Monday, June 01, 2009

Necessity, the mother of invention

Plato's Republic is one of the most influential works of philosophy and political theory because of it's dialogue on the meaning of justice and society as well as Theory of Forms, the place of poetry, and the immortality of the soul. His famous allegory of the cave did wonders to illustrate our nature and how we go from seeing shadows projecting things from outside the cave to actually going out and seeing the real thing.

I am not going to discuss the Republic in detail because honestly, I can only remember parts of it, and whoever is reading this will probably roll their eyes, call me pretentious, and fall asleep anyway. However, some of the stuff from it does relate to my life.

Anyone who says studying philosphy is useless is probably an accountant who's idea of a meaningful life is auditing other people's companies until midnight or an ambulance chasing lawyer whose idea of literature is Dan Brown novels. Neither of them are happy or enlightened I can assure you. I am not either but at least I know that I am not.

Anyway, my old buddy Plato hit the nail on the head when he said, "necessity is the mother of invention." That is something I can really relate to. Discipline is not my strong suit. I normally do things out of necessity and only when they need to be done rather than just for the sake of doing it.

However, I will travel great distances, carry a few heavy sample bags and sell more goods than any of the salesmen who work for my company, when the time calls for it. I am no born salesman but I find my own way of doing it because if there's a will, the way will present itself. My livelihood depends on it after all. I have a family to feed.

Although I used to apologize about being a scatterbrain and borderline ADD case in the past, these days I don't waste my time doing it. There are other things to concern myself with. I know "what" I have to do and "when" I have to do it. The "how" is where the invention comes in and that can be fun. Everyone has their own way of doing things.

Taking care of my son has also made me step my game a little bit more. My wife has gone back to work so I am helping out more than I used to. Changing diapers, bathing him or washing the shit from his ass is easier than some people make it look. My wife normally does it but when I have to do it, it is done in record time, before the kid has time to make noise and resist.

My son can already understand instructions these days even though he may protest loudly. I never waste time negotiating with him. All I tell him is, the faster I wash and change him, the faster he can go run around and play. Grabbing him and doing a fast job of it is the only way for me. It works because lately he sits quietly till I'm done. He sometimes gives an amusing look as if to tell me, "that's not how mummy does it". Well, "I am not mummy am I? You can give mummy a hard time later but for now sit quietly and don't make me have to wrestle you."

We still have his "terrible two" phase to look forward to. I am trying to build myself up to handle it. He is still not a good sleeper. His mum has been co-sleeping with him. That was her idea and it does work to some extent but it has made him more attached to her, especially at night. He still needs to suckle for comfort. If it was up to me the controlled crying would have solved the problem months ago.

The upside of it is that he is still being breastfed. It would be great if we could keep doing it till he turns two at least. He's a lucky boy. I was only breastfed for a few months as a baby because my mother was already pregnant with my sister when I was three months old so it disrupted her lactation. My wife was never breastfed at all as a baby. It wasn't encouraged in the Chinese community back then apparently.

We know better now of course. So that is why she is so determined to give our boy all the extra nourishment he deserves. She is already expressing her milk at work so she can make sure he is fed while he is at the nursery. It is necessary to find ways and be inventive when you're a mother because necessity after all is the mother of invention, like Plato said.

No comments: