Monday, April 6, 2015

The One Thing I'm Good At

My wife is pregnant. Again. This time Lola is due November 9th. I haven’t been keeping track, but it seems like I announce a new baby two or three times a year. To save time in the future, I’ll just let everyone know when Lola isn’t pregnant. It’s bound to happen eventually. Lola and I are excited, but we might be the only ones. While no one will come right out and say it, I’ve been picking up subtle hints people are tired of us having babies. When Lola and I announced she was pregnant with our first child, my mom let out an audible cry of joy. When we told her about kid number four, she asked us to turn up Wheel of Fortune.

This grainy black-and-white photo shows the newest member of my family. Or the Loch Ness monster. It’s hard to be sure.

I can’t blame my friends and family members for their lack of excitement. I haven’t exactly been father of the year. At this very moment, my 10-month-old, Lucy, is on the ground screaming. I’ll pick her up after I type this sentence. Or this one. Or possibly this one. OK, my wife just grabbed her. I’ve got this parenting thing figured out. In all honesty, my kids would be better off if they were raised by almost anyone else, including a pack of feral wolves. At least that way they’d learn to catch a rabbit with their teeth, which is always a hit at parties.

My prodigious reproduction rate doesn’t just hurt my existing kids. It also injures society as a whole. Each child Lola pumps out carries at least half my DNA, which is exactly 50 percent too much. Scientists have proven the genes that make people good and wholesome are recessive. All the positive qualities my wife gives our little girls are canceled out by my dominant jerk chromosomes. My daughters’ chances of growing up to be polite, well-adjusted human beings are exactly zero. Too bad the peppy optimists of the world can’t compete with my fertility level. Looks like my adorable little misanthropes will overrun the earth.

Cuteness is a genetic adaptation to help small children get away with murder.

It’s not merely the fact I’m having another child that disturbs people; it’s also the timing. My wife and I were debating whether we wanted to wait two years or three after the birth of our last child before we had our next one, but it looks like this kid will come rocketing out at around the 17-month mark. This baby is real go-getter, and that’s a problem. I’ve spent my life elevating slacking-off from an art to a religion. We have Sunday morning services and everything. Anyone motivated enough to get out of bed for one automatically gets kicked out. It’s going to take years of terrible parenting to make this child as aimless as me. Time to brace myself for decades of hard work at doing nothing.

This whole situation isn’t my fault. OK, so it’s entirely my fault, but only from legal and scientific standpoints. On a more speculative level, all the blame falls on my wife’s sister, Alice. That’s the woman who once destroyed a microwave in a vain attempt to make Easy Mac. That has nothing to do with my wife’s pregnancy, but a failure of that magnitude deserves to be mentioned at every possible opportunity until the end of time. Anyway, Alice recently decided she wanted a baby, which is presumably easier to care for than a small bowl of cheesy noodles. She talked to my wife about getting pregnant. She borrowed my wife’s baby books. She invited my wife to go shopping for baby clothes. Thirty seconds later, Lola was pregnant. It’s well known that babies are contagious, but in my wife’s case she’s so fertile the mere thought of someone else’s hypothetical infant was enough to throw her body into self-replication mode. There was no power on heaven or earth that could have stopped the creation of this baby, except for me leaving my wife the hell alone. Good luck with that one.

Having a baby a few months earlier than expected isn’t the end of the world, but it does mean we’ll have a lot of very small children at one time. When the baby is born, we’ll have a 5-year-old, 3-year-old, 17-month-old, and a newborn. As a punishment for all the terrible things I’ve done in my life, I’m certain this child will be another girl, leaving me with a grand total of four daughters and zero hope for the future. When my oldest daughter is 18, my youngest will be 13, meaning I’ll have four teenage girls at once. My current plan is to leave all the parenting to Lola while I hide in a bunker on the moon.

All a man needs to be happy is a loving family and a subterranean fortress in outer space.

We’ve already picked all the girl names we like, so if this kid really is another female, we’ll have to dig deep to find something to call her. We’ve exhausted all the baby name books and online name databases, so this time we’ll have to use less conventional sources of inspiration, like the TV shows or the back of shampoo bottles. I’m sure Exfoliating Agent Breakwell will make us proud. Maybe we won’t give her a name at all. Child Number Four has a nice ring to it. Besides, the only time I use my kids’ names is when they’re in trouble, and at that point they don’t care what I call them. I’m pretty sure my 2-year-old thinks her name is “Stop Touching That.”

My wife has vowed this will be out last child, an empty threat that doesn’t usually come into play until she’s too pregnant to tie her own shoes. When we got married, she wanted no more than four kids and I wanted no less than four, so we’re at a critical crossroads. But if this child has taught us anything, it’s that our baby making skills aren’t quite as precise as we’d like to believe. My only stipulation now is that we keep our total child count under seven. I can barely handle driving a minivan. If I have to upgrade to a short bus, I’m never leaving my moon bunker again.