During pregnancy, I often joked about having ‘baby brain’. Occasionally I quoted research that believes it’s nature’s way of preparing women to emotionally bond with their baby: hormones (it’s always hormones eh?), divert the brain’s attention to where it’s needed most. So less important jobs tend to fall by the wayside.
After you give birth, it’s more than likely sleep deprivation will be playing a part in contributing to the general fog you now operate under. Plus of course hormones are still doing their hormone-y thing. But I think that the compound interest effect of having your various emotional buttons pushed, also has an effect on your ability to operate as a fully functioning adult human. Things happen. Stupid things happen. Anxiety inducing things happen. Things happen that makes you question your sanity and even your ability to parent successfully. It’s more than possible that, if you’re anything like me, you’ll beat yourself constantly about these things. Learning how not to beat myself up: that’s a whole other blog post yet to be written (while there’s an element of self awareness at play here, it would appear that I’m mostly still in the learning phase and not the executing phase).
So in the spirit of sharing, here’re a few things I’ve done under the influence of baby brain / sleep deprivation / hormonal assault / emotional button bashing (and sometimes under the influence of all 4!):
I flooded the kitchen. Four times.
My beautiful little Button-Pusher was a late walker and had a preference for bottom shuffling over crawling. Her technique was superb, and really it was mesmerising to watch. So much so that on 4 separate occasions, I turned on the tap, gazed a little too long at my shuffling baba, and turned back to an overflowing kitchen sink. And I mean really overflowing: water everywhere; cupboard contents soaked. The work and effort it took each time to mop and dry everything, the whole time swearing never to do it again…..Four times I did this. Four.
Your child might fall off the bed / sofa / changing mat
When B-P was really little, she liked to sit still and observe the world. Knowing how unlikely she was to move, I’d often just lay her on the bed, surrounded by pillows: it was such a pain to carry the baby bouncer up and down the stairs all day. So I’d leave her on the bed, I’d get dressed, put my lenses in, nip in and out of the room grabbing items from the bathroom. She would lie there happily, smiling, gurgling, and generally not moving. Imagine the shock I got when one day I returned to the bedroom to find her lying on the floor, on her tummy, grinning up at me as she surveyed her new world. An additional baby bouncer to keep upstairs was swiftly purchased (thank you Amazon Prime. I know you (allegedly) don’t pay taxes but you do deliver quickly).
Your child might eat something they’re not supposed to
This particular day was a catalogue of disasters. If it hadn’t actually happened to me, I’d think I was making it up.
It was a hot summer’s day and B-P was sitting on the play mat, wearing just a nappy. In the split second that I had my back turned, she managed to get into my handbag, wrap her chubby little hand around a Clinique Chubby Stick (in shade Super Strawberry), remove the lid (seemingly a new skill and for a tiny moment I was really proud), and was nibbling on the end of the lipstick. She was eating lipstick Pre pregnancy I imagined I’d be a calm and communicative mother. Post pregnancy, my child was eating lipstick so I panicked and shouted. Pretty loudly. B-P jumped out of her tiny skin and sat and sobbed, exposing 4 little lipstick smeared teeth. After a clean up and a cuddle, I sat her back down on the mat with some water to drink (hoping this would flush it through her system), and called Clinique to ask for an ingredients list and advice. Turns out Super Strawberry is not one of your 5 a day, though the customer service women said it was the best call she’d had all week. She was pretty sure something meant for the lips wouldn’t be too harmful, but suggested I call my GP. In the short time it took to make this call, and one to the doctor’s surgery, my adorable little Button-Pusher had tipped her drink up, and was sitting in a pool of water which, of course, made her nappy swelI up. I could cope with an overly wet nappy, what I couldn’t quite handle was the fact that my curious little girl had picked away at said nappy, and decided to eat some of the crystals inside it. Seriously I wish I was making this up.
Thankfully, our ‘seen it all before’ GP was incredibly relaxed and said that children often eat things that they shouldn’t. Aside from telling me to give her plenty of water, and to watch out for vomiting, he was very calm about it all, saying that both ingested items were unlikely to do much, if any damage in such small quantities.
The only lasting side effect appeared to be an obsession with getting back into my handbag: perhaps that Super Strawberry lipstick was just damn tasty?
What’s your little Button-Pusher done lately?
PS – I’m making light of these things of course (we’d all go crazy if we didn’t laugh about it after the event), but if in doubt, please speak to your GP or call NHS 111.