I don't like to brag, but I can play the xylophone like nobody's business.

I discovered this hidden talent recently while I was playing with my daughter and her mountain of toys in the family room. I was incredible. My fingers flew across the metal slats, creating catchy rhythms and beautiful harmonies.

I was feeling pretty good about myself until I looked up and noticed my daughter had fallen asleep on the floor.

That's right, I was a grown woman sitting cross-legged on the floor jamming out with my baby's xylophone. Not one of my finest hours.

It was also not an isolated event.

Since Nicole was born, it would be nearly impossible for a court of law to find enough evidence to convict me of being an adult. I play with baby toys, shop solely in the baby sections of stores and have been known to eat Gerber puffs as a midday snack.

But it's not just me. My husband has fallen victim to the baby trap, too. ... One afternoon I watched him spend 15 minutes throwing a ball into the hole on top of Nicole's loop-de-loop toy. He didn't realize I was watching this moment of master athleticism until I clapped wildly and said, "Yay, good job, honey."

Again, not a proud moment.

I guess it's inevitable, though, that baby paraphernalia takes over the house and our minds. My iPod with all my favorite music is now filled with hip classics such as "The Wheels on the Bus" and "Hakuna Matata."

Instead of a laptop computer, a reporter's notebook, pens and a wallet, my purse now bulges with a waterlogged bath toy, a lone baby shoe, a half-eaten Zwieback toast, Cheerios dust and a diaper that I'm 85 percent sure is clean. This is my purse, mind you, not the diaper bag.

The evidence is not just physical, I'm afraid. My adult persona has fled from all conversation and thought processes. My friends warned me about "baby brain" when I was pregnant, which is the seemingly dramatic dip in IQ before giving birth. I didn't realize this would last through the formative years of Nicole's life.

I often find myself so sleep deprived that I can't think of the right words. It's not that I can't remember them, they are honestly just not there. One day I just kept pointing at Nicole's stroller telling my husband to put the sombrero up. "You know, the sombrero. The sombrero!" I yelled as I pointed to the sunshade in exasperation.

I also spend a solid chunk of each day singing the "Cookie Jar Song." In case you don't know this one, it goes "Shapes are in my cookie jar, triangle, heart and star. There's a circle over there, here's a square." This is, of course, sung from a toy in a voice from someone who has obviously sucked helium from a balloon.

I'm convinced there are underground research labs where these Fisher Price people discover new ways to commandeer the adult brain. I can't remember anything from my college literature course, but the "Cookie Jar Song" — that I know.

Be honest. If you had to either list all the characters on "Dora the Explorer" or the nine justices on the Supreme Court, which could you do? I think we all know the answer.

Don't get me wrong. I try to make some time to watch the news or read a book that doesn't have teeth marks on the corners. And I know I'll reclaim my adulthood at some point and shake the "Cookie Jar Song" from my head.

At this point in my life, however, I guess I'll have to settle for this temporary regression into childhood. To be honest, I'm pretty happy working on my xylophone skills. There's also a sweet Barbie recorder that I've got my eye on, but I don't want to push myself too hard too fast.


Erin Stewart also writes a blog, Just4Moms, on Tuesdays and Thursdays.


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