Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Self-Limiting Gene

As I sit in Starbucks waiting for the caffeine to kick in, I wonder where my life went wrong.
Was it the years of drug abuse?  No, I never took drugs.

Drinking?  Nope, never drank more than a sip of alcohol before grossing out.

Dancing all night with women of low character?  Don’t dance and women of low character never gave me the time of day.

Then, suddenly it hits me: I had children.
"Stay awake with us, Daddy.  Forever.  And ever.  And ever..."
After an exhausting day of teaching my son to bike on busy roads, swimming lessons, “meet your teacher” parties, playdates, meal preparation, errands, and the general grind of life with children, my wife and I had decided to turn in early (10:30).

At 11:30 my son kicked on our adjoining wall until I woke up.  He was thirsty.  I told him to go to sleep.

At 12:00 he came into our room to tell us he couldn’t sleep.  He was thirsty.  I told him to walk three feet to the bathroom and get water himself.

At 2:00 my youngest woke up crying.  I took him to the bathroom.

At 3:00, my youngest woke again and screamed he couldn’t sleep alone.  I tried sleeping with him, but he crawled out and headed to our room.  My wife sat in his room with him for an hour until he fell asleep again.

At 6:00 we were woken by the youngest who, in spite of promising he’d play quietly by himself until 7, crawled in bed with us and proceeded to ask questions and bounce up and down until we woke up.

I’ve been against having a third child forever.  There are lots of reasons: I think it’s bad for the environment, children of smaller families don’t have to compete for resources, large families are too loud and chaotic for my delicate constitution.  However, as my wife and I planned for an earlier bedtime tonight (9:00), I realized there is another reason:

Our children are obviously keeping us too sleepy to conceive another kid.
This is what my wife and I think of when you say "dream date."
You think that’s something they planned or is hidden in their genetic code as some kind of instinct?

And, is it planning or instinct if I lock them in the back yard tonight?

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