Thursday, May 24, 2012


In grad school, I had a frightfully smart/bordering on psychotic theory professor whose major thesis of all his work was that all of western culture was, at its heart, about infanticide. It was maddening, particularly because his classes left you feeling as if something had gone horribly wrong, but you were completely unable to figure out where things started to go wrong. It didn't matter what you were talking about, what you were reading, whatever, because 97% of the time, he would work the conversation back to infanticide. Moreover, this trend toward infanticide was completely at the hand of men, because (paraphrased) "motherhood is one thing which is known beyond a shadow of a doubt, yet fatherhood can never be proven to any degree...which is why men gain revenge for the lack of certainty on their fatherhood by committing (you guessed it) infanticide."

I always suspected (as I did with many of this professor's proclamations) this was wrong, but I never was able to prove it...until I became a father myself. Because there's utterly no doubt this kid is mine.

How do I know? Several ways, actually. There is a definite physical resemblance. Many people have told me she looks very much like me. I would then do the typical self-deprecating thing and exclaim "Poor girl!," "But that can't be...she's cute!," or something similar. In fact, some of my "friends" are saying similar things to this day.

My next clue was her feet. She has DuBose toes. My whole family was blessed with extremely long (bordering on finger-length) toes. Sylvia has them too. I have freakishly long toes, and I sometimes amuse myself by using them to pick objects off the floor...which amuses myself greatly. Lately, Sylvia's been doing the same thing...when I change her, she'll grab the clean diaper with her feet and yank it out of my reach...the little imp.

Then there's the gestures. When she was a few months old, I was trying to make her laugh while she was sitting on my lap. She gave me a look of withering contempt before sighing and hunching her shoulders. My blood ran cold...I'd seen myself doing that exact gesture over and over. I could see Sylvia inflicting upon me every single annoying thing I did to my parents.

Then there's music. Shortly after learning to crawl, she started going up to my living room guitar and bashing the strings. She still does this. It makes my heart soar every time I hear it. Lately, she's discovered that if she howls into one of her hollow plastic toys, it adds reverb. I also love this beyond words...because it proves she, just like me, also loves effects.

Of course, there's plenty of my daughter which does not come from me...her piercing eyes and her cuteness, just to name a few. But it all adds to the fun.

Life, 1--pseudo-psychotic theory professors, 0.

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