Six weeks into having three kids, and I have been pleasantly surprised that things have been going relatively smoothly. The kids have adjusted well with no jealousy so far (knock on wood), I have been able to get them all out the door by 8 am since school started with not much problem, and all the baby stuff – the crying, the nursing, the consoling – has not phased me much. I guess it takes having three kids to finally find your patience and get the hang of this “raising children” thing. Who would’ve thunk it?
But I have also found the secret to dealing with a baby. Are you ready to be enlightened? To be wowed? Are you on the edge of your seat? Well, hold onto your horses. Here is my key to happiness while having an infant – don’t think about it. Turn off that brain. As the Nike saying goes, ‘just do it.’ If you think too much, it all goes to pot. I guess evolution got it right when it gave new moms ‘baby brain.’ If having a baby increased our IQs, the human race probably would have died out long ago. So, instead, God made us new moms dumb. If by chance your old smarts start to show themselves again, ignore them. Intelligence is no help when it comes to babies.
How did I have this sudden stroke of genius while being in my postpartum stupid phase? One word for you: the car. (OK, so that was two words. See, I am dumb.) The most challenging part of having a baby again, I have found, is getting in and out of the car. You just can’t arrive somewhere and say to the babe, like the other two kiddos: “OK, hop out. Let’s go.” You have to transport the infant. That means getting out the stroller, putting her in the Bjorn, or schlepping that god-damn, 300-pound car seat around. My whole day is dictated by whether I feel like dealing with taking the baby in and out of the car, along with two other kids. Having just gone to the post office and put the baby and car seat and stroller back in the car, I might decide we don’t need to eat dinner tonight because I sure as hell am not going to do that all over again. But then I say to myself, “Self, turn off that brain. Don’t think. Just do it.” So I turn on my autopilot brain, and repeat the in-and-out-of-the-car process all over again.
But the real point of enlightenment came after dropping Kaiden off at school one morning. I had just buckled Kaya back into her car seat and was nursing the baby when Kaya said – what else? – she had to pee. For a moment, my brain thought about how silly I would look walking around the school with a baby attached to my boob and the top of my maternity pants showing even though I’m not pregnant and how I didn’t feel like walking all the way back out the parking lot to the school, but then I told my brain to “shut up” and off we went, baby on the breast and all. And that’s when it hit me: thinking is your enemy.
I relayed this story to a friend of mine who also has three kids and she said wouldn’t it be great if you could hire someone to drive around with you and just sit in your car with your kids while you ran errands? Until that time comes when you find someone to do that (and please, pass on her number to me), you will be much happier, and get way more things done, if you stay stupid. Trust me. I can’t even remember my name, and I am all the better for it.