Mammalian Tendencies

I’m often distressed by the fact that we’re mammals. Do you ever get that? Not that I would rather be a reptile or a bird (which I think might also be a reptile), it’s just that I’m not comfortable being so closely related to apes. I have nothing against apes; I’m sure they’re wonderful people, it’s just that I feel, as humans, we should have lapped them many more times on the evolutionary track by now. Sure, we have less hair and use computers, but we still do this ridiculous thing called sex that sometimes leads to a baby being born. We get all naked and rub up against each other and…it’s just uncivilized. It’s like we try so hard to be proper, but every once in a while have to find another person with whom we can get all weird and beastly. As wonderful as it is, it seems like something we should have outgrown somehow. I guess it’s one of many unavoidable biological absurdities.

I’m totally alone on this, aren’t I?

One of the few things more absurdly mammalian than sex, is pregnancy. A woman nurtures a belly that grows by the minute until it looks like a torpedo trying to push through a trampoline. Meanwhile, she’s on an emotional pilgrimage from acceptance to wonder, back to acceptance, over to cautious fascination, then a period of love, followed by agony, and panic, until finally a tiny human comes out and everything becomes even more difficult.

As strange as it is to be pregnant, it’s trumped in absurdity quite handily by the experience of the baby. It grows in a fleshy bag of stuff (sorry about the medical jargon) for 9 months only to be shoved into the bright lights of a foreign world where he or she is greeted by a doctor and some guy who’s terrified, crying and smiling at the same time.  Then often times, the kid is slapped down on the chest of a tired sweaty lady to have his first meal. It’s beautiful, but shouldn’t we have an easier way by now?

No, I’m not tripping. I’ve just had way too much coffee that may have contained a large amount of extremely potent LSD. I SEE EVERYTHING SO CLEARLY AND IT’S ALL SO SUPER WONDERFULLY STRANGE!

A completely unprepared couple, or person, is left to its own devices — armed only with perhaps a few books, misguided friends and forgetful grandparents — to care for a screaming, unhappy, cheerful, fussy, laughing, adorable mess of a thing. And that’s only for the first two months. Sometime around month three the tiny beast truly awakens, and asserts its personhood in the form of a blitzkrieg on all things Zen. It’s a never-ending struggle of love, frustration, sweetness, and  miscommunication.

I could lie and say the last five years have been a blur. They’ve gone by quickly, and I’ve aged more than most first term presidents. But I know very well what happened during each of those 260 weeks because that’s how iPhoto organizes our pictures and videos. No matter how old I am,  I’ll always have these 9 million hours of movies to remind me of the good times, because we’re smart, and choose only to record the hilarious cute stuff. That’s something I’ve never seen an ape do — YET.

I'm a contributing writer to Parents Magazine, GQ, Psychology Today and some others. My book, "This is Ridiculous. This is Amazing: Parenthood in 71 Lists" is available here Look for two more books in 2015: "Must. Push. Buttons (Bloomsbury Kids), and an as-of-yet untitled memoir I’ve appeared on Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham” and “Nick Mom’s Night Out." I live in New Jersey with my wife and two sons and enjoy making them laugh more than anyone else.

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