As I’ve probably mentioned before, James and I don’t have any kids and we don’t have any plans to change that. Oh, we’ve spoken about it. “Do you think we should have a kid?” “No? Yeah. Me neither.” Once, when my biological clock was having an ADD moment, I decided that I better have a baby. James agreed. And then I went to have a nap. But as soon as I lay my head down I realized that if I had a baby, I would no longer be able to have naps when I wanted. I would have to time my naps to coordinate with my child’s! The very notion sent a storm surge of anxiety through me.
No more naps! No more naps! Plus there were all the other considerations, such as… oh, I don’t know. Being pregnant. Giving birth. Finding babysitters who aren’t sly monkeys up to no good. Providing enough Legos. Hooooooo shit! And with a sort of clunk, my biological clock went silent. I got up and went out to the living room to inform James that we would not be having a baby. He said that was fine with him. He’d been worried that the baby would get into his fly-tying supplies and we’d be constantly at the emergency room having bits of feather removed from its esophagus.
Most of the time, I’m fine with our decision. I like other people’s kids. I love most adolescents and teenagers. In fact, if a smart, funny 11-year old were to arrive on our doorstep in a basket, I’d probably consider taking him/her in. But once in a while, I get a pang about not having our own kid.
The other day, I was cleaning the house. This in itself is fairly noteworthy. I was dusting and I’d created a new music mix to help me get through the work. The mix was heavy to hip hop and electronic dance music. As I dusted, I danced. And as I did so, I realized that I am in my PRIME embarrassing years. I’m too old to be anything other than tragic-looking as I mouth the words to 50 Cent songs, but I’m not ready to give it up yet. I insist on dressing in clothes are are just a shade too young for me. I tell myself it’s okay because I am immature. I’m also at an age where I could easily have a thirteen to fifteen year old kid. Think how embarrassed that kid would be by me! I could be one of the all-time most embarrassing moms! Damn.
I think of the bike-drawn cart I just got for Frank (who is fine, but sometimes prefers to catch a ride). How humiliating would it be if I pulled up to my kid’s Grade Eight class with our dog in the cart behind me. I’d be all purple faced from exertion because Frank’s quite heavy. “Yoo hoo, honey!” I’d call. “You forgot your cheese strings!” One stunt like that could scar a kid for life. (Or turn them into a writer.)And I’d have an endless store of such activities available.
Also embarrassing would be my tendency to parrot the language I read on the gossip websites, to which I’ve become seriously addicted. Between Go Fug Yourself and D-Listed (which I caution you is unabashedly R-rated and not safe for school or work. In fact, I bet it’s banned in Texas! Just like me!)and Lainey’s Entertainment Update I barely speak English anymore. I speak with all kinds of unearned authority about “Blohan” and “Parasite Hilton” and what “ass clowns” they are. This would be excruciating for a kid, especially if I started doing it in front of their friends.
But since I’m without a pre-teen or teen, I am left in a position of having to be embarrassed by myself. And I am. I was busting some hip hop moves to Fitty and had an attack of self consciousness that stopped me dead. For about four seconds. Until an Eminem song came on and I was back at it.
There are many reasons to have kids. First, because you want them and love the idea of dedicating yourself to them and their needs. Second, you are looking to continue your family line. Third, you want someone to look after you when you’re old. And fourth, you want someone to torture with the embarrassing remnants of your youth. Who knew it would be the fourth thing that got me?
Happy Labour Day Weekend. I hope none of you have to labour too much.
Today (or actually yesterday) Another Kind of Cowboy is out in Canada. Early reports suggest that it hasn’t yet shipped into the stores but it should be there momentarily. I hope you’ll give my first non-Alice book a warm welcome. And I’ve created my first podcast. All I have to do now is figure out how to post it. It will be up soon.