The Third Thing

Ingrid’s babysitter, D, has been coming over two mornings per week since Iris was born, even though I’m on leave from work and will be for a few more months. If I’m home while D’s here, I end up overhearing how the two of them interact, which is an unexpected treat. D is one of Ingrid’s favorite people in the world (possibly even more favorite than Grammy Sue, but don’t tell), and she has an easy, natural way with little people.

Listening to them the other day, I realized D does some things that I used to do, but had somehow forgotten about. I told A about them the other night: I thought of three different things, I said: Try to phrase things positively instead of just saying no every single time. And keep things light and playful—there’s no need to get all cross and drag everyone into conflict. And…

And then my mind went blank. One second I was talking away, sure I had three little points to make, and the next second I could barely remember what word I had said last, let alone recall that there was some sort of narrative thread to what I’d been saying. This was a terribly familiar sensation, yet one I’d forgotten about during the months of adequate sleep I’ve had in the past year.

34 days, it turns out, is how long it takes to start to lose it if you’re sleeping no more than two and a half hours at a time.

The third thing was to avoid asking her any questions that you don’t want to hear answered with NO. It only took me a couple of minutes to remember it again.

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