Today, I’d like to announce on DadWagon that in several months I will be joining Nathan in the ranks of the bi-procreative (a silly word I just made up, which I want to mean that I will have a second child, but probably just means I make babies with men as well as women). That’s right: My girlfriend is six months pregnant, the bells are ringing in the world capitals, and JP has informed his pre-school teacher that there’s a little sister (who he for an unknown reason calls Sasha, the name of Matt’s daughter) living somewhere in my girlfriend’s tummy.
The various impacts of this impending birth: I’m going from really broke to actively in danger of going to debtor’s prison; I had the intense pleasure of telling my still-wife (yes–we’re not divorced yet) that I’m having another child; I get to inflict my highly developed parenting skills on a second baby; my relationship with my girlfriend has gone critical (alert Homeland Security–we’re serious); and, of course, I’ve evened out the ratio of single-child to multi-child families on DadWagon.
Let the bitching begin.
Lately, there seems to be a fascination in the media with this whole having-children business–why do we do it; is it pleasurable; how does the division of labor work between the sexes; how to create a perfectly stylish diaper.
Clearly, those of us on DadWagon are, at least on the most basic level, in favor of kiddies. But that doesn’t mean we want whole teams of them. I’ve never discussed the issue with my colleagues here, and I’m curious where Matt and Chris–this site’s mono-procreators–come down on the issue of multiple issuance.
Here’s my take: Life, for the most part, is a big game. Forgive the Sartrian cynicism, but who hasn’t pondered the great futility of what we have so irresponsibly termed Our Time On Earth? Children recognize this–all they do is play games. As we grow older, we seek ways to make these games more complicated, demanding, and ultimately, more rewarding, however that reward is defined. Blocks beget tiddlywinks which beget checkers, then tennis and football and first-person shooters. Relationships must be games, too, or there wouldn’t be any romantic comedies for the women and girls in our lives to insist we watch with them. Jobs are games as well; why else would we play politics? The main thing is that as we become adults (and I use the term very loosely), the games get bigger, the stakes increase, and the play become less recognizable as such–it starts to resemble something we have been taught to understand as Life. This doesn’t lessen our need to play games, nor does it do away with the desire to make the games harder. The payoff is in the complexity, as with any game: You get out of it what you put in.
Is this a way for any sane man to think of his children? Of course not. And, in truth, I don’t think of this way, not all the time. Mostly I plow forward through the days, not thinking of much, worrying when I do think, about the future, about the past, and struggling to care for the various structures I’ve built around me–job, home, love life, pets, kid(s), money, safety, satisfaction, desire, sarcasm; and hopefully it doesn’t come crashing down around me, and if it does, that I have the energy to rebuild everything again.
Either way, I’m thrilled to have a daughter coming into my life, in part because without meaningful relationships, like those we develop with our children, life really is a game.