Now that we’ve been married for a couple of years, people ask us, “When are you having kids?” I wonder why people do this. Heck, even I do this. It’s as if we find affirmation in other people’s progression in life. It’s kind of morbid, because the faster you progress in life, the faster you reach the inevitable. Ideally, we are curious about other’s life plans because we’re of the same species and rely on each other for the survival of the human race. A less savory explanation is that we ask out of a subconscious desire to assess our competitors for survival reasons; e.g., the more kids other people have, the more resources they will consume, leaving fewer for our own family and thus reducing our genes’ chances to continue.
That’s why when people ask me when I plan to have kids, I just reply, “Why do you want to know? Are you trying to ensure there will be adequate resources for your own genes’ survival? Get out of my face, you Darwinian hog!”
The reality, however, is that I do feel older, and the biological clock is kind of ticking. Today I was holding a two-month old baby. Newborns are generally very unattractive, usually resembling a hybrid of a potato and a larva. But this baby was very cute and extremely easy-going, her stare fixated on me. Cradling something so soft and fragile does stuff to you, like make you think, “This is not so bad.” This is how babies trick you. They are full of tricks. On occasion she smiled and made little baby noises like “guh” and “blrghh.” We are designed to find that adorable.
Lately I’ve been spending more time with my little nephew, Brian, who is five. He is smart, feisty, and fluctuates from joy to anger in a matter of seconds. He has a chipped front tooth from falling on his face once. I recommend anyone who is thinking of having kids to babysit a five year-old for a day or two. One day, I saw him, and he said something which I couldn’t hear, so I stooped down to his height. “Uncle Huy,” he said, “I love you very much.” He kissed me on the cheek, smelling of grass and apple juice. Aw, I thought, this is such a sweet little boy; he had grown up so fast. Half an hour later, he had smeared chocolate ice cream literally all over his face and was running down the sidewalk, leaving a chocolaty trail. He stood on a big rock and peed in a circle, and I stood there, pretending I wasn’t related to him.
Last week, Brian and his mom and I went to a restaurant, where he proceeded to play with the ice in his water. Soon he was running around the restaurant. After numerous warnings, I had to take him to the car, which he did not like. “You made a bad decision,” I said, “and the consequence is that I have to take you to the car.” He started crying and screaming. In the car I had to endure a horrible tantrum.
“I hate this world,” he cried, “I want to destroy the whole world!”
“Really?” I said, “do you want to destroy your house?” No, he said. How about your mom and dad, I asked, do you want to destroy them? No, he said. How about your teacher at preschool, do you want to destroy her? No, he said. Who or what do you really want to destroy then, I asked, and he thought about it for a second. “Well, I HATE you! You can’t PLAY with me anymore!”
“That’s too bad,” I said, “because I still love you.” That confused him. “You still love me even though I said I hate you?” he asked, kind of shocked. “Of course I do,” I said. “You made a bad decision, but that doesn’t mean you’re not still my favorite little nephew.” (He’s my only nephew, but he doesn’t need to know that). He was quiet in thought for a moment. “Well,” he said, “you can play with me a little bit.”
That episode was just two hours! From what I hear, once you have one of these kids, you can’t put them back (it would be uncomfortable for everyone to try). I think I’ll enjoy being a father eventually, but right now, I don’t want anything to disrupt my TV-watching schedule.
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