A Child's Life
Volume 25 Number 2
In Memoriam Research & Creative Activity magazine sadly acknowledges the passing of Albert Wertheim, professor of theatre and drama and English at IU Bloomington, who died April 16, 2003. Wertheim served as editor of this magazine for five years, from November 1983 to November 1988. He will be missed.
My daughter Sarah sleeps like a burrito. Knees up, arms curled, chin tucked, she folds around some soft, secret center. Often, she flips from her side to her knees, forehead touching the mattress, as if she's bowing toward Mecca.
Across the room, her twin sister, Jessie, sleeps like she's wielding orange lights on an airport tarmac, arms akimbo, flagging down her dreams for a safe landing.
Night after night, I tiptoe in to watch them sleep. They are 8, well past the time when I need to worry whether they are sleeping on their backs, sides, or stomachs, whether they might smother. Standing in the dark, I am less caretaker than voyeur. I peer at each girl's face unveiled by sleep, trying to discern something about her inner life.
I think their sleep positions must connect to their lives inside my womb. Jessie, who flags down her dreams, was perched on her sister's head, from where she scratched at my ribs and pushed my stomach into new shapes. Sarah, who bows to Mecca, stayed curled quietly below.
Does science have anything to say about a link between womb positions and sleeping poses? I don't know.
Of course, science has much to say about the links between daughters and mothersbut I've grown less sure of them. I'm more aware of losses than links these days. This much I know: My greatest shock as a parent is learning how mysterious my children are to me, their co-creator.
For all kinds of reasons, of course, they must become separate and distinct people. But it pierces me nonetheless, the slow, steady undoing of our early intimacy, when I could tell which way my daughters were moving by the bumps inside my skin. L.B.