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How Motherhood Makes Us Smarter

The Mommy Brain Blog

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Almost every morning I commute to my office, a remodeled tool shed about 20 yards from my kitchen. (Just one of the cool things about this setup is that even after June 1, I can do this while putting on makeup or talking on my cellphone, without violating California law.) Two days ago, en route, I've started crossing paths with two single-minded little birds -- they may be chickadees -- flying back and forth to build a new nest in a tangle of jasmine against one a bedroom wall. I've never actually watched birds build nests before, and it is dramatic. It's like they're on automatic pilot, working soundlessly together, little twigs in their beaks. They're on a tight construction deadline.
It makes me think, not for the first time, about the forces that govern human lives, and how we construct these elaborate, often transparently comic narratives over the most simple survival imperatives. Reminder to self, and to anyone who wants a major treat: reread John Barth's mind-boggling 1960s short story, "Lost in the Funhouse".....


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