Parental Cognitive Dissonance

It would seem that I have found my parental instincts, somewhat to my own detriment! Since our now week-old son arrived, I’ve found myself compelled to obsessively check, recheck, and take action to remedy negative changes to his condition, be that hunger, diaper change, etc. I can only assume this is an instinct embedded deep in my brain by eons of human evolution. However, it would seem that there are more of these instincts lurking in the depths of my hind brain, waiting for a chance to leap out…

Last night, Dashiell made a new sound for the first time. In the middle of changing his diaper (a process that reliably produces his most piteous wails of dismay), he utterly obliterated what I had previously thought to be the upper boundaries of his volume, pitch, and raw emotion, achieving an unbelievably loud, hoarse keen something very like the sound large metal girders make when their load limits are exceeded and they tear apart, only higher pitched. As I desperately tried to finish the diaper change, a new compulsion bubbled up within me. This one said, “When you hear this sound, you will allow no other concern, no resistance, no law of nature to keep you from immediately destroying whatever has caused your child to make it!”

I stood there for likely a full ten seconds (it seemed like an hour), frozen stiff, locked in a massive internal battle between the compulsion to complete the very necessary, if intellect-moderated, act of re-diapering my child, and the likely more amygdala-moderated compulsion to rend that dastardly diaper (and subsequently, myself) into a thousand tiny pieces for having caused this distress. I’m not qualified to diagnose such things, but I believe that I experienced a full-blown panic attack of clinical proportions.

I’m not actually sure how I finished the diapering process, but I managed to deliver my freshly diapered son into my wife’s care mere moments before bursting into tears and nearly collapsing.

Mother Nature, you’re a real bitch!