18 July 2011

Do You Really Need Your Kids?

I had an interesting experience over the weekend. One that I never saw coming. But we'll get to that in a minute.

"Buzz Lightyear to Star Command"
Now, I know that I need things, who doesn't? I know that I need people in general, I'm an extrovert. I know that I need my husband, even though on occasion, when I'm in a mood, I try to pretend that I don't. The emotional need is obvious, the cognitive one is more practical. Jake mentioned something the other day about shared memory; the Encyclopedia of Human Relationships, Vol. 1 (yup, there is one of those apparently) references it on pg. 336 (if you're inclined to look it up, you can read the book online at Google Books).
Close relationship partners even tend to encode, store, and retrieve information from each other as though they are drawing on a shared memory system.

Translation: You remember less when you're not around your partner. You don't bother to store the info it in your own head because you know that they will remember it for both of you. You do it without realizing it.

So, my experience. Aedyn crashed during dinner the other night, I thought he was down for the night so I carried him to bed (turned out to only be a 2 hour nap that he woke up from around 830 pm...anyway). I was left completely alone with my nearly 9 month old. Ummm.... What do I do with him?

I play with both boys on a regular basis. We play all together and all three of us laugh and have a ton of fun.  I play with Aedyn alone while Jaron naps, but oh-so-rarely do I have the chance to interact with Jaron when he is awake and Aedyn is not with us. It's the life of a second born.

I know how to play with a 9 month old, I played with Aedyn at that age all the time. But with Aedyn asleep, I felt this absence of knowledge of what Jaron likes, what makes him laugh, I couldn't even really think of what he might like.

After about 5 minutes, I recovered and Jaron and I broke out the blocks and balls and noise maker type toys and had a blast until it was his bedtime. But for that 5 minutes I was nearly in a panic and felt like a horrible mother!

We can discuss all day long how this probably means that I need to spend more time with Jaron solo, which will happen as they both get older, but I think it's something else too.

I have a close relationship with Aedyn, that makes us partners. I have stored memories in him; I did this unconsciously, it was just a natural development of our relationship. In Aedyn I have most of what I need to entertain Jaron. He doesn't have to be playing with us, I can play with Jaron while he plays with something else, but Aedyn needs to be nearby.

I'm sure that if Jaron doesn't already keep some of my memories then he will soon and I will be just as lost without him as I am without Aedyn.

Such an odd phenomenon, but it's real. I need my kids. Not just emotionally, mentally and physically too. For my sanity, I need my kids.

Have you had any shared memory experiences? Did you realize that that is what it was? Do think it's just a convenient excuse for forgetfulness?

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