On Babies And The Utilization Of Time

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.

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3 thoughts on “On Babies And The Utilization Of Time

  1. taureanw says:

    My wife & I do not yet have a little one, but this scares the heck out of me. As someone who already complains I don’t have enough time to write, I don’t think I have seen anything yet 🙂

  2. yana says:

    pop quiz: what’s the only instance in the english language where ‘in spite of,’ ‘because of,’ & ‘for’ have the same meaning?

    on a dedication page, followed by ‘my son’


  3. Jennifer says:

    It will get better, but there will always be new challenges. 9-13 months is usually pretty good. But then once the baby can crawl/walk/toddle, all the baby’s waking hours will be spent in you or Angelica preventing the baby from offing himself by mistake. Naptimes should be better by then, though, and then your object will be to preserve naptime as long as possible (some kids nap until they’re 4 if you’re very lucky, but most stop around age 3). Then 3 and 4 are still pretty busy, but once the kid hits 5 you’re mostly good. And life can get back to somewhat normal again. This is my report for you.

    By the way, once your baby’s head is not so wobbly, I’m cool to babysit sometime. I’m not very comfortable with the wobbly-head stage. But at about 5 months, you’ve got a babysitter, sooner if you can somehow convince me that the wobbly head thing is not terrifying. And though I’m filming a movie this weekend, and can’t hang yet, let me/us know if we can come visit your new alien being and bring him presents, okay?

    And believe it or not, part of me is jealous and wants my own baby. But not the part of me that already feels too busy. The other part that just generally likes babies.


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