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October 12, 2013

My brain is losing its connection to eyes, teeth

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The Daily Star

---- — I’m beginning to have grave doubts about my brain’s ability to remember things.

Some would argue that the fact that I’m only beginning to doubt is proof that the problem is much worse than they’d feared. To them I say, “And you are ...?”

I’ve been forgetting small tasks that need doing, like getting yet another gallon of milk or flipping yet another load of laundry from the washer to the dryer. But the problem is growing.

I scheduled a couple of doctor’s appointments for the kids during the week before the start of school, just so that we could get them out of the way before the routine really set in. Besides the normal stuff I can never remember — like, say, which kid shouldn’t take penicillin — it turns out that I can’t keep their birthdays straight either. I kept adding the date for one of them to the month of the other, which confused the heck out of all of the doctors’ computers because that’s how they track everything.

I don’t know why I this information keeps shifting around in my head. It’s not like I wasn’t there when they were born.

But that’s not the worst of it.

The Girl had the last appointment of this round of check-ups. We were running late, which is unusual, actually, because I was raised by anal-retentive Italians who view five minutes early as being 10 minutes late.

The Girl, the Boy, and I flung ourselves up the steps to the dentist’s office. The Girl had spent the entire day complaining about this visit, not because she ever has a cavity but because she hates fluoride treatments. It’s always something with that kid.

The receptionist, who knows me by face if not by name at this point because the Boy has a head full of soft teeth and poor oral hygiene, smiled at us.

“Sorry we’re late,” I said.

“Late for what?” she said.

“A cleaning?” I said.

“You’re not on the schedule today,” she said, clicking through windows on her computer. “The Girl’s next appointment is in December.”

“Oh,” I said. “Any guesses about where we should be?”

She didn’t know either.

After saying a quick hello to another parent I knew who was waiting for one of his kids, because he was able to remember the details of her appointment, we made our way back to the car. After everyone was buckled up, I tried to work the problem.

“OK, not the dentist,” I said. “Maybe the eye doctor?”

The Girl, who’d been effusing about how relieved she was to not have to endure the horrors of fluoride, disagreed. “We should just go home,” she said.

But I knew, somewhere out in this town of ours, there was an appointment with some sort of medical professional with her name on it. So I called my husband, who called the optometrist while I started the car.

The advantage of living in such a small city is that any one point isn’t really that far from any other point. When we first moved here, we had to make a trip from our Center City house to our real estate agent’s office to sign some papers. She apologized when she described where it was, which was “all the way out in the West End.” It didn’t even take five minutes to drive there.

The Girl, the Boy, and I flung ourselves up the steps to the eye doctor’s when we arrived. We were really late by now. This receptionist also knows me by face if not by name because my eyes are like the Boy’s teeth, which means I’m in there frequently.

“Did you bring her glasses?” she asked.

“No,” I said. “We were going to the dentist.”

Which makes total sense in context. Sadly, my husband had only told the woman on the other end of the phone that we were running late, not why, which explains why she looked at me like I was completely nuts.

Throughout the appointment, I wondered how I’d managed to write “dentist” on my calendar rather than “eye.” I must really be slipping, I thought.

Eventually, hours after we made it back home, I remembered to check. It turns out that I had written “eye” next to the time and the Girl’s name. What I’d done was simply forget how to read for a split-second. Or maybe my eyes need to be checked again, too.

Adrienne Martini is a freelance writer, instructor at the State University College at Oneonta, mom to Maddy and Cory, wife to Scott, and author of “Sweater Quest.” Her columns can be found at www.thedailystar.com/parentingimperfect.