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July 17, 2005 / Maleesha Kovnesky

Babies and Baskets

One unforeseen “thing” about being a mom is that it triggers memories from Way Back, from things your own mother did. I have only experienced this phenomenon twice, yet both times the feeling of remembering was so incredibly profound that I decided it deserves a blog entry. (Now you know it’s important)

This weekend I was folding clothes. A.J. is starting to mobilize now and it is too hard from a non-laundry person like me to fold shirts correctly and watch a baby. So I stuck A.J. in the laundry basket, where he played contently with some measuring cups. I was able to fold the clothes as he sat in the basket. After I had tucked the last sock, AJ expressed to me that he was sick of the basket by saying “Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyhhhhhhhhhh” loudly and whiningly. So I took AJ out of the basket and turned the basket on top of him, like a cage, trying to get a laugh out of him. Suddenly I was gripped with the memory of:

Hunkering down on brown shag carpet, peering out from beneath a pink round laundry basket. Some of the plastic of the basket is worn and broken, and I can poke my finger through the parts that are missing.

I believe this memory was from 1980 or 81, when I would have been three or four. First of all, the only house I have lived in with brown shag carpet was the house we lived in when I was between the ages of 2 and 4 (Waterloo, MT). Secondly, the laundry basket was round with almost netting-like holes in it. When was the last time you saw a laundry basket like that? Any recently manufactured laundry basket is more boxy, usually with a rounded hip-cutout. Round baskets went out of style as soon as they started letting women have a say in the design of things…like the early eighties. Miss Lonn Dree Maven, newly elected CEO of Plastibaskets, Inc says: Get rid of those godforsaken round laundry baskets. Have any of you men ever attempted to carry a round laundry basket? Good GRIEF start making them with hip-cutouts, you fools! The most obvious clue to a timeframe is that I had to be small enough to fit under a laundry basket.

The second flashback was about a month ago when I was finishing up AJ’s bath. This time I was using the Big People tub instead of the cute blue tub given to AJ by his Auntie Erika. (love the tub, he just won’t fit anymore) I was cradling AJ in my left arm, and I reached to lift up the drain stopper with my right hand. Suddenly the memory police arrested me again:

Sitting in the bathtub in some unknown house when the plug was pulled from the drain. I screamed in terror, believing that I was going to be sucked down the drain never to be found again. I saw my bathtub toys moving closer to the swirling vortex of water, and knew that I would soon follow them into the abyss.

Then another “flash” at at slightly later date:

Mom taking me out of the tub prior to pulling the plug. I stand at the side of the bathtub, watching the water go down the drain, exhilirated at the wonder of imagining where the water went, secretly terrified that I narrowly escaped its fate.

These memories were SO COOL. I wonder if I would have ever remembered them without the experience of A.J. and the “triggers”. Probably not — Wasband doesn’t fit under a laundry basket.

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