I used to be smart, I think. Back before these two tiny humans claimed my brain power and my intelligence. I graduated high school at the top of my class and was voted “most likely to succeed.” I have a college degree. I even managed to convince more than one person of my intelligence and aptitude post-college, thereby landing myself a job that actually paid above the minimum wage. With benefits.
I used to be able to complete tasks that required focus. I’m pretty sure I used to have an attention span that was longer than that of a fruit fly. And I vaguely remember having the ability to turn thoughts into coherent, well-informed sentences.
And then, children.
Two pregnancies and two children later, I’m noticeably dumber than I used to be.
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the better portion of my day is spent communicating on a 2-year-old level, referring to myself in the third person, and singing Daniel Tiger jingles in an attempt to instill basic life lessons. “Mama said you have to try to pee in the potty before we can go to the park. Hands out of the potty. ‘Flush and wash and be on your way!'” “Please stop at the crosswalk. You have to hold mama’s hand to cross the street. ‘Stop! and listen to stay safe!'”
Maybe it’s true that “mom brain” is, in fact, a real thing. “Oh thanks, neighbor. I did, in fact, leave my keys hanging from the front door lock for the third time this week.”
Maybe the never-ending list of things to worry about when one has children has just overtaken my ability to think about anything else. “How early is too early to start pre-pre-school?” “Is that tiny person eating enough vegetables?” “I need to talk to the pediatrician about whole vs. 2% milk.” “Did I remember to turn on the slow cooker before leaving the house this morning?” “The littlest one pushed a little girl at playgroup this morning. Is this aggressive behavior indicative of some deeper, underlying issue?” “Does my kid eat too much sugar?”
And maybe this perpetual state of exhaustion that comes along with motherhood is wreaking havoc on my memory and has actually caused my I.Q. to drop multiple points.
Whatever the reason, there’s no denying it.
Maybe I’ll be smart again someday. Maybe when my kids are out of the potty training, Sesame Street-watching, tantrum-throwing stage. Maybe then I’ll get to have intelligent conversations with like-minded adults again and those I.Q. points will magically reappear. Until then, I’ll be here. In the trenches of motherhood. Eating cookies and getting a little dumber by the second.
Pumpkin Chai Snickerdoodles
Recipe courtesy of Half Baked Harvest
Start to finish: 25 minutes
Makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies
For the cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tarter
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the chai spice sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon all-spice
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cream of tarter, salt and nutmeg.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the pumpkin, egg, and vanilla; beat until combined.
Gradually add the flour mixture, mixing until just fully combined.
In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the chai spice sugar: sugar, cinnamon, ginger, all-spice, cardamom, and cloves.
Scoop the dough into 1 tablespoon size balls, and then generously roll through the chai sugar. I found it easiest to drop a scoop of cookie dough into the chai sugar and then roll it around with a spoon.
Place on the prepared baking sheet, spacing the cookies 2 inches apart.
Transfer to the oven and bake for 9-10 minutes or until the cookies are set around the edges. You can test for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of a cookie. If it comes out clean, they’re done. You want to err on the side of under-baking these–they should set up a little more on the cookie sheet once you take them out of the oven.
If desired, you can brush the cookies with a little melted butter and sprinkle with the remaining chai sugar. Cool and then store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.