.

  • At 12:21 PM, Blogger Unknown said…

    What a wonderful post. Thank you. I just found you via Antique Mommy.


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