Possibly my only photoblog

This won’t become a habit.*

I spent about 32 hours with my niece. It’s funny how much work it takes to accomplish so little with a 5ish month old. It’s closing in on 2 A.M. and I’m feeling slightly wrecked. Granted, I took advantage of our limited time together and held her for most of the day. I’m not one for working out, but I imagine it’s not easy to hold anything for 2 plus hours. But almost every moment of the day requires attention and it’s probably not bad for her to bond with other humans.

Wake up, change, bottle, play, nap. Wake, bottle, play. Nap, play, bottle. Nap, play, bottle. Nap? Bath. Bed.

Alright, now include the fact that this little monster human doesn’t exactly cooperate. The details are boring and typical. Bottles take forever to finish. Naps take forever to start. Ten minutes turns into an hour.

If I wanted to do anything… it wouldn’t happen. I tried reading a slightly involved science book for all of two minutes before I got sidetracked. It was all I could do to wash the dishes and keep the apartment moderately clean.

Anyway, here’s a brief summary of our day. I try to keep her engaged. Constantly talk to her, or sing. Play as much as she can. Show her interesting and new things. Keep her eyes seeing, ear hearing, mouth “talking,” arms and legs moving. Anything to keep her brain going. Build connections and cut back others.

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Happy in the morning, with my cat plotting her death.

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Play session on, what I assume to be, her favorite blanket. Also, she’s eating a turtle. We had a talk about zoos. We have a tentative agreement that she will never go to the circus. We’ll work out the details once she gets a working brain.

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Incredibly excited for the trip to come. Or she just saw the Beatles boxset sleeve.

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Loving the wilds of campus. Held her for about 40-50 minutes while we walked. This was probably about 30 minutes in and she was all about it still.

 

And so no one accuses me of being bias, here she is punching me in the nose last week. No look punch was impressive.

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I miss her.

 

 

 

*I admit I do talk about her a lot, but I feel the topics encompass larger questions and concerns than this type of photoblog. I think I can avoid more of these since it’s my first one and she’s coming up on 6 months.

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Possibly my only photoblog

That Kid

That kid is nothing but reflexes and clever tricks
She’s the latest model following a long history of innovations
She’s a blank canvas on which we paint all our dreams
Project into the unknown
Endless possibilities, infinity in a compact package, wrapped up
And made cute so that life slides to the periphery
Until death peeks out to remind us of the future
A world that ends, sometimes brutally and loud
A disease or simple resistance to the inevitable reduction of freedom
Our horizons retreat as we grow, then collapse back on us
Caging who we are and squeezing
Until life no longer resembles our visions of it
We are drawing the past

I held you as your great grandma faced her future
Her husband, her house, her car, her freedom
Those things that made her who she feels she is
They are being stripped away and she’s afraid
She cried
Your mother cried
You grandma cried
Your aunt cried

I held you

That Kid

Women going Childless… And also me

Edited to increase the adorability by infinity.

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This is a fascinating read and you all should read it immediately… or whenever you get around to it, or whatever, do what you want. Anyway, this hits pretty close to home even though it’s all about a woman’s decision not to have children. I hardly identify as a man so there’s not much different in the thought process. I fully acknowledge that women face more societal pressures than man. The expectations for them to have children is massive, and it’s not the same for men. Us men aren’t typically thought of as child loving people, and even when we are, not in a rush to have them ourselves. We are tricked by baby-crazed women or fall back on family life after burning out on strange women and short term flings. That was never me so I recognize zero percent of it, but I do know that almost no one asks me when I’ll have kids like they do with my female friends who have to answer the question nearly every time they see relatives. And when I answer that it’s not likely that I’ll have kids, I’m not pushed much.

But some of the excerpts from this article are not so much about society and more about the internal thought process, which is something I can identify with.

“I was always too self-centered and irresponsible to have kids. I know that never stopped many others, but I am a narcissist with a conscience.”
Debbie Kasper

This is perfect. Being self-centered is usually considered a negative characteristic to have. But it’s not. In fact, everyone is a narcissist to varying degrees. Just ask yourself how much time you spend thinking about your own life as opposed to the other 7 billion people in the world. I’m going to guess it’s not in proportion. What’s important is recognizing what that does to other people. The nice thing about interacting with other adults is that they can typically take care of themselves (more or less). So when I’m going through one of my inward spirals of narcissism, my loved ones keep on ticking, and sometimes even help me through my self inflicted melancholy as I do for them when I can. That reciprocity isn’t a possibility with a three month old. It’s 100% about that child. And it pretty much stays that way for life. Or at the very least many, many years. Your typical teenager isn’t sitting around thinking about the mental wellbeing of their old ass parents. I drop into a self-obsessed depression, I cannot possibly do what’s best for someone else. I refuse to put a child through that.

“It might not be a fear of kids themselves, as in truth I usually get along with them pretty well.

My fear of having children is that, frankly, I just don’t want to love anyone that much. I have my own problems with love, and I have processed and played the same games for a lifetime, but what if I had to do that with someone I actually MADE?!”
Margaret Cho

Again, I can’t fail my potential child. It isn’t a fun, light decision to make. It’s an entire life. Knowing myself as much as I do, I don’t think the risk is worth it. I don’t think my selfish wants or desires should fuel my behavior when it concerns a helpless little human. Are they unfailingly cute? Yes. Does a babies smile reduce me to a puddle of sweetly scented love? Yes. Do I want to hold my little baby niece 24 hours a day until she’s too heavy for me to hold? Yes. Would I love my child? Yes. Can I honestly say I would be able to do my best in raising a child? No. Sure, no one has done a perfect job parenting, but they should do their best. We all know terrible parents. Whether personally or watching parents and kids walk by in the store. Either bad mistakes, or poor decision making resulted in a child living a life he or she shouldn’t be forced to live. Sometimes it’s mean, stupid adults but other times it’s emotionally unavailable, complicated, personal issues that prevent parents from doing their best. (And sometimes their best just isn’t good enough. Mine might not be.) I care about the wellbeing of kids too much to gamble with their minds and futures.

 

the book sounds interesting. I’d like to buy it soon.

 

No Kidding: Women Writers and Comedians on the Choice Not to Have Children

Women going Childless… And also me

Life and a question

I’m listening to a podcast saying to write a diary of all mundane stuff in your life. The boring, uninteresting parts that make up about 99% of actual life. The random “deeper” thoughts are fine too, but the details are what you’ll forget as you age. So write your daily activities. The stuff you’ll look back on and laugh.
The big stuff will always be there nipping at your heels, but the milieu drifts off. When you’re fifty or eighty or two hundred, you can sit down with a spouse, life partner, best friend, son, daughter, niece, nephew, or maybe even your mom and dad, and relive the small events that escape recollection.

I’m a fan of this idea. I want to be able to look back and laugh at the terrible writing and the poetry and my thoughts on free will, determinism, deontology, utilitarianism, and religion. But I also want to be able to read a random post and think, “Goodness, I don’t even remember being that mad at you for refusing to do the dishes during my finals week.” Or “remember when the water heater broke and we didn’t shower for two days?”

Which brings me to my preemptive apology.

I might need to apologize for inundating you all with posts about babies. I hope to keep the posts vague enough to apply to more than just me (in relation to kids), but I will be unsuccessful at times. I hope you don’t have to suffer through too many “babies sure do change things don’t they?” posts. I know you can just scroll on by, but I like to be considerate when I decide to post something. And I’m well aware of how torturous baby posts can be. But I’m nothing if not a hypocrite.

Something you won’t have to worry about but an idea I had was to start writing a sort of diary for my niece. I was curious to know if they were a common thing to do, or if anyone had thoughts about the idea in general.
There will be a million pictures and videos, half of which are uploaded to Facebook already, but I think it’d be nice to have some stuff down in writing for her. I’ve written a couple of letters already about how crazy it is that she exists. I’d like to add more little details. I don’t live in the same city as she does so I don’t see her as often as I’d like, but I still see her frequently and want to write down the experiences for when she’s an old lady.
She’ll have plenty of pictures and videos, so I’m not sure if this would be excessive and unnecessary. I wonder if she’ll find the mundane life of her infancy interesting written down. It’ll be filtered through my eyes, of course, and I’m not sure how that’ll shade things. I might add annoying musings. It’ll be easy to make the entries boring and/or melodramatic. I guess it could come down to execution, but I worry that writing too much about a baby is intrinsically embarrassing.
There’s a demanding impulse to remember every tiny, innocuous moment even though it isn’t possible. The time she laughed a lot. The time she kept spitting her pacifier at me. The time she slept through lunch at the Chinese place down the street. The time she grabbed my finger and wouldn’t let go and though I read about how strong babies are, I marveled at the fact staring me in the face. And the general feeling of seeing her.

I won’t post those type of entries here, but I was wondering if anyone had input on the idea.

Thanks.

Life and a question

Thinking

I always thought it was funny how we can’t remember being babies. I understand why we can’t, but it seems a terrible joke on us. As a baby, your face alone brings immeasurable joy to so many people. There are times in life when I want nothing more than to make someone happy and I realize I was 100005% better at it at I time I can’t even sort of remember. I have to wonder if I ever made anyone as happy as I did when I was a barely living baby. When my actions were running mostly on automatic. When it appeared as though my smiles and laughter were set on a random timer that reset after each action. When my happiness and sadness were just as unpredictable.

I’m walking around with theory of mind. I consider how every action will make you feel. I feel as though I have control over myself or, at the very least, my behavior. I’m aware of what you like and love. I’m aware of how to make you laugh. I know what to do to make you happy. And what does all this get me? Less than it got me to roll over. Or lift my head on my own. Or make noises that didn’t resemble words.

Well, at least I can think about it and laugh.

Thinking