What is so fun about bouncing? I bounce for more than two minutes and my ankles hurt, my knees hurt, my head hurts and I’ve likely thrown up.
My son, though, can NOT get enough. He loves to bounce, and laughs the whole time. He bounces in his bouncy chair thing (the one with a tray around it), he bounces in his other bouncy chair thing (the deathtrap you attach to a door frame), he bounces when he’s sitting, he bounces when he’s “standing,” he bounces when he eats, he bounces when he hears music. The kid even bounces when he’s getting his diaper changed, which is no good for anyone.
Bouncing has little appeal for most adults, but for kids it’s better than tantric sex. I can’t even imagine the kind of fun Sting’s children are having right now. And I’ve tried. Because, honestly, I’ve never in my life spent more time considering the topic of “bouncing” more than I have over the past few months.
When you have a kid, you hear a lot of noise about how he’s gonna teach you to see things in a whole new way. But what people really mean is: all that shit you stopped caring about 30 years ago? Suddenly you’re going to be forced to care about it, and soon it’s going to be all you’ll ever talk about, and everyone around you who doesn’t have kids is going to hate your guts, and slowly all of your friends will fade away like disco and you won’t even realize that you’ve become a Stepford, sitting around talking about Yo Gabba Gabba and Mum-Mums and where the circumference of your baby’s head falls in comparison to other babies his age.
It’s not that you see things in a new way, it’s that all the kid-oriented stuff you are forced to see obscures everything else. And, suddenly, all sorts of things no grown person should ever have reason to care about become the focus of your life. I don’t feel any differently about “Yo Gabba Gabba” than I did when I was a single guy pounding chicks and banging beers. (Wait: strike that. Reverse it.) Except that today, if it will make my son happy, I will sit next to him and stare at it until my muscles atrophy.
The truly amazing part about this shift isn’t that you don’t realize it’s happening – because even though you can’t prevent it, you still kinda know what you’re doing – it’s that you sincerely don’t care. All the shame and anxiety and self-consciousness that rules your life most of the time from, cradle to grave? Pretty much gone once you have a kid around. I used to live my life in fear of getting feces on my flesh. In fact, I still do. But when it’s my son’s feces? IT’S SO CUTE!!!!! I would honestly eat it if I thought it would get a laugh out of him.
And it probably would. Especially if he were bouncing at the time.
So yes, your perspective changes, but not quite in the same way everyone suggests. It’s less that the way you see things changing and more that the order in which you see them is rearranged. Once you’ve had a kid, there’s almost nothing that can happen in your life – whether you’re at work, at a bar, watching TV, having sex – okay, maybe not having sex – that won’t bring your kid(s) to mind, no matter how hard you try.
And believe me, I try.
But only a little bit.
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[author_info]About the Author
A new father coping with the shocking lows and intermittent highs (or is it the opposite?) of parenthood, regular Prime Parents’ Club contributor Dad and Buried can be found raging against the dying of his social life at www.DadandBuried.com.