Tags: Maternity, Parenting
Fatigue sure can make you think you're losing your mind. I've been known to fold a dirty basket of clothes, brush my teeth with Ben-Gay instead of toothpaste (what an experience that was), and take medicine meant for my dog.
Every parent with small children has a sleep-deprivation story like mine, so I don't feel alone. I've read about moms who have tried to put a diaper on a cat instead of changing the diaper of their crying child. I think one of the funniest stories I've read was the one about a mom who filled a sippy cup with milk, handed it to the dog, and then got annoyed when he didn't take it.
But sleep-deprivation still raises its ugly head for me every once in a while. My latest experience was just the other day. Some relatives had come into town, and we were sitting around, catching up on the family scoop (which mostly involved the latest aches and pains each of us were experiencing), when my mother brought up an incident I had never heard about before.
When my brother and I were toddlers and she was just days away from giving birth to my youngest brother, apparently a few men came to the door of our house, knocked on the front door, then brandished a gun. Dizzy with fatigue, she simply looked at the men, closed the door, and then went back to whatever she was doing before the knock on the door.
You can just imagine the barrage of questions that followed. "Why didn't you call the police?" and "Weren't you afraid they were going to force their way in and start shooting?"
"I didn't know it was a gun," my mom said very matter-of-factly.
"If you didn't know it was a gun, why are you saying it was a gun?" I asked. "And, by the way, why haven't I heard this story before?"
"Well, I'm telling you now, and I know it was a gun because when I told your father about it when he got home from work, he said it was a gun."
"OK, explain to me why Dad was able to figure out it was a gun when you described it to him, but you didn't know it was a gun when you were looking at it," I asked.
"Because it was silver, and I thought all guns were black. And it didn't have that round thingamajiggy (the barrel) that the bullets go into," was my mom's reply.
"Who had a gun?" my aunt said.
"The guys who knocked on the door," my dad answered.
"I didn't know it was a gun, and I didn't speak Spanish back then," my mother said.
"Who doesn't speak Spanish?" someone else asked.
"The guys with the gun spoke in Spanish," came the answer.
"Why did they knock with a gun?"
(I have no idea who asked this because, having been up until 3 am grading the night before, I was not only fatigued out of my mind, I felt my head was about to explode.)
I looked at my cousin and said, "OK, I'm waaay too tired to track this conversation. I need to go home."
I remember very little about the short drive back to my house, but what stands out very clearly in my mind is the fact that we couldn't open the hatch, because as Jennifer (my cousin) was pressing the button on the hatch to open it in order to retrieve her suitcase, I was pressing the "open hatch" button to the left of the steering wheel.
Apparently my struggles with decreased brain function due to sleep-deprivation are not over.