Memento

There are many truisms about being a parent that you hear while pregnant that you kind of shrug off, like how your life will change, how you can feel your hips spread and the sleepless nights at the end – or, in my case, 7 months of – one’s pregnancy. But the one comment that I thought people were insane to share with me was the comment, “Oh, I forgot when my baby did XYZ.” XYZ can be inserted with anything from sleeping through the night, eating solid food, smiling, saying “mama.”

“Come on,” I’d think to myself, “How can you not remember when your baby slept through the night?” I mean, how could someone not remember when their baby first ate solids?

People, you are reading about one of those people. I now realize that this comes from clinging to *something* – anything – that would chart a course to normalcy or consistency.

My closest friend, M, has a lovely 8-month-old, and when she asks me questions I have to wrack my brain to remember. What do 8-months-old play with? Uh, they’re still in an exersaucer, right? Blocks? Stacking cups? Animals?

Here is what I have forgotten:

  1. When C rolled over.
  2. The pain of child birth. You laugh at this, but even after 44 hours of labor and delivery, I remember that it hurt, but mostly I remember my friend, A, telling me how to push. It worked. I was a champion pusher. And here’s a hint: many of you “know” how to push. I won’t say any more.
  3. How I made it through returning to work after 11 weeks. At that time C was nocturnal and her wakeful time was 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. She was still getting up throughout the night and I would get up at 5 a.m. to pump because she didn’t nurse. Who knows what I was like at work, when my memory and language skills were that of a goldfish? Months 3-7 are empty in her baby book. I just can’t remember what was going on.
  4. C’s first word. Dada?

Here’s what I remember:

  1. When C smiled (7 weeks). I remember because there’s a video of it.
  2. When C slept through the night (8 or 9 months, I think).
  3. When C crawled (11 months?).

I know that a lot of this has to do with sleep deprivation, but maybe some of it has to do with my chance to see each day as new. If my mind held on to so many of those milestones, maybe I’d miss the new ones, like how she now says “here you go, mama” (sounds like “heeyagomama”) or now “feeds” us and her blanket milk.

I don’t know what it is, but whatever it is, I love it.

– MD

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