Thursday, January 28, 2016

The kid is all right

Lucien turned 10 last week.  Years are weird once kids turn up.  Sometimes they seem to drag on forever but then you look at him one day and he's huge. Then you find yourself wrapped around his growing body singing him the songs you sang him as a baby and begging him never to leave you.

Then he says something muffled like, "Mom, get off me, we're in a movie theater watching Star Wars."  Kid's a mood breaker, for sure.

Lucien was not the easiest baby.  He was not a happy cooing baby. He was a screaming baby.  If he wasn't nursing or sleeping (which he rarely did), he was crying.  It was constant baby crying for nearly six months, which does not do great things for a new mom's psyche.

The doctor couldn't figure out a reason for it; he seemed healthy and pink and strong in all ways.  I changed my diet, did all sorts of anti-gas baby dangling to make sure he wasn't just one huge gas bubble, supplemented with formula for awhile, read him long passages from Chaucer, sang him show tunes.

Nothing helped.  It was the dreaded mysterious colic and all we could do was wait it out.

so wait we did, while attempting to maintain our sanity

I wore him in the baby carrier all day because it was the only way he would sleep.  He demanded constant proximity, constant motion to be soothed.  I slept with him on the couch every night cradled in the crook of my left arm, trying to murmur him to sleep while he glared and waved his tiny fists in jagged jerky air shapes.  I was an "attachment parent" without ever wanting to be an attachment parent.

Below is a famous picture in our family because it illustrates in a small way the state of our minds at the time.  This is in the middle of the night and I'm wearing Lucien and bouncing because he once again woke up angry.  Lucien hated baby swings but he liked when Alex put him in his car seat and swung him back and forth as wide as Al's arm could reach.  Lucien was into BIG range of motion, not small paltry stupid range of motions.

To save Alex's arm, we attempted to replicate the sensation by tying his car seat to our ladder with a length of rope and swinging him back and forth to each other, bleary-eyed and silent. Sometimes Lucien decided that was satisfactory to him but other times he just yelled through the ladder swinging, too.

 Safety first.
Meh, f*ck it, let's strap the baby to the ladder.

I wish I could go back and talk to that me.  I wish I could tell her to stop crying her blubbery tears and get on with it already.  I would tell her he was going to grow up a happy kid, and he was going to love the crap out of her.  He was still, at the age of 10, not going to get embarrassed when she squeezed him in front of his friends.  He was going to say, "I love you Mom" all sleepy-like when she kissed him goodnight in his bed.

I'd tell her he's a great big brother to another opinionated being (a girl this time) who would show up unexpectedly a few years later.  (No way I'd tell her to avoid that bottle of wine that led to the Coco babymaking in Paris, though, because Coco must exist in this world.)

I'd tell her he was going to sleep so well one day, in his own bed in his own room, it would become difficult to get him out of bed in the mornings. Sometimes getting him out of bed would involve bracing her foot against his bedframe and pulling on his legs with all her might while saying things like, "Come ON, get UP."  Younger me wouldn't believe that one, it would feel like a far away unattainable dream.

the kid is all right

I would want younger me to know that 10 years in, he's an individual marching to his own beat for sure, kindhearted and funny and comfortable in his skin.  I would tell her to relax, that she wasn't doing anything wrong and her baby didn't hate her, it's just that some babies need time to accept the fact they're born.

Or maybe I wouldn't say anything at all, because it would alter the journey somehow and change how we all are 10 years later.  Maybe I'd simply say the years with him are going to be worth every sleepless frustrated tear-filled day and leave it at that.  Then I'd smooth her hair, give her a hug, make her a drink.

No hard feelings, little punk.
best thing I ever did
no matter what

10 years down. Keep on trucking, kid, we are big fans,


  1. So many tears as I read this cuz you are a magnificent writer but mostly because we were with you for some of those years and love him too. Happy Birthday Lucien, you are all right (even wonderful).

    1. Kathy, that's the sweetest thing you could have possibly said, thank you. I'm going to tell him you said that, he'll grin a wide one for sure.

    2. Just one other thought, I am so glad you protected his spirit especially when those French teachers were always trying to suppress it. He has been around the sun ten time so he will probably need rest this weekend. LOL

    3. Yeah.... it was not the best fit for The Loosh at that school. He's still just as loud as he ever was but is thriving. Teachers are a little more used to it around here, I guess! Thanks, Kathy.

  2. What a beautiful post; brought tears to my eyes while at work. Thank you so much MJ and Happy Birthday to your wonderful boy!

    1. Thank you, JLT, thank you so much.

  3. A decade of the Loosh!! thank you for creating such a special being! Hey, how is Bobo the bearded dragon?

    1. Ahh, perhaps an ode to Bobo the Bearded Dragon is in order next. He's great, kind of sitting there looking like a lizard. It's hard to tell if he's happy. Reptiles don't emote. But he's alive and kicking and still pretty damn cool. Thanks for saying hi, LuxMeister!!!

  4. I am a lurker on your blog (which I LOVE) and this is my first comment! That was a beautiful post which brought tears to my eyes. You really are a fabulous and hilarious write!!