I admit it: I have “Toddler Brain.”
It started last week when the boys and I headed out to a playdate. We walked inside, traded our sandals for stocking feet, and just as I reached in my back pocket, it hit me. Guess who forgot his wallet at home?
It seems I’d lose my head if it wasn’t attached these days. I could mentally see my wallet sitting right on my nightstand, next to a couple receipts and the handkerchief I always carry in the opposite pocket. Right where it didn’t belong. Grrr.
I had put on clean cargo shorts, as good dads do, after getting up that morning and, in the rush to get downstairs, I had failed to transfer everything from the pair I had worn the day before to the pair I had on.
The good news is that even without a wallet, it wasn’t a wasted trip. Since we’re regulars at the play place we were visiting, they let us “play now – and pay later,” something I’m sure they don’t make a practice of, but we are grateful they did for us. The bad news is that the rest of our morning was derailed because I had forgotten to make sure I had everything before I left the house.
No stopping at Sprouts for last-minute dinner items. No grabbing lunch on the way home. All because I had a moment of Toddler Brain.
What? You’ve never heard of Toddler Brain? It’s what you call an advanced case of Baby Brain. Baby Brain is your mental state after having a child. The forgetfulness that comes from lack of sleep. The memory loss caused by too many cold meals in front of the television while trying to feed a bottle to a picky 4-month-old. The stress induced amnesia brought on by a colicky child at 3 a.m.
Now, Toddler Brain is what you unknowingly trade Baby Brain in for. Rather than being brought on by sleeplessness, cold food, and colic, it flares up for far different reasons.
Examples of what causes for Toddler Brain to flare up
- Elmo wasn’t on this episode of Sesame Street. (Translated in-between sobs from “Elmo no talk this time, Daddy!”
- Someone is whining because their sibling went upstairs before they did. (They wanted to be “first.”)
- Hearing the word “daddydaddydaddydaddydaddydaddydaddydaddydaddy” when you’re trying to cook dinner, watch television, or talk on the phone.
- A total meltdown by a child because it’s not their birthday … everyday.
(Editor’s Note: Moms often complain of Pregnancy Brain, a similar condition caused by the stress, uncomfortableness and raging hormones that come with carrying an unborn child in their womb. Baby and Toddler Brain, however, don’t discriminate by gender and affect dads and moms.)
My case has been happening for awhile. In fact, I fear it’s getting worse. A couple weeks ago I told my wife, Shannon, that I would log her in for her flight home. I forgot. This morning the boys and I went to Target … and 45 minutes in the store were wasted because again, I didn’t have my wallet on me.
It’s too late for me. I sealed my fate when Shannon and I started talking about having children. All I ask is that you think happy thoughts for me. In a couple years, they won’t be toddlers any longer and I’ll finally be cured.
Then I just have to be careful not to get Grade Schooler Brain, Pre-Teen Brain, or full-blown Teenager Brain. I’ll tell you, though, I’m not liking my odds.
A version of this first ran on Double Trouble Daddy.