How are any of us here?

Baby feetMy baby turns 40 days old today and I still can’t believe it. That is, I still can’t believe how much effort it takes to keep her alive!

With all the feeding and attention she demands on a constant basis, it’s impossible for me to imagine doing all this in some forest or on a desert floor, which is obviously what our ancestors had to do with their babies, and what plenty of people must still do. I just can’t believe it. Honestly, how are any of us here?

She needs constant attention. If we take our eyes off her for more than 5 minutes she freaks out. It’s like she’s Donald Trump or something. I keep waiting for her to disparage Mexican immigrants.

She feeds every 90-120 minutes, 24 hours a day. Notice I don’t say that she “eats”. I say she “feeds” because that’s what animals do. No human would have an eating pattern like this.

IMG_0321And then there are all the mortal threats. From the night she arrived I’ve been staring at her when she sleeps to confirm that she’s breathing. Then there are all the doctors telling us not to let her suffocate on blankets, swaddles or bed sheets. Then there’s the concern that if we let her sleep in the bed with us we’ll roll over and crush her. Then there’s the confusing instruction that we must constantly – constantly – “bounce” our baby to soothe her, but to never – ever – “shake” our baby or her brain will turn to mush. Hm.

Then there’s my own brand of paranoia. For example, I’m worried that there might be a storm someday so I run out and buy 50 giant bottles of water, a bunch of duct tape and a couple space blankets; I run home and make sure the bolts on all the doors are tight enough to withstand gale-force winds and, if they’re not, I reinforce them with extra bolts; then I run tests on all the paint to make it doesn’t have lead; I conduct a thorough inspection for radon; and I buy nothing other than Seventh Generation products until the diapers piss me off so much I go running back into the sweet, sweet arms of Pampers, which are probably causing more chemical harm to my baby than any other single thing (but they have a stripe that turns blue if she pees, so…).

To think, people have been doing this… um, forever! This has literally been going on since the beginning of humanity. There are lots of things that feel like they’ve been going on that long, like the Israel/Palestine conflict or Taylor Swift’s 15 Minutes of Fame, but this really has.

I can’t imagine doing any of this if I was also fighting for my life in a tribal war desert forest place. If my typical day included hunting members of a rival tribe for sustenance, I don’t think I’d have the energy to wake up and “bounce” my baby all night, even if there were Pampers with the blue stripe (which I think there weren’t!).

And what would happen without modern medicine to tell us about the suffocation risks? And the crushing in bed risk? And the shaking risk? For God’s sake, what if we didn’t know about the fucking shaking risk?!?!

Again, how are any of us here? I’m very impressed that not one generation of humans killed off the entire next generation. Obviously, with our modern political decay, we know that is day coming quickly. I just can’t believe it hasn’t already happened.

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