As amazing as the human body is, it has some serious design flaws that I want to discuss with whoever's in charge.
I say this because as I watch my newborn son grow, it occurs to me that certain systems could have been put together a lot better. (Hey listen, when you're up for your third feeding of the early morning you can't help but think that there's got to be a better way…)
For instance, consider the human digestive system. It is clearly designed for an upright, bipedal creature. Food goes in at the top and is meant to slide down. Unfortunately, while your average baby deer can walk within a couple of hours of birth, human babies can't even sit upright for several weeks. Babies are, however, exceptionally good at swallowing air and trapping it deep in hard to release places like, say, the middle left toe.
As a parent you will try anything to help your cranky baby get rid of gas: you'll put him over your shoulder, across your lap, over your arm, or dangle him by his feet. Indeed, we've tried putting our wee one in so many different positions that my husband reckons we can now write a book called: The Karma Burpa.
It's also not particularly clever to have a food intake system share the same plumbing as the air intake system. This is because babies have all the patience of a New York cab driver when it comes to eating, and forget to do vital things like, oh, breathe between mouthfuls. This means that contrary to popular belief, a baby's first words are not things like “mama” or “dada” but rather “grlp” and “snrk.” See also deeply trapped gas, above.
Not that our first words are particularly useful anyway. We humans are for some reason not born with the ability to communicate with our elders effectively. Any attempt to compile a Newborn to English dictionary might look like this:
I'm hungry: WahIt also doesn't help that humans have no idea what all their various bits are for or how to control them. A child doesn't know she has hands or how to use them and in the meantime she'll whap herself in the nose or pull her own hair and wonder why it hurts. The relationship between cause and effect isn't learned for quite some time; indeed, in some people, not until middle age.
I need a diaper change: Wah
I'm bored: Wah
I need a hug: Wah
I'm about to spit up on that shirt you just changed into: Wah
I've got air trapped in my middle left toe: WAAAH
Perhaps the most important flaw humans have though pertains to the need for sleep. Personally, I've never been a big fan of sleep: it takes me forever to fall asleep, I resent the amount of time it takes out of my life, and once asleep and comfy, I hate trying to drag myself out of bed in the morning. But now I have another reason to dislike the need for sleep there is a fundamental mismatch between a baby's sleep schedule and that of their parents. And all I can say to that is:
Well good thing handle sleep deprivation I can it's a.
To read more of Chandra's work, visit www.ChandraKClarke.com.