Thursday, April 30, 2015

Day 29.5: The Theory of the New Parent


The Theory of the New Parent

The diligent father-to-be studies,
Dr. Spock and What to Expect
stacked on the nightstand
pages folded, spine cracked.
He finds spare work time
to sneak to parenting sites,
browse expert advice
splashed in pink and blue.

He nods at younger,
vomit-streaked parents,
stifles a smirk at their
premature creases,

offers academic advice
and ignores politely
the baggy-eyed glares
they shoot in response,

wears an easy smile,
ready for anything—
until the sun’s rays shine on the
precious dewdrop from heaven

as he destroys fifteen diapers
and eighteen burp rags
in ten hours of
infant annihilation;

starts crawling ahead of time,
tests like a Jurassic Park raptor
to find the weakness in the
childproofing system;

sleeps sweetly for fifteen
minutes every night,
timing the next scream
with a parental eyelid drop;

and crawls diapered to the door,
reaches for a ladybug,
holds it in a chubby little hand
and devours it,

crunches happily while the last
parents-to-be look on,
suggest a ladybug-free diet,
and try not to smirk.
This penultimate offering in my National Poetry Month challenge is a self-deprecating look back at the early days of parenthood: the careful studying that preceded the births of my boys and the retrospective absurdity of my confidence in my knowledge.  I combined experiences from the babyhoods of each; artistic license is my friend.
The poem structure of four-line stanzas reflects the classical, rigorous approach to studying for parenthood, while the varying line-lengths, beginning with the birth itself are meant to reflect the splitting at the seams of expectations.

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