I was reading a day or so ago that in her third trimester, a woman begins losing grey matter. That’s “brain goop” for all you literalists out there. This happens, in evolutionary theory, so she can focus on the truly important tasks at hand instead of going crazy with a bazillion unnecessary things that could wear her out and do more harm than good. Plus the baby needs her Omega-3’s or something, which I don’t think is an Audi sedan model but I could be wrong. But during the last TWO weeks or so of gestation, her brain begins to build itself back up in preparation for taking care of the child; you know, so she’s not disadvantaged when labor and delivery produce the biggest mental challenge she will ever encounter — if you don’t count the mind-numbing pain and litany of sleepless night she’s already got working against her.
All this to say: I’m the stupidest right now as I’ve ever been, or hopefully ever will be, in my life. It’s actually kind of liberating. Note to my husband: this might be the time to get away with something spectacular because I’m probably not going to be reading on a fifth grade level until September, and am much less likely to put two and two together of anything, especially matching socks. Because not only do I have Toddler Mommy Brain, I have Third-Trimester-Toddler-Mommy Brain. It’s amazing I can still communicate in English instead of grunting and rocking back and forth and using phrases like “like” and “you know.” Because, like, stuff is hard to describe, you know?
That’s not to say I haven’t been distracted. Drew has provided plenty distraction.
I’ve started worrying in earnest this week about his stuttering. Or, more accurately, if there are any emotional problems that might be causing it. And not just his stuttering, but what appears to be a pattern of anxiety in his little life.
Last week, Drew’s preschool gave me a photo album of everything the class had done over the fall and spring, with pictures of Drew painting, coloring, dancing, blowing bubbles and the like. One day, the Fire Truck paid a visit to the young tots, complete with real firemen dressed in real uniforms and a REAL siren. The two pictures on Drew’s page were of him sitting in the buggy with six other toddlers, his head completely covered with his blue blanket. All the other kids were smiling and interacting with the officer, but Drew was cocooned in ambivalence and mystery. His teachers told me it wasn’t that he was crying or upset, he was just more comfortable under his blanket. Linus. My kid is Linus. And that blanket goes everywhere and smells terrible unless I sneak it away from him to wash. (But I’m so stupid right now I might not be stealthy enough to accomplish that again until Thanksgiving.)
On the other hand, sometimes Drew surprises me. After church on Sunday, we were in the fellowship hall mingling with friends after we picked Drew up from the nursery. We looked up in time to see him stopping strangers in their tracks to show them the picture of Noah’s Ark he had be-speckled with star stickers and scribbled on with red crayon. He was so proud, so gregarious. He nearly made an old lady lose her footing for all his enthusiasm.
So he’s not always nervous. Not always.
The third and final nervous habit he has is pinching. He loves to pinch any loose skin on anyone in his proximity — elbows, knuckles and knees are prime real estate. He almost can’t help himself. When he was littler it was rather cute. But now that he’s stronger and on the verge of big brotherhood, it’s a bit painful and concerning. Is pinching another coping mechanism, besides his blanket? I wonder…
So, back to the stuttering. (Are you feeling like my pediatrician yet?). Drew used to stutter only when he was excited or angry. Now he stutters all the time, for any reason, to the point where his lips turn blue and by the time he finally gets the word out he is gasping for breath. If it weren’t so pitiful it would be hilarious, and sometimes we laugh anyway against our will. He doesn’t seem to be aware of it yet, so he isn’t self conscious or frustrated by it.
Not that I have anything against people who stutter. I stuttered. Gordon stuttered —through jr. high, which caused him no small amount of abuse. I suppose it was inevitable our offspring would stutter too. But…stuttering in addition to pinching and blanket mongering? Is he scarred? Have I scarred him? IS HE ALREADY SCREWED UP AND HE’S NOT EVEN THREE?
Eh. I just CAN’T worry about it right now. My biology simply won’t allow it what with all the missing Omega-3’s, which isn’t the newest iPod but I could be wrong.
And after all, Drew has proven himself an otherwise jovial and fun-loving little fellow. Gordon and Drew were having a bit of a dance off last night before bed to the Black Eyes Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling.” They were both bouncing around the room like fleas, laughing. All of a sudden Drew burst out with, “Mazel Tov!”
And, doesn’t that just say it all?