days of naze
A little audio gift (85 kb .wav)
for my Faithful readers on
the first anniversary (7/14/99) of
the site. Hand cranked to help
you on the long march.
An obnoxiously large
(101k .wav) audio greeting
from the Author.
When You Have 3 Small Children...
Youtake comfort in the Tao.
If you wake each morning and count the tasks that must be performed simply to get everyone fed, cleaned, clothed and to school before you even get to work, you would simply go mad. Start stacking registration forms, second grade homework, childcare payments, the show and tell toy, the binky (where is that damn binky?!), raising money for the 5th grade big trip, next to all the stuff you aren't doing that you should (enrolling your firstborn into Suzuki class, spending more time on Jack's at-home reading lessons) and we're talking major network congestion.
A shoelace. I can tie that. The only thing I will do right now is tie the shoelace. Ah.
Poopy diaper? I will do nothing but change the soiled garment at this moment.
The rational mind struggles against this, wanting to warn of countless dangers and mishaps, not understanding that unless stopped it plays out enough rope to hang itself.
You become a connoisseur of art both representational...
Your children will hurt you. Mostly unintentionally. A sudden head-whip from 4 month old Elizabeth knocks you upside the melon. An errant fingernail across the cheek. Scores of tiny toys, Lego bits, doll fragments laid across the hard floor, requiring only the full weight of an adult body atop bare feet to transform them into implements of sudden, sharp, excruciating pain. The shout across the house at a disagreeable sibling inches from your ear.
Quiet moments resonate. In the summer heat at night after the children are put to bed, you sit shirtless in the dark room bathed in the glow of your monitor. Little footsteps on the carpet betray the presence of the four year old.
He may bring out his figurines and whisper the narration of the action to himself. He may point at the screen and request you scroll down so that he'll have something new to look at. Or he may quietly play a game of connect the dots with his finger on your bare arms. After a time, calmed and quieted he puts himself back to bed.
Car naps, which earlier in life sounded pathetic, are in fact now divine.
The home takes on a factory-like quality. Work must continue at some level at all times to prevent a plant shutdown. Load the dishwasher at night with bottles, lay out the clothes, check homework, bedtime snack, load after load of laundry to be sorted, folded, matched and delivered, baths, pajamas, groceries, bedtime stories. Enough to make the tired productive and the lazy sufficient. A fanatical mindset, which we do not possess or desire, is required for an immaculate household presentation.
You will be ground down. Operating in sleep deficit for months and then years. Riding the emotional wavelength from tantrum to weeping despair to giddy exultation (mostly emanating from the wee ones). The jobs that support it all. It's a sort of spiritual erosion. And I don't mean that it in a necessarily negative way. The wearing down is a natural consequence. Sometimes it smooths out the rough edges revealing softness where there was none before. Occasionally a fissure.
The chaotic creatures selectively demand order (e.g. whose story is first tonight; in what order who gets their good night kiss).
The words "poop" and "bottom" become the subject of endless variation and high hilarity for two brothers. The mother, who didn't grow up with brothers plural, becomes unduly alarmed at the penis grabbing that takes place in the tub. The father reminds the boys of the rules, remembering that he wasn't always very good at following them when he was their age
Soundings. Rhythmic calling. Distant hailing. Stretching of the monosyllabic Dad into Da-aaad!
You develop a powerful drive to provide a better childhood for your kids and an accompanying fear that in doing so you are removing obstacles that maybe improved you.
You will say stupid things: "Get that toothbrush away from his bottom!"
Times have changed considerably. Today when you have one child, you have crossed the Divide but you are familiar. With two children you become a true Breeder. You are The Other, not quite understood, but tolerated.
With three you are quite simply a Freak. There are so few of us out here that we have become something of an oddity. This is not necessarily a bad thing. People should only reproduce with the most serious mind, the deepest commitment. (Or was that what Yoda said about Jedi training?...)
Having children in the twenty-first century is not particularly rational. It does not pencil out.
Late at night when all are asleep, you pause outside their bedroom for no reason at all, hear their slow, peaceful breathing, see their dreaming faces and succumb to a wave of warmth and contentment.
But other than these things, it's exactly like having no children at all.
p.s. Welcome to students at San Francisco State University and University of Nevada-Reno School of Journalism.
|previously on days of naze :
of a bloodbath
|May you never be more active
when you are doing nothing.
They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.
-Carl W. Buehner
|in the feedbag:
web fun 1: todd needs your high school picture, especially if it's 1990 or older. you are only a scan away from celebrity and/or ridicule. and that's an offer i found too hard to resist.
web fun 2: can one be a grand dame at such a tender age? mais oui! ask personal questions of alexis massie (privately) and get back a public answer (sans question). honest, prompt, and occasionally acerbic answers make this almost as fun as riddles with gollum. (um, that's a compliment...)
web fun 3: reader laura sent this link to me and it went straight to my favorites list. jeff favre (no relation to brett) pumps out a short video each day that feature his friends, obsessions and quirks. nothing spectacular, but i just find the guy to be very engaging.
web fun 4: whether it's gas station bathroom accidents or secret liquor supplies, ratbastard just has a way of growing on you -- like fungus.
cd: totally obsessed with emmylou harris' newest release, "red dirt girl". her first new release in 5 years is a bona fide masterpiece. like maria mckee, emmylou sings stories of struggle and desire with a conviction that can come only from knowing.
football: savor this moment. in 2 weeks time, oregon teams have beaten three top 10 teams. stay frosty, guys. it's a long season, but the opponents now know respect for the monster d and the relentless rush.
book: i dropped a deadly dry and overly academic pushkin biography (by robin edmonds) and picked up a bitchin' napoleon bio by alan schom. an aggressive, sometimes brilliant, sometimes disgracefully unmerciful general.
film: saw "the cell" on friday and found it fairly entertaining at the time. i'm in the middle of "ghost dog" now and "the cell" just pales in terms of the depth of the characters.
farewell: i was in british columbia at a trade show on friday when i got the knews that pierre trudeau had died. i found myself moved at his passing, moreso after reading more about his life and the dramatic impact he had on the identity of canada.
© christopher naze