Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Brain at Capacity

When I was younger I was pretty darn organized. I was easily able to keep track of things, remember dates and I was never late. Now I realize that my brain was not yet filled to capacity - I hadn't had kids yet.

My first baby was only mildly disruptive to my overall sense of having my act together. I do recall "breast milk brains"; my thoughts just didn't range to deep or wide during that first year of nursing. But in general I was still pretty on top of things.

Now I have three children, ages 10, 7 & almost 3. And being the non-mainstream, slightly controlling person that I am, I've chosen to educate my kids at home. I am the teacher, the yard nard, the principle, the curriculum planner, the counselor, the facilities manager, the bus driver, the special ed. teacher, the cafeteria cook and the janitor. This in addition to being a wife, a church volunteer, a friend and a human being who wants and tries to a) continue her own education and b) train enough so that she doesn't die at the triathlons she has signed-up for.

The realization has been slowly creeping up on me that my brain is just about at capacity. When I had only once child I tried to explain what it was like to a friend who was then childless: You know when you go on a long hike, you have to prepare. You get your trail mix, water, jacket, sunscreen, hat...etc. When you have a baby you have to do a similar process every time you leave the house plus carry a squirmy bundle along (with a lot heavier equipment).

Homeschooling three kids is like that but exponentially more complex. My thoughts from the moment I wake up until I write this blog are almost completely occupied with thoughts about my family. Another way to say it is that I rarely get time to think about just ME! This blog is an attempt to make that time.

Even as I write my toddler crawls in and out of my lap, trying to type along. I have to bribe her with pens, PENS!, so she'll go color on a wall somewhere and leave me alone. I may never see that pen again, or I may find it in my shower tomorrow.

Here is a snapshot of my crowded brain at midday:

"Mom! Come look at the new website I made!" (have to adequately appreciate my son's brilliance - and care lots about Lord of the Rings)
"Mama I'm stuck" (have to help daughter with intricacies of multiplying fractions)
"Up, I want uppieeeee!" (have to pick up or distract...with what? what?)
"What's for lunch?" (I have no idea - what have we got...let's see....corn...bread...)
Need to sweep floor (sweep floor - daughter cries "Don't sweep up my hair clips!")
Go to bathroom (baby always present, pulling toilet paper off roll)
Change diaper (yuck, yuck, yuck - can't wait for potty training)

Sadly, my house has become one where things have a high chance of getting lost. Unfortunately, I have not mustered the energy to stay current on Iraq, global warming, and most important world threatening issues. I feel so dumb sometimes when I talk with people who somehow manage to be conversant and have opinions on these matters.

I do manage to read quite a bit. That is my saving grace. Lately it has been a very fun science fiction series called the Ender series. I also read lots of classics that I should have read in high school and college but somehow never did. (what's up with that anyways? my folks paid a lot of money for my college!) Last year I even spent time reading books on constitutional history and quantum physics and biographies of famous mathematicians. I want to get back to that, but I just don't have the umph right now.

So what is the point of all this? Just to say that I am maxed out! It's not that my brain is full, it is just slow because of too much information coming in and running around inside. I know there is a computer analogy here somewhere but I'd probably get it wrong. (ever notice how people married to techies are pretty lame themselves at technical things? or is that just me?)

It is fitting that I have no idea how to end this blog.

So there.


Mike said...

I can relate somewhat to the filled brain phenomenon. When my wife is out of town and I'm in charge of handling all the kid stuff (granted, only one kid and she goes outside of the house for her book learnin'), it's bewildering to me how many little things need to be kept track of.

Also, Ender's Game is one of my all time favorites. I think I've read every book in the series.

Sue said...

I looooved the Ender series. I just finished the last one. I read the whole series as well. Though the character at times was a bit shallow, overall I found the philosophical ideas he explored fascinating. What is life? What is the afterlife? What is God? What is a hero? How other species might think/behave differently than humans. Good stuff. Frankly, I was surprised how much I enjoyed the books. Usually science fiction isn't my thing. Now my hubby is addicted. On to my son next...