Monday, May 13, 2013

brooding

I am worn out. I'm not really sure why, other than the baby-growing and single-parenting in the evenings while JP is coaching his lessons. Still though, I fell asleep on the couch out of nowhere yesterday while Claire was taking her nap. I woke up nearly 3 hours later completely freaked out by how much time had passed, and also by the realization that Landon had been completely on his own for the first hour or so while I was asleep before JP got home from his pool director meeting. Thank goodness he's a naturally well-behaved kid. I think it was all the travel. I can't sleep on planes and don't do much better in hotels. Luckily, I think I'll be staying in the Fort for at least the next month or so.

On a somewhat related pregnancy note, it's been bothering me again that I feel like I don't remember anything about Landon's babyhood. I'm worried I've blocked out all the good, or didn't savor it enough in the moment to be able to recall it, because of the cloud of bad that hung over so many months of it. I know, definitely know, that we had happy moments at the time. I see pictures and video, I remember thinking at the time how much I loved Landon's big round-headed smiley self, but I feel like I don't remember the actual moments. And then I freak out that this has set an off, or slightly distanced, course for my whole relationship with Landon forever. I'm so close with Claire, so very in the moment with her, and I remember her babyhood with such pure joy, that I occasionally can't sleep for comparing the emotions of the two. But then I read my blog posts from Landon's toddlerhood- years 2 and 3 and I know I felt the exact same way with him. Twelve months to four years is my absolute favorite time with the kids so far- it's so immediate and exuberant and full of growth and change. I read my letter to Landon at 17 months and I recall those intense feelings of love and my complete joy in him with such clarity. Any distance (and it's not really distance; it's more a guilt that I was able to feel more happiness sooner and more fully with Claire's infancy that I then project out to now) I perceive now is purely based on his growing up into more of himself and the fact that Claire, at 2, is still very much an extension of JP and me.

 
 
 
 
proof

And yet, his babyhood really is mostly a black hole. Will it come back? Does it matter? He has no idea, and again, I know from pictures and video that he was quite as happy and smiley and babbley as Claire (at least once we got his first set of ear tubes, poor guy). But it bothers me. It's been bothering me more lately, and instead of reassuring me, watching his little video clips make me more sad because I'm so clearly watching a dated and labeled video of my baby. I'm not remembering the moment that was videoed at all.

It bothers me.

 
 

Landon's babyhood was unique in so many ways, I can't even read many of his blog posts from 3-5 months without a physical reaction, that I can't tell if this is a normal phenomenon- the paling of the older child's babyhood memories while the younger one's remain strong. In five years maybe I'll be looking at videos of Claire and saying the same. I don't know, and I don't know why I'm so fixated on it right now, but I am, and I can't fix it and I can't remember.

17 comments:

  1. My son is six, almost seven, and I don't have many über-vivid memories of his first year. Not even most of the "milestones." and I didn't have the same emotional trauma to deal with. I think that with the first, it's just all so new and overwhelming that your mind is focused on survival rather than record keeping. I don't think that it reduces the bond at all. I'm also noticing more distance as he gets older. Like you said, it changes the relationship once they're "people" and not just mini-mes.

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  2. From my own experience, I would say that that is totally normal. I often fear that I am forgetting everything about Jacob's babyhood while I'm so crisply remembering every moment with Ryan. When I look back, I can barely remember much--thank goodness for photos--of his babyhood at all. It is all eclipsed by memories of Ryan. This makes me sad because it makes me fear that I will lose memories of Ryan's babyhood as well. I guess the lesson is to blog, blog, blog. That way the memories can live on in your beautifully crafted blog posts.

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  3. I don't know if this is reassuring or just sad. I didn't start blogging til CF was about 18 months old. If not for the few photos with notes on them that I kept, I'd have no idea what words he was saying at 14 months or when he crawled or, hell, whether he was a good sleeper. We have a few stories we tell from his baby hood, like the exploding poop incident, that I remember more because of the repeated re-telling. But the little things, like how his baby head smelled or whether he grabbed my bra strap when he nursed are lost to me. No trauma, just time.

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  4. It makes sense, with a new baby cooking (not to mention the pregnancy hormones), that this is on your mind now. And it feels scary the way you're talking about it. I guess it's impossible for you to know whether this is the normal fading away of memories from babyhood or whether you've blocked it out. FWIW, I second the comments that others have made -- I don't really remember what it felt like with K, except through pictures and videos and blog posts. But you know what, even though you may not remember vividly, whether it's normal or trauma-induced, it doesn't have to affect your relationship with Landon forever. From Landon's point of view, he's always had his loving mom right there with him, and he always will.

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  5. Hang in there - you are being way to hard on yourself. I am an attorney at a mid-size firm. I have been following your blog since 2007. We were in law school at the same time and I now have a 2.5 year old. I feel like I barely remember his infant hood and we had none of your worries - just a busy life. School and work and living in the moment are much more likely the reason the details are fuzzy(which is the reason I have my own blog to be able to look back on in the future to remember). Hang in there!

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  6. It sort-of sucks the way memory works, doesn't it!? Chiming in to say I think it's normal. I look at my 8yo's baby pictures and can really just barely recall what he was like then. :( And the 5yo's baby- and toddlerhood passed by me in a flash. Too much other stuff going on. I blogged all the way through them and of course took pictures and videos, and it's a good thing, because the mind is not such a good record-keeper!

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  7. I sort of understand the lost babyhood. Of course, I didn't have the traumatic experience that you did. But with the twins, I felt like I was so busy just keeping my head above water that I didn't have a chance to really sit back and enjoy them as babies and savor their babyness. I have much more vivid memories of PS as a baby. I really felt cheated for a long time out of the twins' babyhood.

    It has gotten better as they've gotten older. Not the baby memories--but new memories of different stages of their lives. And I've made it a point to try to really focus on the moment (although it sometimes gets lost in day-to-day hecticness).

    --LC

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  8. Ditto the chorus above. But I think it's good that you're thinking about it, exploring it, rather than pushing these feelings aside. Have you been to therapy about The Nightmare? I wonder if talking to a professional would help lead you to some revelations. That said, I don't think you *need* therapy - this all sounds very normal.

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  9. Well you certainly have reason not to remember Landon's early days as well, but I will say, the second kid really is easier to enjoy. At least in my experience. I was so much more stressed with my first. I remember my second's babyhood so much more, but it definitely includes lots of great memories of my first as a toddler. With my first it was such a whilrwind of adjusting to the monumental shift in my world of becoming a parent. With the second it was great getting to know her, but the monumental shift had already happened. It didn't feel like such a raw wound. I feel bad thinking about it now, because I definitely enjoyed the babyhood of my second kid more than the first and they were both relatively easy babies. Anyway, all to say, what you are feeling is totally normal and understandable. I am also 100% certain that it makes almost no difference to Landon, only to you.

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  10. Oh, LL. A hug for you. I have the same black hole from 6 to 10 months, though the reason was different (kid's surgery). And I wonder the same things as you. So, I don't have an answer, but I can say that I think this is normal, and normal after bad is progress, right? Right.

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  11. I have three kids. They are quite spread out in age - 30, 25 and 16, now.
    As others have said, memory is odd. I know that I felt, with my oldest child, that I didn't need to journal because how could I ever forget even one second of this amazing experience? And, of course, I forgot so much of it. Then, of course, I've now muddled which baby did what and when.
    I can remember them so clearly from about five on. Perhaps because they so much become their own people.
    I know you had a terrible experience. And, perhaps that took some of your energy and time away from Landon. But, as others have said, the loss of memories is so normal.

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  12. I will chime in to say that this sounds like guilt talking. And I so recognize guilt. You obviously did a great job with Landon through an extremely tough time. I only have one child, so I can't really speak to this, but I would guess that your relationship with every one will be different, anyway. I can speak to the fact that I don't remember much about my just-turned-six-year-old's babyhood. And she is definitely growing apart from me in a way that is a little sad but feels very normal. She is a Momma's girl, so I bet others feel this even more than I have. (I so rarely comment here that I would have liked to have been a little more eloquent, but it's apparently not in me at the moment. Wanted to reach out, though.)

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  13. I think the loss of memory is normal! My older son is almost 4 and younger son is 1. I already find that I'm forgetting much my first son's babyhood - but still can recall the feelings of postpartum depression from the first few months rather acutely. My mother has always told me - ad nauseum - "You should write that in his baby book!" whenever I share a story with her about the kids and now I'm realizing why.

    For whatever my 2 cents are worth, I would guess that the fixation is most likely 95% pregnancy-hormone-related. I went through something very similar during my 2nd pregnancy (not about memories, but it disturbed me nonetheless). However, it resolved itself when my hormones calmed down. And the enormous problem that was causing me so much emotional stress seemed to shrink to be very manageable. Hang in there!

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  14. For what it's worth, I only have 1 kiddo and she's only 2, and for the life of me I can't remember most of her babyhood. A brain can only hold so much, and I'm glad that we've got pictures and some videos, because I've forgotten so much of that. I remember brief flashes, but that's about it.

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  15. (((HUGS))) Pumpkinhead will be 10 this July (yikes!). I can't remember certain milestone times and there are only parts of his babyhood stick in my mind, usually triggered by pictures or something Baby J does to remind me. I think this is normal but I know it is that much more scary and upsetting because of what you went through.

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  16. P.S. Pregnancy brain may be another cause. Just thought of that. Because, you know, pregnancy brain....

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  17. I think not remembering things from the baby days is pretty common. I also think any sort of traumatic experience during the baby days makes your brain suppress lots of those memories. At least that's how I justify not remembering much of anything from either of my boys' babyhoods!

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