Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I Deal in Absolutes

After giving birth to twins, I've accepted some realities of life. My stomach will never be flat again. Ever. It's a little hard on my self-esteem, especially when I try on swimsuits, but I do believe that losing my girlish figure was worth the price to bring strong, full-term babies into this world. The memory loss has been harder to deal with. I've always prided myself on a somewhat photographic memory that allowed me to cram for tests like nobody's business, to remember names and phone numbers without writing them down, and to settle any and all arguments regarding who-played-what-role-in-which-film with my encyclopedic knowledge of movie trivia. Those days are gone. Now someone comes up to me in the post office and says, "Hi, Kim! How's it going?" and I have no idea who they are or from where I know them.

While I've made peace with the fact that I'm never going to reach my high school weight again, I keep hoping that my mind will sharpen back up—that somehow this fogginess is a temporary setback and at some point I'll be able to recall instantly the name of that funny actress who plays the waitress in that sitcom from the 80s. You know, the one with the hair and the gum.

Hope is supposed to spring eternal, but mine is dying. I've become aware recently of my increasing inability to read those subtle cues required for the most basic of adult interactions. I suppose that this latest disability is a direct result from staying home with 3-year-olds. Everything is black and white with us. My twins tell me what they want, straight out with no pussy-footing around. "Wanna watch a movie!" "Lunch!" "Mommy, hug!" I tell them what I want, without worrying about softening my approach. "Get off the table!" "Time to take your nap!" "Stop pooping on the floor!" I'm not exactly a sparkling conversationalist, but I thought I could communicate successfully with another adult if I really put my mind to it. Turns out I was wrong.

Without going into excruciating detail, let me just say that I was involved in an interaction that I totally misinterpreted. It became clear in a most embarrassing way that I was operating under one assumption, while the other person was not just on another page, but reading a whole different book. The person with whom I was communicating, in my opinion, was polite but vague, while I probably came across as the literal-minded, slightly grumpy crank that I am. Basically, I'm the dude nodding and mm-hmming in the following clip:

If I cared enough, I suppose I could put on my big girl Crocs, pick up the phone, and call the person-who-was-thinking-one-thing-while-I-was-thinking-another to ask, "What just happened? What did you really want from me? And why can't I remember the name of the guy on Numb3rs, because I absolutely loved him in that movie with what's-her-face?" Unfortunately, I didn't think to write down the name or phone number of the person who confused me . . . I think it was a woman. But it might have been a man.

Dinner last night: homemade chicken soup, sweet corn muffins


Stephanie Faris said...

I've never been a mother but I can only imagine. I don't know how you can remember your name most days! I'd be so scattered. As for the flat stomach...I don't recall ever having had one. Even when I was a kid! But heck, most of the time nobody sees it anyway.

Michele said...

Wow... I have NO IDEA what I just watched. And now my head hurts.

I would LOVE to be privy to the confusing exchange of which you speak! LOL

For my part, I also have huge blank spots in my head where my brain used to be. I am known to reply to my kids, "Ummm, I can't answer that, I'm stupid right now..." meaning that my brain gears are spinning but I'm not gettin' any traction.

I can still communicate on an adult level (somewhat), but the worst effect that kids have had on me is that I've become a terribly take-charge kind of person. Having to make decisions for so many little people for so long, now I tend to ruthlessly make decisions for other people without even thinking. Sitting down to lunch with other adults, I'll just blurt, "We'll just have water" when the waitress ask what we're drinking, or "just bring our drinks with our meal" so that everybody doesn't fill up on soda before the food gets there.

It's terribly obnoxious behavior, but it's also second nature to me now.

Michele said...

P.S. I could remember Alice right away, and I knew that Flo worked at Mel's Diner instantly, but I never in my life knew that her name was Polly Holliday.

Helene said...

I couldn't hear the video for some reason!! All I could see was a man and woman chatting but I couldn't hear what they were saying.

But I can relate to you on this post....sometimes I go to pick up the phone to call someone and when they answer the phone, i have to hang up quickly (and pray they don't have caller id) because I've forgotten who I'm calling. Or I'll be in the middle of a conversation and completely lose my train of thought.

And our kids say we've never done anything for them??!!

Kathy B! said...

I have twins, too! And my stomach is NEVER going back. And you're right, it's worth it :)

But getting older sucks.

Unknown said...

Unfortunately for me, my memory loss has to do with a different kind of Absolut.

glitzen said...

Oh boy, I have no memory anymore either. Unless its a horse. Or a kitten...hee hee. I'm awful! Thanks for making me feel better. At least we have each other. (Now, what was your name again?? LOL)