I am intrigued by my own children. Tonight it was the baby girl that fascinated me. She got to a point where she was screaming and fussing and crying and nothing would make her happy. I took her upstairs thinking she wanted bed, but putting her in her crib on elicited more crying. I went downstairs and got her a couple ounces of milk and she wanted nothing to do with that. She didn’t want down to play with her brothers and she wasn’t happy being held. Finally I decided to put her in he pajamas and she settled down instantly and was happy.
I have no idea how or why that worked. She just wanted her routine, I guess. Children are curious creatures. I can hardly understand them. I think about how much of my life I spent preparing to be a parent and how none of that matters. No plan survives contact with reality. It all falls apart once the truth sets in. Raising children is one of the most difficult things anyone can do and no one is ready for it.
I think a lot about the village. You know the saying, it takes a village. We have so throughly and effectively destroyed that in our society that raising children is an exercise in isolationism. There is no village outside the one that money can buy. If you have the money for daycare and pre-school and babysitters and nannies there is your village. No more friends or neighbors. We have to purchase our village in a series of micro transactions.
This is what we have built and this is the way the world is. Raising three children is a team effort and it is always difficult. It is far worse when one team member has to be out of the house and the children enter a rare mood. It becomes close to impossible. I have great sympathy for my wife who is often the one left at home with them. It is always a struggle when I have to walk a mile in her shoes and we need more help than we can ever provide each other.
This is the world. There is nothing we can do about it. We are small people with small lives. Our power to bring about the necessary change is close to meaningless. We can vote for politicians that talk about early childhood development programs but that is all just talk and we need more than one politician to get anything done. We need more than politicians in general. If people started acting like neighbors and community members again the village would be restored quickly.
People do not want to do that. That would be too easy. I am an optimist and I believe individual people are generally good or at least they want to be. It is groups that get manipulated. I know people that would agree with what I said about the village and restoring it, but would fight early childhood development programs with everything they have. I know people that talk about loving their neighbor and being good Christians and then turn around and shun people for a lifestyle.
We need to get back to a world where we look each other in the eyes and if we’re going to hate we do it face to face. It’s a lot harder to call someone a pejorative when you’re face to face. These are all self-inflicted wounds. Nothing to do with the pandemic or virtual living. That might have heightened or sped some stuff up but we were already living through online profiles, social media, and the 24 hour news cycle long before the pandemic hit. If we upload our entire personality into cyber space are we still ourselves? Who are we the machine or the ghost in the machine? Mind, body, soul the age old question philosophers and scientists have failed to answer for centuries. We can now add in our digital imprints and anyone that plays video games knows it’s a lot easier to blow pixels apart.