Thursday, November 2, 2006

mind atrophy

I feel fuzzy, like I'm going soft in the head. Today, I lugged Daniel and his stroller into The Wine Thief on St. Clair and announced to the owner, "I'm here to buy some wine." He looked amused. Well, of course I was. What else do you walk into a wine store for? I felt like an idiot, plus hot and flushed under my heavy coat and hat. I laughed, and he laughed, and my mind fumbled for what to say next, but all that came was the urge to tell him everything (which I didn't): "This is the first time I have done this in almost a year. I have not bought wine since before I got pregnant, and my son is now two months old, so you do the math. Please, show me how to do this again. There are so many bottles on this wall, and I feel fuzzy, like I don't have the sharpness in my brain to sort through all these choices." In the end, I just asked him for suggestions for a good wine to go with salmon and roasted potatoes, which is what we're having when my brother- and sister-in-law come over tonight, and I left with a couple of bottles of Pinot Noir and sweaty armpits, dying to get out in the cold air again.

But it's not just choosing wine. The other night, I had some friends over — friends who work, who don't have children, who are around adults all day. Carrying on a conversation felt, at times, like being in a dream where I am trying to run but my legs are melting. I realized that after two months home with a baby, my use of language has atrophied. I had to really think about how to string together a story so it made sense. I marvelled at my friends' ability to say witty, clever things. I marvelled at their adult clothing, too. It seemed foreign and exotic to me. I spend my days wearing sweatpants and double-layer cotton nursing crewnecks, saying incomplete sentences in my sing-song voice and singing "You Are My Sunshine" and "The Teensy-Weensy Spider." The extent of my daytime conversation is along the lines of, "Who's Mommy's big boy?" "Is my baby hungry?" "What a big poopy!" Babies on the brain has evolved into baby-brain.

Getting outside for walks helps clear my head. This afternoon it was 28 degrees, but I had to get out of the house, so I bundled up Daniel and took him outside in our newest new stroller, which I now put at the top of the list of Best Strollers Ever — the BOB Revolution all-terrain jogging/walking stroller. I found a 2005 model on sale online last week, in red, and decided to splurge. (Yes, I'm obsessive.) Folks, the Revolution is ... well, revolutionary. I loved walking with it so much that I did not want to come back indoors. It handles bumps in the sidewalk like they aren't even there. It steers like a dream, even one-handed (like, when I'm holding my latte in the other hand), and I can walk as fast as I want without kicking the back wheels, which is a problem I've had with the Zippy. It's a stride issue; I don't have any problems with the Zippy when I'm not trying to power walk. So it's perfect in shops — it's compact, and it zips around the clothing racks at Macy's a lot better than the Revolution would — and I love how easily I can set it up and collapse it and throw it in the trunk of my car. It's a great indoor stroller, and the Revolution will be our great outdoor stroller. You see? I can talk about strollers all day. Yes I can!


liz said...

Oh Em, this post makes me giggle (not at you, but at your wit - which is still very much intact!). As so many things in life do, this reminds me of an episode of "Sex and the City"... the one where Miranda is breast-feeding and completely frustrated with carrying on an adult conversation with Carrie. Of course, Miranda triumphantly emerges just as witty as ever and so will you!

For what it's worth, your experience in the wine store kind of reminded me of times when I first moved to Minneapolis and didn't know anyone. I lived alone, and could go for whole weekends without talking to another soul, so when I'd go to grocery stores I would say the most inane things to the clerks - it was like I had forgotten how to speak to adults. So weird! It's not just you - and it's not just moms - and it passes!

28 degrees?! Oh my.

liz said...

P.S. I still owe you an e-mail! :)

Anonymous said...

Your post really pins how I felt for a long time with Rebecca. I felt so akward around my friends, who seemed to have things to talk about. I sometimes felt like I was hiding behind Rebecca, hoping she'd need attention, since that was what I was comfortable with.

Shopping was a mess too. I needed a list with specific details or I'd just stare at the shelf, half zombie and half worried that she'd melt down if I didn't hurry.

It will get easier to change focus from baby to outside world.

Ellen said...

Wow, and all this time I just thought I was crazy! The kind of crazy where you're not sick enough for the hospital but sick enough to make it seem like you'll never be a normal person like everyone else around.
I too have gone weekends without speaking to anyone that really challenges me, so when I finally chat with a close friends it's like I have nothing to say, and don't know how to express myself and my end of the conversation seems dull and lethargic.
Em, it's interesting to wonder: Are our "atrophies" we get into when we haven't been exercising the social interaction we're used to, just a realizaton of who we really are, after we peel away the layers we form over our true selves as we go through life?
You've been witty all your life Em, so I wouldn't worry about losing it during one winter. If not, your new experiences will refine your wit. Storywriting is a craft you have to keep practicing, but your wit will never escape. Just your reflections on all that's been going on is a hilarious take on what it's been like for you to jump into the world of mommyhood.

Carrie said...

EM- you are making me LOL!
I love hearing/reading this, because I can totally see myself being exactly like this next Spring -- and YAY for the BOB! LOL - that is the stroller we want for our 2nd stroller as well - and my parents and I saw a couple outside the Tavern on Grand last Sunday w/the BOB (I said "they have a BOB!" LMAO) and they expressed their love for it! Good to hear good review from you, too! Maybe next summer, you and I can do some power walks w/our BOBS together ( I also want red, hee hee)!

Susanne said...

I pretty much agree with what Ellen said. Me also being a sister, that would make sense.

Emilie said...

I also think of Dr. Bailey on Grey's Anatomy when she brought her baby into the gallery and - in her cooing voice - said something along the lines of, "Dr. Burke is cutting the man's brain open ... yes he is! Oh yes he is!"