An Open Letter to the Childhood Brain
July 15, 2015 (I originally wrote 2014. This is your fault)
Dear Childhood Brain,
We've been close, if not sometimes wary companions for nearly seven years now. I'm in constant awe of the way you work and the new things you learn every day. But I think it's time we had a heart-to-heart about your methods. Because right now I'm going on roughly five hours of sleep and they seem straight up bonkers.
Sleep. There's a seemingly simple concept. Let's start there.
The way you deal with sleep is akin to torture. Or is actual torture. Like, maybe the first guy to come up with sleep deprivation as a method of torture had an infant at home. At one point or another, you've made each of my sweet babies wake up in the middle of the night and scream for hours. I'd nurse, change diapers, nurse again, swaddle, sing the same song over and over again, anything to make the sleep come back. Just come back for the love of everything good and holy. When they get older, you make them wake me up by putting their faces two inches away from mine, silently waiting until I'm startled awake by their presence and heavy breathing. I honestly can't tell you which is worse. Both will haunt me for years, I'm sure of it.
You cause toddlers to wake up with questions forming in their mouths before their eyes are even open. You ask me the same question four different ways before finally settling on, "Why?"
There are days I've contemplated scratching out my own eardrums because of that word. Is the physical pain worth the sweet relief of never hearing "Why?" again? I don't know anymore. My hunch is yes.
Childhood Brain, at one point you had my daughter convinced she was an actual puppy. She curled her hands into "paws" for months and spilled various foods and liquids all over my carpet because of it. Turns out "paws" are crap at holding things. The first time she saw Babe? I had to beg her to stop oinking at strangers in Target. These are the kind of stunts you pull. THANKS.
You think food isn't worth eating until it's been dumped on the floor and mixed in with the dirt. You see the dog's dish full of dry, hard nuggets and think, "Sweet nectar of the gods!" My boy has never crawled faster than when you've made him realize this sweet treat has been left unattended. Your technique for sharpening both his fine and gross motor skills gets results, but leaves something to be desired.
Something shifts in reality when more than one of you gathers in a place. I have three of you living in my house right now and the amount of crazy I feel on a daily basis due to your shenanigans is unparalleled. Childhood Brain, you create chaos out of nothing. Literally. My girls will fight about imaginary things. Let me say that again. My kids have had fights (fightS with an S! As in multiple!) about things that do not exist. Below is a recent picture taken of me after you convinced my six year old that it was possible for her three year old sister to continually take away the imaginary gold medals they were competing for in a race.
What gets me the most, C.B, is what you do to my adult brain. You make it fuzzy and irrational and unguarded. I'll finally get my baby to sleep and then spend the next three hours checking his chest for the steady up/down rhythm of breathing. Most people don't invite the person staring creepily at them in the dark into their bed for a snuggle, but I did that very thing last night. My brain has stopped screaming "Gross! Gross! Make it stop!" when my baby shoves a handful of dirt encrusted food into his mouth and instead thinks, "Immunity builder!" I take thousands of pictures and listen to endless stories and questions and stuff my face into the crook of their necks to breathe in their sweaty scent when they finally stop moving for more than a second. It makes no sense and yet I can't get myself to stop. My adult brain is no match for the wilds of your ways.
But seriously, if you could spend less energy on having the kids fight over who ate the last imaginary sausage (just make another one! Or a hundred more! THEY'RE NOT REAL) and more energy on getting them all to sleep at the same time I'd really appreciate it.
A tired, half crazed, mush brained mom.
ps. That thing you do where my words come out of my kids' mouths when they're angry? Not a fan. Cut me some slack, man. The Teenage Brain is coming.