Thursday, February 13, 2014

What Was I Saying?

It takes exactly one look at a pregnant woman to see what kind of toll her developing child takes on her body. In my case, it also usually takes exactly one conversation with me to see what kind of toll pregnancy and motherhood have taken on my brain. Never have I been more thoughtless and forgetful than in the past four years of my life, and for that I feel the need to apologize to many people. Mothers of young children, expectant mothers, can you relate to me in this? I swear, I used to be sharp! I used to debate smart-people books, politics, and philosophies of life with vigor and relative ease, and now several times a day I can't even remember where I put my phone. This has definitely been a fall from grace, although I now have three beautiful (and crazy) children to make up for the loss of my cognitive edge. I read somewhere in a psychological journal that there is a biological change in a woman's brain once she gives birth and becomes a mother, an exchange in which she forfeits pathways that once served short-term memory and now serve something else that benefits her relationship with her baby and, from an evolutionary standpoint, her baby's survival. Don't ask me what exactly it is that she gains because, of course, I don't remember.

Long-term lack of sleep definitely plays into this; it seems only logical that it would. During the first couple months of each of my children's lives I have forgotten things both trivial and of importance. Small mistake: woops, I made it to the store and bought everything in sight except for the one thing I went there for. Bigger mistake in an excerpt from my post entitled My Two Under Two List, when George was a newborn and BJ and I forgot to lock up one night:

 A concerned policeman rings your doorbell in the middle of the night, checking on you because you left your garage door wide open, your car in the driveway with doors open, and the keys in the ignition. He apparently doesn't realize that you have a newborn and a 20-month-old, which newly entitles you to endanger your home and yourselves when you arrive home late, get the kids to bed, collapse into bed yourselves, and forget the little things like locking up. This is TOTALLY made up, by the way...yeah... 

I've embarrassed myself countless times, such as the time I asked my lovely friend Emily if she had found out yet if she was expecting a girl or a boy, and she kindly pointed me to a text conversation we had had two months prior in which she told me she was having a girl and I excitedly congratulated her. I'm sorry, Emily. Twice in the last week I have been told of something that happened during my high school years that I don't even have the faintest memory of, yet I was a central part of the story both times. I don't even remember now what one of those stories was. Perhaps most unsettling, the other night BJ and I even briefly forgot that we had two older kids! We were sitting at the table with Van after dinner as our older two were off in another room and we totally blanked out for five minutes. Something began to seem wrong because it had been suspiciously quiet for five long minutes in our house. We both suddenly remembered we had kids that should be making noise, and so I went to investigate. I found that Silas had pooped in the master bathroom at the back of the house and George was wiping his ass. Classic! Cognitive edge, totally gone! I'm sorry! I'm sorry for all the times I have been asked twice to do something, forgotten something I was supposed to bring, neglected to respond to an email you sent, or completely blanked out while you may have been talking to me. Something about my babies is now more prone to survival to make up for my apparent rudeness, but who the heck can remember what!

I also blank out when I'm talking, which sometimes creates hilarious scenarios when I'm with friends and probably just creates awkwardness that I'm not aware of when I'm with strangers. For instance, a few weeks ago Sommer was in town and we had some friends over. At one point Sommer and I were in Van's room alone with him and I was changing his diaper as we talked. Van let out an extremely loud bowel movement as soon as I had his new diaper on him. What I meant to ask out loud was, "Was that wet?" What I actually asked was, "Was that Van?" Sommer looked at me in surprise and asked, "As opposed to me? No, Jenny, I did not just loudly poop my pants!"  But wait! There's more! Just 15 minutes later I was talking with the last of our guests to leave, Laurie and Jeremy. Knowing that Laurie and Jeremy are soon leaving for a big vacation, I meant to ask, "So are you leaving for your trip soon?" What I actually asked was, "So, are you leaving soon....?" Laurie, only mildly fazed, replied, "Well, I guess we could leave in a few minutes."Yikes! Backpedaling and making excuses for myself are my two best new talents.

Oh, friends, the exchange of IQ points has been quite worth it in the long run. Who needed that extra standard deviation of 15 points anyway? 


 George (He was potty-training. I didn't actually forget his pants.)


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