So imagine this…you think you are a super-cool and super-organized Mom (perhaps using “super” now makes me so very uncool, hmmm…oh well).  You think you have everything with you as you get in the car before you leave your house: a fully stocked diaper bag, your purse, sippy cup, snacks, water bottle, coupons, shopping lists, and (you would think, most importantly) your DAUGHTERbut there is another very important item that I am missing here!!!  I go to start the ignition and I am missing my…KEYS!!!  Yes, I forgot my keys and had locked myself out of the house with my baby!!

Has this happened to you?  Well, before I became a mother this NEVER happened to me, I actually was that super-organized, not to mention a much less forgetful, person.  I was that person who always had everything anyone needed, and more.  Hey, I was a Girl Scout after all, and our motto was,  “Be Prepared,” and up until I became a Mom, actually scratch that…up until I became pregnant, I was a very together person.  This has all changed now!

I always prided myself in my organization, my to-do lists, and my great balance.  I was an athlete growing up, very flexible, and I was barely ever hurt.  I would forget things every now and then (like anyone else did), but I was not a klutz…nor was I completely absent minded.  I had my “blonde” moments and could be a little ditzy from time to time, but well, if you have been pregnant before I am sure we can all say an “AMEN” together when you hear the term “BABY BRAIN.”  Sometimes it is also referred to as either, “pregnant brain,” or “Mommy brain.”

As I have mentioned before, when I was pregnant I was a teacher.  As I got further and further along in my pregnancy, I suddenly noticed myself making quite a few mistakes inside the classroom.  So, instead of making an excuse to my students I began to blame my mistakes and forgetfulness on my newly found (or lost) “pregnant brain.”  It actually became a running joke in my classroom, any time I had some weird “brain fart” or error, especially at the white-board, I would look at the students shake my head and they would say, “pregnant brain!” and I would nod my head, smile, and throw my hands up in the air.

At home, my husband started to see a whole new side of me too, besides wanting to go to bed at 6:30 p.m. and hibernate (like that of a bear), I began running into things constantly, slipping, getting strange bumps and bruises all over my body.  I can’t even tell you how many times he would ask me, “Jess, are you ok?”  or “what did you do now?” and I would say, “oh yeah hunny…I just it’s just my pregnant brain.”

Think this might stop after you’ve had your baby???  THINK AGAIN!!  It does not stop, actually it gets worse, because now your pregnant brain has magically turned into “Mommy Brain” or “Baby Brain.”  Besides the lack of sleep and free time from the start of being a Mom, or a parent for that matter, you slowly start to lose your mind.

So, here is a TOP 10 list of what BABY BRAIN has done to me (as it has slowly taken over my body over almost the past two years…from pregnancy to the present, as Juliette is now 14 months). 

1)   Losing my keys for the first time- When Juliette was only about a month old, I couldn’t find my keys.  Instead of making a big fuss over it, I used my extra set and didn’t fret about it.  About 30 minutes later we had arrived at our destination.  As I went to get Juliette out of the car, I discovered something very odd…MY KEYS on THE ROOF?!  They were stuck on the roof rack on top of the car right above the car door near her car-seat side…how did they stay on top of the car that whole time???  I haven’t a clue, but either way it saved me a lot of time and money.  Note to self: Next time you get your child out of their car-seat, do not temporarily place your keys on top of the car!

2)   Getting Lost- While driving home from work one day, very tired and pregnant, I got so dazed out I missed the same exit that I took home everyday for almost four years!  The funny thing is that I didn’t realize this until 6 more exits passed!

3)   Slipping on the Ice– On one cold wintery day while exiting the car ( I think I had just entered into my second trimester) it happened to be very slippery out and, even though I was wearing boots, I slipped and nearly did a split, and skinned my hand and wrist.  Not a hard enough fall where I was worried about my belly, but hard enough where I got a little shook up and switched to better gripped boots for the rest of the winter.

4)   Colliding with a student- Monitoring the hallways during the change of classes ifs always a part of any middle-school teacher’s job.  So, once the bell would ring I would waddle over and stand in the small crevice between the hallway and my classroom door so I didn’t get plowed into as I watched the students pass by.  One day, while I was doing this, I heard something behind me, stepped forward and turned my head to make sure everything was ok.  Just then- BOOM…I was hit by the student carrying all of their books!  As their books fell and the student quickly saw my face, she abruptly apologized.  I was getting pretty big at this point, I think about 6 or 7 months along and even though I played it off like I was fine, I did feel a tiny little pain in my belly.  I called the doctor on my way home and they told me I was probably fine, but if I was worried I could stop by.  OF COURSE, I STOPPED BY.  After being hooked up to a monitor to check the baby’s heartbeat, crisis was averted and all was fine.

5)   Ankle hit #1– (right ankle) One day over my due date and VERY restless and uncomfortable, I decided to go on a walk with the dogs, my Mom, and my husband.  I hadn’t even gotten out of my parents driveway when my ankle turned out and I fell right down onto my butt.  No bumps or bruises this time, just very shaken up, and a very twisted ankle.  That’s all I needed, I just wanted my baby to be delivered, and now I had a huge swollen ankle, which makes it even harder to walk around.  I had to wear an ace bandage and ice it very often up until Juliette came, which was just three days later.

6)   Ankle hit #2 & #3- Juliette was about six months old when I walking down the stairs with her on one arm and my purse and diaper bag on the other, when I slipped!  Of course all I worried about was my baby, so I protected her as I stumbled down 4 stairs and landed on my bottom, but definitely sprained left my ankle.  Juliette was fine as can be, but after a trip to the doctor and I learned I did sprain my left ankle and had to wear a brace for almost a month, at least I didn’t have to use crutches.  I was still able to walk, just with a limp for a while.  Ankle hit #3- You think I would’ve learned my lesson at this point!  After my left ankle was just about healed, I was walking down the stairs, thankfully alone this time, but of course carrying two bags, and fell down the same stairs again!  This time it was VERY bad, I could barely move my right ankle and I had never seen it so swollen.  Another doctor’s visit later, I had a new brace, lot of icing to do…and oh yeah crutches this time too!!!  How do you take care of a baby with crutches?  You become just like them, you are stumbling, kneeling, and even crawling a lot, plus you get lots of help from family, thankfully.  The very LONG week of crutches was NOT fun or easy in any which way!  Believe it or not my right ankle is still swollen to this day!  I STILL have to ice it sometimes, as the doctor said I jammed this one up very badly and it could take up to 8-12 months to fully heal.  However, I have a feeling that this right ankle won’t ever be the same.

7)   A Pain in the neck…and back– I strained my neck so badly on Mother’s Day…(yup on my first Mother’s Day) when I had turned around very quickly to see what Juliette was doing behind me.  This was a mistake, my neck was strained so bad that I could barely keep it straight all day, let alone move it to the right side, and it took about two weeks to recover from that.  Then, just a few weeks ago, I once again strained it while rocking Juliette to sleep.  Just to top it off, again last week (NO BABY INVOLVED THIS TIME) I was just lying down in bed when I moved, not even quickly this time, to grab my glass of water and again strained it!  The back issues have not been fun either.  They have been there for the past four years or so, having to bend for most things, (because as most tall people know, the world is not created for tall people…or short people for that matter…it’s made for average sized people).  The lower back pain got so bad while I was at the end of my pregnancy I had to wear a back brace.  Just recently, I really strained it again bending over to pull the sheet off of Juliette’s crib.  While heating pads and ice did help slightly, a very necessary chiropractor appointment was made…but more on that issue in another entry.

8)   Forgetting to put on deodorant– Once on my way to work when I was pregnant, I realized I forgot to put on deodorant.  Luckily, I had an extra one in my desk, which I quickly put on before the students arrived.  Much later on, after rushing out of the house when Juliette was only about four months old, we were on our way to a party when I realized that I once again forgot to put on deodorant!  So, we had to make a pit stop for me to get some deodorant at CVS.  Which I now proudly keep in my glove compartment, thanks to the advice from my husband.

9)   Losing my sandal at Walmart- it was almost the end of September, and I always hold onto my  sandals as long as I possibly can before getting into closed toe shoes.  I was running some errands with the little one and when my flip-flop broke!  This was not just any old flip-flop either, it was one of my favorite (not to mention expensive) pairs, my Fit-Flops!  So, there I was dragging my foot along the aisles of Walmart, looking for the shoe section.  I ended up having to buy some imitation Converse sneakers and wear them out of the store.  I have to admit, I am not one who embarrasses easily, but for some reason this one really did embarrass me.

10)  LOCKED OUT OF THE HOUSE– This brings me to the start of my entry, when I had locked my baby and myself out of the house.  Jumping through the back window, which was very high might I add, even for a girl who is 6 feet tall, was no easy task.  It was the middle of August, and as I wrote at the beginning, I thought I had everything with me!  But, I got into the car and what was I missing, MY KEYS!  I called my husband in a panic, who (if he had to, he could have drove home) but it wouldn’t be for at least 2 hours (one hour to get out of work, and another hour to drive home)…did I really want to waste the money and call a locksmith??  No, instead I remembered that I may have a left one of the back windows unlocked…of course it wasn’t the one connected to the deck, that would’ve been too easy!  It was the highest one on the side of the house in the back.  So, after stacking up three chairs and a small table on top of each other I got that window open and slipped in (and when I mean slipped I mean bumped, bruised and jumped…err, skidded through the window).  Juliette is watching this all go down in the backyard perfectly content in her stroller playing with her teether keys and babbling to herself…probably saying, “Mommy did you have a brain before I was born?”  This was the worst set of purple and red bruises I’ve had since I was 9 and had fell over a fence.  These bruises took weeks to heal, and were quite painful, it’s now October and one of them is still going away!

So, there you have it!  A list of all my LITERAL ups, downs, accidents, bumps, bruises, etc. over the past two years due to the joy of motherhood (well that’s what I am blaming anyway).  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it…because everyone falls down, even those who are not Moms!

 “When real people fall down in life, they get right back up and keep on walking.” –Carrie of Sex and The City, from the one of my favorite (and I think one of the most beloved) episodes, “The Real Me,” (Season 4) where Carrie becomes ‘fashion road-kill.’