May 23, 2018

Operational Knowledge

I have been joking lately that I have experienced all of motherhood. Breastfeeding? Yep. Exclusively pumping? Yes. Formula? That too. Binkies and Thumb Suckers? Double yes. I also like to joke that my memory is a steal sieve. The realization there may be more truth behind that second joke, and that I may be forgetting more of the experiences than I realize, has started to get to me.

A few months ago my inbox started nearing capacity. As I was pruning some of the older messages I came across an email Conversation between Domingo and I, back in our apartment days. I was home with a sick toddler, while Domingo was at work, and told him how Nicole had figured out how to take her dolls’ clothes off and now all the dolls were naked. Not only do I not remember that incident *at all*, but I really couldn’t picture many sick days with Nicole the not quite two years we lived in Silicon Valley. I know they happened, but it’s hard to remember what they were like and how we passed the time.

Adding insult to injury, Domingo remembers all kinds of things I don’t. He remembers it taking hours to get baby Nicole to go to sleep, that sometimes she’d wake herself up a half hour in and he’d have to start the bed time routine all over again. I believe it, since it mirrors our experience with Dana, but my memories of rocking Nicole are more about her snuggled into the crook of my neck. I remember her as an excellent little sleeper.

I’ve come to the conclusion that for a lot of things I have mainly operational knowledge. I know how to do things, my memory is just a little foggy on how I came to learn how to do them.

As we enter new stages with Dana, or even new stages with Alexis, I often feel like I know what to do. I can recognize different rashes and know how to handle them, have a feel for how long we’ll last in each set of diapers. I have more strategies for soothing a crying child than I can count. It’s second nature. It’s like muscle memory. Too much like muscle memory. That’s the frustrating part.

While I may forget a lot, I tend to remember the details surrounding pictures. (That’s not the case for everyone, admittedly. I think the difference may have to do with how frequently I go back and look at old photos. All.the.time.) I also have old blog posts, and facebook status. Thinking back about our sleep experience with Nicole, I remember the post I wrote about needing to sleep train, which brought back some memories of rocky nights. Now I’m even more inclined to keep blogging, even though I don’t really have time for it.

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