Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Of twins and time and blogs.

Well, they are here. Soon-to-be-six-weeks-old Alexander Benson and Emily Grace Kline. We have them solidly on the Harvard track, reading them articles from the journal Science at bed time, and soothing them with Bach's various cello concertos at low volumes throughout the day. Their eyes no longer cross when we whisper the coefficient of kinetic friction into their ears, which we think is fine progress indeed. We are going to sit down with Ivy League admissions counselors over the holiday break to "plot a course to admissions success." They say you can tell a person's net annual income prospects when they are just a month old simply by the way they grunt when they poop, we feel they will both be solidly in the upper tax bracket.

It would be goofy for me to sit here and say I don't have time to blog. This blog is not titled "Exploring the Obvious with your host, Steve Kline" for a reason. I had off for a month, during which time, I had lost the concept of time. I had no idea what day it was, no sense of the hour. When you exist in three hour shifts (roughly the time between feedings), the notion of time becomes suspended in a cloud of Gerber Good Start formula dust.

This experience has not been emotionally revolutionary for me or for my wife; at least not yet. When I first saw the babies, I did not fall head over heels in love, nor did I feel the tectonic plates of my life shift profoundly and immediately. I am sure they will over time, as I learn more about my babies and they learn more about me, and our bond strengthens. I look forward to that with warm anticipation. I am pumped to be a dad. But right now, being a dad means feeding, burping, changing, and soothing. And trying to keep my wife, who is a wonderful stay at home mom with a mountain of patience, reasonably sane. Predictably, the babies have been a mix of frustrating and awesome, I suspect this will continue for, oh, about the rest of my life.

The road to Hell is littered with good intentions. That is my one line reflection on my wife's pregnancy and child birth and the six weeks since. And I don't mean that about the kids, but about advice and the commentary that people feel compelled to share. Everyone has an opinion about literally everything, and they want to share it with you, really, really badly. Of course, like most other opinions, opinions about childcare can be ill-informed gut feelings delivered emotionally and usually by people who haven't raised kids in decades.  Some of that stuff is valuable, and based on real life trial and error, but so much of it is also judgmental and self-righteous. You grin and bear it, mostly because you have to, but sometimes you have to live on the knife-edge of your own patience.

And there are of course those people who feel the need to tell you that your life is about to change in ways that you can't even begin to comprehend! Really? Huh. I didn't think adding two infant lives to my household would be more than a slight speed bump in the story of my life, so thanks for the  heads-up, sport.

This is not going to become a daddy blog, a phrase and an idea that I find patently ridiculous. I didn't know what a daddy blog even was until a few weeks ago, when I was forwarded a link to one. It was almost impossible to read because the sanctimony was turned way up, but I find the idea that me writing about raising kids may be interesting to anyone else but me and three other people to be absurd.  I started to get a little twitchy when I discovered that an entire genre of daddy blogs actually exist. Being a parent is not profound, billions of people have done it throughout history. It is important to you, and to those kids, but the fact that you are doing it now, in the age of easily accessible online blog hosting, doesn't make it something worth sharing with the rest of the world. Do that world a favor, and stop trying to attach universal importance to your personal experiences as a father and attempting to draw attention to yourself and pay more attention to your kids.

Speaking of which...


Kirk River Mud said...

Being the rock and the shield and field surgeon and coach and advisor and head chef to your kids is not unique, but it can be profound. Don't count it out.

Steve Kline said...

Kirk, definitely personally profound, no question.

Kirk River Mud said...


Everyone (including my parents) seems so thirsty to demonstrate that their child is excelling at something (or everything), and people are boastful of it. What ever happened to raising a happy, respectful, well-adjusted kid and allowing them to go find success in the world?