Thursday, January 30, 2014


The one-year-old who lives in the apartment below me is crying again. This happens regularly in the middle of the night, but fortunately I usually sleep through it. I only hear her when I happen to be awake, which is actually pretty often, as I rarely sleep through the night. I figure that's just because I'm a middle-aged woman, but at least I'm usually not screaming like that kid is.

Every time I hear her, I feel bad for the parents. How do parents of babies ever get enough sleep? And why do they have these children who take SO much work? What's the payoff?

I feel the same way about dogs. After owning Ozzie for almost two years, I feel very glad that I don't anymore. Bob (my ex-husband) adores that dog and I just don't get it. I wonder why Bob doesn't resent having to take that animal for walks. I'm baffled by how Bob has no problem handling dog excrement. It's bizarre to me that Bob doesn't mind this dog hanging on him all the time and following him around the apartment. The dog requires a lot of a attention! I didn't like owning it, but bewilderingly to me, Bob says Ozzie gives him great joy, especially with the silly things Ozzie does. The dog makes him very, very happy. Ozzie never made me happy like that.

Maybe it comes down to the way I can't stand being needed. I'm averse to being responsible for another living thing. The emotional and physical costs of having a kid or a dog are way too high for me, and I look with bafflement at anyone who wants these things in their life.


Pusher of Pens said...

I think that's exactly what it is. I don't necessarily mind dogs, and they can be cute at times, but they are too needy for my lifestyle, and eventually get on my nerves (I hate being licked). My cat, Gretchen is that happy medium between being alone and having a companion that relies on you. Sure, I have to feed her and clean her litter box, but there are also many hours of the day when I don't see her at all. We play around for 20 minutes, and then maybe she sits in the general vicinity while I do other things. I can't do that with kids, and I really, REALLY like my solitude. I like low-level reliance.

Anonymous said...

>>And why do they have these children who take SO much work? What's the payoff?

If one is considering having children, I'm not certain these questions apply. Logically, you'd think that one cannot know in advance that a child will "take SO much work" but the reality is that one's children will take impossibly more work than you could possibly imagine. And yet we keep doing it. It's a biological imperative. A woman's body doesn't stop ovulating because her brain has decided not to have kids. And if you think the brain is in charge, you're fooling yourself. Nature takes care of the emotional side of things -- that's the payoff: we can't help it and we can't help feeling proud of our kids and we can't help loving them to death.

-A Still-Happy parent (if somewhat sleep-deprived)

Regina Rodríguez-Martin said...

Anonymous: are you saying we women can't help having children? Because obviously some of us can.

Anonymous said...

A spiritual as well as physical law of success is giving what is unique within us to others. If you only give to yourself then you're not really receiving the full potential of what is or can be. So are you really doing OK? What annoys you in others is a reflection of what you see that annoys you about yourself. It's playing the victim. But that's just the ego. There's nothing special about it. Everyone has one.

~A Friend