Today, our son Quinn turns one. With a woolly brain, addled from both pandemic and parenting, I have been attempting to reflect on the journey so far. Mostly my hands feel full of unintelligible puzzle pieces. There seems to be no box with a master picture I can follow or even convenient edge pieces to start hanging everything else from. But as a person who must make sense of things, I feel compelled to begin smushing what pieces I have together.
My incomplete and incoherent reflections so far:
- The authors of parenting books should be forced to fight one another for our entertainment. Judging from the first 50 pages of every parenting book, I believe this is what the authors actually want as well.
- Speaking of parenting books, these things should maybe have 30 pages on how to keep a baby alive and then 300 pages on how to talk to your partner about topics you never knew you would discuss but will ultimately become an existential crisis for you both at 3am. For example: should baby’s head go on the left or right side of the changing table? Yes, it’s a big fucking deal. Neither of us can put diapers on the other way.
- Just buy the sleepsack and skip learning how to swaddle with the blanket. Look, some people know origami and they will find any excuse to show off and flaunt it over you they can.
- If my body keeps deteriorating at the same rate it did this first year (the doctors told me I have the spine of a far more mature gentleman), I will attend Quinn’s high school graduation as a pile of goo that had to be ladled into a goldfish bowl.
- At the risk of offending folks, I am astounded that I get anything done and have come to marvel at any productivity from parents as an absolute miracle. Even when I have dedicated work time, I am exhausted and am usually preoccupied with emotionally or mentally processing something that just happened at home.
- I wish the other new parents we met didn’t feel such a need to pretend to have their shit so together.
- This is an utterly foreign feeling kind of love. It’s nothing like romantic love or even the love I have for my parents or siblings. It’s an immediate neural pathway to both utter joy and despair (often one right after the other), and as a pathway it does just sit nakedly open at all times. It’s wild.
- I can see now why people don’t want to die and will strike up imagined bargains to avoid becoming nothing. I sincerely wish I could make some grand handshake with a cosmic being and ensure I could always walk just a few steps behind him through whatever comes his way. If anyone wants to make an offer on my soul, you now know my asking price.
- I really enjoy dressing my child in high-viz colors and patterns. MonoNeon is my fashion inspo.
- Our culture is fully in transition about dads but it still reflexively wants to treat you as either a deadbeat or a dumbass. It’s aggravating but it’s not about you.
- Self-actualization, self-awareness, self-self-self, it kind of all was just batting practice and even wasted effort when the task shifts to living in concert with others, to trying to first form a small unit and then some sense of community around you all. Early adulthood is all about adding affectations and ruffling your plumage. This stage seems to be all about dropping the drawbridge and bricking up the moat in order to just be understood and get basic shared tasks completed without total misunderstanding.
- One thing I don’t do as much anymore: dither. I am much more prone now to make a decision and take action and push things through, even when the consequences are going to be difficult, than before Quinn was born.
- You can definitely be conscious about what traits and experiences you pass down, except for the ones that will probably matter most. That grumpiness is genetic, Bud. I don’t know, maybe year two is when we try the psychedelics (except, God, those people are so annoying).
- You’re going to get poop on you. It’s fine. It’s unsettling how fine it is.