|Marleeville November 15, 2011|
The thing about not keeping a regular schedule is that it is a little like stepping up onto the desk à la Dead Poet's Society: You get to see the world and it's happenings through a sort of prism rather than just a plain clear glass. A neighbourhood is a dynamic place and not just full of people getting up and regularly stuffing themselves into a cubicle. And my neighbourhood is no exception but due to the inflation of housing prices in this city there are fewer and fewer young families about. The last baby born on my street was whisked away to a bigger house this past summer. It seems that the post war bungalows on this street no longer suit the families of today. It is troubling that these same bungalows were entirely suitable for the large contingent of italian and portugese immigrant families in the 1950s thru 1970s. Many of the dwindling stock of bungalows (developers are slowly gentrifying my 'hood), have aging matriarchs and patriarchs still canning tomatoes and making wine every fall. Most of the remaining non-gentrified bungalows have single or coupled folk living with no children. Infants are few and far to be seen in this area.
So when I first saw the woman walking down the middle of my road pushing a covered stroller I recognized immediately the confluence of spring in her step and weariness on her brow. Such a dichotomy can only make an appearance during a unique phase in one's life. The Brand Spanking New Parent phase. This phase is so brief and so infectious that I swear just a small vicarious dose of it during one's reproductive years instills the desire, nay carnal urge, to reproduce and live through this phase first hand. And having lived it myself I have to confess that seeing it again, albeit quite vicariously as a voyeur neighbour, gives me a sense of communion with this world that I don't know if I could also feel if I had not.
Before the biological clock turned off for me, a mere few years ago, I might have viewed this quite differently. My womb would feel barren and I would intellectualize the impracticality of more children. Now my heart sings with delight. The difference is marvelous and like all new experiences I am nearly raw with emotion after seeing Brand Spanking New Dad walking down my street today.
It seems that this Brand New Child is rather difficult. I suspected this right from my first sighting of Brand New Mom going down my street on an early fall evening. I noticed immediately that she was gingerly directing the stroller away from any noise making opportunities (crunchy leaves). I was walking my dog and she gave me a winning smile (Brand New Mom hormones emanating!). I wouldn't have dreamed to talk to her after seeing the way she was avoiding the leaves. I had a Brand New Child like that. A child that didn't sleep and then once asleep was easily woken. So the Brand New Mom and I have merely exchanged smiles when I see her out on the street. I see Brand New Dad less frequently and he also emanates a winning smile. I think I've them together only once. I try to force as much empathy into my smile as possible because I remember the desperation that comes with all the other wonderful new experiences as a Brand New Parent. The desperation for sleep. A solid night. Oh jaysus what I wouldn't have done for a solid 6 hour night in that first year.
And this morning, from my front window, I see Brand New Dad go down the mostly leafless side (on the road, not the sidewalk) of my recently paved and beautifully smooth street. There is a very slight downward grade on my street. Both Brand New Parents walk the length of this downward grade and turn around rather than pushing the baby carriage up the steeper incline that follows. So I watch and wait for him to turn around (I'm near the end of this sloping grade). I have not seen Brand New Dad as often as Brand New Mom so I was watching openly from my front window. He was distracted by trying to sneak a peak at Brand New Child while still pushing at the same fairly brisk pace that some Brand New Children demand. My own Brand New Child liked to be rocked at a definite upbeat tempo and this rocking had to be done with an upright adult, in their arms, in a particular position. This became more and more difficult for me as the desperation for a decent nights sleep kicked into high gear about 2 months into Brand New Parenting.
The penny dropped as I was musing about my own experiences while watching Brand New Dad this morning from my front window. Brand New Mom has probably hit that desperation for sleep point so on a Tuesday morning Brand New Dad possibly took a morning off work in order to get Brand New Baby to sleep after a very difficult night. Lately I have been having difficulty sleeping and the gratitude that I no longer face Brand New Child sleep deprived insanity overwhelmed me.
And oh yes, the above picture is Brand New Dad at the end of my street. The Brand New Parents don't live on my street but since my street is the widest and smoothest one in the area I suspect it's worth travelling to. I wonder what other adventures Brand New Child will introduce to Brand New Parents during his/her lifetime. I hope they are joyous and more restful than this first one!