Five for Ten: MemoryMay 14, 2010 at 1:44 am | Posted in Bun, Five for Ten | 44 Comments
Tags: Babies, Balance, Children, Motherhood, Newborns, Personal, Sleep
My third child, Bun, is six days old. He was two days late but exactly on time — he 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.
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.
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.
Read more about memory over at Momalom’s Five for Ten.