Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Inevitability of it All

What is "all"? You may ask. Well. ALL. Everything. Life.

I always thought that people said that once you had kids you felt young again. That you suddenly saw the world through their eyes. That everything seemed possible.

Something must be wrong with me. Really. Depression? Obsession? Neurosis? Paranoia? Pessimism? Psychosis? All of the above? Probably. Or at least a combo platter of a few.

When the boys were first born (7 months and one week ago) I was overjoyed. I was awestruck by them and the fact that I actually GREW two people inside myself (me?). I was intimidated by the smallness and tenacity of them.

And I was tired.

And I am still tired.

And now I am fat, too. (you, know - the breast feeding it let's you eat A LOT. No more breast feed - no more instant fat burnie uppie.). And tired.

I have become accustomed to the exhaustion. I never thought I could but somehow it just happens. You wake up one morning and feel really awesome because you had 6 hours of sleep. 7am is sleeping in. And somehow it is all OK. You go on. You make it to the office, work until 6 or 7 and then come home, do baby stuff, go to sleep and then do it all again. It just works itself out. I suppose it has to really. Life goes on, as the saying goes. And you just sort of ride the tide the best you can.

So my problem comes from the extreme proximity I feel to my own mortality. Before the boys were born I understood that life comes to an end, we all die, etc. I am well-read in the writings of the Dali Lama, the Apostles, and Lao Tzu (or whoever wrote the Tao, I am having such a stupid moment right now, can't think). I am acquainted with the philosophers, Shakespeare, all of the great thinkers. I even studied Metaphysics. I understand the Universal. Though I wasn't necessarily convinced that God existed in the Catholic sense, or if there was a Heaven and a Hell - I was OK with the idea that one day we would all be gone from this life. I was OK with that.

Now - well, all I can think of is that I will die, Ernie will die. We will leave our boys in the world alone. Our deaths will be painful to them. My parents will die and leave their grandkids - I know how badly it hurt me when my grandfather passed away, it still hurts. And the idea that my boys will die is too much for me to take. My heart explodes a little bit and I get dizzy just aknowledging the fact. Even if they live to be 100 - they will still die. And I don't think that is OK. I know they will suffer throughout their lives. And THAT IS NOT OK! I think I am going to throw up now.

I don't understand how people can say that when you become a parent you see the world through your children's eyes, blah, blah, blah.

Does my issue stem from too much exposure to The Cure and Morrisey in my youth? Did I OD on Marilyn Manson in the 90s? I am usually such an optimistic person.

I don't know how or when I will ever get past this. I expected to worry. Parents always worry about their kids. But my thought process is absurd. I am worried about their life leading up to their inevitable death.

Don't get me wrong. I also think about things like taking them to the farm in the summer. Teaching them to swim and to ride a bike. Going to see them in the game, or the school play. Watching them take their first steps.....

But then I read these assinine books telling me things like:
  • any food you give your 7 month old has the distinct probability of choking him to death
  • don't ever leave your baby in his high chair for five minutes while you prepare his breakfast in the next room - he will surely get the strap wrapped around his neck and suffocate to death
  • do not, in any circumstance, wash your child's clothing or dinnerware in detergent! And NEVER EVER use bleach in your home if children are living there. The mere presence of these things will surely cause your child's skin to blister and he will undoubtably be blinded for life. Instead, clean everything you own with Vinegar
  • always keep your child facing backwards in his car seat. Even if this means that your child will have to bend his legs and do leg presses against the back of the seat while riding in the car.
  • give your 7 month old finger foods, such as peices of fresh fruits like pears. And in no circumstances should you feed your 7 month old fresh slices of slippery fruits, such as pear, or it will certainly slide down his windpipe and kill him at the lunch table
  • the 7 month old's diet should be primarily breast milk, or formula (milk-based), but do not give your child dairy products such as yogurt, milk or cheese until after 1 year of age or a severe allergic reaction may occur resulting in death
What do you do with information like this? Is it truly meant to be helpful? If so, How? I don't get it.

I have decided to stop reading all of the books. It is not helping my mental state.

Does anyone have any positive advice on how to introduce solid foods to your 7 month old? Any ideas on how to keep a child alive past his first birthday while still having clean clothes and a mold-free bathtub?

I guess a dirty house is inevitable too.

My neurosis aside, my boys are doing very well in spite of me. They are very large. At their 6 month Dr's appointment the pediatrician said "They are perfectly average - for NINE month olds!" Thank god.

3 comments:

anne said...

Oh, Nancy.

The child mortality thing. Oh. Yes, it's rough. Probably the hardest part about parenting. That desire to protect them from all that is bad in the world.

But, you know. You can't. You do the best you can and still, somewhere along the line, they will break their formerly perfect front teeth, have to get rabies shots, be in a cast, cry over love, etc. But that's the stuff of life.

So, you worry about it until you just get tired of worrying. And then you still worry but you realize you only have so much control. See - sometimes the fatigue works in your favor.

Anyway, I can't wait to see those babies again!

Jozet said...

I agree. Most of the time I'm just too tired to really, really worry.

Solid foods...I just stay away from the big no-nos like peanut butter, grapes, nuts, pop-corn, hot dogs, gumballs and the like.

You could start with hard tofu, pieces of torn-up pancake (and let me tell you, you can hide just about any pureed veggie in a pancake), piece of banana a little smooshed and rolled in baby cereal. I give Johnny Joe yogurt and spaghetti noodles (you can do whole wheat or rice noodles if you're worried about allergies).

The worry never, ever, ever, ever ends. I will say that once they are able to swim reasonably well (at about age 7) and they got the stranger-danger thing down pat and you KNOW they won't leave with anyone no matter how many puppies are offered, then pretty much it's smooth sailing until they start driving. Then I'm going to keep a bucket of Valium on the kitchen counter for myself.

Dad said...

Hi Nancy: I just read your blog and believe me the worry never ends. You just have to learn how to control it and realize there are just some things you have no control over. If you have faith in some kind of existance after death then the death part becomes less of an issue. I always worry about other terrible things happening to you guys and now the boys. YOu have people who love you and are there for you ant that makes a big difference in life. You will survive and be happy just like the rest of us.

Love you: Dad