This is Your Brain on New Motherhood
What has sleep deprivation done for you lately?
Photo by James Jordan
One of my absolutely favorite not-about-me stories is this one, from Ezra’s two-month appointment with our pediatrician. She was very late getting to our appointment, thanks to a very brand-new mother who had an appointment ahead of us. And was very, very late for it.
Summary: Very Brand-New Mother drives to doctor’s office with Very Brand-New Baby. She doesn’t know how to get her baby’s infant seat out of the car. She fights with it for awhile, gets (apparently) a little hysterical because OMG HER BABY IS TRAPPED IN THE CAR. She doesn’t have the doctor’s phone number, does not want to leave her infant unattended in the car…so she calls her mother to drive over from God-knows-where and help her. She finally arrives at the office completely rattled and tear-stained and shaken, well after her appointment time, but our doctor sympathetically squeezes her in, because the front desk staff misunderstand the story and thought that the baby was locked in the car. Very Brand-New Mother relates her horrific encounter with the Graco latching mechanism to our doctor, who gets confused and asks her why the HELL she didn’t just unbuckle the baby from the car seat and carry him inside?
Very Brand-New Mother: Oh. I never thought of that.
And oh, how I laughed, when the doctor related this little comedy of errors — even though this dingbat was the reason I had just spent upwards of 20 minutes waiting in a boring-ass exam room with my two-month-old AND my preschooler and very few entertainment options — but how do you not laugh about that? I mean, dude. Your baby is not welded to his car seat. That’s an accessory. It’s sold separately.
But I also totally understood the misfiring thought process that must have been happening out in the parking lot. Because I’ve been there, done that, gotten the sarcastic standing ovation for doing it in front of a crowded room. Behold, some of the Really Dumb Things I have done (or my husband has done) in the first few days, weeks and months of my new babies’ lives, thanks to hormonal paranoia and sleep deprivation and general postpartum brain fog:
1) Shown up to a non-existent doctor’s appointment because I neglected to notice that I was looking at an appointment card from six months earlier, and for the wrong child.
2) Driven Noah to school on a major holiday, stood at the locked front door for 10 minutes before wondering why there weren’t any other cars in the parking lot.
3) Held up the line at the grocery store because I forgot my bonus card and flubbed no less than four attempts to give the cashier my home phone number before calling my husband to ask him what our home phone number was. (Yes, I had my cell phone with me. Yes, I have our home phone number on my cell phone. What’s your point?)
4) Pulled over to the side of the road to double-check that I remembered to put Ezra in his car seat because he was being too quiet and I suddenly couldn’t quite guarantee that I hadn’t accidentally driven off with the baby on the roof of the car like a forgotten grande latte.
5) Left the stove on, left the iron on, ironed clothing while the iron wasn’t even plugged in, burned soup, lost my keys, left the house wearing two different shoes, left the house with my nursing bra unhooked, misspelled my last name on an insurance form, forgot to let the dog in, forgot to let the dog out, and once hysterically demanded a $20 tip back from a very happy cabbie in exchange for a $1.
HUSBAND BONUS: Jason once dropped me off at a restaurant, drove a couple blocks to find parking, then walked in and sat down at our table…without the baby. Who was in his car seat, in the car, two blocks away. When he ran out and returned with Noah, all the tables around us (who heard me shriek about the OMG BAYBEEEE) stood up and applauded.
Your turn! What’s the stupidest, most-embarrassing lapse of all common sense and problem-solving skills you’ve ever done as a Very Brand-New (and Very Sleep-Deprived) Mom?