MomBrain does not have to rummage deeply into her purse to find the Universal Translator. This is because she uses it so frequently.
Dr. Science: My tendency to sneeze increases when I’m at home.
MomBrain: Maybe you’re allergic to the cats.
Dr. Science: That’s a hypothesis I haven’t tested properly.
MomBrain: Maybe it’s the cats. Maybe you should test them.
Dr. Science: Perhaps. But I need an independent variable.
MomBrain: The cats are independent.
Dr. Science: Yes, but they are not independent variables.
MomBrain: But their moods are variable. I mean, they’re fickle. So the cats are independent and variable, right?
Dr. Science: Yes. No. Yes. But no.
Dr. Science: YES.
A giant bag of mystery.
Because ONLY ONE CUP.
Here at MomBrain HQ, we keep things simple. Short sentences. Pretty pictures. Light and airy spaces. Chocolate chip cookies are in the oven, and the aroma of freshly brewed coffee fills the air.
Wait – that is not coffee. It is Dr. Science, whose coffee intake can be measured only with extremely advanced Scientific Tools. But Dr. Science is no connoisseur. Any caffeine wrapped in a bean will do, unless we are in another country. That is because foreign coffee is too scary. So wherever we travel, we must be able to see Starbucks. Even in Canada, the 51st state, Starbucks is the only safe option for Dr. Science’s extreme caffeine needs.
MomBrain: How about the free breakfast in the hotel lobby?
Dr. Science: Meh.
MomBrain: How about the cute little café on the corner?
Dr. Science: Meh.
MomBrain: How about breakfast at Starbucks?
Dr. Science: SURE!
So yes – Dr. Science smells like coffee. But this is better than smelling like hotel soap, or airplanes, or poutine. And the best part is MomBrain is never homesick. Because no matter where we are, no matter what time zone or country, Dr. Science smells like home.
In which MomBrain plods through an unexpected snow day and contemplates an island of nothingness.
Taking a cue from the surprisingly twitter-esque This Woman’s Work:
What the Little Guy is doing right now: Playing with two neighbor boys, racing around the house in his karate belt looking for markers and scissors (I’m afraid to ask).
What the Big Guy is doing right now: Talking on his cell phone, speaking slowly and clearly to a Japanese colleague who doesn’t speak fluent English, trying to sound professional even with the screams in the background.
What Kitty is doing right now: Hiding from ninjas, probably under the big bed.
What MomBrain is doing right now: Listening to the boys, in case of blood or tears. Thinking about all the grand ideas I have for essays, and feeling too tired to even begin. Thinking about the books piled on my nightstand, but too tired to read. Thinking about the cluttered closet, the mountain of laundry, the dishwasher that needs unloading, but feeling too tired to do any of it. Thinking about the 4830 emails in my Inbox, but feeling too tired to open any of them. Thinking about the 32 self-portraits drawn by the Little Guy’s classmates that I promised to scan, but feeling too tired to push the On button. Reminding myself that if I eat the dark chocolate in the pantry I will feel even more tired. considering a cup of tea. wishing for a nap. realizing i have stopped using capital letters, but feeling too tired to fix them.
Sunday morning, and I jerk awake thinking “Lawsy it’s hot for six a.m.!” I look at the clock, and it’s actually 9:30. The sun is shining through the windows, the house is empty, and a note is waiting on the kitchen counter: We’re at IHOP! We might go to the Science Center after! We’ll be home by noon! The coffee is hot, the Sunday paper untouched, and the Big Guy has just won my heart again.
The Big Guy has been having the same dream for seven years, in which he and I are strolling happily through an alley in Venice, bathed in golden light. The Little Guy is part of our family but isn’t born yet, and we are happily exploring new territory, together. Well, even MomBrain can interpret that dream, and it’s a recurring reminder of how lucky I am that the Big Guy enjoys our adventures into the uncharted terrain of parenthood.
But. (And it’s a Big But.) I’m thinking this dream has changed lately, with the Big Guy speeding through the canals of Venice in his motorboat. And this motor, she is loud. One might even say it sounds like a man snoring. In bed. Next to his insomniac wife. Who is beginning to hallucinate from fatigue and may even be approaching psychosis, keeping a mental tally of all the sharp objects in the house and moving to the couch before she can act on it.
Pity Poor MomBrain. The Big Guy is in Chicago, sleeping on clean sheets in a king-sized bed sans boy and sans cat. Although he is at a Very Important Conference with many Very Busy People, he somehow found time today to see an art museum, have drinks at a rooftop bar, hear the symphony, and take in a Cubs game.
I am bitter. I will not share with you the condition of my sheets, but I will say that my bed is crowded and I wish the dang cat would stop shedding. Sightseeing included the grocery store and many late-model SUVs in the school carpool lane. Did I mention I am bitter?
10:30 in the morning and I am proudly, even militantly, still in my pajamas. In fact, MomBrain is so busy collapsing that she cannot possibly shower, get dressed, or do anything except eat jelly toast and drink tea.
It’s been a long week, with the Big Guy out of town and the Little Guy sick and housebound. It’s been just the two of us, day after day, and I’m sorry but I just cannot play superheroes for one more minute. And so the jet-lagged Big Guy has taken the sniffly Little Guy to Target to buy presents, cards and wrapping paper for the next two birthday parties. Then they will go out to lunch. Then they will go to birthday party #1 until 4:00. And when they return I *may* be dressed.