It's just after 10:30pm on February 26th. This post will probably have me writing into Alexander's birthday. Seems about right as I don't think I'll have anything left to write for tomorrow. I don't mean that in a I finished my to-do list for February's blog posting, but I mean it in a way that I don't know what else to say. There are heavy, multidimensional emotions that come with every birthday...so much is the same with every year that passes, but (for me) there are pauses that I cant put into words. As if this is all getting easier in a really hard way.
This year in particular I didn't have all the time I wanted to sit with my missing and have my quiet time with Alexander. Theodore is sick, and today this post was supposed to be written while he napped and the words were there, and the thoughts were flowing. But he's sick, and fell asleep in the stroller on the way home from a quick let's just get out of the house trip to school, and where he usually transfers really well to the crib - today he woke a coughing mess with a stuffed nose and was inconsolable and sleep wasn't happening. There are times when I'm ready to sit and get some writing done and it for some reason gets cut off.. I'm left feeling like I'm holding my breath. And that's how I felt with Theo for a few hours until he decided to nap. I finally took him upstairs and laid in the twin bed with him and let him flip flop himself around for however long he wanted until he was ready to sleep. I threatened putting him in his crib and leaving the room if he didn't settle down, but that only got him as far as laying down for 10 seconds and then sit up and flop to the foot of the bed again. But after a while, I actually started to drift off...I rarely nap these days (mainly because the stress of trying while Theo naps is too much, and I hate wasting time trying to nap), so I surprised myself with my separating state of consciousness. Theo slammed his head on my pillow (hitting my head in the process) and started slow blinking... drifting drifting drifting... and before I knew it we were both asleep. I woke to his impossible snoring, and realized is arm had hooked mine and we were now entangled. Our faces were not 3 centimeters apart on one pillow. I had the urge to get up and try to put him in the crib and get things done or write a bit... but I encouraged myself to live in the moment and sleep with my sick little babe. And sleep we did. I might have stayed up there for 40 minutes before I was woken up by an abrupt shift in Theo's position, where at that time I marveled at his aliveness and decided to put him in the crib and have a cup of tea. It was 4:45pm at this point, and there's no clock in Theo's room, so I had no concept of time slept other than I went upstairs at 3:30pm.
Cut to 5:30pm and Theo waking up a complete and utter disastrous state and such has been my evening up until now. I'm trying not to sweat the small stuff, but I'm really down that Theo is such a mess for Alexander's birthday.
But I'm here now, giving myself the time to sit and be quiet with my thoughts and feelings, and
not ready to close off another year without my first born son.
I've had a love for Winnie the Pooh since childhood. My father, who is British/Scottish, carried on many things UK based into our childhood from his. I don't know if Winnie was a staple in his growing up, but he certainly made it one in mine. He read "Winnie-The-Pooh" (the yellow hardcover) to my sister and me before bed when we were young. I'm going to pin us at 8 and 10. It is one of the first non illustrated books that I can remember a story so vividly from. Even today as an adult, I remember that book. We (my sister and I) were given lots of WTP paraphernalia while growing up, but somewhere in our early teen years it became more my thing than our thing. In my mid teens, my father bought me WTP pajama's several years in a row for Christmas. One pair got tossed in the dryer, and were unbearable after a couple of years... but after over a decade, I still have 2 sets.
When I was pregnant with Alexander, I was excited for many things, but I was excited for the little baby I was going to dress in cute Winnie the Pooh onesies, footed pj sets, hats with ears... the cuter the better.
I soon realized that I didn't want to go overboard. When I was in a big baby store creating a registry, I saw myself scanning bathtubs, washcloths, laundry hampers, blankets...ALL Winnie the Pooh! And I had a moment. Too much, I thought. I didn't want WTP to become this child's identity and all he knew growing up. There were so many other DARLING little baby things to explore, I didn't want to limit myself to WTP only. Clothes, and a few other accessories were enough... because even that alone would create a trend, but I didn't want to turn myself into the next WTP hoarder's edition. But I knew it wasn't a secret that I liked Winnie the Pooh... I even got emails from a few people who were attending the baby showers asking if I liked Classic or Disney style Pooh. (Classic was my answer as if it was going to be overkill, I'd rather too much whimsy over too much Disney). But even thought I didn't buy a single WTP ANYTHING for this baby, I still ended up with a good bit.
And know what? I loved it. I loved all the little notes of Pooh and his friends among the other cute baby themed whatever pieces I received. And it wasn't too much. I got receiving blankets with jungle animals and polka dots, and fuzzy baby blankets with WTP alike. It was all a good balance.
But back to those pajama's my dad gave me as a teen...
I'll remind you I was a much bigger person as a teen. I was 181 lbs and 5'3 at 16 years old. So these pjs were big. (fact, my top weight with Alexander was 187 lbs). When I was pregnant with Alexander, the third trimester had me wearing those pajama's.
|These have a matching top... but it was collared and button down, and it bothered me then|
|another pj from my "childhood". I wore this while pregnant, but didn't sleep in it. |
I didn't like the length for sleeping, but wore it around the house.
No picture in it as it made me look like a tent while pregnant.
For my 28th birthday (Dec 20, 2011 - 7+ months pregnant), Daniel special ordered these slippers from the UK for me. I wore them in our new house all the time. The floors were cold in the winter, and these became my 24/7 footwear for in doors. I bought another pair of department store slippers to pack in my hospital bag because I didn't want hospital floor ick on these. I didn't wear these in the hospital, and I didn't wear them after Alexander died either. Not only were they pretty much the ONLY thing on my feet for the 1.5 months we lived in this house before he died, but they were also falling apart a bit. I guess 180 pounds on a daily basis was too much for this slipper. But I didn't want to ruin them further, so I stopped wearing them after he died.
|see them on my feet?|
All of the Winnie-the-Pooh everything we received, I used with Theo.
When I was pregnant with Theodore, I didn't fantasize about WTP preciousness the way I had with Alexander. My only fantasies were of him being born alive.. which at times felt like I was chasing my wildest dreams. But the WTP craze over all things baby kind of settled down when I was pregnant with Theo. I didn't want history repeating itself, so I couldn't get excited about all the things I got excited for while waiting for Alexander. A Winnie-the-Pooh footed pajama was not in Theo's future for a homecoming outfit, and fawning over baby blankets and bedding didn't seem safe either.
We bought a little dinosaur pj some time near the end of my pregnancy with Theo (dinosaur/Theodore. I'm so creative in it rhyming, no?), and with a leap of good faith and in a what do we have to lose
|wearing gifts from Alexander's baby shower...from I don't know who|
|a few blankets from the shower, all still in use for snuggling around here|
|one of my favorites. It's held up in so many washes, and is still super soft|
|Theo seen in all of Alexander's things. The receiving blanket was part of a shower gift too. |
He's wearing the onesie from the outfit seen below
I had a hard time putting Theo in this outfit. It was a 4-pc cardigan, hat, footed pant, and onesie set, with Winnie's smiling face on the bum. I cant quite put my finger on it, but it felt too happy (?) to put Theo in it? I don't know. But Theo also received this own little WTP themed 3 piece set from a family friend after he was born, but it had Tigger all over it. I remember thinking that this person must not have know I loved WINNIE ... but then it hit me after a few times of dressing him in it that she gave it to him because it has "T"s all over it, and his name is THEO! Duh! She probably didn't even know that I loved all things WTP.
But something about having one that was "his" and one that was his brother's made me feel less weary about dressing him in both.
Theo was not a stroller baby. He cried and fussed most of his early life, and my stroller dreams got crushed FAST with this kid. He hated the freaking pacifier no matter how I tired and tired to keep my finger in it while WALKING, I just gave up. I might have even cried as put the canopy down and pushed my screaming child. But one day he magically fell asleep when I was out for a walk... and I lifted the shade to see this precious child in that little outfit. My heart nearly burst with a zillion different emotions. I snapped this picture with my old phone. Wearing a little WTP.
Winnie the Pooh quotes are everywhere.
A few still make me smile and warm my heart in how such a childhood memory can be so relevant in my silly grown up mind
But then there are the ones that tug at my heart. All the ones that I probably read while I was pregnant with Alexander and didn't know what the hell was going to hit me...
I would still like to print that last one and have it up in the house somewhere. Sadly, it kind of ties my story together.
On Alexander's first birthday, Daniel's sister Tina is the only person who gave us a gift. She was the one who organized the majority of the shower details held at her parents house. She picked out the cake and the little saying, "A little hunny is on the way!" She to this day misses him openly and honestly.
On the eve of Alexander's first birthday we were at Daniel's parents house (for I don't know what reason), and as we were leaving, Tina pulled in the driveway. She said, "oh good, you're here. I wanted to give you this... well, it's for Alexander. I don't know what you want to do with it, you can open it now, or tomorrow...but it's for him. It's his." And she handed me a little blue bag with baby blue tissue paper. I ended up opening it in the car, and cried my eyes out. I think the only thing I could muster out was "...because she knows..."
And it was this:
I easily would have owned this had Alexander lived. It would be for his nursery or on a shelf somewhere.. I might have even spelled out his entire name. But I didn't ever buy it for myself. Even after he died, I had seen it... but I didn't ever buy it. Too heartbroken I guess. But she did. And she gave it to him for his first birthday. And my heart will forever be indebted to her for always including him, mentioning him, loving him - openly and publicly - all the time.
It was only this past year did I realize Winnie-the-Pooh was kind of Alexander's "thing". Funny, because it's pretty clear that it should have dawned on me much earlier! And I've always associated Winnie with Alexander in some way or another, but because it's still MY love, I didn't think it was his "nod" or "wink" or "symbol". It's true that it's not the only thing I think about when I think about Alexander (even though this post might seem like it!), but if there's a consistent "symbol" that I tied to him from before he was born, that pooh bear would be it. (I even called him "pooh bear" while I was pregnant ... but I called my cat that too...so...). And I have mixed feelings about that because I was born and raised on Winnie (to some extent), and Alexander didn't take over and "own" all things WTP. It's hard to explain. But a few months ago, Daniel told me he saw a WTP t-shirt at the Disney store that made him think of me. It was a nightgown pajama thing, and he said he was going to buy it, but wasn't sure of the size. Weeks later, I was at the Disney store and looked for that sleeper. It was gone as it was on sale, but they had WTP t's for ladies. I browsed the selection, and because I was already hit with a bug to buy something WTP, I bought one (please note, I haven't bought ANYTHING WTP for myself in years...maybe my entire adulthood! But I have a kid now, so it's cute). And truthfully, I was only thinking of myself. And maybe Theo a little, as I knew he'd get a kick out of pointing Pooh out on my shirt. It wasn't until I got home and was looking at it another time did I think of Alexander and all the WTP dreams I had for him. See? Now, WTP baby clothes? that's another story. He'd probably come to my mind in an instant - but all things baby do that.
But to kind of sum it up... I was having some mixed feelings after Alexander's 2nd birthday about how I don't have a "thing". All things purple make me think of him... and if you check my iphone case, and my water bottle, and my etc etc etc... they're all purple. (It was already a favorite colour of mine, but now it takes the cake). There is a butterfly on Alexander's urn, and butterflies do make me think of him... but I felt they were too coincidental/common to be his thing. I mean, there wasn't much selection for an urn his size... But to this day if you show me a purple butterfly... I'll take it as a wink from him. But last year, I would do this to myself, ... how do I not have something strongly connected to my first born son?!? and then go on to reminisce as I see Theo playing with his Winnie-the-Pooh bear and realize how much it makes me think of Alexander and my anticipation for him. See how I was missing it?! But I was. I didn't think I/he had anything. And it wasn't until it hit me like lightning not long ago while staring at my FB profile picture of the A with Winnie standing next to it, that OH YEAH, I do have a thing for him! It makes sense and it's been right under my nose... and all this time I thought I was so aimless.
And I don't want to lose the authenticity of my emotion here. I don't love it for Theo because it only reminds me of Alexander, but I love it for Theo because I would have loved it for all and every one of my children, and Alexander started it all.
But this brokenhearted mamma has gone on and on and on. It's now almost an hour into his birthday, and I'm going into "overthinking" territory in my tired state of mind.
His birthday is here, and right now at 1AM, after diving into so much of expecting Alexander.. anticipating him... it's almost like I can feel my comfortable big belly with him alive inside. He was the best kid, and god help me, him not being here could knock me off my axis. I am just not the same without him. And right now, as sad as that makes me, I'm considering that a good thing. The impact that he's made wrapped in how badly I want him back and need him here I can only take as a testament of my love. And if I ever had any doubt that I didn't love him enough, I hope to house this feeling in my darkest hour and know he was real, and it was all but love that he's left behind.
And Alexander would say...
a BLM friend of mine sent me the same message in a text today.
I didn't know this, but one of the "A"s in A.A Milne is for Alexander.
Thank you all for so much support through this month of February xo