Use It or Lose It

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Use it or lose it. That’s a saying isn’t it? There are some days when I feel I might have lost it. The ‘it’ I am referring to is my brain and its ability to function beyond the pace of a geriatric snail. Conversations break down half way through as I struggle to find the word I’m looking for, “we went to the city yesterday and we got to the……..hang on….bare with me….it’s on the tip of my tongue……nope it’s gone”.

It’s a worry. It feels like a little insight into what old age might be like. Since looking after Max I’ve ploughed all my efforts into nourishing his sponge-like little brain but my own has been left feeling malnourished. The person I converse with more than anyone else is 2 years old and although he does pretty well for his age, the conversation doesn’t exactly sparkle.


The books I read more than any other are the ones that start “that’s not my dog it’s blah blah is too blah blah”. The television shows I watch more than any other tend to involve animated pigs or trains. I spend an unhealthy amount of time digging sand castles or pretending to be a train. The music I listen to more than any other are designed to permanently sear the alphabet onto your brain. I sometimes catch myself eating from little plastic plates with pictures of diggers on them and I snack on raisins and carrot sticks.

I’m feeding my brain on a toddler diet. I feel like Tom Hanks in Big only the other way around, my version would be called Small – a capable adult who regresses back to his toddler years. I can get away with it around other dazed and confused stay at home parent types but last week I got an email from a radio station, “would you like to share your views on why there are more stay at home dad’s”. I don’t know why but it never occurred to me that this friendly little chat would be live. They will simply edit out the bits where I sound like a village idiot and what’s left will leave me sounding like a parenting genius.


The phone rang, “okay, you’re on in 30 seconds, remember you’re live so keep your answers brief and no swearing……15……….10……..5”.  No swearing? Can’t I just have one quick one now? Just one big f-bomb before we go live? Every sinew in my body wanted to press the little red telephone symbol that makes the nasty radio people go away but I didn’t. I talked, I put words together to form sentences, meaningful ones at that, I used long words and I even did a joke that made the presenters laugh, fake radio laughing but laughing none the less. I remember what this is like, this is fun, I used to be quite good at this talking coherently lark. I put down the phone and had that sense of elation you get when you conquer something that scares the bejesus out of you.

Thank you for saving me in my hour of need brain, I’m sorry for not feeding you a proper adult diet, from now on I will try harder not to neglect you.


Does anyone else feed their brain on a toddler diet? Do you have days where it refuses to play ball. Did you once fear you had lost it forever only to find it again.

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  • Julie

    I talk to a toddler all day who is yet to even talk. Four degrees at uni, what did that teach me? My child laughs the most when I sing and make up songs. Was doing the grocery shopping, had a very cranky child, I was 3/4 of the way through and realise much to the amusement of the other shoppers I was singing and dancing in the pasta isle. No, I cannot sing. My dancing ability is debatable. My brain has been left in the “crumpets,crumpets. We all love crumpets…”

    • Matthew Ross

      I would have paid good money to have been in that pasta aisle Julie. 4 degrees get you, is high calibre reader indeed

  • Kellie Collett

    3 kids later and I’m not sure I even have a brain….my diet consists of nutella and coffee…nice and balanaced.

    • Matthew Ross

      You have the diet we all secretly crave Kellie, brain or no brain

  • Mel Duker

    Disagree on this one… After negotiating with a 2yo I feel ready to take on the Middle East and world peace.
    After years of illogical arguments (I think they were called meeting discussions) in corporate world my skills step changed to a whole new level with a 2yo and think these negotiation skills are under utilized in the broader community (world).
    Finishing a sentence is over rated.

    • Matthew Ross

      Your not allowed to disagree Mel, its against the rules ; ) 2 year olds are extremely good negotiators, I can vouch for that

  • Aaron

    Oh, yes, I’ve got that problem.
    At our ante-natal classes, we were all prepared for the mothers-to-be to have ‘baby-brain’ and told it was normal, due to hormones, etc. But, I was totally unprepared for how much I lost the ability to focus on anything other than Devon.
    My wife and I have both come to the conclusion that we need time out to ourselves, to help to counter this. Seems to be working so far, I’ve only had to stop 3 times writing this….

    • Matthew Ross

      Three times is pretty good Aaron, you’ve clearly conquered your demons. Awesome name too Devon, I like it a lot

  • Emily

    LOVE this post. My brain barely keeps up with the three-year-old as I goo and gah at the newborn.

    • daddownunder

      Its a worry isn’t it Emily, I think we all need to make sure we nourish it whenever we can

  • Jody at Six Little Hearts

    After 6 kids, I can’t remember what I was going to write here…

    • daddownunder

      ; ) I’m sure it would have been fantastic if you had of remembered Jody

  • Maxabella

    My brain packed its bags and left the building sometime during my first pregnancy. It has never felt safe enough to return… x

    • daddownunder

      Here’s hoping that one day it decides to venture back and bamboozle people all over again Bron

  • Ask a Toddler

    Just like any other muscle, our brains need a little exercise! Thanks again Matt!

    • daddownunder

      What do you feed yours Pete?

      • Ask a Toddler

        A good dose of general grammar, formal logic and classic rhetoric…that way nothing can get past you!

  • Emily

    I suppose I’m lucky that I am still working and writing so when I ring up someone to interview them about their views of the building industry and the economy I have to be sharp otherwise I won’t hit the mark and be able to write their article properly. But then again I also write about microdermabrasion, pools and spas and hand made meals delievered to your door – BOOM! BORING.
    I wish I had heard the interview :)

    • daddownunder

      And I wish I could hear you interviewing people about microdermabrasion Em, what is it?

      • Emily

        It’s when they chip away at your face with a machine that gets rid of all the sun spots, signs of ageing etc.

        But here is definition “Microdermabrasion is a skin-care technique that uses tiny rough grains to buff away the surface layer of skin.”

        • daddownunder

          Ooh sounds quite nice

  • Emily Morgan

    Your interview sounds interesting, you should link up to it! I’m glad you were able to find your adult-conversation mojo when you needed it – now back to Thomas and Friends!

    • daddownunder

      It was definitely only a brief fling with adult conversation, I am a much more convincing Fat Controller Emily.

  • Renee at Mummy, Wife, Me

    Hell yeah. I’ve been feeding mine on a toddler/baby diet the last three years! I’m back at work in a couple of weeks after 12 months off and I am concerned, gravely concerned, how I will cope stringing coherent sentences together. Hopefully, I’ll be like you and it will all come together in my time of need!

    • daddownunder

      I’m sure with a bit of practice you’ll be back in the swing of things Renee, in the meantime just ask a lot of questions and not your head as if you are interested

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