Marking Time

When you live with a young baby, you lose track of time. The most obvious external sign is how families with a baby arrive late, often accompanied by a cloud of chaos. But it goes deeper than that. When you have a baby in the house, you find yourself unable to remember exactly what day it is, or week, or even the current month.

This is partially caused by sleep deprivation. Never underestimate how much dumber you become when you don’t get enough sleep. Misty and I have had arguments about brown recluse spiders that degenerated to the point that we were saying “nuh-uh!” and “uh-huh!” interrupted only by blank stares and pauses.

Another part of it’s due to repetition. I get up, go to work, come home, take care of Eli, put Eli to bed, take care of Liza, and put Liza to bed. On the weekends I skip going to work, but otherwise the routine’s very similar. That similarity blurs the days and weeks.

Mostly, though, it’s because you can’t think about the future when you’re with the baby, where by “future” I mean “what I’ll be doing in ten minutes.” If you’re trying to put the baby to sleep, thinking “she’ll be asleep in five minutes and then I can go back to bed” is just asking for disappointment. All you can do is live in the moment with no thought for what’s to come, rocking and patting and rocking and patting until you can move to the next moment of your life.

Since I can’t use the calendar or clock reliably, I’ve been using other measurements. Liza’s noticeably heavier than she was two months ago, and the child who once nestled comfortably from shoulder to mid-chest now stretches the length of my torso. Changes in her are how I tell time is passing, and every night I feel that time rushing on. I felt it with Eli, but I didn’t know it. Now I do, and that makes me treasure the future-less moments even as they vanish into the air.

2 thoughts on “Marking Time

  1. When you realize the importance of, and learn to treasure, those moments, you’ve truly become a parent. Parenting may be about caring for physically, but in my book it is even more caring for in the sense of cherishing and the absolute commitment to the child’s total well-being that results therefrom. Congratulations!

  2. I was shocked on Saturday night to see how big Liza was. She’s so much longer, I kept waiting for Jay Bilas to praise her length for the 2028 WNBA Draft class.

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