23 September 2008

On Babies

I just went home to check out my nephew, Qball. He's the one who used to look like an angry potato. He looks like a happy potato now, I am pleased to report. Actually, he looks kind of like one of the incarnations of Buddha, what with his little belly and his eyes full of munificence and all. My niece, Kbird, is old enough to do stuff now, which is pretty great. She especially enjoys such games as "Scream" and "Flounce". Scream is pretty self-explanatory, and deafening, where as "Flounce" is being thrown onto the couch by someone else with enough force that you bounce. It looks like fun. I wish someone was big enough to throw me onto the couch. Sometimes "Flounce" morphs into "Scream". It's fun to play when Qball is napping, because nothing will bring the wrath of the tired parent faster than playing "Scream" when the baby is sleeping. But on the bright side, snacks are served after nap time, which runs from 1-3pm. Some people claim parenthood must be stifling, but when was the last time anyone scheduled a nap time for you? Not for a long time, that's the answer.

I sometimes feel like I am missing out on these two. They learn stuff really fast, and change so quickly, and here I am sitting in a steaming kitchen thousands of miles away and not getting to participate. Heading back home, though, I think that maybe there is more to this than just wanting to see my nephew.

Much more.

A dark place full of more.

That place, some corner of my nucleotide map, is starting to whisper disturbing things. It whispers, late at night, that it is approaching that time for the Thing.

That Thing that we are supposed to do. All of us. Even if we don't like kids or think we want to participate. For the species. We are supposed to do it. Our reptilian core requires it. It is working against us. It's a cultural joke for forward-thinking educated people, this urge to have kids. For those of us who haven't had any, we find ourselves both defined by the freedom of childlessness and also hobbled by the fact that maybe, just maybe, we are missing out.

Or is it the sad inevitability that as much as we would like life to be fabulous and interesting and filled with champagne at all times, sometimes it ends up being peanut butter smeared on a car seat in the parking lot at K-mart?

And maybe that peanut butter smear is what is real and good in life, what will sustain us when we are old?

Fall makes me crazy melancholy.


Lemmonex said...

You, dear sir, have been living in my brain, but have said it much more beautifully than I ever could.

echidna girl said...

It ate at my brain for a decade before I gave in. I feel your dilemma.

MB said...

You get the baby fever again you can borrow mine. She'll cure you in under 8 hours.

Roleur said...

My wife is nearly 8 months pregnant with our first child, and my intellect resisted traveling down this path at nearly all costs. It was my love for, and trust in my wife that brought me this far.

The shift in my mind was subtle at first, hardly noticeable. It gathered momentum and gravity as I watched her gradually change. Her tummy is bulbous, and she is beautiful. I can feel our child move inside her. I've heard the baby's heart beat on two occasions. I have digital ultrasound images of the baby's changing facial expressions.

I don't know much about being a parent. But the first thing I learned was this: Your child will teach you more about yourself and about life in general than you can imagine.

My next big lesson in life is scheduled for the moment I look upon my child's face for the first time.