Just so you know

All right. I have ideas. I think about stuff. So here is the spot for stuff I'm thinking about and want to be able to share more broadly and possibly promote. Like I have time for this.

Everything is provisional at this point and subject to change in the future - as far as the blog is concerned. In real life some things will remain unchanged.

Also, our children are not really named Lenny and Linus. We are not that cool.

Feel free to share, rant, disagree, but please remember that I'm an actual person who tries to be respectful. I'd love it if you are and do to.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

My Mantra. Remember. (Again)

This is a post I wrote earlier this year on my other blog.  It fits right in with what I wrote about the "remembering self" yesterday so I'm re-posting it here.  I should spiff it up and add some links, but there dad is sick and we had four (at least) more inches of snow last night and didn't make it to church and both boys are pile up on top of me on the bed so in the interest of actually getting it done I'm just changing the names and posting it as it is.  Maybe I'll add the links later.....

The other day Lenny was playing with Linus and he said, "Mommy, I'm being you.  I'm getting drool on me!"  I didn't get a chance to write it down right then, but I remembered.  At least for a few days.

I read a "mommy blog" today by someone who's kids are older.  She was saying she wished she had worried less and enjoyed her kids more when they were little.  I thought, "I wonder if she really remembers what it was like."  So intense.  So exhausting.  Enjoy doesn't really seem like the right word.  Maybe treasure is a better word.

I want to remember.  And I want to treasure this time when my children are so small and so dependent.  But it's turning my brain into jelly.  Today I couldn't remember if yesterday was the first time this year I'd left the house.  Turns out it wasn't.  Most significant, probably, since we found out that Linus has "hand, foot and mouth disease."  In his case this means that he has a broken blister on the roof of his mouth - near the back.  Most likely why he's been sleeping so poorly and why I thought he had a sore throat.

I know from when Lenny was a baby that it's impossible to remember everything.  New experiences and sensations and interactions flood in at an amazing rate and wipe the old ones away.  And it's hard to treasure the moments because the exhaustion, the chaos, the thousand and one demands and needs and details crowd in.  At the very moment that I'm thinking, "This is such a beautiful moment" I'm also thinking, "I need sleep so bad it hurts and I'm hungry and the baby needs a new diaper and Lenny has had WAY too much screen time this week and could someone just get me out of here for a few minutes?!?"

But it's like a mantra in my head.  It's why I take pictures and blog.  I want to remember.  I want to see that it's beautiful and find the pleasure that's in it.  I want to treasure it.

It's laying in the bed in the half-dark with the baby straddling my stomach.  And he leans forward and rivets his eyes on mine and soundlessly chomps his mouth open and shut like he's imparting the secret wisdom of the universe.  Remember.

It's his soft hands that smell slightly sour and have razor sharp edges on the corners of the fingernails searching for my face and grabbing handfuls of it when he's upset or nursing and about to fall asleep.  It hurts but my heart knows that it's good that I am what he reaches for when he needs comfort.  Remember.

It's the first time he sees his dad and throws his weight over in his direction.  The first time he cries when a toy he was playing with falls down.  First tooth, roll over, solid food, Christmas.  First toy he baptizes with drool, first jammies he grew out of, first blankets he snuggled under.  So many firsts already and so many to come.  I realized today that babies start out as only a promise.  Then they encounter the world and they grow and are formed.  And we are here.  A part of it.  And we see it.  We can treasure it.  And remember.

It's his own little way of interacting with the world.  It's the way he blows air through his lips or gargles his saliva.  The way he lights up when he sees his big brother, snuggles with his Grammy or plays patty-cake with his great Granny.  The way he stirs in his sleep, opening his mouth and turning his head in search of comfort.  It's the way he babbles and sings at home but is quiet and watchful when we go out.  The way he protests if he can't see what the other people in the room are doing.  The way he pumps his legs when he's held upright.  The way he looks at the back of his hands or pulls his feet toward his face to get a better look.  Notice these.  Remember.

It's the physical changes that come so fast in the first year.  Starting so bald with invisible eyelashes and brows that grow in red.  That little strip of thicker hair in the middle of his head that makes him look like a combination of a rebellious teen and a balding forty-something with a bad comb-over.  Those jowly cheeks and chubby thighs.  That rolled over ear from laying so long on it in my belly.  The soft, dented skull that turns rock hard.  The toothless grin that gradually fills in.  Watch this.  Remember.

It's how I keep from getting swallowed up by the intensity - by the fatigue and relentless needs and identity swallowing crush - of being a mom.  It's how I get through these totally overwhelmed and tearful days.  It's my mantra.  Remember.

It's trying to write a blog post and stopping a dozen times because he's bored and needs another clean diaper and is getting tired.  It's leaving him on the changing table to get it done because for some reason he's much more patient there.

So much in these early months and years.  So much to notice and treasure and remember.  Once it's over I'll say "It was gone in a flash."  But I think I'll also always say, "It's such an intense time."  I want to remember.  I want it to be part of what I treasure and take pleasure in through every other stage of his life.  Maybe I will.  Maybe I can.  For now I just have to get him off the changing table because he's run out of patience.

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