Archive for January, 2010|Monthly archive page
Baby Julia and I have been fighting the bottle battle lately. I can hardly blame her for preferring the breast, but the best I can do is to offer time shifted breast milk. Today, Julia drank milk that was pumped on December 14, 2009. This mundane form of time travel has benefits for the working mother, who is able to be away from baby for more than a few hours at a time without jeopardizing comfort or sacrificing production.
My wife and I have decided to shuffle our shares of market and non-market labor once again, and we are now running a co-provider economic model rather than a primary breadwinner/caregiver duo. We are each working around 32 hours a week at paid labor, caring for our children and taking turns picking up after toddler tornados the remaining 136 hours per week. Basically what this means is that I am working more hours than before and Janelley is doing more laundry. One of the great things I am finding with this arrangement is that since we have similar time at home with the kids, the misleading label of stay at home father is out the window. I haven’t been demoted, rather my time has shifted. I still get to engage in the alchemy of transforming time into love much more than turning time into money, a bargain at any price.
Along with calculus, the Farmer’s Almanac, and the internet, family planning is one of the great changes that distinguishes us from our more willy-nilly ancestors. We have a responsibility as the most advanced beings on earth to both propagate the species and to procreate within our means. For our family, that means two children is enough. Despite the wide variety of options available to women wishing to prevent pregnancy, non-invasive birth control that is controlled by men boils down to condoms or abstinence.
While filling out the paperwork during my pre-op visit to the vasectomist, I couldn’t help but notice the archaic questions on the form (I believe it was copyrighted in the early ’80s). The literature seemed to indicate that only men over 30 with two or more children should consider a vasectomy. I strongly believe that being a man who doesn’t want any(more) kids is the proper criteria. My doctor walked me through the procedure, wrote me a prescription to ease operating room jitters, and encouraged me to schedule an appointment any time after the mandatory 30 day waiting period. We also discussed the former Winnipeg Jets, Teemu Selanne, and my favorite video game of all time, NHL ’94.
Roughly two months later, the day had arrived: Janelle would take the morning off from work to be my chauffeur and her mom would watch the children. I was showered and shaved, just about to pop my sedatives and be driven to my destiny, but the mood changed abruptly as I descended toward the living room. The clinic had called and the appointment was canceled. One of the biggest decisions of my life, carefully considered and coordinated on our end, had been dashed on the rocks of bureaucratic bullshit. According to a decidedly uninvolved medical receptionist, my health insurance (which is subsidized by the state) requires an additional form to be signed. It was unclear whether the clinic misplaced the form I did sign, or if an additional form should have been presented during my pre-op visit. I did not receive anything approaching an apology for a human error, but was informed several times that the problem was due to the “form not being signed”.
Once again, the system has failed me. Dylan received a duplicate vaccination by mistake last year, my dental insurance is not accepted by any dentists, and now the Dad-ratted doctor won’t cut my vas deferens unless I sign another piece of paper and wait 30 days. From a business point of view, these outcomes make perfect sense. Departures from prepared scripts lead to errors, public insurance that pays out less than the cost of a procedure will not be honored, and the haphazard requirements of various private insurers are cumbersome, unnavigable, and inhumane.
So why am I so happy? In terms of biological success, I had been about to self-destruct and was granted a temporary reprieve. No wonder the world seems so full of possibility today.