Thursday, August 25, 2011

I'm Way Too Bitter For My Age

Photo: the bends, Flickr Creative Commons

Remember that post not too long ago when I railed against children and the sense of entitlement in some parents? It wasn't entirely a random topic that day. My wife and have suspected for almost two months now that she was pregnant. Yesterday featured the doctor's visit that confirmed our suspicious. Next March will find Little Gandhi no longer an only child.

I'm telling the truth when I say this is the result of a failed gamble on my part. I knew my wife wanted a second child, but she's unreasonably kind to me and never really pushed for it while she knew I was against it. Feeling guilty, I made a deal with her: One month without protection against pregnancy and at the end of that month if she was still not pregnant, we'd revisit our agreement. My plan had been to get through that month (which, for obvious reasons, would be far from unpleasant) and then take the out at the end of the month to keep this a one-child family. After all, it had taken us more than a year to succeed last time, and I figured with all of the biking and running in tight pants in excruciatingly hot weather would have fried my little swimmers. After all, they say sperm needs a temperature below that of the rest of the body to live. That's why the boys dangle a bit. They're keeping cool.

Turns out they're hardier than I thought. It only took a month. Less than probably.

Just let me say that my wife doesn't like me making jokes about parenting. In fact, she stopped me from referring on Facebook to the planned c-section we'll have as the day the child will be surgically ripped from her uterus. She thought it was funny, but she cares more about the opinions of those without senses of humor than I do. She did, however, give me permission to make these jokes on the blog. I have more anonymity here and those of you who really know me, know my sense of humor and are unlikely to mistake me for being the horrible misanthrope my comedy tends to portray me to be.

That being said, there is a true kernel within the bitterness of my jokes. I really don't consider parenthood to be anything special. I hate the cult of parenthood. I really do consider it to be quantitatively more of a pain in the ass than living without a child. That doesn't mean that in my private life that I'm not tricked by biology into thinking that my son is one badass motherfucker. Anyone who's seen me with the kid knows I'm a pretty competent father. I adore the kid (most of the time) and he, finally, seems to adore me. It just means I'm honest about the reality of it.

Probably shouldn't have mooned my wife in front of him though. I'm worried his instant copying of the move won't be the last time that little white ass is displayed as a joke.

They say that people suffering from depression tend to have a more accurate perception of reality than mentally healthy people, especially in regards to their own abilities. This is kind of depressing in itself as it seems to suggest that to be happy, you have to lack a certain amount of self-awareness, but it makes sense to me. I've spent at least half of my life struggling with depression. Although I've never been clinically diagnosed, I'm pretty sure years of suicidal thoughts should qualify me. Luckily, I haven't had those issues in several years. My wife helped, as did leaving a hellish job a few years ago, but mental illness runs in the family.

And that's one of the reasons I've been so reluctant to agree to a second child. Whereas most parents seem to be thrilled by the possibilities presented by their squalling, poop-smeared ball of joy, I tend to be terrified. In addition to mental illness, my gene pool of origin features a little autism, and that's not even including the freak of nature deformities and mental disabilities that would make the lives of both the child and me worse than I'm comfortable with. I was thrilled when it became obvious that my son wasn't going to be autistic. He's socially adept and fairly empathetic for a child his age. I still worry about adolescence, though. I really hope he doesn't have to deal with the depression I did for most of my teens and sporadically throughout my adult life.

Now, with a new child on the way, I don't just have to suffer through the sleeplessness and diapers and baby vomit of the first couple of years that I've gladly left behind with my son. I have to go through those same worries about what the new kid will become and no that I have very little control over any of that.

So, yeah. Congratulations to me and all that jazz.


Julie said...

I'm torn between congratulations, sympathies or just pointing and saying, "Ha, ha."

Courtney said...

Nice, Julie.

I never knew about your alleged depression before, but I do agree that depressed people have a more realistic view of the world. The world is a fucked-up place and I think the reason depression is so hard to cope with is because you can't really disagree with anyone's reason for being unhappy. Most of us just have the capacity to get over things.

Anyway, I hope you find some peace with the idea of a second kiddo. At least the whole cult of parenting thing only really applies when they're young, so it won't last forever. And I know what makes K happy makes you happy in return, so there's that.

I have two questions, though. 1. How does this fit into your plan to move to Asheville? and 2. Where are we supposed to sleep when we come visit you? WHERE?

Jacob said...

Courtney, it's really the first time I've mentioned it. Not exactly something I'm proud of.

As for peace, I'm not as conflicted as I sound.

Asheville is only delayed by a year or two. I have almost three years before I'm vested in GA retirement and can finish in another state.

Children are easily evicted from their rooms for guests.

Mickey said...

I've often wished I weren't so damn aware. Courtney hates it when I say this, but I'm not sure I'm capable of true, unrestrained happiness. I'm not even convinced it exists. I've known depressives, so I know I'm not one, but I think I relate to you to some degree in this regard.

I also know you two are great parents. Not that we need another one of either of you running around this planet, but there are worse things.

You need a skinnier saddle on that bike. And tighter shorts. And congratulations, truly.

Sid said...

1) Love the pic above.
2) My cousin is pregs. A few days ago I lost an hour of life listening to explain her current sleeping rituals. Fun times!
3) I assumed that decisions on C-sections were made on the day. That they only performed when the mother is struggling.
4) Asheville? Need to google this place.

Jacob said...

Mickey: It's a freaking racing saddle. You can't get much more narrow and hard. There's a joke there, but I'm going to pass on it.

Sid: C-sections often are emergency decisions. My first kid was the result of an emergency C-section. It's just that according to our doctor, once you have one, it's medically sound to plan on delivering future babies the same way because the problem that forced it last time is probably happening again.

Asheville is my favorite city in the Southeast. Small city, but oversized arts and music scene. It also has an outsized beer and food scene for a city its size and it's smack dab in the middle of the Appalachian Mountains. Blue Ridge on one side. Smokies on the other. Great place for guys like me who like stuff like hiking, biking, and paddling.

Meaghan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Meaghan said...

So I haven't been keeping up with the blogs so much. I finally get back on here, and this is the downcast flow of shit I read!!! Haha! Totally kidding!

First of all, I'm happy for you guys.

Secondly, I didn't know you struggled with that or those thoughts, but I honestly think it's pretty normal, especially in highly-intelligent people like yourself. I mean, your thought process goes beyond a lot of people's.

I don't know why anyone expecting a child would NOT be freaking out a little. It completely changes your life. I worry when people don't have anxiety when expecting. That said, if humans didn't have children because of X, Y or Z going wrong, we'd never procreate. As you may or may not know, Chris' mom suffers from mental illness. It's something we've had to consider - the whole passing it along thing.

And Mickey is right - you are great parents. While Kim is tending to the little one, you just keep hanging out with the older one. That's the cool part about being the dad. Just change a diaper every now and then, and remember, someone changed your diaper once and someone will change your diaper again (probably K, so you owe her one). Haha!

Jacob said...

Sorry, Meaghan, but a look at our respective family histories has me changing her diaper and then living a decade after her.

Meaghan said...

Dammit! That's what I get for trying to be all understanding and make you feel better. I won't quit my day job ;)

Jacob said...

It was a very good comment and seemed to hone in perfectly on the intended tone of my post.

Also, it was very long.