The Momnesiac Chronicles

I just had one of those good, cleansing laughs, you know the kind that reach levels of hysteria, all while my husband laid in bed reading his Kindle, periodically looking over at me, not really concernedly…more like…resignedly. Which made the situation even more hilarious in my mind. Here’s why I was laughing in the first place…

After reading a few chapters of my book, eyelids growing heavier by the minute, I got up to go to the “girls room” just one more time before bed.

On my way back to bed, I stopped at our vanity, opened the cabinet, got out my moisturizer and began slathering it on my face. Why?…

I have no idea.

I had already moisturized, as always, after I washed my face, about 40 minutes before this incident. But something about being a mom, and even more so, being pregnant, puts a lady on autopilot and we “come to” doing the weirdest things. As I began to moisturize the second cheek, I realized what I was doing, and got so very tickled. Me and my supersoft face laughed all the way to bed, and then a little more for good measure.

These strange incidents are not new to me (and these stories won’t be new to some of you), as I self-diagnosed myself with “Momnesia” about four years ago…

I distinctly remember the first time I realized something was amiss. Of course, I had heard about how having kids causes you to literally lose brain cells (how is that even fair?!) but that was the least of my concerns in the early stages of Gideon’s infancy; I mean at that point, completely new to the mothering world, I was trying not to die of shock everytime I nursed my baby and it worked.

Mr. Gore and I were living with my parents at the time and some friends stopped by for a visit on their way back to college. We all stood in a sort of circle outside, talking, laughing…let me rephrase that, they were all talking and laughing…I, unbeknownst to anyone else, was having an out-of-body experience, one where I could look objectively down at the group of us and realize that I had no idea what anyone was saying or why they were laughing. Oh sure, I was laughing, too, but like Lucy Ricardo laughs when she is out of the loop, loudly, frequently, and probably obnoxiously (but maybe a little endearingly?); none of the words made sense to me, none of the jokes were sinking in, and I was all of a sudden an outcast among dear friends. Something inside of me just could not connect; my once virile brain was trapped behind a haze of feeding schedules and new-parent exhaustion…and four years later, I have resigned myself to the fact that that haze ain’t going nowhere.

Sometime before my second pregnancy, my symptoms began to visibly show up. I (somehow) remember it like it was yesterday (even though I have Momnesia…weird, I know). Chris was sitting in the leather chair in my parent’s living room and asked if I might not mind fetching him an aspirin. I mindlessly went to the kitchen, opened the cabinet door where the medicines are kept, and fetched, delivering the pill to Mr. Gore along with a glass of water. As he was placing the humongous, pink, oblong pill on his tongue, something snapped in my mind and I yelled out in a frenzied panic, “Christhat’saprenatalvitamin!!!!” Which, roughly translated, means “Chris, that’s a prenatal vitamin!” He spat it out like it would make him pregnant if he swallowed it, and he and I just stared at each other for the space of several seconds, like “what the heck just happened?” He then politely asked for two aspirin.

A few weeks after that, my condition took a turn for the dangerous. Mr. Gore and I were in the bathroom, readying for bed, and I was about to brush my teeth. Going rather dumbly through my routine, I turned on the sink, wet my toothbrush, and began squeezing toothpaste onto the brush…when I realized it was not a toothbrush I was holding but a razor. I gasped and exclaimed with horror, “OhmygoshIalmostbrushedmyteethwitharazor!” Which, roughly translated, means, “OH my gosh, I almost brushed my TEETH with a RAZOR!” Chris and I stared at each other again, a little bit of “what the heck just happened?” still on his face, but now mingled with concern and just the tiniest hint of that resignation I see on his face so often these days. (I don’t blame him, bless his heart, living with a desperate and dangerous momnesiac…)

Well, we tried to keep my condition a secret, but to no avail, for one Sunday morning, very pregnant with my second child, I displayed my Momnesia in the most public setting possible for a pastor’s wife, the stage of our church’s sanctuary. I was about to sing a solo before my husband preached, but as the choir filed out of the choir loft, leaving me behind, I was struck by something extremely unfamiliar…something that made me squirm in my usually very comfortable padded choir seat. I realized, with no small amount of horror, that I had no idea what in the world I was about to sing. I knew the song’s title, I had the lyrics in my hand, but the melody of the song had completely escaped me. As the offering was being collected, I frantically whispered “Chris!” and gestured for him to come over. “I can’t remember what this song sounds like!” He stared at me blankly and finally said “Remember?” and proceeded to quickly hum through the song…rather tunelessly, to be honest. I nodded and said “yeah, I’ve got it,” all the while asking God to forgive me for lying in church. And to the preacher, no less!…

I went ahead and made the long walk to the pulpit and assured myself that once the music started, my musical prowess would kick in and I would be reminded of the melody. Pipe dream. Didn’t happen. I stood there through the opening strains, missed my cue, and finally turned around to mouth to my pastor (and a bit accusingly, too), “I can’t remember how to sing this!” He tried to help me out, gesturing to the sound booth and asking them to start the song over again. I turned around and mouthed “that’s not going to help!” There was nothing left for me to do but turn back to the congregation, smile, and say, in the microphone “I’m sorry, but I just can’t remember how to sing this song!” Everyone laughed and clapped for me anyway as I waddled, red-cheeked, back to my seat. OH the agony of living with a chronic disease…

But it got even worse as I tried juggling two children.

We were in the dirty dog days of summer, meaning that every article of clothing in the wardrobes of both of my children were dirty, sticky, or stinky. Thus, I found myself one night stain-treating an entire load of their clothes, spraying nearly every item in one place or another with Resolve Spray N’ Wash. The spray seemed off somehow, not as foamy as usual, but I just assumed I was nearing the end of a can and continued with my work. I put the clothes in the washer, shut the door, started the wash cycle, and then looked over to actually see what I had used to treat the stains…not Spray N’ Wash like I thought, but Scrubbling Bubbles bathroom cleaner. A novice housekeeper, I panicked, pausing the wash, yelling for my Mom to “help!” She quickly instructed me to do a rinse cycle and cross my fingers that my kids clothes weren’t ruined. Everything turned out alright, and funny enough, after that simple rinse cycle, every single stain was gone. I don’t endorse using Scrubbing Bubbles as a laundry stain remover, but rest assured…it is getting your bathroom clean.

And then there was the day I was upstairs cleaning the children’s nursery as they played when I  suddenly realized that for at least fifteen minutes, Rebekah had been wearing Gideon’s underwear on top of her diaper, while Gideon, unnoticed by me, had been wandering around in nothing but a t-shirt, his bottom half as naked as a jaybird. And I was the one who had dressed them.

Or there’s that Sunday we stopped by our house to pick up a change of clothes before going to my parent’s house for lunch, only to return that evening to find that I had left our front door wide open…all day…in Beggs. Great. Didn’t lock it, didn’t set the alarm, didn’t even shut it…just left. Buh-bye, here’s all our stuff, help yourselves, local mischief-makers!

And now, here I am, pregnant again, my mind growing sicker and more distant by the minute.

A month ago, I came in the front door, giant purse on one arm, Rebekah in the other. I turned off the security alarm, set my purse on the floor, and lifted my poor baby girl high up in the air to apparently hang her on the coat rack.

Last week I did another full load of laundry with Scrubbing Bubbles.

I had to use a facebook status to find out what in the world day of the week it was.

And then, of course, I stopped randomly by last night for that extra helping of moisturizer.

Hello, my name is Mrs. Gore…and I have Momnesia. And what was your name again?…

4 thoughts on “The Momnesiac Chronicles

  1. This one left me with tears rolling down my cheeks-hilarious! The story about forgetting the solo you were about to sing reminded me of a time in our early married life when Randy was leading worship. He “felt led of the Spirit” to move from one accompanied hymn into another hymn a cappella. Wonderful as his voice is, his tonal memory doesn’t always match up. Only God knows what “note” he was singing. He knew it was wrong but with misplaced confidence he persevered thinking it would come to him. It went from really bad to worse. I was sitting in the choir bursting to laugh out loud. Randy’s mother, sitting next to me, said rather loudly, “God help him!” with the agony only a mother can feel. I soooo wish that that little church way back then had recorded services. We’d be on America’s Funniest Home Videos and won the big prize, I’m quite sure.

    • Oh I SO wish you had that on video!! I don’t know what part is my favorite, the fact that he kept trying and it continued to go downhill (the agony!) or his Mom’s statement…I don’t know how you controlled yourself.

  2. Oh, I can relate in far too many ways! Before becoming pregnant I thought that “Pregnancy Brain” and “Mom Brain” were total copouts. Not so, my dear, not so at all! I figure as long as I don’t leave my baby in the car or at home alone, I’m doing alright!

    • Exactly! I’m with you – I could never understand why my Mom could not remember peoples names. I thought “how hard is it to remember it’s Shannon and not Shanna??” But now…I totally understand.

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