Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sleep, Perchance to - Sorry What Was I Saying?

In a recent Hello magazine interview TV mathematician Carol Vorderman noted that after having children her ability to solve Countdown puzzles went down by 4%, never to return. As I absent-mindedly poured boiling water from the kettle on to my cereal this morning I had the chilling thought - what if this is the new me? What if baby brain is here to stay?

You would think that a great deal of my scattyness is due to sleep deprivation, but I'm not losing that much sleep this time round. When I had Anna I was constantly running on empty. With Lucy we took some valuable lessons learned first time around and developed a much better system. I go to bed with Anna at about 9pm (I have no life!!) and then LK stays up to give Lucy her next feed at about midnight or 1am. That way I get to sleep for a blissful 7 hours straight until she next needs feeding at 4 or 5am. This leaves me tired but functional (and writing bizarre emails to people at 4:45am).

Now, 7 hours sounds like an adequate amount of sleep, but I'm used to a healthy 9 hours + a night. It's what I basically blame for my underachieving life. If I could manage on less sleep a night just imagine what I could accomplish! Even more crazy emailing and blogging. Maybe I'd even write more than one paragraph a year of my novel.

The good news is there's no waking up at 3am unable to get back to sleep. There's no thinking, crikey I didn't get any exercise today, I'll never sleep tonight. I could sleep balanced on a washing line right now. I could even have a snooze on a plane. So, yes, perhaps I am a bit knackered.

What I'm noticing most is how absent-minded I am. When we went back to the UK a few years ago my brother made me watch a show called Green Wing (?) where one of the harried employees has such trouble getting organized that she turns up to work without a skirt on. That's exactly how I feel. I need a sign on the front door so that when I leave the house I have a checklist of - are both flaps of your nursing bra fastened? do you have both children? are you wearing clothes? Sadly I need to remind myself of all those things and more these days. I am so hyper-aware of my forgetful state that LK loves to wind me up. He will creep up behind me and say in a really worried voice 'where's Lucy?' and I'll freeze in panic. Even if I'm currently holding her.

How am I going to cope at work? I go back in less than a month (thanks America!) and I'm literally having trouble finishing sentences. A couple of days ago I actually had to do some work-related stuff, someone calling to 'pick my brains'. Dear God. She would fire questions at me and it was all I could do to just repeat the last words she'd said.

Her: So do you find that helps with your cost ratios?
Me: Cost ratios!
Her: What's your opinion regarding server-based or web-based systems?
Me: Pineapples!

It's my word-recall that's the worse. Not exactly helpful when trying to be impressively professional on the phone. Then there's my 'surefire' way of remembering a forgotten name/word, which is to go down the alphabet until I hit a letter that triggers my memory. Except that leaves me on the phone, talking about practice management software whilst reciting my ABCs.

It's going to be fun.


Hyphen Mama said...

This is my biggest fear after having kids. I was SO GOOD when I worked before kids. Now, I'm not sure I could even get myself dressed to make it to a job interview. Speaking full sentences? What is that?

Lists on the door? YES! I swear every day that I'm going to make a list and laminate it to paste to the door. Then I'm 2 blocks from home and horror strikes me as I can't remember if I got BOTH kids in the car and in their seats.

And I've always done the ABC thing with names. It works surprisingly well.

mmennen said...

Hysterical! I loved this post, and I feel like I have lost several parts of my brain too, can't remember names, have no recall, make stupid comments....even though I don't have kids! My excuse is leaving an over-stimulating work environment and just the general buzzing of life in nyc (and oh yeah, age).

So my conclusion is THANK GOD for having to go back to work (although too soon for sure) and getting the adult interaction and stimulation again that will make it all come back : )

Can you take me with you? I need a new job as I am sure you could have guessed just from that one phone call ; )

Sugarplum's Mom said...

Woot! 7 whole hours!

We used to sleep in before Sugarplum too... I turned to my husband one morning and asked him if he'd ever dreamed of a day when 7 am was considered "sleeping in"

susane said...

Thank you for sharing this useful information! Hopefully you will continue with the kind of things you do.