Parenthood is exhausting. Now, I'm using parenthood broadly here, because I've been exhausted since I was pregnant with my first. From growing them to raising them, you're just never going to feel like you got quite as much sleep as you needed or wanted. And when you get tired, especially for extended periods, you start to see and hear things. The world becomes a confusing, surprising, and often freaky place. There were definitely times I thought I was hallucinating but just needed a nap, or maybe I was hallucinating and therefore needed a nap? Guys, I don't know. I'm telling you, when the sh*t hits the fan like that, it's hard to know what exactly is going on.
My crazy hallucinating moments aren't actually as crazy as the uninitiated might think. Becoming a parent is basically falling down Alice's rabbit hole into a new world where the regular rules don't apply and "normal" takes on an entirely new definition. Like, in non-parent world, being covered in poop and not wincing would be considered horrifying. However, in parent world that's just called Wednesday.
So the things I imagined were happening were, at times, only slightly crazier than the things that were routinely happening to me that were very real. I can't blame myself for thinking, even for a moment, that they might have been the next weird level.
That Time I Was Convinced Something Was Horribly Wrong Because I Could See My Baby Moving Inside Of Me
Like, obviously there's a baby in there and obviously as time goes on it gets bigger and bigger (big enough to function outside of your uterus) and so it's completely reasonable to be able to see some of the many movements they are making as they gestate. However, it never stops being weird, and when you're really tired (because pregnancy sleep is legit the worst), it's not unreasonable that your fears about impending parenthood will conflate with this foreign sensation and you convince yourself that your baby is actually a chestburster from Alien and you're all going to die.
Go lie down, dear reader. This will become less terrifying after you've had a snooze.
The Time I Forgot I Was Pregnant And Was Mildly Surprised When Reminded
Granted, this was my second pregnancy and second pregnancies are weird in their own right, but still: who forgets they're pregnant? Turns out the answer is, "Exhausted women who can't sleep because they're pregnant and can't relax because they have a toddler at home." Science can thank me for this important discover in form of a cash prize (or a pony, because I'm not picky."
That Time I Tried To Breastfeed My Cat
When you're a breastfeeding mom whose child eats every two hours and you hear a noise at 2 a.m., you're so conditioned to pick up the source of that noise without being awake enough to really focus on anything (especially if, like me, your vision is godawful and you don't have your glasses on) that you just assume it's your baby without asking questions. So when I heard a noise, I picked it up and offered it my boob.
My cat wasn't interested. This annoyed me for the three additional seconds I still thought he was my son. Once I realized he wasn't, I went from nurturing (if tired) to scandalized and offended, because I was convinced the cat had done this on purpose.
The Time I Was Convinced My Baby Was Smiling At Me In A Sinister Way And Freaked Out
You know that scene in Ghostbusters 2 when Dana's baby is being offered as a host body to Vigo the Carpathian? And there's a moment where Vigo's face is sort of superimposed over the baby's and there's a super grotesque, scary smile? Yeah, I was convinced my baby was making that face one night after a 4 a.m. feeding. The only explanation, of course, was ghost possession. Not just, like, a regular ghost possession mind you, but an evil, megalomaniacal sorcerer ghost from 16th century Carpathia.
Going back to sleep cleared that right up, for upon waking I realized that my baby could absolutely not be a reincarnation of the Sorrow of Moldavia. After all, he was way too cute and I'd never seen him torturing peasants.
The Time I Thought My 3 Month Old Was Saying Words As She Cried
Part mommy guilt, part exhaustion, I was convinced she was saying "Mooooooooooom! Mooooooooom!" Moreover, I was convinced she had taught herself to speak because something was so very, very wrong that she needed to get my attention. This is, of course, absolutely absurd. We both just needed naps.
That Time I Panicked Upon Seeing A Lump Under My Blanket, Convinced Myself It Was A Huge Rat, And Flipped Out Only To Realize It Was My Own Foot
Like, I literally had more in common with a dog chasing its tail in that moment than with a fully functioning human. However, at that point I hadn't had a decent night's sleep in months and a friend of mine had just found a mouse in her apartment, so I was hyper-vigilant and completely paranoid. I was primed to see my foot as a rat you guys!
Also? You will never know relief until you think there is a rat in your bed and it turns out there isn't.
That Time I Thought My Children Were Being Kidnapped And Screaming But They Were Just Laughing At Something On TV
Look, when you're alone in the house and you hear an adult man's voice and then the high pitched squealing of your children, you don't stop to analyze. Instead, you pull a Liam Neeson from Taken and just spring into action. You grab a nearby pair of scissors and you run downstairs ready to stab something. Then, when your older child looks up at you and says "What are you doing?" you sheepishly look at the "weapon" in your hands and say "Ummm, do you need me to cut the tag out of your shirt?"
That Time I Started Answering The Narrator On 'Pocoyo'
To be fair, the narrator is none other than Stephen Fry, so it's probably my one chance to talk to him.
Stephen Fry: What do you think our friend Pocoyo should do?
Stephen Fry: That's right! Sit down!
Me: Yay. I helped.
This is probably a combination of exhaustion and the fact that being a mom to young children can get kind of lonely sometimes so we find adult conversation opportunities whenever possible.
The Times I Forgot To Put Pants On My Kid Because I Thought They Were Already On
Actual picture (he had taken off his shoes because, yes, I remembered shoes and forgot pants). He was 11 months old and I was still pulling this mistake on the regular. But seriously, I could have sworn I put pants on this kid.
Fortunately, at 11 months old, no one really cares, and if they do they only care in the form of judgmental side-eye. Though this probably does explain why, at 5, he really doesn't like wearing clothing when he doesn't have to.
Every Time I Was Convinced My Babies Stopped Breathing In Their Sleep
And then you gently shake them to be sure and then they wake up and then they're awake which means you can't sleep, which means you're only going to hallucinate more, even crazier things and OMG THIS IS A VICIOUS CYCLE GODSPEED.