I’m Only Taking Parenting Advice From Killer Whales From Now On
Like many of you, I was moved to tears as I followed the heartbreaking story of J35, a wild killer whale who spent 17 days mourning her beloved deceased calf. As she carried the body of her baby around in her mouth in the ultimate gesture of motherhood, I found myself questioning all the ways in which human society destroys the meaningful lives of our children, and I came to the only possible conclusion: We need to parent like animals. That’s why, from now on, I’m raising my children only using methods approved by real moms who happen to be killer whales.
I began my studying with about 78 hours of nature documentaries. I absorbed as much information as I could about killer whales to better understand their unmatched maternal love. I learned that killer whales give birth underwater and nudge their babies toward the surface to take their first breaths. I felt terrible that I had denied my teenage sons this first bonding experience, which is why I dragged both of them into the bathtub and held them down a few seconds before yanking them up to let them know I would always rescue them. They responded by saying “Mom, you’re being weird.” I started gently nudging them with my nose as a sign that playtime was over.
Unfortunately, my next research session taught me that male killer whales have no contact with their offspring. I’ve locked my husband out of the house, but since I’m now largely communicating in squeaks and chirps, I couldn’t really explain why. At least this way, I don’t have to admit that orcas are polyamorous.
I also read a study that said young male killer whales without a strong maternal presence are 3.7 times more likely to die. Obviously, that’s not happening to my pod, so I began following my sons to school and trailing them from a short distance. I spent hours circling around them and displaying aggression nudges toward any other calves that got too close. At first, the other calves regarded it as funny. “Your mom is hilarious, Brian,” they said, so I bumped one into a bank of lockers. Combined with the light bite marks, they got the message to stay away. After all, some of them may be grey whale calves, so they’re lucky I left them breathing, you know what I’m saying?
Then something truly terrible happened: Landon, my youngest, got turned down by a girl for homecoming because she already had another date. Killer whale moms have a lot of patience, but there’s a limit. My calf being denied adequate sexual opportunities can reduce the chances of my genetic line continuing. I’m not taking this floating down.
With Landon by my side, I circled the the other boy, trapping him in a shallow area of the community pool. We disoriented him with hunting calls, and then I rammed him repeatedly with my head. It was painful for me, both physically and spiritually, but I am determined to be a good killer whale mom. We only broke a couple of ribs, but I don’t think he’ll be slow-dancing any time soon. We’re now banned from the pool, but Landon and I are closer than ever.
It was around this time that my husband managed to break back into the house. I told him “Sorry, buddy, we already mated once this season,” but he didn’t listen. Typical orca dad. He was there with two people who I was pretty sure were doctors, but he referred to them as orca specialists. I tried to communicate with them through low-pitched groaning, but it wasn’t coming through. He told me they were taking me to a nice park where I’d have my very own pool and meals delivered to me and lots of people would come to visit me and take pictures. I have to admit, it sounded pretty nice!
Of course, when they separated me from my calves, I had to murder all three of them. Out of respect, I’ve carried my husband’s arm around in my mouth for the last couple days. Honestly, I have to say, it just isn’t as moving when it’s not a calf.