Several years ago, before marriage and baby, I came out to San Diego for work. I stayed with a couple who had a young daughter, maybe around five or six. One night the couple had a barbecue, and another couple with a kid came over. The two kids ran around the yard and screamed and laughed, as little girls do, while the adults sat on the porch and chatted. They were talking as if everything were PERFECTLY NORMAL even though there were ear-splitting shrieks a few feet away. “What is wrong with these people?” I thought. “Is parenting the ability to ignore horrible noise like this?”
Yes, it is. This past weekend we went to a barbecue at a friend’s house, and other folks’ kids and Baby Harbat ran around and played on the swings while screaming and laughing. My only concern was being able to hear the conversation. It has happened to me. I’m reminded of National Geographic photos of mother lions who have cubs crawling up their heads by their claws and biting their noses while the mother sits with perfect placidity. Now I know the mother has heard it all, been bitten before, and is probably exhausted. Fine, she thinks, let them climb on my head. As long as they don’t get picked up by a vulture or bite my butt, they can do what they want.