something different I know better than to put a part 1 on anything. Now I'd like to write about something totally different.
I woke up this morning thinking of photographs. I have a big box of loose photos sitting in the corner at the end of my bed. When I left Boston I was traveling light. I took all the photos out of the albums and mailed them ahead. A year later the empty albums were returned to me. They sit on a shelf in my kitchen.
I'm saving this project for some evening when I have time to spread all the photos out and look at each one. Perhaps I will put them in chronological order, perhaps write a date or a note on the back so eight years from now I can remember for sure who was who and what was happening.
This is going to be especially important because I have two sons who look an awful lot a like. In digging through those photos, usually for school projects (bring in a picture of your family, bring in a photo of you as a baby), I've been shocked by the moments of hesitation in trying to figure out who's who.
Haaris had a yellow blanket that appears in several baby photos. Awais had a stuffed bunny.
There is something like a 5 to 1 ratio in the number of Awais baby pictures compared to the number of Haaris.
I have approximately 12 roles of undeveloped film sitting in my dresser drawer, so there's hope of coming up with more of Harry.
But not a lot. There's little way to avoid this. First baby comes and every movement, breath, expression must be captured on film. I have a couple of albums worth of pictures of Awais where he is sitting in the exact same position, in the same clothes. One picture he is looking forward, the next his eye lids have drooped a bit, in the next he has raised a baby fist. On and on, just like that.
With the second child it's not that this isn't as important, but there's not as much time to ohh and ahh. Plus there's the first one crowding in, learning to be a sibling.
It's occurred to me, since the boys look so, so alike and there are real photos showing Harry wearing hand-me-down baby clothes from Awais, I could probably get away with fudging names and dates, just so Haaris' baby album doesn't look so dismally thin compared to his brother's. Who would know?
Often, early in the morning a kid or two will crawl into bed with me. Half-asleep I don't often know which one, even as I grumble at them for kicking me in the ribs, or reposition some small body, vertically (they often feel the need to rotate horizontal), shoving them over, reclaiming a pillow. The two of them plus the dog mean morning comes on with bouncing and snuffling and wrestling and joust ling.
Small faces, noses squash up next to mine singing "it's time to get up!"
I'm 6 ½ years into this mothering thing and have learned to fight hard for my sleep.
Ginger the dog can get a response with licking me on the face- ewwww! Luckily the kids haven't learned that one, yet.
Mornings start off with some reptilian part of my brain rolling up into a self-protective fetal position and pulling a pillow over my head to soften the unintended blows.
One part of my brain hovers around whatever dream I'd been having, a mean little secretary part of my brain scuttles through files of information looking for the what I should be getting up to do today and the rest is zeroing in on what the boys are doing. With my eyes closed, I see Haaris wresting with the dog at the end of the bed, fussing in protest over dog kisses. My morning radar tries to work out whether Awais has his foot in my back or his elbow or a knee. Is he shoving me over to make room so he can still sleep? Or is he actively trying to wake me up?
I listen to their voices. Are the rising shrieks and laughter moving towards that pitch where I'll have to intervene?
This sounds like magic mother-think, doesn't it? Except lately I've been wrong about who is who and who's doing what.
I'll wake to find it is actually Awais at the end of the bed wrestling with the dog and Harry wedging the Med-Surg text book I'd fallen asleep with, into the small of my back.
Most unnerving of all is to open my eyes into a small face, with long black lashes and hair the color of mine; to look into eyes that are a mix of green and blue, flecked with golden hazel and to name the wrong son.
Maybe this is normal, a natural part of the mothering process to go from intense automatic awareness of every sound and movement, to something less consistently accurate.
Or maybe I just need more sleep.
There have been some mornings in the past few months, I woke without them. Some weekends because of work and childcare scheduling; it made sense for them to spend the night with their Grandmother or their Aunt Amy, or their Dad.
The reptilian part of my brain does the same early morning thing, rolling me into a ball at the far edge of the bed, sending pinched face helmet-head secretary scuttling though files, What day is it? Where am I supposed to be? -while the closed eyed radar seeks out the physical presence of my boys.
Those mornings aren't as nice as one would think (as I would have thought).
Without a kick in the ribs or my hair pulled or a snotty nose smashed into mine, I wake with a start, sick and frightened. Weird stuff . Those babies will get you.