I should not be writing this. The last time I had time to write was a little over twelve hours ago, and like a fool I squandered every sweet, luscious, nectar-soaked second of that time on two paragraphs typed into my journal. And then the baby woke up.
Before I thought that having a child would help me focus my free time, and that I would become more of a diligent worker. Somehow I rationalized my way out of my fears and declared that when there is a living drain in your life, into which time and energy and breastmilk and powdered goatmilk swirl just like a tornado’s eye, somehow you still have a few raveled skeins of tattered black cloud left to you—and you can cling to those, and make up for all the hours you lost giving someone milk, changing someone’s diaper, getting someone to burp, trying to calm someone down, trying to put someone to sleep, placing the pacifier in someone’s mouth and keeping it there, wiping up someone’s endless cascades of milk vomit, calming someone down again, getting someone to burp again, putting someone down, picking someone up, wiping someone’s warm viscous puke off of your shoulders and your back—perhaps you can make up for the twelve hours you lost while doing all those things to someone, and give the few hours left to the work you yourself were born for.
The trouble is that those few hours of freedom are scattered into five minute packages which are themselves—what? I am too tired to think of a verb to continue this metaphor. I will put it more plainly: the breaks come and go so quickly, and you’re so worn out in general, that you can’t take advantage of them. You are the baby’s slave. It’s not true that your life totally changes when you have a baby, because I’m still me, I still have the same urges, there is a monster inside me that cannot stop thinking of spaceships, skyscrapers, jihadis in black cloaks galloping over golden deserts, it’s just that now I’ve been locked up!, shackled to a chain gang!, singin’ folk songs while I slam the rails into place!, and I don’t got no time for no jihadis! the train’s huffin’ and puffin’ right behind me, steam’s a screamin’, black smoke’s a churnin’ up into the blood red sky!
And the baby is starting to wake up again.