The Right Coast

December 07, 2004
I was a natalist and didn't even know it
ByTom Smith

According to David Brooks, we're natalists. That's people with as many as four, four!, kids who find parenting the most spiritually fulfilling thing they do. Is parenting spiritually fulfilling? Ask me sometime when I'm not so exhausted. But it does have its moments. For reasons not worth explaining, one year old William has wormed his way into the parental bed recently. He burrows into my armpit, lifts his head, looks at me, says "Da!," and burrows back in. I think "yes, you can blow through my retirement account someday to pay for your Ph.D. in art history, if that's what's really important to you." How do you know if you are a natalist? Perhaps there is no one determining factor. But if when you are through with your minivan, you think it should be burned, that is a hint. If your fantasy life runs more toward sleep than sex, there's another. Can you say, fast, "Three big kid meals, boys, two with Mr. Pibs, one diet coke, one cheeseburger happy meal boy with diet coke, one Big Mac, no fries, medium diet coke thanks I know how much it is see ya at the window"? A tell tale sign. I don't know about what Brooks says about not seeing sophisticated movies, though. I can tell you that Shrek 2 is actually better than the original, and what the best parts of Finding Nemo are (an' I was like I whoa!).