Five for Ten: Memory

May 14, 2010 at 1:44 am | Posted in Bun, Five for Ten | 44 Comments
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My third child, Bun, is six days old. He was two days late but exactly on timehe arrived on Mother’s Day. The last week has been a swirl of excitement, exhaustion, joy, recovery, and discovery. Thanks to everyone for your support and good wishes since his arrival. Together, as mother and child, we are finding our way. This post recounts one of our first steps.

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The electric pink clouds silently fade to a purple haze. One star starts to twinkle its nightly cadence, then another joins in. The chimes outside ring; night is falling.

Bits of broccoli and pizza crust stick to green, plastic plates piled in the sink. Last sips of milk teeter in upended sippy cups. Circles of peach juice make a sticky mosaic on the kitchen table.

Little feet get stuffed in dinosaur pajamas. The hunt begins for Purple Bear, who is still waiting patiently to be found after an afternoon game of hide-and-seek. Small fingers join bigger ones to turn Goodnight Moon’s worn pages.

Finally, it’s quiet. Nightlights keep vigilant watch over lurking shadows. The air conditioner whirs on, then off. My house is asleep.

But I am not. I won’t be. I’m working the night shift.

I’ve got a baby who needs to eat every three hours. A baby whose days and nights are as tangled as the lanky arms and legs he’s finally free to stretch. A baby whose tiny hand needs to clutch mine as he searches for sleep.

Oh, how I remember the night shift.

I’ve been here before. First, with my daughter. Again, with my older son.

Yes, I’ve been here before. So tired my brain is a muddled mess operating on muscle memory alone. Diaper, feed, burp, rock, soothe. Diaper, feed, burp, rock, soothe. Over and over until the first bird’s chirp announces a new day.

Yes, I’ve been here before. My body so broken and weary I think I will never heal. My emotions so fragile that an errant diaper flap or a false latch can shatter them. My love so raw, so real, that my baby’s every sigh and squeak send those same fragile emotions soaring.

Oh, how I’ve been here before. But this time, I have a new companion. And as exhausted and overwhelmed as we are, we are in this together. We are getting to know each other with every touch of our cheeks, every tickle of toes, every sleepy dance across the kitchen tile.

Somehow, the hours pass. My house sleeps. But not Bun and me.

We’re working the night shift.

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Read more about memory over at Momalom’s Five for Ten.

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  1. OH my, you’ve brought this back for every one of us whose kids are too old, who can’t quite remember what it was like.

    Thank you. And hang in there.

  2. Stacia! I knew it! I knew Bun would come on Mother’s Day! Congrats, friend! God, just looking at that little hand…I want to inhale.

    Take some time for yourself, if you can. I know, easier said than done. So happy for you. Those first months are hard…just don’t forget to inhale. Fresh baby smell is intoxicating. The payoff for your hard work.

  3. What a lovely post, Stacia! I’m so happy for you all. Take good care of yourself.

  4. Oh my goodness!!! Mother’s Day. I knew he had to be here. So excited, so pleased for you.

    I sighed as I read this, it’s been only 15 months since I was there. It’s crazy that I miss it. But I do. Enjoy…and take care, and try to find time to love yourself too if you can.

  5. Oh the sweetness of the nightshift 🙂 In between the sleepiness and the craziness it’s so tender…
    Congratulations!!! So glad Bun is here and in your arms!

  6. Congratulations!! And how wonderful it is that he arrived on Mother’s Day 🙂 And you haven’t missed a beat – I am impressed that you could write something so beautiful and coherent with a newborn.

    Well, it’s been 6 years since I’ve done the night shift. It was my first and only, and reading your post I wish I had had more tender feelings then – wish I had not wished those days away – but alas, the shock of first time motherhood…

    Enjoy and congrats!

  7. that sweet post almost made me miss the night shift. almost!
    your blog has been one of my favorite finds on five for ten 😉

  8. Congratulations! I am so excited to hear that Bun has made his entrance.

    The night shift was sweeter with my second daughter (my own Bun) for some reason. Maybe because she was my second, and it was easier, or SEEMED easier. For being familiar. Plus my first daughter had her clock all turned around, and thought party time was 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. That hurt. We’ll see what in store this time.

    Kisses to your sweet baby. Hope you get a little rest, soon!

  9. I read your post last night on my ipod touch while I was on the nightshift! For some reason, I mind the nightshift less this time around. It’s kind of nice to focus on the baby (even if in a sleep-deprived haze) and know that the other two kids are sound sleep. Don’t get me wrong though, more sleep would be nice too. But, hey, we have the rest of our lives to sleep if we wish!

    Congratulations on your beautiful bun boy! Enjoy this time!

  10. I forgot to mention what a beautifully written post this was!

  11. Oh yes…My daughter is now 8 months old, but man oh man were we Queens of the Night! It’s something that while going through it’s hard to appreciate, but now looking back on it, I miss all that time snuggled up together. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  12. On Mother’s Day? What a beautiful gift! You are creating many lovely memories, right now, this very second. What could be more beautiful than that?

  13. I am loving all of these posts I’m reading about pregnancy and having a newborn…it’s bringing me back to those times without all of the messiness of actually reliving them again (although it’s sort of making me want to…)

    Thanks for sharing this beautiful memory. I love that you can note the positive aspects of not sleeping when you have a newborn.

  14. First of all, Congratulations!! You definitely hit those early days straight on. They are exhausting and manic and you feel like you’re in alone and that it will never end. But it does. You know, I’m sure. Even if it may not seem like it right now.

  15. Oh, how well I remember. And can I just say, I am so close to my 3rd child (who was 16 yesterday!) because she was the last, and I was seasoned and ready for her. Altho she was also the biggest challenge of the 3…
    You are miraculous woman! Posting with a 6 day old. You amaze me. Treasure those night feedings, they’ll be gone soon enough. I hope you have help. Been thinking of you…

  16. Such a beautifully written post by a sleep-deprived mama. What a great job. It’s been five years since I’ve had to do a night shift, and this made me miss it – but just for a minute! Ah, the quiet nights with the soft skin and sweet baby smells. Enjoy.

  17. The night shift is HARD. I think that’s why babies are cute – so we won’t resent them for causing our sleep deprivation. And a whole slew of other inconveniences.

    Wonderful post – as usual. And so glad to meet Bun and his perfect little tiny hands.

  18. You have so beautifully articulated those precious first moments, days (nights!) of life. What a lucky little Bun to be so obviously adored.

    Congratulations!

  19. Congratulations! Newborns are so wonderful and so hard at the same time. You know that it gets easier and you don’t believe it at the same time. Big hug to you.

  20. Congratulations! So impressed by your level of narrating your truth so quickly after childbirth. Lovely sentiment and I am certain your newborn served as some inspiration. Take care!

  21. You definitely win the best mother’s day award.
    I can remember being elated but emotionally overwhelmed, and I can’t imagine it with a houseful of kids and tasks. I’m glad you sound happy and calm in the face of that tangle of days and nights and needs.

  22. Yeah!! Congratulations!!! What a perfect mother’s day gift.
    I actually loved the night shift. I really did. The moon shining through the window as I sat rocking the baby. Just him (her) and me. Alone. Together. I felt so calmed. So needed. So peaceful. Yes, EXHAUSTED but wonderful all the same.

    Enjoy the moments and your new little bun.

    Beautiful post even in an exhausted state!!! xo

  23. CONGRATULATIONS!! (I am so sorry I missed this!) I am really at a loss for words. Truly happy for you and your little “Bun.”

  24. Glad the bun is here and joining the characters of Fluffy Bunnies.
    Happy newbornhood!

  25. Congratulations Stacia! How wonderful that Bun arrived on Mothers Day, a double celebration for your both every year forever more. What a beautiful post – how you can write so eloquently after six days of sleep depravation is quite beyond me.

  26. Oh, I remember that shift so well. It’s tough, to be sure, but there is joy in it, isn’t there?

    So thrilled for you all!

  27. We used to call that “baby patrol”. After I had my first, my mother and sister would take turns helping me out. I’d feed, they’d burp, rock and diaper so I could go back to crash. I do not miss those days. Congratulations though – this time will soon pass.

  28. I’ve been thinking about you…knowing that your due date had come and gone and you still hadn’t seen your little one’s eyes. Now Bun is here. Welcome to the spinning world, Bun!

    I know you are tired. Actually, tired doesn’t begin to describe how you feel. The tears of tender motherhood come as easily as that milk just beginning to pour in.

    But the night shift has its moments. I remember nursing my daughter at night in our big bed. The house was still and, outside, the milky way was our nightlight. It was she and me spotlighted in silence.

    Drink it in.

    And sleep at every possible moment.

  29. Stacia this is beautiful. Violet is 4 months old ans still eats ecery 4 hours so I know where you are coning from. I am with rebecca though – those silent still momets are precious. I cherish them because they are gone so soon! Beautiful post!

  30. Happy, happy, happy day! Congratulations, Stacia, to you and your family! (I just knew Bun would arrive on Mother’s Day!)

    Thank you for sharing this resonant reminder of those impossible and impossibly wonderful early days. I hope you are well, that Bun is well, that Lollipop and Giggles are well.

    Sending you love and good sleep vibes!

  31. The de ja vu was so strong with this post. Granted, it was just a shade under a year ago, but I loved that feeling, after the fact of course. ;o)

    Hopefully it passes quickly enough for you to gain sanity, but not too quick.

  32. Stacia! I was wondering when Bun would arrive and was worried about you being in that last, uncomfortable stage of pregnancy (not that I ever got there!)

    Congratulations to you and your family and even though there’s all the things that you mentioned, all that craziness of a new baby in the house and the other children suddenly not being babies at all (even if they were a week ago), with three I’m sure you have the perspective to know that this is fleeting too.

    Wishing you my best wishes, and some sleep.

  33. I am so in love with this post, and the photo accompanying it. Muscle memory. Heart memory. Building new memories with a new baby. So beautiful and poignant.

    Also, congratulations!

  34. Congratulations, Stacia! What a lovely page in Bun’s baby book this post will make.

  35. Awwww, what a sweet, sweet, post. Ditto what ck said! And congratulations! So very, very happy for you all!

  36. you write this so well! Just about 1 year ago I was there, and I know it’s crazy, but I love the potent days and nights early on. What matters is so clear, and the rest falls away.

  37. You’ve captured so well the rawness and intimacy of those first few weeks. Congratulations on the new addition to your family!

  38. Oh, how I remember the night shift. When it feels as though the rest of the world is asleep and there’s just the two of you, rocking and feeding, feeding and rocking. It makes it easy to focus on what’s important. Best wishes to the whole fluffy bunny gang.

  39. OH oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh.
    Baby days. The baby haze. I remember it too. And with these beautiful, beautiful words, it all comes back so clearly. As if I am right there with you. (And believe me, a lot of days I wish I were…but then I think, not yet. No, not yet.)

    This is gorgeous, Stacia. Thank you.

  40. Awww! So sweet. Congratulations! I hope you at least catch up on naps in between feedings. Good luck. =)

  41. Congratulations! How absolutely perfect that you become a mother again on Mother’s Day. How well I remember the night shift. Those quiet dark times spent just the two of us. They are hard, but oh my are they precious.

  42. I remember this post from first time around. We’ve been blog buddies for quite a while now, haven’t we! Can’t wait to see what you come up with in 2011. Thanks for rewinding at the Fibro today. 🙂

  43. What a beautiful photo. My neighbour and friend just had a baby yesterday and I can’t wait to see those little hands. You forget … but then you remember. What a lovely retelling of ‘the night shift’.

  44. Aww that is beautiful. What else can be said?
    I hope we can do the night shift again soon. Time will tell!


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