Picture the scene:
The toddler is napping, the baby is sat contentedly chewing your car keys and you're washing up. The house is calm for a rare and brief moment.
Then suddenly your husband throws a curveball...
What?! Shit! An actual adult question. About current affairs. Quick brain, help me out here, what do we know about Scottish independence?
"Ummm" I reply "well..." Stalling for time.
Come on brain! We can do this... Nope. Still can't drag any information or opinion from the archives of my former mind.
"No?" ... Oh god I hope it was a yes/no question.. It was wasn't it?
"Really?" he probes "Why not?"
Aaaah! He's on to us brain. He knows we've got nothing to say, no grey matter left to think with. I've just remembered something about JK Rowling but was that for or against?
Quick! Think something! Anything!
Then the baby whines and you're saved. Another grown up conversation avoided. Phew!
When my first son was born, 2 years ago a total nutcase of a midwife on the postnatal ward told me that I must eat lots of butter and cream for omega 3 because, via breastfeeding, the baby would eat my brain.
Yes. That. Actually. Happened. At University College London Hospital. [If you're from the NMC, I'll gladly give you that crazy lady's name!]
Worryingly, my sluggish, dim-witted, baby addled brain is starting to think she was on to something!
3 years ago
I was around 70% of my way through a masters in Children's Nursing (or was it called Child Health? I can't even remember!) I read academic papers and medical research on a daily basis, analysed them and made brief notes to refresh my memory later while typing up my ideas.
I got a bit annoyed at people whose mental arithmetic wasn't up to scratch while calculating complex IV doses at work. Numbers just worked in my head.
I knew what was happening in the world, had opinions and could take part in heated debates.
Then I got pregnant, and 9 months later had a baby, and 9 months later got pregnant again and 9 months later had another baby.
I'm starting to believe that they've actually eaten my brain.
Ok, so it might be 3 years of interrupted sleep.
Or the lack of interaction with non baby centric adults.
Or a lack of practice at thinking, communicating and problem solving.
Or the fact that my entire purpose and focus in life is now the 2 humans I created, who take up all my attention and thoughts. (Except the part that worries about why George Pig from Peppa Pig is voiced by 2 actors.)
Whatever it is. The sharp, logical, quick brain I had 3 years ago has gone.
This week I played a game of cards with my husband and father in law. It was whist. I struggled. At whist?! It's one of the simplest card games there is, but my sluggish, hibernating brain couldn't keep up.
I read some beautifully written, intelligent blog posts about feminism and had to read parts of them twice. My old brain could have crafted complex arguments like those. This one struggles to read them.
My dissertation is due in December and I'm going to ask for another extension. Partly because I still don't have time to work on it, but also, sadly, because I don't think I'm smart enough at the moment.
I know my body is out of shape from 2 pregnancies, a lot of emergency cake and no exercise. I hadn't realised until now that my brain is out of shape too.
So I'm going to take the nursing journals that land in my hallway every month out of their plastic covers. Bring on the crosswords, the French-learning podcasts and the mental arithmetic practice.
My gorgeous brain eating babies need a clever Mummy before they overtake me in the intellect stakes!