At some point in your life you will either find yourself among the breeding masses, having brought a child into the cruel indifferent universe, or trapped on the outside of that realm as a broodless pariah. Either way, you will walk the earth as a monster or as a person who brought one into this world. That’s alright, though. That’s how things are supposed to work and it might not be all that bad. I’ve seen hundreds of happy families and contented lone rangers.
In my own life, I have noted that people have not only reproduced en masse but that their offspring are actually growing into little people. When all of my friends started having children, I did not take much notice because of how boring the little creatures seemed. Most babies spend the majority of their time crying, sleeping, throwing up, or pooping. Having one is like being in a relationship with someone who is violently bulimic and extremely depressed every single day. It’s actually worse because you can’t ever break up with your baby or even take it to the bar and show off how sexy thin it is before getting into a weirdly public argument with it about when was the last time you did something romantic.
A baby just sits there like a houseplant, except it doesn’t make oxygen. It makes messes and screams and you go to jail if you forget to water it. But, if you are patient enough, it will eventually start to do things and even play games with you. The first game entails momentarily obscuring your face and then showing it to the baby as if you’ve done something incredible. While nothing special to us, a brain in the early stages of development views this as the very highest level of magic. To the baby you have vanished from this plane only to return again healthy and non-mutated. Once this game has been mastered you can move onto pretending you’ve stolen the baby’s nose off its face. While this should be terrifying to them, expect hysterical laughter nearly every time. A baby’s sense of humor is very dark.
Things will continue on like this and you’ll notice your little creature evolving quickly. Despite this swift progress, your baby will not be ready for all games. Basketball is a good example of a something you’ll want to hold off on until your child’s body has developed a little more. While you can technically play one-on-one, it’s incredibly easy to dunk on a baby. Even a child at the age of five would be hard pressed to make a single basket when you’re stuffing every single shot back right into their face. You might be tempted to tell the child to “get that weak stuff out of here” but this is actually their A-Game.
I have learned from my nephews that it’s actually more enjoyable to play games just for fun most of the time. I’ve even let them win but, sometimes, they’ll get a feeling of overwhelming superiority from this and I’ll need to destroy them six times in a row at Connect Four. Letting a kid win all the time doesn’t help them become any better at the game or life in general. There is also nothing more obnoxious than a smug six year old.
Whether or not I will ever produce offspring remains a mystery to me. I used to be really afraid of having children but then I started noticing that a lot of stupid people were having three or four of them in a row. I don’t know anything about daycare, potty training, early morning feedings, or anything of that nature. But knowing that the same applies to a lot of people who actually have kids is a big relief. If you’re running solo through life or directly responsible for the lives of others, every child you encounter has the opportunity to benefit from you… and vice-versa. Remind yourself that nobody has the answers and that good advice can come from anywhere. I doubt any of us are ever really ready to be mentors or parents but that doesn’t make us any less responsible.