26 June 2009

Sense of Mortality

We hit another couple of milestones with the girls today. Every time that happens I feel a pang of loss at the fact that we'll not ever have that same "first time" at some small achievement again.

Today Leia climbed the stairs for the first time. I was inches behind ready to catch her if she fell; but, she didn't need the slightest of help from the first floor all the way up to wandering the landing. I'll try to get a video of it tomorrow. We also handed off the Double-Decker Stroller and the cosleepers. I dropped them off at a colleague's office, the director of engineering for Photoshop. He and his wife are expecting twins in November. Looks like he's gonna disappear this fall and re-emerge sometime the following year.

Dropping off the cosleepers left me with a very heavy feeling. Its as if my own death were present in the room, a flesh and blood presence walking hand-in-hand with me. The girls really only used the cribs for daytime naps. Their first beds were the cosleepers. Loosing them was closing a chapter of my life (trite but true.)

In the beginning they both used the same bed. Within days I was sleeping every night with one of the girls either on my chest or inches from my face. It was possible to open my left eye and see a baby girl right over the cosleeper's short, padded lip. When she cried, I held her and put her back to sleep. When she was hungry I fed her (unless she was going straight to the tap, in which case I passed her to Hirono so she could feed her without getting up from bed.) Sleep came in 2-3 hour increments a couple of times a day. The world was a spinning blur around me. I barely managed to keep a grip on work.

Eventually we settled into a pattern. One girl would sleep next to me for two weeks and one would sleep next to Hirono. Then switch. Slowly we moved to four hour patches of sleep. At four months colic hit and sleep was more like 2-3 hours total every day. Although this time period seems like only a single instant my memory, colic really lasted about 3 months. Leia with colic was impossible; but, soothing her to sleep was tremendously moving. Looking back over my life, those colic nights with both girls were some of the most powerful moments ever. Try holding two screaming, colicky babies sometime - one on each arm - while being severely sleep deprived for 6 months. It'll literally drive you past the point of sanity.

But when the girls finally fell to sleep I always put them back in their co-sleeper, rolled into bed, and watched out of my left eye as they quietly settled into the mattress. Sometimes Alisa held onto my thumb as she slept. Leia went into The Ninja position. The relief of peacefulness was tempered by knowing I'd be up again in 2 hours to do it all over again. Still, two hours of bliss...

Now those trials are over and the co-sleepers are gone. The loss is filled with a heavy sense of mortality.

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