My iPhone playlist displays “Reason by Hoobastank”. “Hoobastank? Who’s that?” I think although the song name sounds familiar. I play it and it’s my all time favourite song, and I can’t help but wonder how this information has been erased from my memory.
It’s called being mommy-brained. Just the way you have hare-brained and twit-brained; in the same family of semantics is the condition of Mommy Brain-ness (I don’t call it Brainy-ness, which may sound more grammatically correct, because it would wrongly connote that this was some kind of an admirable condition).
It’s like, after a child comes into your life, she assaults all your senses and then occupies them, ALL THE TIME, for life. I know I make it sound horrible but it’s wonderful and then a bit miserable, but never horrible. Nothing is yours any more. You no longer focus on yourself and so, soon enough, you no longer know yourself without her.
You only watch what she likes, and if at some point, she senses that you may have gotten away (sitting in your room having a jolly good time watching “Modern Family” reruns without her), she runs to your room, to make you switch to “The Adam’s Family” cartoon series which you must watch hand-in-hand with her!
You are constantly sensitive to the aromas of the world, trying to focus on what might bother her: protecting her before yourself; from pollen-infested flower sniffs, smoky mosquito repelling fumigations and stinky bodily emissions that you are more allergic to than her.
The only music you listen to any longer is the Preeti Sagar Nursery Rhymes’ CD she wants to hear, on a loop. And you flinch with every bursting ‘phataka’ (firework) as if you’re the one whose frightened of pyrotechnics. Ganpati Visarjans are even more torturous, and more than once, you have mentally enacted the scene from Kill Bill where Uma Thurman slices her enemies, with the Pandal DJ playing your villain. “After all, no one messes with my baby!”
Your taste buds are no longer able to enjoy the explosion that you enjoyed in your mouth while slurping some spicy rasam and your only thought when the waiter brings out that pink sauce pasta is that dimwits without kids don’t understand how crucial simplicity is. You can’t fancy it up by putting in some colour or exotic veggies: Mac n Cheese is on all kiddy menus for a reason!
Food for you is now something that lets you live. You shovel down the truffle gnocchi without appreciating the subtleties of its preparation, and you eat copious amounts of chips, cheese toast and even tasteless apple purée just so starving kids in Africa don’t find out that your child wasted some food.
In fact, feel is the only sense that becomes more enhanced after you have a baby, and that’s what makes the miserable part so damn wonderful. Till now you haven’t truly understood how your heart can soar when you’re sleeping and someone wakes you up to butterfly kisses all over your face. You haven’t known how your heart skips a beat as that little baby, who can only be an innocent angel of God (it seems, at that point), suckles to your breast and is comforted from any feeling of fear, discomfort and insecurity… all because you’re there!
I may no longer know what kind of music, TV shows or food I like. I may have lost all control over my senses (and bladder, post delivery) but the way my heart leaps when I see that little soul clinging to me, like I’m no less than God herself, in her eyes; that’s the part that makes motherhood so damn worth it!