Friday, July 6, 2012

Fortuitious Friday: Mother Nature, Trickster

Every religion seems to have its trickster figure. The Norse had Loki, the Christians Satan, and First Nations peoples had the Coyote. I think that these myth creators borrowed heavy from Mother Nature's IP because there is no greater trickster than her. The power she has over our lives, nay, our very ability to reason, is astounding. As many of you may know, I am now the father of a bouncing screaming baby girl. My life now revolves around the cry of this little creature. I'm either watching her cry, waiting for her to cry, or thanking 48 different deities scattered across a plethora of pantheons that she's stopped crying. I can't help but ponder the great trickster who talked me into this, the scam of all scams: parenthood.

I'm not talking about She Who Will Be Named Later, though she was pretty insistent she was interested in joining that (fatigued) parental club. The decision was, indeed, made by me...and perhaps too much wine that night, but I digress. The baby is here, and after witnessing the birth, often said to be joyous (but not by me) I have to marvel at the power of Mother Nature, and not in that proud, coo-ey way of a happy parent. If women could actually remember- I mean vividly remember- the horror of it all I would dare say the population of the Earth would halve each and every generation until we were extinct, because no one would do that more than once.

Now, to be fair, we had a traumatic birth experience, and not everyone does. I was told by those in the know that a mere 50-years ago I would have lost one, or both, of my lovely ladies in the process. And by lose I mean, of course, they would have died, not that I wouldn't have been able to find them in the warren of hospital rooms I found myself wandering through for the better part of 18 hours. We've come a long way in terms of what we can do medically and for that I am grateful. What I could have done without, however, is the Colic that followed, and what our Midwife is calling 'A difficult baby'. That's medical talk for a screaming nightmare who needs constant attention and has no tolerance for delay or discomfort. I was reading (finally) a book on 'being a Dad' and I got ten pages in before I had to throw it across the room in disgust. The passage that did it?

You may be wondering why your new baby is sleeping up to 20-hours a day.

Twenty hours? Are you fucking kidding me? I can only dream of such a luxury and if this is you, and you are complaining, get bent. Our bundle of screams is currently sleeping 7-14 hours a day with 12 being about average. Now, to be fair, the Colic has passed thanks to some drops I purchased in utter frustration at a pharmacy while shopping in some kind of sleep-walking state a couple weeks back. I also came back with a new car, a couple vials of crack, and a Polish worker I hired to re-do the kitchen (not really). We are, we have been told, almost over the hard part. Six weeks is fast approaching and we can, ultimately, find ways to comfort her now which was previously impossible. I was thinking, for a while, of hiring Tom Cruise who seems good with these types of missions, but alas he seems caught up in yet another divorce. Our baby is finally starting to develop her own little sleep pattern, or lack there of, but at least we can predict it and prepare accordingly (drink lots of tea and slam many cans of cola).

Now that I am getting a few moments to reflect on it all I realize that Mother Nature is the greatest con artist of them all. Why the hell do we do this? As Charlie Booker recently said (and with much more humor than I could hope to muster), they are little more than a screaming pet rock when they are born. It is a one way relationship with you as the giver and they as the great taker. I am told by all my smug, knowing friends who have children that it is, or will be, the greatest thing ever (parenthood, not the screaming part). If not now, then soon. Very soon. Oh, and all the intolerable crying and 'fussiness'? Normal, apparently, despite the medical evidence saying 20 hours of sleep a day is the norm.

That's the thing about children. Anyone who's ever had one is only too eager to share their advice and relive their experience (or at least 'one-up you with their stories)....see, I'm doing it now and I've only been one for a mere 6 weeks. The first rule of Parents Club is that you always talk about your kids. It's also the second rule. I offer a counter argument, however, as was written in the Book of Booker (my bible, but really the Guardian column he writes):
I don't understand why everyone doesn't gain an additional nine layers of rage the nanosecond they become a parent. There's the sleep deprivation and the stress, of course, but that's largely offset by the underlying sense of delight that babies radioactively plant in their parents' heads in a cunning bid to stop them murdering them. It's the rest of the world that's the problem. When you're suddenly tasked with steering a defenceless, vulnerable creature through life, the state of the planet instantly feels like less of a wearying joke and more of an outrageous affront to human decency.

Don't get me wrong, I can see it coming. I can see, when she smiles at me (no, its not just gas), that we are going to have fun. She has great taste in music (she loves Break Beat and Lady Waks in particular) and we spend a good deal of time listening to me sing and dancing about the place, which should amuse her until she's about 12. I'll keep doing it, of course, which will, ultimately, be my revenge for all of these sleepless, cry-filled days and nights. That and I'll walk around the house, shirtless, re-living my glory days in Central America excavating Mayan Temples and talking about where I acquired my many tattoos, all the while drinking cheap lager only to embarrass her whenever she has friends over. No, your right, that's not going to work. It has to be cheap cider. Devil's Bit or something equally associated with bums and tramps, and when she has her first young, nervous boyfriend over, I'll be sure to tell those stories while sharpening the Machete I used to cut down all that precious rainforest.

I wanted to wrap this up in some humorous way, or perhaps with a story about the time I was nearly bit by a deadly Fer De Lance in a Belizian jungle and how that was nothing compared to all this, but I'm afraid the baby is crying and you'll have to settle for a couple of hastily posted pictures as proof I'm not entirely full of crap (which is likely what her diaper is full of, and hence the crying).

Happy Friday Everyone!

Fer De Lance..Yes, it can kill you especially since we were a two-hours from the nearest hospital with antidote.

Mayan Temple, Chan Cahal, Blue Creek, Belize, C.A.

Oh, hello. You're here to see my daughter? Great, come on it and let me tell you about the time I helped the Belizian army 'take care' of some looters who had crossed over from Mexico....


  1. just be glad you weren't the one who shot the baby out of an orifice.

  2. Ahh yes...replace 'shot' with 'had pulled from' and that's more like it ;)

  3. That's it, I'm off to get a vasectomy.

  4. Book that appointment for two please.