It turns out that a large part of job as mom is memory keeper. From the time I am aware of a new baby’s life, I begin storing memories. The first nine months, the responsibility rests heavy on me alone and I try to remember as much as possible. Then they arrive and there are countless firsts to record (in my mind or on here, because, let’s be honest, I have five kids. Baby books are but a dream.) and keep track of.
I am learning, too, that remembering how to parent is just as important.
The kids want to know when and how they did the things Gemma is experiencing. I want to know what we did the last four go rounds. Specifically, how we taught them to sleep.
It’s a vicious cycle, this sleep business. Little sleep makes my memories fuzzy. I can’t remember how to teach the magic art of entering the land of nod and that makes us all that much more tired and my thoughts are increasingly unclear. What I can recall is this: the oldest four were able to be put down for naps while awake by 3 months. Gemma? Well. . . We’re working on it. Seven months In and we are working on it.
Lord have mercy.
I stand over the crib and pat her back and pray that the skills I once had will come flooding back. I wonder how we’ve come to this point and pray again for sleep.
The kids, my memories in the making, are partly to blame. I remember how fast this time -this baby time- flies and I have been grateful and willing to rock the babe to sleep. The kids hate to hear their sister cry so they do whatever necessary to keep her happy. It doesn’t make for easy learning. I watch Gemma’s siblings pained at her outrage and remember how much they all cried by this point in their lives. Her early months, however, will be remembered for their ease and joy. I hope we all remember that and not so much of this sleep thing.
On the up side, where 9 or 10 months passed before the other kids slept at night in their crib, Gemma is more than happy to enjoy the space of her own bed. It’s a small success, but I’ll take it. That and just a little more memory.