Child Care Snails

It’s fair to say that a lot of men don’t take their duties and responsibilities as a father seriously. And in the animal world that is true too, with many males of the species too busy mating with multiple partners in an attempt to increase their chances of producing offspring, and neglecting their childcare duties. But there is one shining example of selfless male parenting – the marine whelk. Solenosteira macrospira, as he is known, does all the work of raising the young, from egg-laying to hatching – even though few of the baby snails are his own.

daddy whelks

When the snails mate, the female glues capsules, containing hundreds of eggs each, to the male’s shell. The male then carries them around for over a month lovingly nurturing them.\n\nBut when researchers carried out Jerry Springer “Who’s the daddy?”  style DNA tests on the hatched offspring, they found, on average, that the male snails were the fathers of just 24% of the babies they had carried on their backs. Many had sired far less. And some carried the offspring of as many as 25 other males. “The promiscuity in the female snails is extraordinary,” says Stephanie Kamel, one of the study’s authors.

Thankfully marine whelks carry around their own homes – their shells – so the snails don’t have to get a large mortgage and shell out (shell out! get it? oh come on!) for a bigger home for all their step-sons and step-daughters.

So why do the male snails do it? The researchers say it might be because carrying egg capsules are a way for a male to show a female that he\’s good parent material. “If he wants to get any action, he has to pay the price,” says Kamel. So maybe it’s not quite so selfless after all.

Militant Lactivism

Flicking through wife’s Harper’s Bazaar I read an article on Brazilian supermodel Gisele and her recent birthing experience.She says that she meditated throughout her eight-hour labour – no doubt purring like a sex kitten between contractions – and that she got back her bikini body in just 6 weeks thanks to breastfeeding.

She says ‘I think breastfeeding really helped. Some people here [in the US] think they don’t have to breastfeed, and I think, “Are you going to give chemical food to your child when they are so little?” I think there should be a worldwide law, in my opinion, that mothers should breastfeed their babies for six months.’

Now I am an advocate of “breast is best” and quite possibly Gisele’s breasts are the best in the world but that last sentence is ridiculous.“A worldwide law on breastfeeding.”

This is typical celebrity la la nonsense. Did it not occur to her that some women through circumstances or health issues perhaps can’t breastfeed? And how would you implement the law Gisele? Would there be breast police  (now there’s an idea)? Would you throw people in jail if they were caught with a baby bottle?

This is militant lactivism taken to its ridiculous conclusion.

First Day Back At Work

My paternity leave has ended. I have been in the privileged position of being able to take time off for the birth and first two months of our new baby girl. But all things must end and this week I had to return to work. I was not looking forward to it.I love my job (I am a television producer/director) but I didn’t want to leave my beloved baby.  I was also worried how wifey would cope with no extra pair of hands. Up until now we tag teamed. But now she will be home alone.

On my first day back at work I got up with baby, bathed her, fed her and played with her until it was time to leave. Walking to the tube I had a whole new perspective on going to work. I was now going off to work  to earn money to feed my wife and baby. I am now a provider, I thought. I am man. I am part cave man part farmer / miner / fisherman. I am doing what men do. What they have done since the dawn of time.  Leaving the family to go off to work, to work hard so they can fill the mouths of their little ones.

The reality is I am a media ponce going off to sit in an edit suite and make tv shows, but on that 7 minute walk to the underground station I felt in tune with my fellow men, my fellow fathers throughout the centuries. I walked proud I walked tall. “Get out the way I have to feed my baby” I wanted to yell as I fought with the tourists and the commuters to get on the train.It was nice to go back to work to see the crew and get my brain working again. But I did miss my baby. I kept sneaking at pics of baby on my laptop and coming over all misty eyed.

I couldn’t wait to come home.
I left early so eager was I to see baby.
I walked in the door, kissed wifey and said hello to baby. She smiled back. And I felt wonderful. “Man has returned. With food and things for his family” I said in my best caveman voice. Not out loud just in my head. This is what life is about, I thought. Man returning home to his family after a hard days work.

After 40 years I have finally become a family man.Full of joy I picked up baby and cuddled her.\r\n\r\nShe looked at me and then started crying. And crying. And screaming. Inconsolable she was.“She must be hungry:” I said.“Don’t think so she was just fed.”  says wifey.\r\n\r\nI speak to baby, I rock her, I try and calm her down. But she is having none of it. I reluctantly hand her back to wifey, knowing what will come. And sure enough in wifey’s arms baby immediately stops crying.In that moment my heart is smashed in two.

I go away for 9 hours and already she hates me.  I go to bed early, heartbroken.