I used to scoff a little bit at mothers writing to their babies in the second person. “You are 6 months old, and you are the most beautiful baby I’ve ever seen. You tasted cauliflower for the first time today.”
I get it now. I constantly fight the urge to compose notes to Lydia’s future self. Because all day, every day, she is right here with me. But at the same time, she’s not really here. It’s like she has reverse dementia. Every day she becomes a little bit more herself, and will slowly be able to form more and more memories. But right now every moment that feels sweet or funny or frustrating or precious, it only exists with me.
So I understand the urge, but I still prefer the fact that as my mom kept track of our childhoods, she didn’t address her memories to us. “Brenna was up six times last night.” Rather than, “You were up six times last night.” I think my issue with the directed-to-the-baby phrasing, is that I am no longer that small baby that tortured my parents at night. I might enjoy hearing about that baby, but I now more closely identify with the mother getting up again and again, than the baby crying in the crib. I am not that “you.” I’m also not the “you” learning to potty train, or cutting my friend’s hair, or playing at the beach. And I prefer reading about my mom’s parenting experience of this small stranger that was me, than I would reading something directed at “me”–a person who no longer exists.
It’s just a style thing. I don’t begrudge anyone the sweetness of writing directly to the small amnesiac that shares their days. Here, I’ll join. Lydia, you are 9 weeks old, and today (like almost every day) we walked to Trader Joes. The whole way there, you stared at me with utter intensity, like someone falling in love.