Stretch Halstead

Jinx. Everything I said yesterday, all of the patterns? He changed. All of them. Crazy baby.

I’m going back to the notion that what’s really happening is we get a new baby every so often. “Oh, who’s this, isn’t he cute?” we’ll say and go about taking care of it knowing that there’s no way to figure him out and even if we did there will be a replacement baby along any minute now. “Hey, this one is cute too!” “Whoa, a noisy one!”

Zane and I sort of watched one of David Attenborough’s Life of Birds installments last night. About the time it wrapped up and they were announcing the next segment, Demands of the Egg, Zane was making his own demands.

I know it has been played out millions and millions of times, but this whole procreation, baby thing is very interesting. Last year at this time Zane was just another egg biding its time in the world’s longest line. Now, watching the little eyes move about, the arms move under increasingly better control, and hearing him start to vocalize you can’t help but feel a sense of awe at the chain of events and processes that brought this about.

Walking down the road the other day I saw a slug munching on the remains of a Red Eft. It struck me, for no particular reason, that were this a movie you’d be able to rewind each of their lives backwards to pretty much the same beginning as our own: a microscopic collection of organic material. The difference between the slug, the Eft, the Zane, the Jerry, the You lies in the series of events, orchestrated by a set of chemical instructions, that follows.

As a parent you aren’t really influencing the steady machinations of these small processes, the how and when of cells dividing and growing. Parenting seems more of a nudge. A breeze that subtly alters a course. Imperceptibly and hopefully for the better, but the journey is long and there are many currents.