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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Losing Brain Cell Mass, One Child at a Time

I used to have a brain, once upon a time. It was well-organized, could remember things like names and dates (even the day of the week!), and generally functioned very well. But that was a long, long time ago. Call it "momnesia" or whatever you like, but I can't think anymore. My three children, God bless their little hearts, have managed to zap the last ounce of quality brain function from me. There must be a hormonal link or something - didn't I read somewhere that the brains of pregnant women actually shrink? - because after three pregnancies and long-term breastfeeding, I'm sure I'm pretty hormonal. And now that my grandmother has been showing signs of age-related dementia for the last ten years or so, I'm sure there's really no sign of hope for me on the horizon in the memory department. Now that the Christmas season is in full swing, I'm finding it's worse than ever. Stress and sleep deprivation don't help. And it seems like the more sleep I get, I feel worse. I could easily go to bed at 9:30 every night, but my infant son's mom radar usually goes off on those nights and I'm up and down more than a high bounce ball. Or if he doesn't wake up, one of the others coughs or has to pee every hour on the dot and needs assistance. When I think about it, my sleep was disturbed from the time I went to college, and now that I've had children I don't think I've slept a full night since .... wow. More than six years ago. (I think being hugely pregnant is God's way of preparing you for major sleep loss once the baby is born, because even if you don't have other children keeping you up, being pregnant will certainly do the trick.) But now more than ever, I'm starting to realize that my problem with organization and lack of attention to detail is costing me money. I have to make more trips because I don't read directions anymore. I lose things and then have to work from memory (yeah, right!) when completing tasks, which usually turns out to be a horrendous joke. I find myself patting myself on the back if I've actually managed to remember even seven out of ten items on my list. Ten out of ten! - well, that's deserving of a special treat! My son even knows what day it is more than I do, (thanks to a very well-organized, childless kindergarten teacher and daily writing exercises that tell the day of the week) and seems to pay more attention than I have in weeks, maybe months (maybe years, even). (And I thought he had the attention problem.) The more organized I try to be, the worse it gets, because sometimes even the best laid plans ... well, you get the idea. When you let a 9-month-old dictate your schedule (which most times is as it should be, I think) life tends to get in the way. As do poopy diapers, crying jags and nap times. Although every year I vow not to let Christmas turn into a big fiasco, it usually ends up turning into one. The Great Sears Portrait Debacle should tell me that planning ahead (like six months in advance) is usually a better idea and that, in the end, no one will notice some of the things I am most anal about (like the holes in my son's jeans during our Christmas card picture). And maybe I'll start taking gingko biloba.