On Tuesday last week my second child (my son) was born. In the time between now and then we have existed in the pocket created by this experience, lots of friends with kids have commented on how special this time is and that is must be cherished, both my partner and I have had less than perfect experiences of this with previous partners and so it has been a high stakes event for each of us. I want to talk about this in more detail.
In terms of Lucas (my new son!) the time spent with a newborn is unique. The overwhelming element for me is my connection with my own gene pool – to that end I remain an unreconstructed male! This aspect is specific to each person that experiences it. I want this post to find commonality so I am not going to dwell on this.
The second element is basic scientific and or religious/spiritual awe at the physical process of creation. It is certainly a grounding and correctly humiliating experience to touch, smell and see something with microscopic beginnings manifested in macro! With both of my biological kids (I also have a step-daughter) I spent hours staring at hands in particular, marvelling at the intricacy of the ‘design’ and precisely scaled down functionality.
Beyond, or within the physical I of course wonder about the consciousness. New born babies have no discernible pupil, their eyes a mass of rich inky blue-black for some time. Add to this the fact that life ‘on land’ is some pretty heavy shit – gravities nagging pull and the constant invasion of light and shrill, unfiltered noise is a troubling development for the newborns I have held. Perhaps the first facial muscles to get a workout are those across the brow line as frowning and squinting become essential to deal with all of this. For me, the consciousness or spirit or whatever you want to call the ‘thing’ that inhabits the physical shell and makes us human is not always there in newborns. It seems to develop over time for some children and not others. Please note that I am acutely aware of the projection tendencies of the observer and how they can be interpreted incorrectly here. I have had friends who agree and say that they have experienced an empathic link with their kids only after a period of time or immediately they ‘met’. Either way, its a tough one to be definitive about.
The biggest aspect for me with newborns and all kids up to around 7/8 years old is the simple immediacy of their agenda – they truly exist in and for the present moment and that is the most alluring and intriguing thing about them. The inevitable process of having past and future concerns and desires attached to this state and all of the massive drag this creates is the main focus of parenting – how do you impart sufficient knowledge of the world without overdoing this?
So why does everyone stop to look at the baby? Reasons are various but the principle allure I would argue is that they are unfettered by the bullshit and specialists in no-mind – a state many of us spend years trying to return to.