Nothing’s Gonna Change my World (and other lies, part 1)

Dear Loinspawn,

They say change is like a holiday. But “they” are fools without children who have nothing better to do than think up bumper sticker crap. When you are a new parent, you need a holiday from the change. A holiday so profoundly boring, it would make the annual State of the Nation Address seem like riveting stuff.

Cruising along the highway of life, everyone needs to pull over sometimes to enjoy a cold frikkadel with a hardboiled egg (padkos vir die siel en so aan). Having a baby however, is the equivalent of peeing in a bottle, whilst racing along a road that’s more pothole than gravel, hard house grating at 170 bpm over the speakers.

One day, you will get married. Soon after, primal programming will take over and smother any rational reasoning about not contributing to the world’s overpopulation. You’ll start thinking of children as “just one more little human being” to look after. How hard can it be? What’s an extra plate of food and one more load of washing? Then said little human being will come along and shit will get real and things will change. Change. CHANGE:

First, you’ll buy a pram. How much can a piece of plastic with wheels cost? You’ll go to some large baby expo in a cavernous convention centre and there will be thousands of angry mothers with screaming babies and despondent fathers with fresh credit card debt weighing heavy on their shoulders. You know that exquisite and expensive tattoo you wanted? If you haven’t got it already, best build that idea a tombstone that says: “Here lie dreams about frivolous spending and instant gratification. R.I.P.”

You’ll look at the first pram you find and disbelief will raise your eyebrows whilst you whisper: “Holy shit, that’s expensive.” You’ll look for a cheap one, but you’re a guy so you’ll choose the pram with the biggest wheels. And even larger price tag. Only the best for your child and also, the pram has really big wheels, because, like, you go off road with the pram everyday.

Of course, when you get to the car you’ll realise that big wheels come with a big pram which hardly fits in the boot. Which will only really become a concern once the dogs also need to go in the boot and the pram inevitably moves to the front seat because your wife and child are sitting in the back. And just like that, a monstrosity with big wheels will ride shotgun with you. For a long time. But at least it has big wheels.

The pram, everyone tells you, is a necessity, so you pack it in to go do grocery shopping, but halfway down the first aisle you’ll realise that your baby likes it anywhere except the pram. So you ditch the trolley, put your groceries in the pram and carry your baby around in one arm thinking: This is the most expensive trolley ever.

Sharing the front of a car with the 4X4 equivalent of prams will be the least of your worries though. There was a time when everything I owned fit into my car. It wasn’t a very big car, so that says a lot. You are six months old and everything you own barely fits. The car is considerably bigger than the one I used to own, so that says even more.

This wouldn’t be a problem if it wasn’t for the fact that we have to pack most of your stuff whenever we leave the house. There’s toys, there’s clothes, there’s the diaper bag, the pram and the cot. Getting ready to go anywhere is basically a continuos re-enactment of the Groot Trek. This is followed by the Groot Offload, the Groot Dispersal of Everything and when you’re done, the Groot Gathering of Things beneath couches and beds, before once again engaging in the Groot Trek.

Things change when you have a kid. The whole household transforms and revolves around a tiny human being who thinks grass is the craziest thing ever. The list goes on, but you’re screaming in the back and your mother is about to have multiple nervous breakdowns so I’ll get to that in my next letter.

Last night I was wondering how to end this one. I was dancing you to sleep and The Beatles’ Across the Universe came on. (I swear I’m not using dramatic license here.) The chorus promises that “Nothings gonna change my world.” There was a time when that line was an anthem to me. But that motto belonged to a naive boy who thought being responsible meant washing your bedlinen at least every three months. Things do change your world, none of them more drastically than having a tiny person being completely
dependent on you.

But I still love you.

Dad.

Black Hole Son and the Big But

Dear Loinspawn,

You and your mother are asleep as I write this. It’s 5:30 am and the fear of making any noise and waking you has manhandled me into a corner called quiet introspection.

The last four months have been interesting. No, that’s a lie. It’s been a hair raising, testicle clenching, dear-god-when-will-it-get-better emotional, physical and mental ride on that tired metaphor of a roller coaster. (Who can think of anything original this early in the morning?) The kind of ride where, when you eventually get off, you wipe the vomit off your face and mumble through clenched teeth: “Holy shit, that was fun.”

Four months is a short time, but you’ve already picked up twice your birthweight. This means you no longer look like a head surgically attached to a spasming frog’s body. The pediatrician says it’s because of all the healthy breast milk you’ve been drinking.

Currently your mouth is a black hole capable of devouring entire solar systems. Not that you’re fussy. Keys, toys, bags and especially your own hands (often both at the same time) are stuffed into your mouth with singleminded determination. I try and avoid prolonged contact with your face for fear of being sucked in and waking up on the other side in a parallel universe where I am the father of sleepless quadruplets and coffee is a swear word.

In the mean time, entrepreneurial flies have been selling tickets for wall space to watch us take turns in frantically pacing around the bedroom, dancing this tiny creature with the huge lungs to sleep. Instead, you seem to reserve nap time for when we go to the doctor, town, or anywhere else where it is impossible for your mother and I to catch up on some REM ourselves.

Did I mention the dancing? Apart from falling asleep when it is most inconvenient you have also decided that you like to be rocked to sleep. No, not the gentle swaying from side to side. Rock, as in rock ‘n rolled.

The soothing melodies of The National and José González have been discarded and replaced with anything I could find on my computer with a beat. Which is why you are now escorted off to lalaland to the sounds of Beck, Brenda Fassie, and Cypress Hill’s Dr. Greenthumb. At least if you go for one of those regressive hypnotherapy sessions, you’ll have a great soundtrack for the trip down memory lane. You should be thankful. You could have grown up with ABBA like your father.

When you are not sleeping, you pee yourself, frequently and with gusto, you cry, for no apparent reason, you drool over everything and generally you like to be entertained for the entirety of your wakeful existence.

But, here’s the But. The first evidence that you are in fact a little human being, and not a machine with a pressure cooker for a stomach sent from the future to destroy us, has emerged. Somewhere along the way you started smiling. Like a clever drug dealer you initially handed out your gummy grins for free. Then, when you were sure you had us hooked, you started making us hustle for it. Your mother and I have pulled muscles in our face medical science is yet to discover.

Sometimes our contortions are awarded with the smallest of grins. And even that makes it worth it. Every time your nose crinkles up and you smile that naughty smile of yours, something ridiculously cute happens somewhere in the world; puppies appear out of nowhere and roll around in three ply toilet paper and on the African Savannah, all the animals hug each other and sing Circle of Life.

Two weeks ago you also started chuckling and we immediately had to recalibrate our cute-o-meter. You now think your mother’s tongue is the funniest thing you’ve ever seen and insist that it is constantly on display. When you are not laughing or crying, your mouth thinks its sole purpose in life is to make saliva. Now it looks like a bunch of invisible snails follow you everywhere and have wild cocktail parties wherever your mouth is.

You are also clearly more conscious of the world around you, which is why we started reading our first book together. It is called Ishmael by Daniel Quinn and concerns the evolution of man and the myth that we are pinnacle of progress on planet Earth. Although the book has a giant talking gorilla, you usually start crying by the second paragraph. Perhaps I was a little ambitious.

Inevitably, I return to Noisy Monsters which is about space traveling abominations that also like to collect sea garbage. It has a giant button, which when pressed, emits maniacal laughter. It’s creepy and you love it, but it drives me absolutely mad. So we reached a compromise. I bought you an Asterix & Obelix omnibus. You are too young for it and I’m too old for it but you like the pictures and I get to be nostalgic about my youth.

On an aside, here is a short story for you. This weekend I drove up from our house on the farm past the workers’ cottages and found one of the guys awkwardly zig zagging on the road with a bicycle. I stopped and he proudly told me he bought it that morning. It was the first time he had ridden his own bike. He was sweating and panting from trying to find his balance, but he had the biggest smile on his face. He is forty years old, but that morning he was a child again.

It reminded me that we should appreciate the small things. Like your smile. Tomorrow you will be one day older than you are today and we will never have yesterday together again. Despite not sleeping much, being a constant handful and not even being able to fart, never mind poo on your own, we are thankful that you are here.

And so we will continue to ride that tired old roller coaster and clench our testicles and hang on for dear life. Because somewhere in the future, we will get off, wipe the vomit off our faces, smile broadly and shout: “Holy shit that was fun!”

On Mother’s Day and the Phoenix who Danced on Tables

Dear Loinspawn,

Try to imagine a young couple in a dirty club. It’s four in the morning and the establishment wants to close, but the girl is having too much fun dancing on tables, whilst the boy is begging the bartender for one last whiskey. Imagine an hour previously, the boy was dragging the same girl, screaming out of the men’s bathroom, because some drunken guy picked a fight with her.

Now stretch your imagination even further across time and space and watch this girl transform into a gorgeous woman who has truly become the world’s best mother. It’s been years since your mother has danced on a table and I no longer have to carry her out of men’s bathrooms, but she has lost none of her spirit. Now I watch her, every day, pouring it into you.

Today is Mother’s Day. For the rest of your life, this will be the most significant day of celebration. I can only hope that by the time you read this, you’ll have realised that Father Christmas is a stingy old alcoholic who steals money from your parents, the Easter Bunny is actually an alien in cahoots with Cadbury’s and that your birthday is no more than a lame excuse to party; let’s be honest, all you did was survive another year. You survived, because your parents, especially your mother, looked after you.

And that is why Mother’s Day IS special. When you read this letter you will finish it and find your mother. I don’t care if you have to go into the afterlife to do it. (If, by some misfortune, that is where she is, you bribe that guy, whatsisname, Peter or John or some such saint to let you in. He has been standing there for a long time, so I suggest taking a pair of Crocs.)

No mountain, ocean, nor the unlikely phenomenon of a sharknado or a plane full of snakes, will stand between you and the woman that gave birth to you. You will walk, drive, fly or sail to her and when she opens the door, you will hug her, kiss her feet and make the inside of her house rain with flowers. You will bake her croissants for breakfast and take her out to the most expensive lunch you can afford. You will offer to work in the garden and take out the trash, (a trick your father is still trying to master). In fact, you will tell her that if she moves a muscle you will be forced to pin her to the chair beneath the weight of copious amounts of dark chocolate.

You will thank her for performing the greatest magic trick of all time: Squeezing a watermelon through a cucumber sized hole is the kind of David Copperfield shit not even David Copperfield can do. Don’t worry, one day you will stand next to your screaming, laboring wife, finding your religion because you think she is about to die, and then you will know exactly what I am talking about.

You will thank her profusely for waking up at ungodly hours of the night to feed you, sooth you and put you to sleep. You will show unending gratitude to her for all the silly faces she pulled to make you laugh and all the songs she sang to stop you crying. You will appreciate every time she wiped your ass and bathed you. And you will apologise for every time you peed in her face and the fresh set of baby clothes she was busy dressing you in. And you will love her for every time she picked you up and danced you to sleep; every time she chased whatever monster was bothering you back into the dark.

She burped you, helped you fart and turned her once perky breasts into mammoth milk making machines with stretch marks. The least you can do is make her a thank you card. MAKE, not BUY. It takes 30 seconds to swipe your credit card for some generic piece of shit that some Hallmark-type company churned out for people with guilty consciences and a lack of original thought.

And when I say MAKE, I’m not talking about a smiley face built with couple of pieces of macaroni stuck on a piece of cardboard. You will create for her the Sistine Chapel of Mother’s Day cards. She needs effort boy. She has earned it. In it you will thank her for sacrificing herself on the altar of altruism and rising from the ashes a selfless phoenix. And then you will apologise for all the grief and tears you caused her along the way.

Now if you will excuse me, I need to phone your grandmother and tell her I love her. I have a lifetime of tears and grief to apologise for, so it might take a while. In the mean time let’s make today special. Let’s give your mother a long afternoon nap. She deserves it. And I’ve got a funny feeling she might just say it’s the best present ever.

Regards,

P.S. It’s okay to date girls who dance on tables and pick fights in men’s bathrooms. Sometimes they make the best wives and even better mothers.

Grandma Google and the case of the reluctant poo

Dear Loinspawn,

Exactly fifteen minutes after we arrived home from hospital your screaming grandmother forced our attention to the nursery. It’s terrifying how many worst case scenarios we were able to conjure up in the thirteen steps it took us to get to your room. The mind is powerful, yet fearful.

This is what we saw as we entered: Your grandmother grinning proudly from ear to ear, holding your legs splayed in the air. Amidst all the confusion, your first poo exited with profuse abundance all over the changing station. My voice jumped an octave higher, my vocabulary deteriorated into appreciative oohs and aahs and, as is the curse of excited Afrikaans people, I managed to reduce whole sentences to their diminutive form:

“Ag moedertjie, kykies hoe oulikies is jou kakkies!”

This roughly translates to:

“Ag Mommy, lookey at how cutie is your shitties!”

You pooed and immediately our collective IQ dropped by several points. You celebrated this milestone by peeing all over your face.

Then the gates burst open and amidst the sound of farting trumpets the four horsemen of the apoocalypse came charging through astride their steaming steeds. If there was a fan nearby, I could have devoted a whole paragraph to lame jokes.

It was like watching a sausage machine, which I thought was a really gross thing to think, until I read somewhere that scientists are making baby poo sausage now. (All that wholesome probiotics is apparently good for you.) I prefer strawberry flavoured yoghurt, but different strokes and all that sort of thing.

Enter Grandma Google. We just wanted to compare your poo to the norm. So we Googled: What does normal baby poo look like? And with a few key strokes we opened up Pandora’s toilet. The internet is a useful tool boy, except if you want to raise a child. Every mother is suddenly an expert and the sheer amount of information is paranoia inducing. It takes a village to raise a child, but the global village is an example of too many mothers trying to simultaneously stir the broth of knowledge with an anal thermometer.

Which is why, very soon, I was knuckle deep in your excrement poking a paranoid finger at what appeared to be blobs of ricotta cheese. Is that mucous or curdled milk? Are you dying? Do we need to go to the hospital? Like scientific soothsayers we tried to predict your mood for the rest of the day by analyzing the colour, consistency, frequency and smell of your faeces and comparing it to everything we read on the internet. This is very gross. But not as gross as when I had to pull a piece of stuffed toy out of the dog’s ass. Never, ever eat stuffed toys boy. They don’t agree with the digestive system.

Then you became constipated. That was Grandma Google’s diagnosis, at least. Watching you trying to poo, was like watching someone who had swallowed one of those handheld maze games where you have to guide the ball through the labyrinth using elaborate twists and turns. At the same time it sounded like somewhere in your belly there was a buffalo and a rhinoceros trying to play Thunderstruck on a concertina. Either that, or they were trying to make love, the result, regardless, was the same: An epic arrangement of grunts and moans.

Grandma Google offered various cures from prune juice to enemas with eyedroppers. Your father however refuses to put things up your bottom. He can suck the snot out of your nose, but he can’t put nowt up your naught for nowt.

Deeper down Grandma’s Google rabbit hole we descended following a trail of possible cures for your lethargic bowels. Are you dehydrated? Are you allergic to something? Your mother became so paranoid she started drinking rice milk in everything.

This is also how we learned a valuable lesson. The internet is useful, especially if you’re looking for a recipe for perfect roast lamb or cats doing stupid things. You’ll probably even find a video of a cats doing stupid things with a roast lamb. It also creates the illusion that if you can’t find an answer within the first three websites that pop up, the answer simply does not exist.

Evolution has gifted us with thousands of years worth of instinct, which we trade for technology because we think that’s what advanced people do. But if instinct didn’t work, none of us would be alive today. Basically, it’s that voice inside you that tells you to call your mother when your in trouble. Which is what we should have done.

When your grandmother came over, she calmly pulled your legs up in the air and moved them in a circular motion, finally pinning them back so that your knees touched your stomach. She applied pressure to the inside of your bum. And then a tempest, fierce and relentless, erupted from your sphincter. There are some things you can’t find on Google or YouTube. Sometimes, they are the simplest of things, like how to take a shit.

P.S. We spoke to your doctor. She says you are not constipated, but that your guts are being lazy and that your intestines are like a car full of Capetonians in Joburg without a GPS; absolutely clueless. This means that every now and again when that buffalo and rhino whip out the concertina you get a suppository up the bottom to get things, well, moving. I still can’t watch.

Regards,

Dad

On Bob Marley and the Other Big C

Dear Loinspawn,

Last night, I wished you were born with an off-switch. Or perhaps, just a manual indicating where the hell to find the mute button. As your crying made your mother and I sink deeper into the quicksands of despondency, my mind briefly started wandering along the paths of more Neanderthal solutions. Babies and walls equal bad parenting though. Your mother suggested that I count to ten. I snapped back that I need something stronger and of the double-on–the-rocks variety to calm my nerves. Then I counted to thirty.

For the last week, every night at six o’ clock, you begin to cry inconsolably. It starts with the smallest of whimpers; an overture leading into a crescendo of earth shattering misery. Like an air raid siren your wailing voice strikes fear into our hearts and makes us want to run for the closest sound proof bunker. Enter the other Big C:

Colic.

When people talk about colic they do so in whispers, like they’re talking about their mother-in-law. Their pupils dilate, they break out into a cold sweat and their voices start quivering uncontrollably. Some simply find a corner, curl up and cry. Others try to brush it off with euphemisms like “high need babies”. I thought it just meant you got a little sad. Turns out it’s more like having two dragons in high heels tap dancing to dubstep around your insides.

To appease this god of heart wrenching melancholy we bought half the pharmacy and sacrificed colic warding cocktails with varying degrees of success. But after a week of trying to sooth you, I cracked. Last night, there was one too many shrieks of suffering in my ear. Finally, I wanted to scream too.

I wanted to tell you that this was all a big mistake and that I would like to return you to sender now, thank you very much. I wanted to put you down and book a ticket to the Federated States of Micronesia. The twenty-one year old me looked into the future and smugly said: “See, I told you so. Come back and make your whole life fit in a backpack. You were broke, but at least you didn’t have baby shit in your beard.”

I wished that you weren’t here so I could dust off the computer and finish watching House of Cards. I wish that I still had time to carefully plan suppers, instead of making lasagne, again. I wished that I didn’t need to shovel food down my throat like a kid at boarding school. I wished for cups of hot tea and whole cigarettes and time to play with the dogs. I wished for contemplative beers on the stoep and sunsets that weren’t fleeting glimpses through the window.

When most parents explain how their children have changed their lives, radiant beams of sunlight break through the darkest of clouds and shine down upon unicorns frolicking beneath double rainbows. Last night I looked at you in your colicky splendour and realised that they were all on acid. My life was busy changing, but God was finally punishing me for all those blasphemous jokes I made. Which made me send up a pitiful little prayer: “Sorry about all those All Mighty smiter jokes Lord. Who knew you were so sensitive?”

As I write all of this down, I realise it sounds like we were standing there for a really long time, but all these thoughts occurred in the blink of an eye. It was like speed reading the summarised version of my emotions. What I really thought was slightly less articulate and crass, yet honest: What the fuck have we done?

In the meantime, your mother and I were passing you between each other like the backline of a rugby team possessed with World Cup fever. We were going for phase 25; we could smell the sleep beneath the goalposts, before we hit a brick wall of despair again.

I had run out of tricks, except one. Desperate fingers turned the hi-fi on and selected a special playlist I made for you when you were still on holiday inside your mother.

The first song that came on was Bob Marley’s Fussing & Fighting. It was the first time I heard it in months. (Your mother is not a big fan of the reggae.) Bob was right. You were fussing and I was fighting. Now your mother is blessed with the purest of nightingale voice, where as I, on the other hand, sound like a husky lawnmower plowing through wet grass. Which is why, despite knowing all the words, I started humming to myself. Slowly, that small hum grew into a whistle and before I knew it, we were dancing around the room.

Your crying ceased. I could feel you starting to relax in my arms. Slowly, you nestled your head closer to my chest. And just like that, you fell asleep. Maybe you were just tired of screaming. Maybe it was the medicine. But I like to think it was Marley magic that made us stand on our first common ground last night.

We both love reggae!

I smiled. And then I couldn’t stop. It was as if someone had pinned my lips to my ears. I regretted regretting my regrets and wished I hadn’t wished those wishes five minutes earlier. None of it mattered at that moment.

There weren’t rainbows or unicorns, but I felt strangely proud as we slowly danced around the room. We had a small victory you and I, but it felt like we were celebrating something much bigger. I winked to my 21 year old self and told him he still has a lot of growing up to do. Everything doesn’t need to fit in a backpack and more often than not, the things that matter the most, can’t be confined in canvas. More importantly though, it made me realise you have great taste in music, which means we can get rid of all those silly, mind numbing lullabies for babies. You don’t raise a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate on twinkle, twinkle, bloody little star.

P.S. I wrote the above a week ago. Needless to say and much to your mother’s dismay, Bob Marley has been playing on repeat since that night. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. What matters is that when we needed it most, it did.

Regards,

Dad.

On the Galactic Mechanic and the Giant Physio in the Sky

Dear Loinspawn,

So there you were; all 3.3 pink, purple and blue, screaming, placenta covered kilos of you.  It’s hard to believe the other day you were still just an idea in your mother’s stomach. An idea which had grown too big for its surroundings and spilt out into the harsh reality of the hospital delivery room. (Note to MediClinic: You guys should really think more beanbags and coffee machines and less sterile  metal object thingies. God knows your patients spend enough time in there, they might as well be comfortable.)

You were perfect – except for your head. I wish someone had told me that getting pushed out of a vagina will make it look like the pointy side of an anvil. A lifetime of searching for specially tailored hats suddenly flashed before me, whilst I saw the cruel playground children dancing around you chanting:

“Coneboy! Coneboy! Look at your pointy dome boy!”

I was about to rush home and make cardboard cones for your mom and I to wear, so that you wouldn’t feel like the only carrot in a pocket of potatoes, when the doctor sensing my nightmarish despair, told me this was normal.

Yes, of course there were tears, but they only came later. First, you were weighed and given your shots, whilst you mother showered and there was a moment waiting for her where I held you, and since there wasn’t much else to do, we just stared at each other in fearful awe. (Technically you weren’t looking into my eyes, because science has found that instead, you look at my eyebrows, which is interesting, but we are trying to do something warm and fuzzy here.) So you looked into my eyes and I looked into yours and I thought you would ruin it by crying or pooping but you didn’t and we had our first perfect moment.

I have heard this first look described as one where the universe explodes, implodes, reassembles, does cartwheels followed by flourishing 360 loops and gravity defying jumps with an elegant curtsy at the end. The show must have been cancelled because none of this happened to me, not even the curtsy.

If we have to use the universe analogy, let me instead describe it like this:

It was as if the Giant Physiotherapist In The Sky cracked the universe’s back and the cosmos gave a giant sigh, relieved of a pain it never knew it had. In another corner of the infinite macrocosm, the Great Galactic Mechanic finally tired of his wife nagging him. He fixed the squeak troubling the universe; applying just enough grease to make everything shift a fraction to the left, clicking it back into place. It wasn’t a moment of cacophonous sounds or angels singing. Instead, it was more like lying on the beach when everyone else is at work – a moment of peaceful bliss when everything feels just right.

And so I gave thanks to the Giant Physiotherapist and the Galactic Mechanic and God, Jah, Allah and the whole pantheon of Hindu, Roman and Greek gods and because the stare between us lasted so long I also gave a grateful nod to the Flying Spaghetti Monster, in case his al dente-ness was canoodling around this side of the universe.

Like I said, the tears only came later. When you and your mother were finally tucked in and both sleeping the slumber of two tired marathon runners, I slipped away to one of the hospital balconies. I lit a cigarette as the sun started to rise and lavished in a cauldron of content thought and of course with the cocktail of love chemicals still coursing through me after our moment back in the ward, I got a sentimental lump in my throat, thanks to all that this-is-the-first-day-of-the-rest-of- your-life-bumper-sticker-crap and then I cried: Big, wet salty tears that would have made the sea jealous.

One day you will ask me what it was like when you were born. Instead of insulting you with lazy adjectives, I shall give you this letter to read. And because we grow old and forget things, including opening the fly of our zips before we pee, I thought it best to write down exactly what happened:

Tuesday, 28th of January, 2014:

9:40:  Your mother phones me and says: “I think my water has broken.

“You think or you know?

“I think I know.”

9:45: I race home to find your mother excitedly leaking over our floors.

14:00: The excitement of the last 4 hours diminishes. Apart from your mother changing her pants three times not much else has happened. And so, with nothing else to do we drive to the hospital.

16:00 – 20:00: Who knew labour could be so boring? Apart from a couple of slight pangs of pain there is no sign that you are on your way. Where is the screaming? Where is the swearing? Hollywood, you’re a damn liar. We leave the hospital in disgust and go have supper with your grandparents.

22:00: Your mother has her first real contraction. We are back at the hospital. In between her uterus spasming we joke about the ridiculous painting on the wall and how she is going to sneeze you out.

23:15: Your mother goes primal. I am scared she is going to break the hospital bed and I’m not sure if the hospital plan covers maternal destruction. It is becoming clear that she is not going to sneeze you out.

Wednesday, 29th of January, 2014:

00:10: The nurse asks your mother if she wants something for the pain. Your mother declines and says she will wait a little bit longer, thank you very much.

00:16: Your mother screams and begs the nurse to give her something for the pain.

02:00: I think this is it. Your mother is going to die. I’m going to have to raise you as a single father and although the opening scene in The Boys are Back where the kid sits on the front of his father’s speeding Land Rover makes for great cinema and we would do awesome things like that together, I would miss your mother very much. And so I lie to her and tell her she is doing really well and that soon it’s all going to be over and that instead of dying she should consider breathing.

02:14: Your mother screams that she wants to push.

02: 28: The doctor arrives looking very jovial for someone who has to come at half past two in the morning to look at a screaming woman with her legs apart in the air. She and the nurse joke about something which is funny to them but I can’t remember because I was more worried that your mother was going to pass out. This was due to the fact that she repeatedly cried that she was going to pass out.

03:20: Your mother does not pass out, but instead passes you out and suddenly the delivery room is silent, before you break the quiet hush with your crying.

And so there you were; all 3.3 pink, purple and blue, screaming, placenta covered kilos of you.

To whom it may concern

Dear sir,

It is with the utmost of regret that we have to inform you that you have seven days to vacate your room. After careful deliberation the owner of The Grand Uterus Hotel has decided to close for renovations. (Okay boy, I’ll be honest with you, there is no time for your mother and I to go to South America anymore. We need you to come quickly so we can get this child raising business out of the way and get our vacation plans back on track.)

The last few months have seen the infrastructure of the establishment deteriorate quickly and thus, for your own safety you will have to leave the premises. (Also your mother is now more uncomfortable than a polar bear in the desert or our president in a library, so frankly speaking you need to get the fuck out of there. She says she still wants to love you by the time you’ve ripped open half her nether regions en route to this crazy old world.)

We have also had reports of lewd and bawdy behaviour from your hotel room. They include kicking, squeezing and in some cases even nibbling of the bladder. Furthermore it has come to our attention that you have been urinating in the swimming pool. This, if you refer to section 2.1 a) of the tenant agreement you will see that such behaviour is not just frowned upon, it is absolutely bloody forbidden. (Also your mother and I are now tired of planning our routes according to public toilets whenever we leave the house.)

We hope you enjoy the last few days of your stay with us. To apologise for any inconvenience we have decided to offer you free amniotic cocktails at the Womb bar as well as breakfast, lunch and dinner at our renowned Umbilical Restaurant. We have also taken the liberty of arranging new living quarters for you and we hope that you will find it to your liking. (If not, tough shit. You’re going to be there for a while.)

Failure to comply will lead to forced eviction. (Basically there’s the hard way or the hard way. It’s a bit like the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club song: “There ain’t no easy way, no there ain’t no easy way out.”) This is more of a courtesy letter to let you know you should grab what you can from the minibar and the bathroom and get the hell out of there. Now.

 

Sincerely

Your parents.

 

A word from you father

Dear Loinspawn,

We need more time. YOU need to give us more time. Your mother and I need to nip off to South America for a bit, your father still has unfinished party business and god knows there is enough stuff to fix around the house before you arrive.

In light of this I thought I would ask you to remain where you are until further notice. Now is not the time to conform and arrive as planned. Who cares about a due date? You’ll regret for the rest of your life arriving in time like all the other babies. You’ll spend your days trying to compensate by wearing t-shirts that state you are an individual or even worse, turning into a hipster and riding a wooden bicycle whilst playing your ironic accordion. Get it right from the start son. Fuck biology and the natural cycle of life. You’ve already confounded physics by becoming the centre of our universe. Stick the spanner in the works a little bit more.

Trust me, you’re much better off in there than out here. There are terrifying, excruciatingly horrifying things out here – like the troll infested internet. When I was a child they lived beneath bridges and ate pets and homeless people. The cunning and adaptable cretins have now however taken refuge in the shadowlands which we call the News24 commentary section. Avoid this place at all cost.

More terrifying than them however is the average user, who is more interested in a girl swinging naked on a wrecking ball, than the mass scale destruction wreaked upon the Philippines by typhoon Haiyan. Both are natural disasters of the worst kind except the one has tits. (Which reminds me; we need to have a talk about what’s mine and what’s yours but that’s a letter for a different day.)

Perhaps you should wait till world peace comes. At the moment everyone in America is shooting everyone else. Russia hates the gays and here in Africa we still have lions roaming the streets, although thanks to a kind lady called Melissa Bachman, that won’t be a problem for much longer. We also have hyenas stealing from the poor, but we call them politicians and unfortunately it will take more than a trigger happy lady with a large gun to get rid of them.

There are worse things here in the wilderness than politicians. Things like lawyers, call centers and hairdressers. The last is a terrifying thing to endure. To them, silence is an unknown concept and if you cannot give them gossip, they will share everyone else’s with you. They are an ancient species pre-empting Facebook and Twitter. Please son. You can become anything you want. Except for a hairdresser. If you do, at least attempt being a strong silent one. But I digress.

You need to hang on to your umbilical cord for a little longer. Your mother and I still haven’t figured out how to be perfect and until we do, you need to stay put. Hells bells boy, we don’t even have a name for you yet. You are currently No Name Nel, which is no name for a child. Your mother believes we will know when you arrive but I’m not a betting man. I suggest you remain till you are old enough to decide on your own name. By this time you’ll also have learned to wipe your own ass and we can get down to serious business, like listening to music and reading books.

If you do decide to change your mind about entering this perilous world let us know by kicking your mother three times in the bladder. Until then we’ll trade South America for the caravan park down the road and do more fixing instead of partying. World peace and the perfect parents might never come, but we’re all stocked up in the love department. Just thought I would let you know in case that’s all you’re looking for.

Regards,

Your father.