Monthly Archives: December 2013

Pregnancy brain for dummies

Want to know the seven most terrifying words in the English language?

“It doesn’t matter, you won’t remember this anyway.”

Wait…six…seven…eight…dammit…

Want to know the eight most terrifying…OK, well, whatever…you get the point.

Yes, dear reader, yours truly is currently living through her own version of the movie “Memento.”

Memento

(If you haven’t seen the movie, it’s basically about a guy who, due to a brain injury, cannot create new memories, meaning he forgets all his short-term memories within a few minutes. So he’s always leaving notes and photos everywhere to remind him of important information. Or, as every male college student I met in 2001 referred to it, “The greatest movie of all time! Not even kidding, dude! Wanna get stoned and discuss it for the next five hours!?!”)

Ever since I got knocked up, my brain has become strictly for show. Now, granted, I was warned about this phenomenon, which has been dubbed the cutesy name of “pregnancy brain” (probably by someone who thinks pink is an acceptable color), but none of those warnings prepared me for this.

It started out slow. Little things like washing my hair with conditioner first, followed by shampoo. Watching a TV episode with no clue that I had already watched it the night before until someone pointed it out. Forgetting the names of common every day objects and frequently saying things like “You know, the thing with the thing. It was beside the other thing.”

Minor inconveniences, yes. But nothing I couldn’t handle.

However, it wasn’t until the following conversation with my husband a few nights ago that I realized the extent of the issue:

Ryan: “Blah, blah, blah…” (one of the blahs triggering some nagging inkling that I had forgotten something important).

Me: “Wait. Aren’t I mad at you about something?”

Ryan: “No.”

Me: “Yeah…I’m pretty sure I am. Why am I mad at you?”

Ryan: “If you don’t remember, there is no way in hell I’m telling you.”

Me: “Dammit! Why am I mad at you? You said something. About…DAMMIT! I can’t seem to remember!”

Ryan: “Hahahahahahaha…”

Me: “…”

Ryan: “Babe?”

Me: “…”

Ryan: “Sweetie…?”

Me: “I’m not talking to you. I’m mad at you for not telling me why I’m mad at you. And I’m gonna stay mad at you until you tell me why I was mad at you.”

Ryan: “I’m not even sure how to respond to that.”

Me: “…”

Ryan: “Fine. You really want to know why you were mad?”

Me: “…”

Ryan: “(Sigh)…You were mad because I pointed out that none of the elves seemed upset when Santa died in “The Santa Clause.” They didn’t even mourn or have a funeral or ask how he died, they just immediately accepted Tim Allen as their new boss. And you said I forever ruined the movie for you.”

Me: “Oh yeah. Thanks a lot, jerk. Way to ruin a modern classic…seriously though, that’s messed up that not even one of them cried.”

Ryan: “Right?”

Me: “Well, I guess I’m not mad anymore.”

Ryan: “It doesn’t matter. You won’t remember any of this anyway.”

Me: “DAMMIT!”

But you know what? It’s all gonna be OK. In fact, I’m going to have the last laugh. Because, as I recently discovered, those filmmakers were on to something. Which is why our house is now littered with scraps of paper like the following:

Mad note 1

Mad note 2

So be forewarned, babe. I’ll never again forget why I’m mad at you. Well, that is, as long as I can find a pen quickly enough to write it down before I forget. Speaking of which, where did that pen go? Dammit! It was right here. I swear!

DAMMIT IT ALL TO HELL!

What was I writing about again?

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Classholes

They say knowledge is power. And for the most part, I agree with that statement. That is, unless the knowledge has to do with squeezing something the size of a watermelon through something the size of a lemon.

In that case, knowledge is a horrific, crippling slap in the face.

Yes, it’s been almost two weeks since my husband and I took that 8-hour birthing class. A seemingly innocent educational experience that was designed to inform but instead violently assaulted both our eyes and ears.

We saw things, man. Things no human should see. Things that, although we were informed they were perfectly “natural,” were most definitely not natural.

birthing class 1 birthing class 2 birthing class 3 birthing class 4 birthing class 5 birthing class 6

We’re still recovering.

My only hope for a normal life at this point is that the sleep deprivation from labor, delivery and taking care of a newborn is severe enough to kill off all the brain cells that retain these particular memories.

Fingers crossed.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go resume rocking in the fetal position in my darkened bedroom while sobbing uncontrollably.

Nesting is for the birds (see what I did there?)

I’ll be honest. I didn’t think it was true. I thought it was just another one of those pregnancy myths, like you only gain weight in your stomach (you don’t). Or that your husband will actually run out at 3 a.m. to get you a taco (he won’t). Or that pregnancy is in any way enjoyable (it’s not…although it might be if “someone” would get me tacos in the middle of the night…HINT, HINT, Ryan).

But then a few weeks ago I innocently went to pick out a new book to read and, well, this happened:

Nesting 1 Nesting 2 Nesting 3 Nesting 4

Five manic hours later, every single book I own, which is not an insignificant number, had been taken down, cleaned, mentally recategorized and put back on the shelves using a system that made absolutely no more sense than the original system. Some books were organized via genre, some by how much I thought the authors would get along (Mark Twain and Dave Barry would totally have started a bromance) and some by how smart I thought they made me look.

Needless to say, it was a system that would have made any librarian’s head spin around, Exorcist-style, and then explode.

But despite the fact that it didn’t make any sense and that it didn’t actually need to be done, I couldn’t help myself. I HAD to do it. It was a compulsion. A compulsion no less powerful than what I imagine compels my dog to roll around in dead things on days when I am running late for something.

Yes, I had apparently unwittingly begun the phase of pregnancy known as “nesting.” Generally, nesting is when a pregnant mother feels the overwhelming desire to deep clean her home and prepare said home for the imminent arrival of her baby. As I discovered, pretty much all expectant mommas go through this, from animals tearing up newspapers and birds building actual nests, to human women who scrub their entire house with a toothbrush and then organize their spice rack alphabetically.

But in my case, my maternal instincts told me I couldn’t have a baby in a house where the books were shelved all willy-nilly. Never mind that there is food in my fridge that expired in 1997 and the bathroom tub hasn’t been scrubbed since I could wear pants with buttons. Oh no. No, it was far more important that my home be a home where Dorothy Parker took her rightful place beside Robert Benchley.

Luckily not all is lost for this kid. Because while his mother is currently about as useful as a fish with a bicycle, he has a father whose instincts are actually geared toward keeping his tiny butt alive.

For example, that following weekend my husband spent hour upon hour putting together the crib, the changing table and rocking chair, organizing all the tiny, tiny clothes by size and cleaning out our attic of all the useless crap that not only did we not need, but no one would ever need in their lifetime, to make rooom for all the new baby crap we would actually need. I watched him, mesmerized, as he did thing after thing that would, you know, actually be helpful once this little bladder-kicker was out in the world.

He was doing the male version of nesting. Or, as I like to call it, “mesting.”

Not that I was completely useless during this time, mind you. I helpfully did things like hold up random tools while saying “this one? this one? this one?” when he asked for a Phillips head screwdriver. And I put together a mobile for the crib all by myself. Granted, it doesn’t work now, but that could be for any number of reasons.

It just goes to show you, everyone approaches parenthood differently. But believe you me, someday that kid will be OVER THE MOON about the fact that all the Stephen King books are not only together on the shelf, but stacked chronologically.

Bah humbug, Charlie Brown

Something very strange has been going on these past few weeks. The month of December is finally here. Which means it’s almost Christmas.

And I don’t care.

I haven’t started decorating, I haven’t annoyed my husband by belting out my dirty version of “Carol of the Bells” and I haven’t even had a sip of eggnog yet.*

*Mainly because I can only have non-alcoholic eggnog this year and non-alcoholic eggnog is just dirty and wrong.

It’s my favorite holiday and I haven’t even acknowledged it.

But I think I know why. See, depending on your age, the holiday season can be perceived in many different ways.

As a kid, it’s all shiny, shiny lights and cookies and presents and big, fat men with beards whom you’ve never met but nonetheless are guaranteeing to do everything within their vast magical powers to make sure YOU personally have a very merry Christmas.

As a teenager, it means three weeks off school, the anticipation of your mom finally buying you those “ridiculously over-priced” (her words) pants with the vaguely suggestive word on the rear that you’ll just DIE without and hanging out with your cool, older cousin with the tattoo at grandma’s house.

In your early 20’s, it means one month of never-ending rounds of eggnog and wine and seasonal beer and reddish-looking cocktails with cutesy names like North Poletini and Santa’s Sleigh Bomb at hip holiday parties and festively decorated bars. And then going to your parent’s house where they feed you and give you lots of presents and do your laundry if you ask nicely enough and then give you all the leftovers to boot because  you “look too skinny.”

But then one day you’re married and in your 30’s and BOOM! You realize it’s December but you wouldn’t know it from YOUR house, which still has up an odd mixture of Fourth of July, Halloween and Thanksgiving decor. And it’s all because YOU are suddenly in charge of MAKING Christmas happen. And that’s when you cross the threshold from “this is the most wonderful time of year” to “laying in the fetal position while drinking wine straight from the bottle and eating an entire package of Santa-shaped sugar cookies.”

Because now when that massive ball of Christmas lights roughly the size of a horse needs untangled, that angry, throbbing vein is appearing on YOUR forehead and not humorously on your father’s head. And now when you hear “Silver Bells” for the fourth time before you’ve even had breakfast, it is no longer “festive” but some sort of sadistic audio torture.

Suddenly, you’re Googling how much the going rate for a semi-decent kidney is on the black market in order to afford gifts for your husband, parents, siblings, nieces, nephews and even your stupid dog because your husband thinks it’s mean if little Buffy doesn’t get at least one chew toy. Not to mention, now it’s a faux pas to not buy gifts for your mailman, hairdresser, neighbor, boss, co-workers, cousin’s baby, brother-in-law’s dog and the barista who serves you your Peppermint Mocha every morning.

And while before you always insisted that artificial Christmas trees were just so “bourgeois” and that when you had your OWN home, you wouldn’t be caught dead without a real pine tree, this year your corner is inhabited by a $19.99 three-foot tall fake tree that looks like it died of some horrible fake tree disease in 1974.

And even though you swore you were going to make gingerbread cookies from scratch this year, two minutes inside the store made you grab the closest pre-packaged desert-like item and SPRINT back to your car out of a not-entirely-unreasonable fear of being stabbed by a soccer mom with a candy cane.

And let’s not even get into attempting to make plans to travel to spend the holidays with your family, or maybe your in-laws, and having to decide which one and if you can even afford it and if you and your husband and your stupid dog can even survive an 18-hour roadtrip in heavy traffic without killing each other.

Of course, come Christmas Eve, when everything is finally done, you’ll finally, FINALLY find yourself falling under the magic spell of the season. And so you snuggle down on the couch to watch “Miracle on 34th Street” with some hot chocolate and sigh a sigh of contentment. Because after all, it is Christmas. And it really is the most wonderful time of the year.

Until you realize you don’t even have kids yet.

And everything is only going to get worse when you do.

Sigh.