Friday 27th August 2010

dad-voice practice

the timing of this entry is fitting, given the topic of my last.

anyway. you GUYS, have you heard the news? of course you have, because it was such a shock to everyone that they couldn't talk about anything else for weeks. remember?

so. i'm a little stressed about the whole thing. big surprise, i know, but listen. the more we do in preparation for the little guy, the more we get thinking about all that's required to keep him alive and functioning (not to mention, to keep us alive and functioning), and i have to say that a couple times i've had to consciously pull myself back from the verge of a panic attack. i've heard the transition from living baby-free to having a baby described as passing through the event horizon of a black hole. (you may understand why i like this analogy.) when you're on the outside, there's no way of knowing what's going on inside, because there is no way allowed by the laws of physics for the information to reach you. you can speculate and hypothesize and extrapolate, but you really just have no idea. and as your lifeless spaceship hurtles inexorably down the gravity well and space-time is torn apart around you, you only then begin to understand.

it disturbs me how something so physically small can have such a huge set of needs. i thought we were this advanced, capable species with large brains, or something? apparently no? elephants can hold their heads up immediately. horses can run the day they're born. baby cthulhu was inducing madness in entire civilizations in his first star-cycle. what's wrong with us?

i find i'm having to change my mind about a lot of stuff, in addition to changing habits. i've done a disservice over the last few years in my joyful mockery of my friends' tribulations with their own children. i'll tell you where i'm coming from. first of all, they'll repay in kind, because they're awesome. secondly, as a result of my actions they'll surely never give us a minute of free babysitting. but most importantly, and seriously, i've made light of what is basically the grandest struggle there is—turning babies into people—in a way that has probably trivialized it in my own mind, or at least my subconscious. i certainly don't mean i think it is trivial, which it certainly is not and i don't mean to say that at all. i'm saying that within my mind i've reduced it to just a source of humor without ever appreciating it or even really trying to appreciate what the experience meant to them. and i'm not sure how to feel about this, because they were living their lives just as i was, we were just at different stages in our respective lives. their lives involved the raising of a child. mine involved acting out my chosen social role, viz. making fun of that. but as i face the bizarre prospect of imminently having a son of my own, i'm seeing it a bit differently. as you might imagine.

you guys, my son is going to be a challenge. he's going to be a stubborn, slippery little trickster, and worst of all, he's going to be really damned intelligent. he will of course be quietly cerebral, and when for this reason he goes hours or days without willingly talking to us we will panic and feel like he's shutting us out of his life. beginning the day he's born i'm going to begin filling his head with nonsense but before long he will figure out my game and realize just how full of shit i am, and from that day forward my wife will love him more than she loves me. he's going to have a sense of humor unintelligible to everyone except himself; in fact he will have vast worlds in his head to which no outsider will have access, robbing us of the ability to understand the greater part of him. he's going to be a prodigy with the ladies, so all the parents at the pta meetings will always be bitter toward me. chelsey will try to turn him into the quarterback for the denver broncos and because she's his favorite (and also just to spite me; ref. comment about being full of shit) he'll actually do it, and because he's so intelligent he'll be really good at it and become a superstar and move to bermuda or wherever and we'll never see him again except in signed pictures his publicist will send us at christmas.

so of course i'm stressed. the hell of it is, though, it's not altogether justified. sure, it will be work, hard work, and plenty of minimal-sleep nights and full diapers and colic and fevers and spit-up on my new shirt, but taking care of all that is just mechanics and actually pretty straightforward. later comes the frustrating part: the inevitable teenage rebellion crap when he'll think no one understands him and blah blah. but even that is basically predictable, and even a little boring—even amusing?—from the perspective of having gone through it myself. ('oh, you've become a nonconformist, how original.') it will seem to him as though the world and everything in it is unfair, and to him it will be for a while, but he'll survive it just as we all do and he'll get to experience the absurdity of the next generation at that age, thinking they're the first ones ever to feel angst.

so where does this leave me? who knows. i often say to my co-conspirator in this matter that i'm afraid, and i suppose i am in a way, though it's not truly fear that i'm feeling, mostly just unease. at the idea that soon, this powerless monster is going to invade and turn my life on its head and demand that i keep it alive, and inexplicably i will appease it. a dear friend of mine once said, 'the secret to parenting is to remember that your goal is to raise capable adults.' i imagine i'll be repeating that to myself rather often over the next twenty years, especially when it's my turn for the nighttime diaper shift.


posted by mAtt @ 19.07 (gmt+0000)
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Wednesday 24th March 2010

observations, scientific and otherwise

it's been seven hours and fifteen five days since she took her love car away. long enough for me to compile an ordered list, of things, just in time for her to come home to.

  1. she claims the covers end up on my side of the bed in the morning because i pull them that way in the night. i claim it's because she rolls exclusively to her left (toward me) all night, converting her own rotational energy into linear motion of the covers. in these last five nights that i've had the bed to myself, the comforter has mysteriously remained perfectly centered, without having to pull the frakking thing four feet back over to her side every morning.
  2. by the narrow definition of the word, i have no actual proof that fast food eaten in a girl's presence tastes better than fast food eaten not in a girl's presence, but i have some anecdotal evidence to that effect.
  3. sometimes, fast food eaten not in a girl's presence does not taste as good as fast food not eaten.

    by the way. 'froots?' i seem to have a vague memory of these 'froots,' and their odd-sounding cousins the 'vej tubbles.' will you please tell me more?

  4. the freedom to leave the seat up is a pretty minor one. i cite the fact it's a well established habit for me to put it down each time, cover and all; leaving it up requires conscious effort and just leaves me acutely aware of the act's underlying emptiness.
  5. bulldog kisses are a damn poor substitute for wife kisses.
  6. pulling on yesterday's socks is way easier than going downstairs and collecting the clean laundry.
  7. cynical schadenfreude is most satisfying when it has the opportunity to annoy someone.
  8. measured in terms of wakefulness, appetite, and leg-jumps per hour, the dog is less happy when chelsey is gone.
  9. measured in terms of wakefulness, appetite, and leg-jumps per hour, the boy is less happy when chelsey is gone.




girls, you just don't know the power you have over boys. if you do know it then you are evil geniuses. evil, pretty geniuses. we just don't stand a chance.


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Wednesday 24th June 2009

compromise

what did the iphone cost me? oh, not much. just some dollars, and the chin-scarf i got in greece. i could tell the wife wanted to do a little happy-dance around the ashes of my departed facial locks but bless her, she restrained herself.

[aside]


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Thursday 11th June 2009

what i learned in that place where i went

we say things like it's a small world without feeling their full meaning.

the world is small only in comparison with such things as the rest of the galaxy, which is itself only small in comparison with such things as the local supercluster. we're to the point in our development as a thinking species where we can observe objects that emitted some bits of light near the beginning of the universe, and the light is only now reaching us. and light is fast, dig? if my calculations are correct it takes light approximately one year to go one light-year; do you know how long it would take you, even taking the entire journey at the fastest speed any human has ever gone? beyond the scope of supercluster one could take two, maybe three meaningful (however gargantuan) steps up, and half a dozen or more on the way down. we live near the bottom, and on the scale to which we are accustomed, the world is pointedly—almost arrogantly—large.

thank you for following so far; it's important you understand where i'm coming from if you're to understand where i'm going. it's a matter of using the appropriate scale. though it's not saying much, the difference between (1) the immensity and permanence of the rock we're all floating on and (2) my own unimportance and brevity is more than the meat between my ears can process. and yet it is precisely this difference that made each bite of greek food, each sight of stacked ancient marble, each step taken on age-worn stone, each smile on the face of the girl i love—all so small when taken individually—so large when viewed through the lens of what i'm used to.

this is what i learned: we're each so small, and each so temporary, but because of this each moment and every inch we have just becomes that much more meaningful. where we are, everything matters except you. you are exactly as self-important as you think you are; it is just your scale that is wrong.

i'm sorry, what was your question? … 'how was greece?'

pretty frakking swell.


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Thursday 30th April 2009

i love my wife

WIFE your chocolate and beers await you near the front door; please drive safely but speedily.


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Friday 6th March 2009

obligatory

i'm working a lot these days, and don't have much to say that would be of interest to anyone other than me.

but i do have some things to say, and i'll be saying them to you this weekend, and i'll probably be writing them not from my own house because i'm a little scared of my wife right now and she's temporarily kicked me out of the house so she can work on some brainy paper thingy.

i understand very little of it but she promises me once she's done i can retire and we can move some place warm, and all she requires in the meantime is chocolate and beers! i call that a very good investment.


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Sunday 4th January 2009

cold, and hot

fun fact: the waiting list for denver broncos season tickets is ridiculous, so my apologies to the wife but it looks like your birthday/x-mas presents for at least the next decade will continue not to jump the shark. unless we get in on a wild card berth! which doesn't actually exist, so there we are.

of course, this year's were not so bad, but not so good as to leave no room for improvement.

also! three cheers and a tally-ho for friends' free hot tub! ask him (or his personal financial assistant) how much this 'free' actually costs. go on, i dare you.


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