Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Memoir I Started When My Sister Told Me She Was Pregnant 5 Years Ago

I am just going to write the darn thing as a blog!
It is already handwritten in a notebook and I'm going to transcribe it word for word from the little book it is scribbled in. I have tried to write it before but keep getting sidetracked as I remember things to add. This time I am going to put it down verbatim. I can always add new tidbits later.
I have a hard time re-writing what I have already written. I always start crying. Especially because I have had a new baby since I started writing the thing!
There is something so bittersweet about raising children. Something so poignant and heartfelt about those precious memories. The memories are actually only yours alone. I can only try to share mine with you. I can attempt to make you remember that fleeting point in time by letting you into my poorly captured versions. I wrote about the moments I have noticed occur with each child. There are always more being added.
ANYWAY! Without further ado:

Stop Worrying, Start Remembering

Just so you know, I have always been impressed by people who keep baby books. They keep track of haircuts, outings, teeth, doctor visits, even poops. Things are accounted for, dated, some even have samples. I'm not like that. I can remember everything. Some have dates, some just linger. The funny thing is, no matter how much I might complain about my kids, I only have the best memories of them. Here are some of them, some for you to expect.
  1. The birth - because after all the pain and bad stuff, you have your baby
  2. First smile - you'll get excited in the beginning over the facial movements, but the first real smile will melt your heart. Which, by the way, will be the first of many.
  3. First day at home, alone, with baby - after all the visitors stop visiting, you can hold your baby and just stare at it, this is also good at bedtime.
  4. The first break from your baby - whether it's because you have to go back to work or because someone takes the baby for awhile, not having your baby, missing your baby then getting your baby back are all so great because you do miss the crying and feeding and diapers.
  5. Nursing - because it is so worth it. Also another great time to just stare at a contented baby.
  6. Rolling over and sitting up
  7. Getting up on all fours
  8. Crawling
  9. Standing - all of the things from 6-9 are the best things. You're proud, the baby is proud. You clap, they laugh, you laugh, you might cry. It is really neat.
  10. First belly laugh - you'll hear it and laugh yourself. You'll try to get the baby to laugh again, baby probably won't. Don't worry! Babies are crazy!
  11. Grabbing - they clutch at everything. You can put a bottle of wine in baby's hand and baby will hold onto it. Great photo ops!
  12. The minute you realize that your baby needs you - whether it is a glance around in the stroller and you're not right there, or at moment you try to hand baby off to someone else. Baby realizes it and reaches for you or calls out for you. You stop whatever you are doing and just hold that baby as close as you can.
  13. First immunization - bring someone with you. You'll cry. Probably more than your baby. Bbay will give you the "Why? Why? What did I do?" look. Your heart will break.
  14. First bump on the head - you will freak out. It is OK! Babies fall. Especially learning to walk. Sometimes they fall off the couch, or your bed. They cry, that means they are alright.
  15. Teeth - oh! So many pearly whites! Baby teeth are perfect. They are tiny, white and sharp. Cherish those tiny, perfect teeth. Watch out when you're nursing though!
  16. Favorite plaything - it could be a stuffed animal, or a car or a blanket that they can't sleep without. When your baby is older they will remember it.
  17. Favorite music - Actually, baby will like a type of music, a rhythm or a beat. Baby will smile and wiggle or clap. Super star!
  18. First sickness - when your baby has a fever and the only thing that will console baby is you. Your heartbeat when held against your chest. Your voice when you talk softly and comfortingly. Your touch when you rub baby's back or stroke baby's hair tenderly.
  19. First time a stranger tells you that your baby is beautiful (like you didn't know)
  20. First time your baby actually consumes the rice cereal you are trying to feed to them - even though 95% is all over baby, you, seat and floor 5% made it in!
  21. First steps - technically your baby may not walk until they are 12, 13, 14 or 15 months along, but some babies do walk early, so I threw it in here. It is great to see baby walk for the first time. Not only can baby attain that thing that they have been striving for for so long, you see them reach a really important milestone. It is bittersweet, though. Once they walk they are, literally, one step out of the nest and there is absolutely no turning back!
  22. The first time sleeping through the night - enough said!
  23. First birthday - they won't remember but you will.
  24. First Halloween - you'll always remember that costume. Try to put it together yourself it is a lot better than those store bought outfits.
The second year:
  1. Climbing - babies are monkeys! Here is the proof! They climb out of cribs, chairs, your grasp, everything! Aaaaaaah! This is where duct tape comes in handy.
  2. Really enjoying the bath - up until now it has been more work for you. Now that baby is pretty stable, they will enjoy playing with toys, bubbles and you while bathing. Be sure to allot time for bathing because you are going to take an inadvertent bath as well.
  3. Other foods - baby has enjoyed things like squash, carrots, peas, string beans, etc. Now you can try fun textures and some more flavors and learn what your baby likes and dislikes. Sometimes it is amazing how alike or different they can be from your own tastes because they came from you. This leads to:
  4. Your first choking experience - babies like to eat. Sometimes they keep shoveling food in an already full mouth. Don't panic! If you panic bad things happen. The choking has happened to me. After I swiped baby's mouth and actually did a stomach thrust to dislodge the food (I don't remember what that was!) then I panicked. I sat down and cried. Then I laughed because I was so glad at how I had reacted and the crying baby I was holding stopped and looked at me oddly.
  5. First words - babies are parrots. Their first words are cute, usually "da-da". It turns out those aren't words! They just say it over and over again "da-da-da-da...". Then it will be "ba-ba-ba-ba...". Then "ma-ma-ma-ma..." but they'll call anything ma-ma or da-da. You'll point to yourself and ask "who am I?" baby will say "ma-ma". You'll point to daddy and ask "who is that?" "ma-ma" chickens? "ma-ma" books? "ma-ma" Remote control? "da-da". Finally, though, they get it. It all clicks into place. Then they say stuff like "Spongebob" or "cracker" or "thirsty". You try to make them say it again but you'll just have to wait because they now know the power of speech.
  6. Baby power look - there are millions of expressions that babies make. There will be one that will make you laugh no matter what. It may be the scrunched up nose or the raised eyebrows or the kissy lips or the "who me?". Each baby is different but they all know that the "look" will get them out of trouble for now.
  7. Time out - not that babies really understand this but it is good to install goods and bads at this age, especially safety concerns. You can tell them that climbing on the bookshelf is unsafe, if they do it again they get timeout. They do it again (that's what toddlers do) you put them in a time out chair. At first they're thinking "whatever!" but after a couple of timeouts they start getting it. They start pausing (mind you, they still do it!) before monkeying up the bookcase. Be aware that you should never put a child in timeout into their bed. Then they hate going to bed because they think they did something wrong.
  8. Clothing preference - there will be a time when you try to tie baby's shoe. They cry inconsolably. Are they wet? Hungry? Tired? After many things you take off the shoes, crying stops. On, crying, off, quiet. Different pair of socks, crying. Old pair of socks, shoes on but tied differently, quiet. Who knew?
  9. Favorite book - you've been reading to baby for awhile but one book is their most loved. Sometimes you need to actually buy a duplicate. Baby thought it makes me laugh it will taste good, too!
  10. Favorite food - how does a banana and pb&j for every meal sound?  How about for a week? How about yogurt and cheerios? Dry toast? Oatmeal? How about the fact that you are choosing these things and shunning all else? Welcome to toddlerhood!
  11. The first hug - sometimes even comes with back patting!
  12. The first kiss - usually it is just an open mouth but eventually they pucker up and even make smacking sounds.
Other things you will never forget:
  1. The first day of school - there might be some crying. You'll give them a hug, saying "I'll see you in a few hours!" You'll be strong. Then, you'll get back in your car and look up to see a backwards glance from your baby. Keep tissues on hand! Just know that all moms go through it. I'm pretty sure all moms will cry at this moment.
  2. First sleepover - don't have more then two over, you'll go crazy!
  3. The first time you are watching the news and something horrible about a child comes on - you are so angry you cry in frustration. How does this happen to tiny, perfect, precious people? Here is a time to be strong. Remember that you have been through bad in your life and look at you now. There is love and kindness and goodness in the world, if only in your household.
  4. More bad news about the news - a world changing event occurs. Terrorists, earthquakes, tsunamis, meteorites, space shuttles falling out of the sky, the media makes you feel like you're going to be next. Does it matter? Just be with your family as much as possible. Family really is what matters. Turn off the news, radio, tv, whatever and just hug each other, maybe read a book with each other.
  5. First school production - It may be a winter recital or a dance or a skit done at the school. Heck! It could even be an awards ceremony! Go to every one that you possibly can. Drag along family members, especially Dad. You are so proud. That is your baby up there! You should be proud!
  6. First time something medical happens to your child - maybe a broken bone or a minor surgery or even something dental; once again you are at their mercy. Everything important is in someone else's hands, life threatening or not, you don't breath deeply until you see that baby with your own eyes and know that they are going to be okay.
  7. First breakfast in bed - it could be Mother's Day or your birthday or just because. It could be cold cereal, muffins, oatmeal, donuts or bacon and eggs. There could be a card or flowers or both. Dad might be helping, he might not. It is the sweetest thing to wake up to! Even if the kitchen is destroyed when you get up.
  8. Art - they make tons of it!If you keep it all you will never have enough room! Sometimes there is a piece that really means something to you, though. Keep it, frame it, display it on your fridge or on your table. Tuck it away where it will always be protected.
  9. Movies you enjoyed as a kid - it is really cool to enjoy them with your kid!
  10. The first book they read - you may not remember the title but you will remember the look of exhilaration on your child's face when they realize that they have actually done it!
  11. The cute stuff they say  - my personal favorite was calling popcorn / copporn. Even when they're older, like calling Union Bank of California / Onion Bank of California or lobster / lomster.

Anyway, that is as far as I got! Sorry about all the bad grammar and punctuation but I was typing it as it was written! It turns out that I can't read some of my own handwriting. Too funny!

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