Flannery Correspondence

May 1, 2010

Men Are from Mars: Are You Crazy?

Filed under: POPS! — BrianOFlan @ 17:34

December 4, 2009

by Brian Flannery

When people hear we are working on fostering another child, the first reaction is usually, “Are you crazy?” In defense of my sanity as a man, let me explain that I understand the question. The last thing I need is another baby around. Kids are useless until the age of one.  Get them walking and saying a few words before you expect me to notice them.

Women love the tiny, sleepy, squeaky and pathetically dependent newborn phase. In general, pathetically dependent is a female’s crack cocaine. Men aren’t nearly so fascinated by passive, needy, tightly-bundled, sluggish cuteness. We’ll tolerate it with a warning: This free ride has a time limit (Chores start at age 2. Lawn mowing starts at age 4.)

The most interesting thing about this new baby is found in the front of his diapers. That’s right, one wife and four daughters later, my bachelor pad was lonesome for another y-chromosome. My ulterior motive is future guy time: Just me, the unwashed dog, the adopted male and a sign on the door, “Toilet seat up; beware.”

Another advantage to this kind of child acquisition is keeping siblings together. If he remains with us, he remains with his two biological sisters. I’m sure alternative family situations like foster-adoption can be disorienting. Having something to hold on to may offer some extra peace of mind. But, this advantage has limits. For example, we cannot take any more of their siblings or any other babies. We’re full. We may consider having another child of our own in a decade or two.

These advantages are not good reasons, just perks. The real reason is that Christa and I had agreed we were ready to grow the family again. I know that may sound crazier than accepting a baby who happened to be available. We certainly didn’t expect a child to come so quickly. These things usually have a 9-month buffer.

Why were we willing to increase our already absurd family size at all? Well, what’s one more? After two children it’s a blur anyway. Christa often asks me if I can remember all our children’s birthdays. I don’t tell her that I don’t even know most of their names. When Christa told me social services called and offered us a baby, my first response was, “Sure. How many do we have now?”

To be clear, we are not baby crazy. We are not snatching unattended children from grocery store shopping carts. We are employing multiple, fault-tolerant and redundant forms of birth control, despite the extreme rarity of Mommy-Daddy time.

If life is valuable, if people are valuable, then we are just investing in the only currency that does not go back in the box at the end of the game. And that’s why it’s worth it to me.

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