It recently occurred to me that we’re in an interesting time. My daughter is 9 months old – so what we do effects her and who’ll she’ll be – but she won’t remember a thing about this time! Seriously. My earliest memories, which are very vague and seem more like photos I’ve seen sometimes than real memories, start around 3 or 4 and stay hazy for awhile. I’m not sure I can remember a think about pre-K and barely remember kindergarten. My husband has a better long term memory than me (but much worse for anything that’s happened since we’ve met!) and can remember specifics from when he was 3 and even some details from before that – but certainly nothing as far back as 9 months!
It was an odd feeling. In certain ways, oddly liberating – we can’t screw her up too bad yet! (Can we?) In certain ways, it makes sense – you really don’t want to remember someone changing your diaper (I think I hope some form of dementia keeps me from remembering on the other end should it come to that) or ‘sucking out your brains’ with a nasal aspirator. Then there’s the scary morbid part that thought – if I died right now, she’d never remember me. (Yeah, way to go down that path.)
But then again, I know that even though she won’t remember it, this is the foundation. She won’t remember whether I came when she cried, but, depending on which doctor you’re buying into, either she’ll remember that she can manipulate me through tears or she’ll remember that she was not left alone. Or if I don’t, she’ll remember that Mom doesn’t just give in because you cry or that she was abandoned. Though I mix and match the two concepts to make the decision on whether to pick the baby up when she cries in the night just as scary as it can possibly be!
Anyway, it all seems odd. These weeks and months are flying by – as I was warned they would! – so that sometimes even my own memories of them seem so strange and vague (especially the sleep deprived very beginning!). They are so important (I think all the doctors agree on that part – that if you don’t follow them exactly, you’ll totally screw your kid up because this time is so important!), yet so fleeting and she won’t remember them. I’m not usually this ‘poetic’ (or corny), but it makes me want to gather them up in my hands and hang on to them. I don’t want to keep her like this forever, per se, but I think I’d like babyhood and childhood doled out in portions over life – so you can have it a little bit at a time and appreciate it. Heck, I’d like that for myself (not necessarily babyhood, but childhood!). My husband suggested this as well, but I realize that the fatal flaw is that you can’t mix it in with teenager-dom – when you probably need it most – because you might throw them out the window during the baby days, as you know you can totally “take them” then.