Monday, July 11, 2011

How Quickly We Forget

Over the past year, I seem to have come down with a severe case of déjà vu. Every week or so Chase does something that I swear has happened before, but I know that it hasn't. Then I realize, it has happened before, just not with Chase. As Chase grows up, he is constantly reminding me of things I went through with Alec that I had completely forgotten about.

For example, the other day I was preparing to clip Chase's fingernails, which I had been putting off for days. I always tend to avoid this task because of what is involved in clipping a 1-year-old's nails. It basically involves a lot of wriggling mixed in with some kicking and screaming (I won't specify who is doing the screaming), and (if I'm lucky) maybe three or four nails end up somewhat shorter than they started. What should be a simple 1-minute task turns into a 10-minute wrestling match where I only end up the winner half the time (and even when I am the winner I still come out with plenty of bruises). So this is why I wait until Chase's face looks like a candy cane from all the scratches from his nails before I finally decide that it's time to prepare for battle.

The funny thing is that I went through this exact same thing with Alec, but I had completely forgotten about it. I never would have remembered going through this with Alec without Chase reminding me. And the older Chase gets, the more he does that makes me remember going through the same things with Alec a few years ago.

One thing I distinctly do remember from early on in Alec's first year was swearing up and down that I would never have another child. Prior to Alec's birth, Chad and I had decided that we would like to try to have two, maybe three, children. But in the weeks and first few months after Alec was born I really wondered what we had gotten ourselves into. I mean, what person in their right mind would be going on 72 hours of no sleep and no shower, holding a screaming baby and thinking I can't wait to do this again!? Fortunately, just like all the rough phases since, this phase passed. And about nine months after Alec was born I started missing the tiny baby phase, becoming jealous of friends' ultrasound photos and thinking that maybe, just maybe, having another baby wasn't such a bad idea after all. But what amazed me was how quickly I really did forget the sleepless nights, the constant feedings, the crying.

Now, three and a half years later, I am constantly reminded of things that I had forgotten all about with Alec. And it's not just the struggles like nail clipping or sleepless nights. I forgot how good baby shampoo smells on a newborn. I forgot how smooth an infant's skin is. I forgot how snuggly a tired 1-year-old can be when dozing off for the night. I forgot the sound of a deep belly laugh from a 1-year-old.

And I am already finding that there are times that I can't even remember something Chase did a few months ago (heck, sometimes I can't even remember what I gave him for breakfast!). Friends with younger children will often ask me "Did Chase do (fill in the blank) when he was this age?" or "When did Chase start doing (fill in the blank)?" I'll have to stop and think, and half the time I honestly can't remember. I can't remember what time he went to bed when he was 3 months old. I can't remember how old he was when he started holding his own cup. I can't remember how many days he rocked on his hands and knees before he took off crawling.

Maybe it's because I'm getting older (I did just turn 31, ya know). Maybe it's because life is so hectic right now that I can't even remember to brush my own hair before leaving the house. Or maybe it's because my mind is already overflowing with so many memories of my children in just three short years that it pushes out the small memories to make room for the big ones. Whatever the reason, I know that I can't remember everything about my kids. But I do know that I like to be reminded about how far they've come, even if that involves reliving the new extreme sport of finger nail clipping.

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