Monday, November 16, 2009

Progeny

Tell me, is there anything more satisfying in this life than producing, from a wind-troubled infant, a resounding burp?

Tell me something else. A hint of a glimpse of a foreshadowing of a whole new world of excruciating worry manifests itself. Ian talks about this on the New Psalmanazar here. This, I thought, must be why we have multiple progeny; it’s surely not fair – on you or it - to invest all that in one child. You’ve got to spread it a bit amongst siblings. Or - and this is the kicker - does the excruciation in fact double and treble with the addition of each new sprog?

24 comments:

malty said...

To give this subject some context, it all depends. Expectancy of life is now so high, unreasonably so when we look back over our shoulders such a short distance, the more we think is achievable, the more we assume that to be the reality.
My granddaughter spent the first month of her life in an intensive care unit in the Horst Schmidt clinic in Wiesbaden, four weeks in the life of a family group of people who literally stopped breathing.
Towards the end I found visiting almost unbearable, not for my granddaughter who by then was out of danger but for the other families who's children were not so lucky, I sat in the waiting lounge at midnight listening to a young couple trying to come to terms with being told that their son's illness was terminal. I went up to the roof garden and stood there for a long time, crying like a child.
So, with kids comes the lottery, heads you win, tails you lose. Go home, enjoy life, don't dwell on the unknowable.

Gaw said...

Thanks Malty. Very good advice, I think.

We've got two and I was concerned about having just the one. I felt it was almost unfair for one little chap to have such overwhelming degrees of feeling, concern and expectation directed just at him.

Brit said...

So you think it does spread, rather than merely ratchet, Gaw?

Malty - wise words indeed.

Uncle Dick Madeley said...

I don't know where else to post this but I just wanted to say that I always suspected that you were Belle de Jour, Brit. It was the Bristol connection and love of science that gave the game away. I think it was brave of you to come out in the papers yesterday. You have very attractive eyes.

Brit said...

I should think I have, at £300 an hour.

Peter Burnet said...

"War is Hell", said the conscript on his first day of boot camp. My good man, when your youngest approaches eighteen, we may be interested in your reflective insights, but for now there is laundry that needs attending to.

As to siblings, I'm sure Mrs. Brit will work it all out for you.

Brit said...

Thus it was a question, Peter.

Gaw said...

In my case it has spread. The feelings couldn't get much more intense so there's no question of them doubling.

That being the case, emotional physics would dictate that what's already there for one, gets spread about when there's more than one. And as I say I would have thought this is beneficial for the one, but ultimately probably not a big deal.

Susan said...

As an only child, with no offspring of my own, I'm not quite sure how to answer this question. Do the resounding burps of my parents after I've fed them Christmas lunch count?

Peter Burnet said...

OK, the answer is no. As Gaw suggests, the excruciation does not double or treble. That's because the exhaustion and financial stress, which does grow exponentially, neutralizes it, so it all works just fine in the end.

Besides, many more videos like Charlotte's "Decisions, Decisions" and you will have six. You're playing with fire there, mate.

Brit said...

'Burps of my Parents' - good name for your collected memoirs, Susan.

malty said...

Susan raises the $64,000 answer to your enquiry Brit, the Raison d'être, the very essence, the prime motivator since time immemorial or at least since the bastards stopped giving all of the last 2 years tax back when you were made redundant, the main purpose....the little twerps can look after you when you start to dribble, forget to turn the lights off, can't find the bus stop etc.

Or bung you in a home.

Brit said...

Heh heh, yes that was wot swung it, Malty, as I said to Worm.

jonathan law said...

As someone once said, to procreate is to ensure that you spend the rest of your life with your heart beating outside your body. For maybe two years after my eldest daughter was born I could hardly bear to read a paper or watch the TV news -- any report of the bad stuff happening to kids felt like a blow in the stomach. Somehow you do get over it a little, with time and subsequent arrivals, and probably for the very good reasons stated by Peter B.

There's an extraordinary little bit in The Rainbow that always tears me up -- where Lawrence describes the pain and terror felt by the father as his little girl attempts to leap into his arms and she falls face down in the gravel. You see it happening in slow motion. I'm quoting from memory but Lawrence goes on to say something like "For the rest of his life he could never bear to think of this moment, even when he was an old man and his daughter had been a stranger for many years." You wonder how DHL knew such a thing, having no kids himself.

Brit said...

Because experience is a bit overrated as a key to insight. Empathy and being tuned in to the Fundamental Way of Things is much more important. Lots of people with kids couldn't write that, yet Lawrence could.

worm said...

Blimey, reading blog posts like this is giving me "a hint of a glimpse of a foreshadowing of a whole new world of excruciating worry"

malty said...

True, worm. Tomorrow buy shares in the Acme Worry Bead Co, at least you can profit from the looming angst.

Angst is here.
Angst is good.
Angsters unite, your time has come.

Susan said...

Thanks for the title suggestion Brit, hope you'll be the first to buy a copy - all proceeds to my 5 star nursing home fund.

Hey Skipper said...

So you think it does spread, rather than merely ratchet, Gaw?

Thankfully, in this regard, anyway, our brains can only do one thing at a time.

Hey Skipper said...

This all reminds me of something that happened just over a year ago.

I had taken my daughter to her flute lesson in Anchorage. It had started to snow in earnest earlier that day, and ditch divers were already assuming all sorts of ingenious positions by the time we drove into town.

An hour later that same highway, the only one out of Anchorage to the rest of the world, was a snot locker.

Not a good day to forget my cell phone.

So I applied my guy direction zen-sense and stitched together a way home that gave us a tour of a half dozen neighborhoods, as well as (thanks to possessing the proper ID) Elmendorf AFB and Ft. Richardson.

We got home almost two hours later than we should have done.

My wife's younger by two years sister was killed at seven in a school bus crash.

Your imagination, no matter how vivid, is inadequate to the task of encompassing how much trouble I was in.

I think that points in the direction of ratchet.

David said...

Ben and I had a watershed moment Saturday morning. He came down stairs at 5:00 am to find me where he had left me at 11:00 pm Friday night: on the couch playing Modern Warfare 2.

He promptly chastised me and sent me off to bed.

David said...

Point, point, I know I had a point around here somewhere.

Ah, yes. Actually, two points about parenting that I don't see emphasized much.

First, the potential for, literally, making a friend. Not forcing your child to be exactly like you, or to like only what you like, but to make a true friend.

Second, the exhilarating, sad and scary fact that we'll never know another human being as completely as we know our children; not our friends, not our spouse, not even our own parents.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Wow, so much wisdom packed onto one blog post; unfortunately I don't have kids myself but I was with you all the way on this one. Re burping: anything event that discharges something from the body is a satisfying experience and to be applauded.

Brit said...

Excellent (and. in places, unsettling) stuff, peeps.