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.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Mourning Normal

It wasn't just a baby that was lost, you see.

It was hope.

I love Diminutive One. I think he is fabulously smart and creative and will one day do very big things. He has taught me a lot about myself and a lot about the kind of parent I can be.

But he has been hard.

Every minute of every hour of every day with him has been a challenge. And he will continue to challenge me long after, I think, the age at which most parents consider their job done.

A lot of his life has been difficult for me to enjoy because it has been mired in self-doubt, anger, worry and sheer unmitigated exhaustion. While I have always loved him, and always will, with a depth and ferocity that still surprises me sometimes...the truth is that I have spent far more time than I am entirely comfortable with, not liking him very much.

Because I was so focused on just getting through each day without having a nervous breakdown, I missed a lot of the good stuff. And there was good stuff. But I find that I have a hard time remembering it now, because then, I had a hard time seeing it for what it was.

I know it's difficult for people with typical children to understand such a thing. It's hard for me to understand and even harder for me to admit. But I have to in order to make sense of all the feelings that parenting him evokes. I have to own the good and the bad.

And, really, I could lie to all of you and pretend that raising him has been nothing but a joy and a privilege....but I could never lie to myself, at least not with any measure of success. The truth would always be there, gnawing at me.

I had one of those perfectly compliant and blissfully laid back children. And yes, I was the one judging you when your child had a tantrum, or hit another child, or threw their food in a restaurant. Because my naivete led me to believe that the easy going nature of my child had something to do with me.

It didn't. And it was a hard learned lesson, let me tell you.

So...when I thought I might be pregnant, for me, it was another throw of the dice, another spin of the wheel, another hand to play. I thought it was maybe another chance at normalcy. A normal baby. A normal child. A chance to enjoy those precious few fleeting years, instead of just enduring them.

A chance to feel good and confident and proud of myself as a parent. To feel, once again, like I'm good at this gig. I felt like a good parent with Pubescent One. I still do. With Diminutive One, I feel like an abject failure 99% of the time.

So it's not really a baby I'm mourning. It's normalcy. Adequacy. Competency.

Well, and maybe, just a little bit...that baby head smell.

But the fact is, we have just as much chance of conceiving another child who is every bit as defiant, oppositional, stubborn, unconventional and single-minded as Diminutive One. Atypical. Different.

And I'm just not sure I can hack that again.

So I think that we will let what is, be.

((BIG CLEANSING BREATH)) you mind if I sniff your baby now and then?


  • At 7:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    My dear B.A., you are so eloquent. And it's so hard for us to admit when our years of mothering have exhausted us beyond what we consider the scope of normal. No matter what distracts us from what we derive as our right to joy, it distracts us and then it's lost. At least through reading your blog I believe that you are able to squeeze joy out of whatever moment you can. And that's a gift. Many parents can understand the enormity of an hour, an action or a moment where we have a clear head and things are calm. It's the opposite of not sweating the small stuff, it's appreciating the small stuff. For us, it's in the minute details because the big picture just ain't always so pretty.

    And now, give yourself a break. You are a champion for your sons. Can't be a better mother than that.

  • At 7:42 AM, Blogger All Things BD said…

    Wow, yours is an amazing story.

    If I had a baby, I'd let you sniff him all you want. :)

  • At 8:12 AM, Blogger Pgoodness said…

    I'll wager you are awesome to both boys and that neither of them would EVER see you as a failure, but I know that it's how you feel and it is what it is.

    I'm sorry for your loss - of the possibility and hope; of the dreams that came with the potential baby. But you are handling this superbly.

    If I had a baby, you could sniff him ALL the time if you wanted. :)
    Thinking of you.

  • At 9:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I am in exactly the opposite position. I worry the baby will be like Z, who is a very compliant child but, as you know, very difficult to parent for other reasons. I feel like we have thrown the dice and might be condemning another child to the kind of complex life he leads.

    So, from the opposite corner, I totally get what you are saying here.

  • At 9:03 AM, Blogger Marit said…

    I am so thankful for your honesty!

  • At 9:44 AM, Blogger said…

    Sigh... There's never an easy answer, is there?

    I'm sorry that you had to go through this emotional turmoil of what if's and maybe's...

  • At 9:47 AM, Blogger Middle Girl said…

    If I had a baby... Too big an *if* to even contemplate. Easier to bottle the baby head smell and ship that to you. :)

    To pass on what I've heard often throughout my life, "everything happens for a reason".


  • At 10:03 AM, Blogger NatzG said…

    Your bravery with facing your demons, inspires me. Thank you.

  • At 11:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have an excellent bowling partner for your Diminutive One. She is my first.

    Lately, I don't know how I will do it again. Because I've never felt suitable or capable of raising a spirited child.

    But (whomever/whatever one believes in) must have thought we had the chops.

    So I'll keep trying. But being honest with ourselves is key, so I think you're doing great.

  • At 12:46 PM, Blogger Amy Y said…

    I understand... although I haven't walked in your shoes, it makes sense to be mourning normalcy.

    hang in there, Mama.

  • At 3:01 PM, Blogger Maddy said…

    Well you know what they say about statistics! We are that statistic.

    I also know about 99.9% abject failure, but that's why we blog right?

    Best wishes as always

  • At 3:09 PM, Blogger flutter said…

    I have no babies to sniff, but I have hugs

  • At 3:39 PM, Blogger Girlplustwo said…

    i've been thinking of you, and wondering if this is something you might really want, then what says you still can't see about having it?

    i know it's more complicated than that, but i had to say it anyways. xo

  • At 4:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Oh my god - I can't believe how a blog I have stumbled upon in the last few days has completely summed something up for me. See I too, have "spirited one" (I've even taken classes on the subject) And she is my last - sort of by choice - sort of by medical difficulties. But 2 years ago I had a very surprising pregnancy, and a very upsetting miscarriage, and the overriding sense I had (aside from yes, baby smells and all that), was that I'd lost my chance for a "do-over" - a chance to get through those most difficult days of the most difficult ages, and perhaps- be it because of my experience, maturation, or just an easier child - to do it better than I had with Spirited One" I totally understand - and can't believe there is someone "out there" - who would appear to understand what I felt. - God bless you for sharing.

  • At 8:05 PM, Blogger Chicky Chicky Baby said…

    You can always sniff my baby. It's the least I can do for getting a glimpse into your mind.

  • At 9:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You are welcome to sniff my baby anytime...although you would get a reality check twice daily :)
    Seriously, though, you are an amazing woman...and to be so honest about your children takes courage. I applaud you. I am sure you are harder on yourself then you need be...

  • At 9:50 PM, Blogger crazymumma said…

    My littlest one is everything you described. i feel like i was gypped out of so much because she was so damned hard. That her littleness became such a labour.

    may you find many baby heads to smell.

    yeah you know? I just went back and reread your first several paragraphs. And yeah. You nailed it right down.

  • At 7:05 AM, Blogger Woman in a Window said…

    Oh, I feel like such a shit pulling the old..."I knew you weren't pregnant." So before anything else, I'm so freaken sorry. I didn't realize the depth of your excitement.

    Now I do. I have one of those not-easy children (understatement mostly) and that redemption through birth makes so much sense! For me though I would be more stricken with the possibility of having to go through all those difficulties again. I only have enough strength for one. And then at times, not even quite enough for her.

    OH gawd help me, I've never done this before but I do feel like giving you a cyber HUG. I'm feeling large for you this morning. I'm understanding this all too well.

  • At 7:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I commend you for admitting your deepest feelings. I, too, have a challenging one who is smart and difficult. She was my first. My second is easy going and sweeter than pie, but not as quick to learn the things his sister picked up with relative ease. I often regret that all the "business" of motherhood keeps me from enjoying it. I've missed a lot, too.

    I'm sorry for your loss, but I believe that everything happens for a reason and maybe, just maybe, this was just nature's way of reminding you to embrace what you have and have done.

    They should bottle baby head smell or make one of those car air fresheners into a cute little baby head instead of one of those trees. That would be cool.

  • At 11:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I totally relate as I also have a "spirited" child. The fear of having another spirited one is what is keeping him an only child, at least for the moment.

  • At 12:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I think you are a phenomenal parent to DO. I take notes from you, seriously. You have such a level head and common sense with him and even though you wonder about your ability to parent him, I don't wonder. You've demonstrated time and again through your handling of him that you are the best parents for him. I know that self-doubt is another way we grow, but I hope you can someday see the awesome job you're doing, just as you look back and see the good parts of what you once were just trying to endure.

    And yes, you can smell my baby's head any time.

  • At 3:50 PM, Blogger mamatulip said…

    My comment is much the same as anonymous' above me - I understand, because of my boy.

  • At 12:50 AM, Blogger Notes and letters to myself.... said…

    hugs - from Oregon.

  • At 11:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This post was like you were inside my head - how do you do that?

    After we had our last baby (15 months ago)9 years after her spirited sister, hubby looked at me and said Do you view this as a second chance baby? to do things better with her than we did with her sisters?

    I do sometimes but mostly I am scared that she is going to be like her sister and I don't think I have the emotional stability to parent another child like my spirited child. I fear for my and their well being if we have the same issues.

  • At 10:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    So, will we get to see the tattoo??

    :-) (hope you don't think this is too ...flip. I do empathize with your sorrow for the possibilities.)

    hugs to you!

  • At 4:40 AM, Blogger Ruth Dynamite said…

    There's no such thing as normal, BA, and though your road may be more challenging than most, from where I sit you seem to be able to celebrate the joys as they come.

    That's not normal - that's extraordinary. Now please go get that tattoo!

  • At 9:21 PM, Blogger Boliath said…

    I'm catching up, I haven't been reading and I'm sorry to read this news. My baby is 13 months old, I sniffed his head earlier today and would like to offer that sniff to you as well as the one I will do when I check on him before I sleep. You are welcome to sniff his head any time you wish xx


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