My Toddlerbeast has recently discovered The Wiggles. It’s great because her dancing is adorable and they have helped us through her teething when nothing else makes her happy. It sucks because their songs are a crazy level of catchy not only for toddlers but adults, and I actually now suffer from Wiggles related insomnia and public Wiggles outbursts.
Sometimes when I am out in public without my child I will just quietly whisper ‘bear’s now asleep, shh, shh, shh’ because the song has been on loop in my head for the past three days. You can imagine this comes off as a little creepy to other people without any context and especially when I am just standing there next to them browsing the pasta sauce section in the supermarket.
Then there is The Wiggles related insomnia. Do you know how hard it is to sleep with the song ‘Do The Propeller’ playing on loop in your head? Tormenting you as you lie in bed awake at 3am after you woke up to pee because your bladder has never been the same since pregnancy and you can’t make it through the night without having to use the bathroom anymore. Watch this video 3000 times and you will understand some of it.
People tell you before and during pregnancy how having a baby changes you body irreparably. Mostly they talk about how you will never sleep again, your boobs will sag and of course the trauma sustained to your lady parts is a hot topic. People don’t tell you that all your brain centres and their functions will be ruthlessly invaded by every Wiggles song ever written. If you were to put me in a MRI machine I am sure you would see a Swiss cheese like image where my brain should be. With the holes growing larger by the second and invading greater volumes of previously healthy brain tissue I had prior to The Wiggles Era.
This inability of my brain to preform previously easy semi intellectual tasks (having conversations that do not involve talking about my Toddlerbeast’s poop, etc) has led to me having a crisis of self confidence. Before I had my daughter I had no problem stringing a sentence together without breaking into a song about cold spaghetti and squashed bananas. I have a university education which I obtained after being granted two separate scholarships. Not to brag, but I was the kind of bright where strangers give you money to study because they think your brain is capable of doing something a lot more complicated than memorising every Wiggles song ever written.
I can’t seem to go through my day without filling in every silence with singing. It is just an automatic response now, which I think I developed because silence/anything other than my full attention equals cranky baby. I caught myself on the toilet hours after my daughter went to bed the other night singing Heads and Shoulders. In the time it took me to do my business the part of my brain that is so used to entertaining a toddler came online and decided that I needed to sing to fill in the silence before something bad happened.
Something bad like this. This happened the last time I dared to go to the bathroom without Toddlerbeast.
I struggle most with this new version of my Wiggles addled brain on the rare occasion that I find myself in a position to be making conversation with people who aren’t parents. Find something interesting and adult to talk about, I think to myself desperately. Whatever you do just don’t bring up poop for fucks sake. You have other things to talk about hidden somewhere inside your brain, harness all your energy and concentration and tap into them. This is not a drill, this is a real live person you are having a real live conversation with over the age of two who isn’t asking you to read ‘Where Is The Green Sheep’ to them for the 50th time today. Don’t screw it up, you may not get another opportunity like this for weeks.
I always somehow screw it up and find myself talking about poop. It just seems to be a disproportionately large part of parenting in the first few years, so it is pretty much always holding a front and centre position in my brain. Gross I know. I won’t bore you with the details of how going down this path during my conversations occurs. Let’s just say if you are wanting to find a way to seamlessly introduce the topic of poop into a completely unrelated conversation with someone you barely know, hit me up cause I’m your girl. I have all sorts of strategies for you.
I walk away from these conversations bewildered by my inability to talk about adult topics like I once did Pre-Wiggles Invasion. I wonder to myself how the conversation would have gone pre-baby and what interesting contributions I would have made. I could have tapped into my wealth of knowledge about sociology, politics, human behaviour and sexuality, Sea Otters, zombies, relationships, how their recent holiday went etc. You get the gist, topics that aren’t poop related were once within my skillset.
Now it is all I can do to turn down the constant loop of Wiggles music in my head long enough to have any conversation at all. My attention span these days seems to mirror that of my toddler. I wonder to myself what changed for a moment, before I realise that everything changed. The Wiggles are only a side effect of all the change I experienced since becoming a mum. What I do day in and day out revolves around looking after and loving my little person. That’s pretty much my whole life right now. Not forever, but for now. So I guess it makes sense that a whole heap of other topics don’t spring to mind when talking to other people.
The other parts of my brain housing the less mundane information aren’t gone forever. The information I acquired in the 27 years prior to becoming a mother still exists, it’s just stored away in the deep recesses of my brain. Filed under the ‘Not That Useful Or Relevant Right Now But Keep For Later’ tab along with my Zumba moves.
So I urge anyone who has had a conversation with the parent of a young child and come away from it thinking they were weirdos for finding a way to somehow relate everything to their child’s pooping/sleeping/eating, please be patient with us. I promise you underneath this antisocial parent behaviour, there is some little voice in their heads desperately trying to tune out The Wiggles and find something more relatable to talk about. A voice chastising them for being a cliche, a bad friend, having the attention span of a mosquito. A voice screaming at them ‘JUST BE COOL AND TALK ABOUT ADULT STUFF’ and desperately searching for some topic that might make them seem like they are just a little bit cool again. A voice that whispers to them on the drive home in their family car filled with toys, books, half eat rusk sticks and dried food smeared on car seats ‘you used to be cool once’.
I used to be cool once. I have been making an effort to add to the part of my brain that houses non child related information. I may not be able to use it now, but I have to believe one day in the future when the stars align that I will again. Can everyone just bare with me until then?