Breath (for the Loose Bloggers Consortium)

Ever used your breath to fog up a window and draw a happy face? Why not?

I think of holding my breath, swimming as far as I can underwater as a child.

I think of the same child watching his father blow his breath into the lungs of a swimmer dragged from the sea onto a French beach.  Someone had to.

But most of all I think of the nights spent watching and listening in my own children’s bedrooms – waiting to see the rise and fall or hear the outblow – to be sure sure they were still breathing happily – waiting some more  – holding my own breath so as not to mask the sound of theirs. Then the little happy gasp of life and all well. Or perhaps a nudge from me to disturb into making a sound or movement,a sign of life, so I could go to sleep myself reassured.

Surely it’s a design fault that babies can breathe so quietly?

(Now you can look at alternative takes on the topic Breath from other members of the Loose Bloggers Consortium listed on the right.)

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17 Comments

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17 responses to “Breath (for the Loose Bloggers Consortium)

  1. So true!! Especially with the first child! Second one you kinda get broken in. But when a child wheezes—whew that is torture.

    Actually Monitors have solved the problem of this particular angst!

  2. Ohhhhhhhhh, I remember those days. I have the sneaking suspicion that we’re designed to have children in our younger years because I’m confident my ticker just couldn’t take it at this stage!

  3. The difference between a first and second child for me was this. If I couldn’t hear the first one breathing I was convinced he was dead, if I didn’t hear the second one choking I assumed he was alright.

    Tagann gaois le haois, we live and learn.

    • blackwatertown

      And when the third one comes… Well, it doesn’t matter, because the first one will be looking after him or her by then.
      (And before anyone notifies social services, I stopped at two.)

  4. Now if babies could just be born with a quiet way to let us know when they need a bottle, diaper change…

    Aaaah

  5. So true, especially with my first, I was constantly checking the crib to see the PJ’s move just the slightest bit. My son, who’s 11, has got into the habit of sleeping with the covers over his head, and I stillcheck 😉 Won’t tell him though 😉 The baby monitor used to be good ( for listening to the neighbors converstions)

  6. It’s not just babies who sleep quietly. When my elderly mum was staying with me for a few days, she used to sleep so quietly I wondered whether she had given up the ghost during the night. I was much relieved to see signs of life and her pottering into the bathroom.

  7. How sweet, Paul. A father actually considering something as life enhancing as the breath of the fruit of their loins.

    I knew motherhood would play funny tricks with my mind well before I embarked on the adventure (and my son is of the easy variety – he didn’t even cry when he was born; that’s how happy/shocked he was to finally set eyes on the woman who’d carried and talked to him for the best part of a year).

    The first night he slept through was – without doubt – the worst of my life. Fifteen months of round the clock 2.5 hrs intervals between feeds (baby’s stomachs being small thus requiring regular top ups). And then he sleeps hour after hour after hour. I was frantic.There is only one way of checking whether a baby (or your old mother) breathes and that is to hold the back of your hand close to their nose. Unless you have the hide of a rhino you will feel the sweetest feel ever; A baby still breathing!

    Relax for a minute. Repeat. Fast forward nearly two decades: He is still breathing. Is there any more gratitude than seeing the Angel walking through the door back in one piece, waking up ca 12 hours (in words: Twelve) later; still hungry, still breathing? There isn’t. That’s happiness.

    And just in case, since prejudice rife, any of your readers having me down as an anxious mother. I am not. If I were he’d hardly be so laid back as to be practically horizontal.

    U

  8. When I come down every morning to make to make the morning cups of tea, my father normally gets up and starts moving around in his ground floor room and I can here the sounds from the kitchen which is next door. On some days, he may sleep late and those are the days that my imagination runs riot and I go near his bed to see if he is still breathing!

    I can now relate to your experience with your children for exactly the same reasons for my father. I leave the door to my bed room open as does he his so that I can hear or not hear him in the night. I have been advised a monitor for him!

  9. I am one of the ‘silent’ brigade. A couple of months after I married, Jack told my mother about how I frightened him in the night by showing no sign of breathing – no sound, or sign of a rise and fall in my body. I also go quite cold when in deep sleep. Mammy reassured him that I was like that all my life and that she kept a small mirror close at hand so that she could hold it in front of my nose and mouth in order to see my exhaled breath on it, without disturbing me.

  10. I’m negative. I think of stinky breath.
    And speaking of watching someone breathe, I often make sure my cats are breathing when they’re napping. The darn things spend so much time laying there motionless, I sometimes must make sure they are simply sleeping and haven’t actually perished.

  11. Barbara Rodgers

    I remember those days with the little ones… Nowadays it’s my father – when he falls asleep sitting up in his wheelchair there is no breath to detect and I have to poke him to convince myself he’s still alive…

  12. I’m glad someone else pokes their babies. Although these days it’s to wake them up not check they’re alive.

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