The {Baby} Stage You Didnt Warn Me About | via

I know Annalyn isn’t that old. And I’m pretty sure I’ve raised her these past seven-plus years. But I do not remember that first 12 months. I really don’t. Every time Adrienne does something new, I’m just shocked. Shocked! And certainly amazed, like any good mom. Annnnnd perplexed, like any first-time mom.

Maybe the problem is that since I’m not a first-time mom this time around I haven’t read any of the books. And I’ve got a backlog of at least six parenting magazines sitting, neglected, in my bathroom. (YES. There.) But whatever is to blame, the fact remains that every new development reminds me that this baby is a mystery to me.

I do figure things out eventually. It just takes me a little longer – to remember, to research, to figure out this tiny person who is completely different than Annalyn as a tiny person (or, you know, the parts I remember).

But recently something has really thrown me for a loop, and I’m just not sure what to do about it.

I’m not talking about her shrieking (oh look! she’s found her voice!) or her looking me straight in the eye and throwing food on the floor (oh look! she’s got a personality!) or her recent fear of baths.

I’m talking about Toddler Brain Fog.

Obviously the foggy brain of pregnancy is to be expected. (We all remember those very educational pregnancy test commercials with the jogging woman who suspects she’s pregnant solely on being “distracted,” right?) And everyone knows the first few weeks…er…months with a newborn cause all sorts of exhaustion- and hormone-induced forgetfulness.

I mean, for months I asked friends repeatedly when – not if, WHEN, darn it! – my brain and former intelligence would return. It went on long enough that I really started wondering if it would! But finally, much later than I expected but still much sooner than never (I told you, I was worried), I started feeling more like myself. Still a tired, harried version of myself. But myself.

But before I could get too comfortable being all smart and productive or enjoy having a personality that seemed somewhat familiar, it happened. The Toddler Brain Fog struck.

I ran into a friend a few weeks ago. We see each other in passing nearly every week at church and pretty much every day on Facebook. But we hadn’t had a chance to really talk for months, and she hadn’t seen Adrienne in that time either. She commented that she couldn’t believe enough time has passed for my newborn to turn into a toddler…and I told her to SHUT UP NOW.

My baby is NOT a toddler. She is a tiny, tiny baby and she will stay cute and snuggly and sweet FOREVER.

Or…not. Because, as it turns out, time doesn’t stop for crazy mothers in denial and that teeny tiny baby of mine IS A TODDLER.

She is on the move, and she will not be stopped. To be clear, she will NOT be stopped – even if you tell her no, shake her shiniest toys at her, pick her up and point her in the other direction. No, ma’am, if she wants to GO TO THERE, she’s gonna GO TO THERE.

(oh look! this one’s strong-willed, too!)

As a result, I have once again been reduced to a blank-staring, fuzzy-brained zombie. Because every brain cell at my disposal is dedicated to monitoring that toddler. And her go-go-Gadget arms that can reach EVERYTHING. And her iron will to open EVERY SINGLE DOOR AND DRAWER ON EARTH. And her unending appetite for ALL THE BAD AND DIRTY THINGS ON THE FLOOR. And if I might have a single brain cell left? It’s all used up trying to remember one more synonym for the word, “no,” because I don’t want to be a “no mom” or dilute the power of the word, “no,” or whatever other reason for not hollering “NO!” at a toddler those magazines in my bathroom explain so well.

Oh, it’s not that bad, you say! Kids are coddled and spoiled and missing immune systems these days, you say! Oh yeah?

You know how those parenting magazines have a monthly feature called something like, “It Happened to Me,” cautionary tales about the shocking and/or stupid ways their children were injured? Have you ever read the one about the mom who took her girls to a play date with an old friend and, while chatting with her friend in the kitchen, kept one perfectly reasonable and responsible eye on her toddler in the living room? And then said toddler pulled A FREAKING CANDLE OFF THE SHELF?

Hi. I’m that mom, and it’s nice to meet you.

The good news is that the candle was one of those non-burning kinds that somehow smells up the room but results in NON-scorching liquid wax. So while my curious monkey toddler smelled like a thousand cinnamon candles for the next couple of days (and that blanket sleeper she was in because CLOTHES ARE HARD was ruined), she wasn’t hurt in the slightest. She didn’t even make a peep. WHEN THE {barely warm} WAX DRIPPED ON HER.

So, suffice it to say that I have become more vigilant in the Watching The Baby Every Second department. Not as much at home because I know where the dangers are here. But when we’re somewhere else, like say, my grandma’s house for Thanksgiving? Well, you might THINK you’re having a conversation with a fully functional adult. But nope. In reality, you are staring at a blank-faced, personality-free zombie mom who is laser-focused on who just gave her baby an entire cookie. Again.

You guys didn’t warn me about this. You didn’t TELL ME!

I’d yell at you some more but I guess I’d better go make sure the outlet covers are secure. Or something. I think that’s what I was going to do, but I’m not sure. I’m feeling a little foggy…

What should you watch next?


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