One of the posts we don’t live in is the post-phallogocentric age. This is something that comes through clearly when you have a baby, for one of the great games of babydom is to find who the baby resembles. Having a male baby – Adam – has made the game easier, for Adam is supposed to resemble me.
Myself, I don’t see it. I must admit, here, that I have an odd blindness concerning what I look like. When, for instance, I look at family albums, it always takes me a few seconds to put a name to the blonde haired, hunched teen that often forms part of the family group. Oh, me again! And I have lost complete contact with what I look like in the age of digital photographs. I put up photos of myself like any other digital narcissist on facebook, but they do slightly amaze me, because the person in those photos couldn’t be more alien to the person who is, supposedly, inhabiting the face, body and glasses that the photos portray. I have a certain, well, a-sthesia about my face and general aboutness.
But to come back to the point – it isn’t that Adam looks like me or A. that impresses me at the moment (A.’s relatives in America, in fact, think he looks “so French”), but how, at four weeks in his mission to planet earth, I can already see outcroppings of us, gestures and head turns and movements of the eyebrows. Gestures are the music of the body, and in Adam is met our two different melodies, while something – a vanishing point of genius – adds just a little turn to the mix, making all the difference. But there is only one gesture I wanted to write about here. Myself, I do not like being tucked in. Specifically, I do not like my feet being under a blanket. When we check into hotel rooms, I thoroughly and alarmingly deconstruct the bed sheets, which in hotels they have a tendency to fold rigidly under the mattress. They also have a tendency to pile on sheets, which adds to my discomfort. My feet are being strangled! I, absurdly, want to scream. I have noticed that Adam has the same disinclination to the whole totally swaddled thing. Perhaps every infant is the same, but still, I get a little possessive pride when I see my boy kick out of what we are wrapping him in - his Magic Wrap swaddling clothes, or his blankie – even if I know that this won’t do, and wrap him up again. Am I projecting? Or simply watching an impulse, a recklessness, that found its way through me, and is finding its way through Adam, and so on down the generations?