Milestones and my memory

My sister, Gabby, is always asking me questions about when Hollis was first born and all the major milestones new parents are so keenly looking forward to (more regular sleep patterns, sitting up, crawling, walking, etc.), but I can barely remember the basics without looking them up in his baby book.

I knew from talking to other parents that this memory loss is jokingly attributed to why so many of us go through the extreme challenges of parenting a newborn and infant again (and again and again), but it's for real! I remember being exhausted, but not viscerally; I know that I was a walking zombie, but feel more pride about it than fear.

And even through the less traumatic points of parenthood I still can't remember when they happened or any finer details such as height and weights at what age and motor skills, etc. (which is partly why I write about it here in such detail every so often: for a record).

But I think one of the things I'll always remember is that just shy of 2 1/2 years old Hollis became deliberately affectionate. At least I hope I will!

He seeks me out to "pat pat" me, something reserved for animals and people he likes. He woke me up the other morning (the first time in years that we shared a bed) showering me with kisses and hugging and patting me.

Generally, he's an expressive kid, but not overly so. I hear about kids who are so over the top all the time that when I think about Hollis I liken him to a fine wine: fruity, smooth, subtle that leaves you with a lasting impression. Not your average kid, to be sure. So now that he's seeking me out to share his loving feelings with me it's like a little fireworks show every time and I can't wait to see how this little person develops into a bigger little boy.

And for the record he's 2 years and 5 months old, weighs 35 lbs, and is 36 inches tall. He clearly remembers things we did yesterday or a few days ago. He can commentate on just about every action/thing that happens in a day, and does. He remembers specific people and the special things they once did, no matter how long ago (my friend Tony and his daughter Zoe and the "big, pink, ball, throw! Ton-ee! Zo-ee!", my friend Paul and "robot! robot! robot! Pawl! Pawl!", his aunt Amy and her driving, "fast! Am-ee!! fast! turn!").

He's even caught on to what we consider to be politeness by saying "bless you" when someone sneezes and saying "please" and "thank you" when appropriate - things I didn't deliberately set out to teach him because I wanted them to come organically and with appreciation of their use, not from rote.

He's also been at the stage, for several months now, that when he's tired, he asks to take a nap or go to bed for the night. I understand that this is practically an unheard of trait in such a young child. My mother has lathered me up over it more than once, "That isn't normal, Jessie!" she'll say, her body tense and worried. "Maybe something's wrong with him. Maybe he's sick!"

I've had to tell her, "Mom, maybe the kids you knew never asked to sleep, but mine does. He's just wired differently" I know it still bothers her, but I stand by the fact that Hollis is perfectly healthy and normal, he's just a more deliberate little human being than I ever was and can recognize his needs and knows their solutions. (Plus, I took him to his pediatrician, just to be sure. Thank God for copays!)

So, while sitting here I can't remember a damn thing about the 4th month of Hollis' life, but I can remember that he was fatter than fat and ridiculously adorable. When he was somewhere around sitting-up age I bought a one of those little booster seats that help little ones sit upright, but he was too fat for it and his thighs got stuck so when I lifted him up, the seat stuck to his rear end and he cried and that was the end of that. I remember at some point, obviously, he started giggling, but I couldn't tell you at what age.

I love how his childhood has become an impressionist's canvas. Up close the brush strokes are indistinguishable, but from afar a story is told. Sometimes I wish my memory was razor sharp, but I like its inevitable softening, too.

What are some of the things you'll never forget about your child's developmental milestones? Anything you wish you could forget? haha


  1. I can't at all remember the milestones, either, without looking in my children's baby books. Like, when did either one of my children roll over for the first time? BLANK. I remember the first time they each walked across the room, b/c with Christos, it was the day after birthday - Sept. 4th - and he was 13 months old. With Dimitry, it was New Year's Day - he was just under 1 years old. Other than that, don't remember the little things like that. But yeah, around the time they started to really talk, show affection, remember, etc... that stuff seems to be a bit easier to remember... and tell your mom not to worry - my kids ask for naps when they're tired too! Even when they get pissed off - they're all like "I need a break. I want to go sleep." My mom worries, too, about that, actually... "Oh, no, why are they asking to sleep?"

  2. I can't remember anything and never bought a baby book. All I can say is thank god for twitter and my bliggity bloggity. At least I'll have some semblance of milestones written down somewhere for posterity.

    It's a new age huh?

  3. There is so much I forget. Things I never thought I would. Someone took a picture of her at 6 weeks and said it was their favorite picture, and I thought why, that's just what she looks like. Now I look at that picture and can't believe she looked like that.

  4. I keep a "diary blog" of all the things Sophia does. It helps keep it a little more fresh!

  5. I love the comparison to an impressionist painting. All 3 of my kids began to ask for bed when they were tired at unexpected times or if the schedule was off. I think it's just a personality thing. This does not mean they always go to bed willingly on days they don't ask, even when they are dog tired. HAHA!

  6. I try to keep a running list of anything intriguing, because I know I'll forget details. I love witnessing his language explode and really, truly understanding: He knows what we're saying. There is a lot going on in that little mind of his.

    To assuage your mom's fears, I also used to ask for a nap at 2 years old and astonish all my mom's friends. I believe I am at least somewhat normal today, so it must be all right.

    I can't believe I can't remember this, but did I ever tell you you won an award? The Kreativ Blogger award, to be exact. Because you rock. I am slow at receiving awards and slow at distributing them. I'm just like that. But thank you for the top-quality writing you do, and what I believe is a sort of advocacy for those of us who seek to parent truthfully.