Dumb stuff sleep deprivation does

When I was a teenager, I quite regularly forgot things, or lost things around the place. One time, I left my bag on a bench in Stratford-on-Avon, because my friends suggested going to Mcdonalds’s, which was so exciting I jumped up and left without thinking. A tramp shuffled off furtively shortly afterwards. It was so upsetting losing it that I’ve since been quite particular about checking I have everything every time I go anywhere.  Getting into climbing also does wonders for focussing the mind on such details; getting to the top of a route and realising you have no karabiners left with which to secure your descent (or set up a belay) would be very unfortunate.

So generally speaking, I’m not that forgetful. Or at least, I wasn’t until last September. Since having a baby, I seem to do something slightly dumb nearly every day. It’s a bit like being drunk, but with less calories. The less sleep I get, the worse it is, which makes it particularly bad at the moment. So far, these are the most common, and often amusing, things I mess up:

1. Forgetting whether  I washed my hair.

I don’t mean not remembering whether I washed my hair the day before – that’s pretty normal. I mean that I’ll be standing in the shower, and will have no idea whether I just washed my hair two minutes earlier or not. So I wash it again, in case I didn’t. I must be getting through quite a lot of shampoo.

2. Forgetting what I just said.

In everyday conversation with people, I often forget what I said to them in the last five minutes. Yesterday, I am fairly sure I asked the same person twice what they were doing work-wise, in the same conversation.  Fortunately, he also has a child, so I don’t think he even noticed.

3. Did I have a piece of cake?

Fortunately, I often seem to forget to eat the cake I cut myself when I make tea. But sometimes, I’m really not sure whether or not I ate some yummy treat. The only solution is obviously to eat another one.

4. Leaving credit cards in payment machines.

This one is actually quite frustrating. I couldn’t work out what had happened to my card the other day; it suddenly wasn’t in my wallet, or anywhere else, so I cancelled it with the bank. I’m now fairly sure that I left it in the chip & pin machine at Go Outdoors when I went to buy a baby waterproof.

5. Forgetting to pay at all.

In Sainsbury’s, I decided to use the self-service checkouts. They have ones with conveyor belts, so you can check out a big shop and then pack it up. So I was busy packing everything up, loaded it all back into my trolley, got my car keys out and started moving away. Only then I thought “how annoying, I didn’t add my Nectar points”, and it was at that point that I realised I hadn’t paid at all. Oddly, no one actually said anything.

6. Forgetting to turn off the oven.

When we get pizzas out of the oven, we generally go eat them in front of the TV. It feels like a luxury of junk food. I often discover that we haven’t actually turned the oven off, about half an hour later. At least it heats up the kitchen in winter. This isn’t as bad as getting in the car to go somewhere, and then wondering whether I remembered to turn all the gas rings off.

7. Forgetting to lock the car

We have our car parked on the drive, rather than on the road, so this isn’t that big a deal. Plus, it’s quite difficult locking the car when you have an armful of baby, as you have to have planned to lock it in advance, and have the keys ready. So I usually carry the baby into the house, and remind myself to go back and lock the car later. Only I often come back the next day and realise it’s still unlocked. Given our car’s performance, I’d be quite relieved if someone did steal it, although less so if the insurance didn’t pay.

So there we are, if you want your life to be efficient and glitch-free, don’t have a baby.

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