Conversations with My Brain at 3:42 AM

by ParentCo. June 20, 2017

image of brain

Aaaaand….we’re conscious! At our usual 3am-ish rendezvous time, I see!

Oh. You’re not ready to admit we’re awake? Got it. Cool, keep your eyes closed if you like. I mean, I think your old friend brain here calls the shots on this one, but whatever.

Please just be quiet.

Right. Okay. But we’re definitely awake, just so you know. Maybe the kid kicked you in the throat again? See how he’s moved his body to a 90-degree angle? No idea how he does that. All while sleeping peacefully. Kind of amazing, really.

Hey, remember when we tried the whole Ferber thing? Ha! Yeah, that worked well. Think I missed the chapter called “Fuck It, Just Get in the Toddler Bed With Him Already.” Oh well! We’re comfy enough, aren’t we, Mom? Having full range of motion in our neck the next day is overrated, am I right?

It’s weird. Right before you woke up I had the most amazing idea for how to end your novel! It was so crazy good!

Oh my God, what was it?!?

I don’t know. It’s gone. I’m sure it will come back to me though. Don’t worry.

Whoa! What was that noise?

It was just one of the neighbors.

Oh. Cool. You’re probably right. If it were an intruder, they’d probably make more noise, right? Plus, I’m sure your husband would hear an intruder. Even though he's at the other end of the apartment.

It’s not an intruder.

Yeah, probably not. Let’s just try and relax and drift back off, shall we? I know we have a big day tomorrow and you need me sharp.


What now?

Well no, it’s just…does the carbon monoxide detector always blink like that? Is it just me or is it doing a weird blink? Like some kind of warning blink?

It’s fine.

Yeah. Probably. I mean we could get up and check, but then we’ll be, like, full-on wide awake! Better to just roll the dice.

Please. Can we please just be quiet and zone out?

Totally! Yes! Let’s do it. Let’s just zone on out! Good idea. Okay.

But I mean…Isis.

I seriously cannot even believe you right now.

What? I can’t help it! Isis just popped up, what do you want me to do?

We are not thinking of anything related to terrorism or war at this hour. Do you understand?

So I take it North Korea’s missile testing is also a no-no?

Oh my God.


Do I need to get the Tylenol PM?

Alright! Jesus! Fine.

I want only pleasant, simple thoughts that will lull us back to sleep. Why is that so hard for you? Can’t you just generate some fond memories? Like me sitting on a sunny beach or something?

Right! Got it. You mean like that spring break in Daytona when we made out with that frat guy and then seconds later threw up on his Tevas?

What is wrong with you?

What were we drinking that made the vomit such a red color? Wasn’t it like Hi-C and bourbon or something? God. Though I guess the bigger question is why were we making out with someone wearing Tevas.

Just thank God we didn’t come of age with social media! Jesus. Can you imagine?

Yes, I can.

Can you really though? Because, I mean, I have a whole catalogue of really mortifying events that I can run through if you want to feel truly thankful they were never captured on a camera phone.

That won’t be necessary.

Like, remember at your very first job, when we thought Anais Nin was some random co-worker? And we kept paging her over the store intercom?

I wasn’t familiar with her work yet!

Yeah! No kidding! But, uh, pretty sure Anais never clerked at Barnes and Noble. Ha! Too funny.

I think I should take a Tylenol PM.

Or maybe she did and there’s a missing diary somewhere: “The Barnes and Noble Years.” Talk about erotic…ha! Oh man, so much embarrassing stuff to choose from. Like, remember that time we thought we saw Jon Hamm in Staples, and we got so excited we accidentally knocked over that massive Red Bull display? Cringe!

Why must you do this?

Hey, you know what’s kind of strange? I can’t picture Roger Sterling’s face right now. You know, Roger from "Mad Men?"

Yes. I know Roger.

Such a good show. But I mean is it weird I can only picture his hair right now, and not his face? It kind of makes me wonder if something’s amiss with the ol’ memory bank. I’m sure it’s fine, though. We’re just tired. I mean, we also couldn’t remember the word “malleable” the other day, but I’m sure that is totally just fatigue-related and nothing is neurologically wrong or anything. Just “Mom brain!” Right?

What can I do to make you stop? What? What if we think of clear, flowing water. Or a lone oak tree standing in a field?

Thinking about that first job though, our career has certainly followed an, uh, unusual path, no? I wonder why, exactly? Huh. I’m sure if we reflect back on some of the major life choices in our twenties we could probably parse it out together right now.

Why can’t you shut up?

Oh wait! Just one more thing! I know I keep going off on tangents. It’s kind of my thing at this hour. We’ll totally do the whole visualizing a tree thing in a sec, I promise, but before I forget, speaking of social media…

Were we?

Yeah, a second ago. Anyway, I’m not really sure how I feel about that thing you put on Facebook before bed.

What thing?

You don’t remember? Well, I guess you did have, what, three glasses of chardonnay at dinner. Which, side note, is part of the reason we’re up at this hour. Your heart isn’t pounding for nothing, doll. It’s called unprocessed sugar.

I’m getting the Tylenol PM. Now.

Well, uh, okay. But is that even safe? I mean can you mix that with half a bottle of wine and not have your heart just explode, or whatever? I guess you can always check the label, but it's hard to read those tiny letters without your glasses. And who knows where the fuck those things are, am I right?

I don’t care if my heart explodes. Better than listening to you for one more minute.

I really wish you wouldn’t take that stuff. I know we’re both really eager for me to shut down here, but Tylenol sends me off into such incredibly disturbing dreams. Remember that one where your face turned to ground beef and then your husband had crows for hands? I know we’re tired, but I just don’t think I can handle that shit tonight.

I think I’m going to cry.

Yikes, then you might wake up the kid. Bad idea. You’ve probably already damaged him by letting him play with the iPad so much, but does he really need to wake up and see Mommy weeping silently in the dark?

What about the iPad? The other day he was watching a Youtube video about Shopkins.

Yep. That’s right. But then when you got back from the bathroom, remember it was that weird mini-documentary about rabies? How the hell did he find that? Who knows. Must have kept selecting different videos from the side, I guess. Anyway, I’m sure it’s fine. He’s totally growing up in the age of technology, so an iPad is basically like his second, more interactive mommy.

Fuck you.

Yeah, life with tech and social media will be all he ever knows. Which reminds me! That thing you posted last night.

What was it?

Well, I didn’t want to mention it. Especially at this hour, because, you know, then you’ll want to look at your phone, and the light will make us more fully awake, and quite frankly your old friend brain here wouldn’t mind being shut down for a few hours tonight, you know?

Believe me, I know.

I mean it’s already 4:43.


I’m only guessing. Probably is though. You shouldn’t look at the clock, though, because we both know what that will do. Oh goddammit, why did you look? Fuck, it’s 5:02? We’ll be watching the sun come up! Oh man. This seriously blows. Now I’m going to be doing ridiculous shit all day tomorrow. Like telling you to put your keys in the freezer and then accidentally saying “I love you, too” when the Target clerk tells us to have a nice day. Shit. We’ve got a loooong day ahead of us.

Will you just remind me what I put on Facebook? Please?

It was totally not a big deal. It was just that photo of yourself looking all serious at that Ta-Nehisi Coates reading.

What was wrong with that?

Now there’s an amazing writer – Ta-Nehisi Coates! What an accomplished and crazy smart man. Wow. And aren’t you guys like the same age?

What is your point, exactly?

Sorry, you’re right. Forget Ta-Nehisi Coates. It’s not that, it’s just, well, do you think the photo seemed a little lame? Like you were showing how “woke” you are or whatever? I mean, let’s be real, you and I both know we aren’t entirely sure how to use “woke” in a sentence. Although I guess that’s what we are right now, as we lay staring at the ceiling, right? Woke! Ha! See what I did there?

I mean, I know I’ve asked this a bunch, and not to beat a dead horse or anything, but tell me again why we do social media? I think I’ve made it pretty clear it makes me feel like shit. But whatever. So does drinking a frappucino too quickly, and that certainly doesn’t seem to stop you.

Oh, and there you go with the phone! Don’t do it! The light will only make us more – ah well. Never mind. Here we go.

Yikes, that profile pic. Well, it’s just…well, not to be harsh, hon, but a lady of your years needs something more flattering than IKEA wattage. Those crow’s feet – yowtch. Time is really catching up to us, huh?

Hey, you know what that reminds me of? We’re going to be dead someday!

I’m getting the Tylenol PM. See? I’m taking it out of the medicine cabinet.

The kid is going to be awake in an hour! Are you insane?

I don’t care. I can’t take anymore.

At least check the label to make sure you don’t kill us.

See, you can’t read the label, can you! What did I tell you?

Hey, maybe your glasses are in the freezer?



Also in Conversations

same sex parents
9 Things You Should Never Say to Same-Sex Parents

by ParentCo.

Culturally reinforced naiveté is understandable coming from a small child. But there's no great excuse when it comes from adults.

Continue Reading

man celebrating pride parade
The LGBTQ Community Needs You to Put Down Your Fear

by ParentCo.

Where there's fear, it's impossible for love and acceptance to thrive. Let me tell you about people like me. Let me tell you a little about what it means to be a member of the LGBTQ community.

Continue Reading

young child holding vegatables
The Real Reason You Should Garden With Your Kids

by ParentCo.

You can garden with your kids without leaving the house or changing out of your pajamas. Best of all, it will save you at least one trip to the grocery store.

Continue Reading