Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Baby Story Part 4

In this installment of our semi-popular web-series we will be looking at the phenomenon known as “pregnancy brain.” It is a condition whereby intelligent women become unable to perform some of the most fundamental cognitive functions. Some attribute the onset of symptoms to hormones, others to a simple lack of sleep. Whatever the reason, this ailment may affect as many as 68% of the 1/3 of women highly susceptible to it.

In my wife’s case, the onset of symptoms began around week 18. We were preparing for our workday and my wife was standing in our bathroom curling her hair. Following a series of exhausted huffs, she shouted with thinly-concealed rage, “What is wrong with this stupid curling iron!!!” Always the dutiful husband, I returned to the restroom to find my wife furiously manipulating her curling iron in an attempt to produce her desired hairstyle.

I immediately noticed that the appliance’s electrical cord was unplugged and dangling uselessly by her side. As anyone in striking distance of a pregnant woman knows, this is a delicate situation. One must exercise extreme caution since one verbal misstep could result in either body-wracking sobs or a flying Conair product. I diplomatically suggested that connecting the curling iron to a power source might produce better results. Glancing down at the untethered power-cable, her eyes narrowed as she exclaimed, “I don’t have time to let it heat up now! I am already LATE!!”

She then tossed the curling iron on the counter, and announced that everyone was just going to have deal with her having straight hair. I believe I mumbled something about her uncurled hair, “framing her face” as I retreated toward the door that led into our bedroom. While the incident unsettled me, it would have been irresponsible to classify it as a pattern. At least, that’s what I thought.

That evening, we were jovially recalling the curling-iron incident while watching television when my wife decided to have some cereal. Still uneasy leaving her unattended around electronic appliances, I watched as she calmly poured herself a bowl of Cheerios and placed the gallon of milk into our pantry before attempting to refrigerate the remaining cereal. I gently proposed reversing her food storage decisions at which point she realized what had happened and asked me, “Why am I stupid!?”

Now my wife is a fiercely intelligent and capable woman, and I consoled her by insisting that we cannot allow a few rational blunders to affect her self-image. However, beneath my calm exterior I found myself increasingly concerned by my wife’s mental degradation. In the weeks that followed, she would walk into rooms wearing a confused expression only to sheepishly admit she had forgotten her original purpose.  

Many times she would call me to let me know that she had thought of something important only to admit that she had forgotten it between the first and second ring. Often this would be immediately followed by a call-back meant for another family member she had somehow expected to reach via the last-number redial command. One day, she dedicated an unspeakable amount of time attempting to speed-dial someone using the Blackberry “lock-key.”

In an effort to protect both my spouse and my unborn child, we worked out a simple code for the onset of cerebral fogginess. She states “I don’t know no Portuguese” at which point I assist her in avoiding sharp objects or high-order math. So far, we have avoided any major incidents since the implementation of our safety phrase. I am simply thankful that her profession doesn’t involve the operation of a ban saw.

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