After watching a TED video about how unreliable our recollections can be and how easily memories can be manipulated and changed, I explore the concept of capturing memories in a form of pictures, videos and this blog and the effect this may have on my baby's recollection of his childhood.
Milestone: Baby noises
Parenting: Capturing moments for the future
Wednesday 24th October
We had a difficulty night last night as Ron would not settle at all - he stirred and grizzled and cried. . . We would lull him to sleep only to be awoken minutes later by an upset baby. This morning I realised that he may have had an ear ache, as I often do if I don't dry my ears fully after a bath - and we did have a bath last night!
This prompted James to think about ordering some Calpol, a baby safe paracetamol. James and I do not take pain relief medication frivolously and the last thing I'd want to do is drug my baby up, but it might be a good thing to have in an emergency cupboard or the first aid kit. . . We shall think about it!
I had another scare when I found some green poo in the nappy later that morning. It used to be dijon mustard coloured, as all the books and midwives said it should be - but this morning it was green! I was about to call the Maternity Unit for advice when I remembered that we had Brussels sprouts for dinner the night before (and yes, James made some homebrew sprout wine from the water that the sprouts had been boiling in) and that this is exactly what the island's nurse warned me about when she visited some two weeks ago. It was all normal after all. . .
My Nan contacted us today asking for more pictures, as it had been a couple of weeks since we last updated her. . . I told her about the restless night we've had and she said that the juice of a grated onion can help earaches. This didn't impress James very much, but sure - we shall keep that in mind. . . She then said that I should consider giving Ron some chamomile tea to drink as it would calm him down and help him sleep better, but the midwives and all the books I read say that for the first 6 months the baby should only have breast milk, so I think I shall stick with that! There is so much advice coming from every direction - and I know people mean well, but it is overbearing, so I think I will stick with what feels right and what the medical professionals recommend. . .
I spend the afternoon looking into different breastfeeding holds and burping techniques. I learned that there is the front milk which is mostly liquid to quench a baby's thirst and the hind milk which is creamier and full of nutrients. This was really interesting to me as I've been doing it very instinctively up to now, without much thought for technique or best practices!
Saying that, most of the time, Ron is a champion at nursing so well, but other times I can hear him gulping in a lot of air as he suckles, so my technique could be improved. . . Also, burping is something that I still struggle with but need to learn before too long as my baby gets really upset when the air bubbles accumulate in his tummy. . . I rock him back and forth, twist him side to side, lean him side to side, bounce him and tap his back, but sometimes it still takes ages and a lot of tears, tries and repeats before the glorious burps happen! I may ask the health visitor if she knows of any "sure way" techniques. . . I wonder if there are any sure way techniques! It may simply be something that takes practice and patience. Hmmm. . .
One thing's for sure - I love the sound of burps, because they mean that my baby is now happy and can settle for a peaceful sleep.
Milestone: Baby noises
I also love the baby noises he has recently started making. He seems to be making deliberate noises, as if trying to tell us a story - babbles and chuckles, contented exhalations, even some high pitched shrieks at times! I love him so much, I love him communicating with us, trying to tell us his little stories! I really can't wait for him to really start talking, I would love to hear what he has to say!
Parenting: Capturing moments for the future
I am trying to capture these little moments - sounds, thoughts, milestones, lessons we learn. I am not writing this blog because I have something to teach, something to share or something to say. I do it because these are my precious memories in the making, memories that we will look back on with fondness, nostalgia and love. This is why we are keen on writing the blogs, making the videos, taking a million pictures. . . They are preserving memories for us, and for Ron too! All I have is one album filled with 40 photos from the 90's, James has even less than that and they are all blurred and faded by now. But Ron lives in a digital age where capturing photos and videos is extremely easy, where they can be forever safely backed up on the internet, where there can be a little story typed up about each important moment! Blogs, vlogs, pictures - the true value of doing all these things is to capture memories!
I saw this TED video ("How reliable is your memory?") where a psychologist Elizabeth Loftus explains how memories are often untrustworthy and misleading, how they can be easily manipulated, changed and altered, how nothing we remember is really as it had once happened. It is a good talk, well worth having a look! It has inspired me to do an even better job at capturing precious family moments! I also wondered how our blogs and videos may alter the way Ron remembers his childhood. . .
For example, I look back upon my childhood with sadness, grief and a heavy heart. It seems to be an empty place full of loss, loneliness and displacement. A place where I never belonged, a place with no love, a dark place. . . I remember my dad saying that "there will be flowers in your garden one day" - showing that he realised full well that there was very little growing in my life's garden back then! The 40 photos that I have reinforce the feeling I carry with me, I look at them and I feel lonely, I feel sad, I grief for what was, what could have been, what should have been and what never will be. . . However, I am smart enough to know that I didn't live in total neglect and sadness for 17 years - if that had been the case, I'd have a lot more problems in my adult life, and yet I have made some good decisions and am really happy now! This means that my recollection of the time in Lithuania must be heavily muddled by a couple of really strong emotional memories, moments that overshadow the (many) happier days. And yet, even with that rational realisation at hand, I can't change the lens through which I remember my life back then.
What I am getting at, is this: will my blog and James videos shape the memories that Ron remembers? Will they somehow alter Ron's emotional memory of his life's events? There will always be factual snippets of his life in these pages and in our videos so are we preventing him from developing an emotional lens for his childhood? Is that a good thing or can the inability to alter one's memories be somehow harmful?
Then I realise that people have always tried to capture their lives in one way or another. . . There have been statues, sculptures, portraits, then books, letters, diaries, songs, scrapbooks and now people take photos, videos, write blogs. . . Yes, time has changed the way we capture our memories, but we all try to capture them. So perhaps that is not such a bad thing after all? Time will tell, I guess. . . Time will tell. . .