25 July 2013

Life Among the Savages

“Our life is over.”

This phrase appeared in a recent email from the wife, describing the discovery that Little Brother (at all of 16 months old) was actively attempting to climb out of his crib. Like he was a Cirque du Soleil gymnast. Of course, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise. It is quite possible that our children are trying to kill us. And I’m pretty sure our lives ended the moment the first one was born.

As for Little Brother, he’s already tried it with the portable crib, plus managed to clamber up onto a sofa, an armchair, a toddler piano, his older brother’s bed, the kitchen table. But still, we thought we had more time. Because the Doozer, on the other hand, never tried climbing out of his crib. Maybe once, but the wife put the fear of God into him and he never tried it again. That’s good parenting.

And I know it’s wrong to pick favorites, but that little one is really testing my limits.

Even the Doozer knows it. “He was a real pain in the patoot today, wasn’t he?” This, to his mother, one night at bedtime. "I think I just got Eddie Haskell’ed,” she said when she came downstairs. Sure, they’re turning on each other a bit. Little one bit the big one on the cheek. Big one rats out the little one every chance he gets. And soon enough, they’ll abandon their war of attrition and just completely join forces with one another like Voltron and turn on us. And then it’s all over.

Why do we have kids again?

Oh, that’s right. Because when we asked Little Brother to give the Doozer a kiss, he approached it like eating a peach, wide-mouthed and slobbering, tongue darting everywhere. We practically fell out of our chairs laughing at this. I guess that’s why we have kids.

Is that enough?

I’ve been reading a lot of parenting books lately. Not the instructional types, but the anecdotal, memoir-types. I just finished Drew Magary’s Someone Could Get Hurt. And Jim Gaffigan’s Dad Is Fat. And it’s nice to know that at least we’re not alone. That this tornado of madness and destruction and occasional hilarity is afflicting everyone with children, apparently. I find it comforting to read about other horrifying parenting experiences. Or witnessing them in person. 

Trust me. You could want to kill your children, but spend five minutes in a grocery or a big box store and you’ll see at least seven children more worthy of strangling than your own. And that can make you feel a little bit better. For at least one more day or so.

Your life really does become unrecognizable to you. It is that different. This is not an exaggeration. Then if you spend any amount of time with friends who don’t have kids, you start to see your life through their eyes—and it looks even more insane than it does from the inside.

I mean, they’re awake so early. And they’re so full of energy. Just give us a break. Give it a rest. I’m not sure if this was originally said about parenting, but you know that phrase, Sleep when you’re dead? What is that? Why would you say that? Why is that something to look forward to? I don’t want that. I want to live. And get a little bit of sleep while still living. Is that so much to ask? Won’t these kids just grow up already and get out of our hair? And let us f’ing sleep?

Okay, so I don’t entirely mean that. The Doozer starts kindergarten this fall. And I am not prepared for that. I don’t want him to be that old. Or any older. Sure, with age comes wisdom and maturity and all that and I won’t have to deal with all the same bullshit he throws at me now. But there’s just going to be more bullshit. Older kid bullshit. Teenage bullshit. (He shudders.) Maybe he’ll at least sleep in. And I’ll feel more comfortable letting him wander away from me and do his own thing. Without keeping tabs, worrying about him all the time. Who am I kidding? That’s probably never going to happen.

Right now, I have a number of friends who are pregnant. For the first time. So to them, I offer this brief preview of how their life is about to change. Irrevocably. Unimaginably. And forever. Here it is:

Our life is over. It was fun. Perhaps we can be a cautionary tale of what it means to have children. In fact, that’s going to be the title of my own parenting book, I think. Welcome to Parenting: Your Life is Over.

Happy reading.

1 comment:

  1. Welcome back! Have missed reading your blog -