When my children were born, bonding hadn't been invented yet. I was given a sedative just before the birth and didn't wake up until the kid was about 2 or 3 years old.

When my husband bought season tickets to the Phoenix Suns basketball games, we saw this as a time to "bond" with our children. With 40 home games to view, the combinations were without limit. He'd go with one son one night and I'd go with my daughter the next home game. Then I'd go with another son and he'd go with our daughter. This would be an opportunity to have social interaction with one another, find out how they felt about life, and form a covenant of feelings that sometimes get lost in the daily routine.At the end of the first quarter in a game with the Chicago Bulls, I turned to my daughter to tell her how close I felt to her when I saw her leaning over the seat in front of her.

"What's the matter?" I asked.

"I lost an earring," she said. "I think it fell down that man's pants."

"I don't believe you," I said. "It's like going out with Peg Bundy on `Married With Children.' "

"Mom! I didn't do it on purpose," she said. "I'll know for sure when he stands up."

The man stood up to cheer and got a strange look on his face.

"Don't call me Mom," I whispered. "I don't know you."

My husband's experience wasn't exactly spiritual either. One of our sons complained that the seats were so far up he felt rain. My husband told him we were lucky to get them.

Right after the tipoff, he motioned to his dad to follow him to a closer section where there were vacant seats. His father said he couldn't do that because it was dishonest. So they sat apart.

When we tried to establish some kind of human relationship with our other son, we both had the same experience. He was like some wandering minstrel; he was never in his seat. If he wasn't standing in a line to buy soft drinks and tacos, he was going to the restroom or hanging out with friends. Once when he got back during the fourth quarter, I leaned over and said, "Daddy and I are glad you were born." He nodded silently and then asked, "Compared to what?"

When new parents talk about bonding, it sounds so warm and fuzzy. Maybe it works only when one party can't talk.