Lil’ monkey’s first Steam Train ride. Can you tell?
Our Baba’s day this year was nothing if not a sign of parental arrival. Half of the events of the day were exactly the stuff of my dreams, pre-parenthood: kids bringing me a breakfast tray in bed; my making pancakes for ’em; us going for a hike and a picnic in my favorite local park; kids thrilled beyond comprehension at their first Steam Train ride, etc..
The other half of the day’s events were the stuff of my pre-parental nightmares: kids mauling said breakfast tray, essentially making peaceful eating impossible; yet another Sunday New York Times barely peeked at*, due to sheer impossibility of that much uninterrupted time; hike and picnic in favorite local park cut short by chill winds and slipping and falling and tired kids; littler kid turning pale, then green, on the winding car ride back from the hike; big kid pelting littler kid in the back seat, perhaps for no better reason than she was tired and hungry — remember picnic lunch cut short? — and he was strapped in and feeble from carsickness; littler kid hurling on Mama just as she removes him from the vehicle.
All of the above, dream and nightmare, definitive of the joys and strains of it all. And I wouldn’t exchange any of it for the world.
*Not like I didn’t notice in the Times this week, (a) a much-passed around article on how gay relationships have something to teach straight ones, in the realm of shared domestic labor and the high degree of relationship gratification that flows from that, and then (b) a fascinating NYT Magazine cover story (for those of us who read it as anthropology, about a familiar but distant culture) about how some (straight) couples manage to actually share parental labor! The “duh” factor on both of these was extremely high, equalled only by my amazement that the shared parenting piece didn’t seem to have benefitted from the radical propositions put forth in the “gay people share labor and it makes ’em happy in their relationships!” piece. The two of them deserve a good look, side-by-side.
[Later note: “…didn’t seem to have benefitted enough,” perhaps I should say; I wrote too hastily and gave the impression that no attention at all was paid to lesbian parents’ shared labor: Nanette Gartrell and her longitudinal study of lesbian families is cited, as are two Actual Lesbians, including my former editor. Still, more parsing is due, if/when time permits. Meanwhile innercitygarden’s comment here is well worth a read.]