Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Mama Brain

I lose things all the time these days: my id, my green hat, my keys, my right, silver old high heel that I needed desperately for a wedding recently.

The other day, I packed running shoes in my bag before we headed to my Mom and Dad's, so I could run that afternoon. As I did so, I thought, "Man! Why won't these fit in my bag today?" I discovered later, upon dressing for my run, that I had packed my husband's size 11 running shoes, instead of mine.

Such flakiness is referred to as "Mama Brain." It's a fuzzy head. It's an absent look. It's a feeling that you have just forgotten to do something but you can't quite remember what it was.

At basketball games, no matter how long I have been guarding the same girl, I will forget which one I was guarding after a turn over. "The girl in the red shirt? The one in the blue shirt? Oh, I bet it was the one who JUST SCORED!"

I want to wear shirt as a disclaimer that says something like, "I am a mama! Please forgive me if I am a total idiot! I am trying to keep another, very small, very weird and very loud human alive."

On many a run with G, I get such bad Mama Brain that as I am running, with G, right there in front of me, I stop! in my tracks because I think I have forgotten G somewhere. "Oh shit!" I panic for a second before I remember that I am pushing the grl.

I have lost my brain, but at least I haven't lost G yet.

It seems that I used to have time to think about BIG STUFF, like life and love and the world and good people and bad people, and people I liked, and people I didn't, people's whose clothes I thought were cool, people who never looked at me no matter how many times I passed them in the hall at work. Now, I think that I am not thinking most of the time. OR, maybe I am thinking SO much that I don't even realize that I am thinking, and therefore coming across like I am not thinking.

There, that was just thinking.

The bottom line is that G takes up so much of my brain that there is very little of it left for things that don't really matter.

There's a guy at work whose whole life is about going out to the cool new bar or the fancy new lounge. I can't help but chuckle/judge a bit. He says things like, "For every foot of snow that falls, they are going to be serving $2 off all rail drinks!!!"

Clearly, he and I are not in the same place.

Your life changes with a kid, so it only makes sense that your head would too. You brains cells are in overload trying to grasp the Crazy Town that is your life. You have to pare it all down to the stuff that really matters: Poop over pettiness, Pack n Plays over packed bars, day-to-day over daydreams, smiles over sleep, friends and family over foes.

It's amazing what you can learn from a one year old. (Silent shout out to the sleeping G!) I think (!) that I'll embrace my Mama Brain from now on.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


As a thank you to her mama for the very cheap rental of her body, the sucking of every once of her calories, and the miles and miles of walks around the city so she could sleep, the G has learned, "da-da."
This morning I looked at her and said, "mama" and she responded, "da-da."
"Mama," I said.
"Da-da," she demanded.
This went on and on until she said, "da-da" one last time and then smiled at me.
The grl is playin' me.

When my Dad turned 65, we all threw him a big party. My brother wrote him a song. I wrote him a poem. There were decorations and food and surprise guests. When my Mom turned 65, there was...I can't even remember. I am hoping that we called.

I've heard my mom talk about the different relationship a mom has with her kid as opposed to what a dad has with his kid. Having a little perspective these days, I am starting to understand what she was talking about.

Why are moms and dads so different? Moms are so constant that they are easy to forget? Moms know you better than dads? Dads, you never want to disappoint, and moms, you disappoint all the time?

I broke my leg when I was in the third grade skiing down a mountain in Colorado. I hit a tree. It was bad and dramatic, and the ski patrol came and bundled me up in the sled. My Mother, so many years later, still can't talk about it. I remember as I was sitting in the snow looking at my leg turned out at a very unnatural angle, I kept screaming over and over, "Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!" My Dad knelt down next to me and took off his red gloves to reveal his big, strong, weathered hands. (I think I remember this because it always surprised me when he took off his gloves in the snow. I thought it was too cold.)

In the weeks that followed though, it was my Mom who took me to the doctor, picked me up at school, talked to Mrs. Clark about missed work, invited my best friend over, and made me gourmet picnics in the backyard with my big old cast hanging off the blanket.

Maybe it's ok that moms have a different relationship with their kids than dads. (And it's ok that the G says da-da and not mama.) I know if given the choice, my Mom would still be a mom over a dad. She would take her kids' (at times) biting words and disrespect. She knows us best, I think she would say, and therefore she has seen some of the best too.

I picked up G to put her down for her nap this morning, cradled her and started singing. She laid still in my arms- a rarity- and just looked at me with those big, brown eyes, listening. When I finished the song, she smiled. I laid her in her crib, put the blanket over her and she smiled again.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Jenny Sanford's mom

I think my girl is beautiful. I tell her as much, dozens of times a day. I sing her songs about how sweet and smart she is, or just entire songs made up of two words, over and over again: "Gilly, Gilly, Gilly Girl."

My very physical lady loves to climb on the table, the chairs, the kitchen counter, me. She can wiggle her way off the bed (probably 2-3 feet high) and land on her two feet. I watch her do it and then applaud.

On the playground a couple weeks ago G approached some moms and kids and said clearly, "Gilly." She hasn't said it since then, so maybe it was a total fluke, but I said to the moms that day, "Wow, what does that mean if her first word is her own name!"

I've been thinking a lot about Jenny Sanford's mom these days. (Jenny's the wife of the senator who had the affair with the Argentinian chick.) How did Jenny's mom raise her daughter to think that the way her husband treated her was ok? Jenny was magna cum laude from Georgetown, classy, pretty, from a prominent family, why would she hang with a guy that mistreated her from the beginning? How could Jenny have such low self-esteem?

Can you trace a girl's confidence to her mama?

Yikes, that's a bit of pressure.

It's a tough world out there for chicks. There are all these rules: Be determined, but not bitchy. Be pretty, but not too sexy. Be sporty, but stay feminine. Be curious, but remain pure.

I guess it's a lot to try to teach your daughter, especially if you don't really understand the rules yourself. And then, the rules are always changing, with generations, with technology, with equality. It's all just too hard to figure out. Maybe I'll just tell her to make up her own rules.

I just thought of a new tune to sing G that maybe she'll like. I think, though, I'll keep the lyrics the same.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

For DC Mamas looking for something to do

Hey DC Mamas!

G and I checked out Spark Lab at the newly renovated American History Museum yesterday at 14th and Constitution Ave. (The lab is open 10-4 everyday. Enter at Constitution Ave and go right to the West wing.) It was a very cool alternative to our standard library visit. It's good for all ages kids. They conduct experiments with the older ones, but score for G! they have a little part with blocks and puzzles for kids under 5. G dug. Met some cool peeps too. And then we just walked around the huge lobby area where G shed all her footwear. The woman does not like to feel restricted!

Museums in the wintertime rock! No one is around; except for the English woman who asked me where the Gap was because I "Look like someone who would know where the Gap is." I am still trying to figure out if that is a good thing.