Monday, December 19, 2011

Hopped up on goofballs

Recently, my friend Michelle's husband wrote a very honest post about how hilarious he and Michelle were before their baby was born.  He expressed how many of us were before the baby comes.  Oh, were we earnest.  Oh, did we plan it all out.  We were going to be the BEST, MOST INFORMED PARENTS EVER. He wrote, "We approached every little decision with such gravitas and intellectualism. Then, all of a sudden, we were left alone in our house with a brand-spanking newborn! My first thought: 'Oh Shit! That’s a BABY!'"

Yeah, that's pretty much it.

His first rule for new and soon-to-be parents:  YOU WILL SCREW UP YOUR KID.  "Accept it, embrace it, move on."  

Truer words were never spoken.

I have this little habit of reading random blogs and if they are blogs about having babies I am like a moth to a poorly-written flame.  I can't tear myself away from these trainwrecks, where the poor moms-to-be go on ad nauseum about their birth plans and their attachment parenting and the angst over the best sling - not best in terms of "does it work and is it comfortable" - but best in terms of "is this sling going to help my baby be a well-adjusted MD in the future?"

And my eyes, they roll.  They roll so hard I fear they'll retreat inside my head and just stay there out of defiance of the rolling.

But it's not fair for my eyes to do such rolling.  I was the same way.  I think you have to be.  There is no way to prepare ones self for having a baby.  There is no way to know what birth and labor will be like.  There is no way to know what kind of personality your baby will have or what your tolerance for screaming will be or how you'll act when you don't sleep for a month.  There is just no way to plan for this alien to enter your home.  But dammit, you have to try.

You have to read every nutter with an internet connection's theories on child rearing, birth, nutrition, and spirituality.  BECAUSE IT MAKES YOU FEEL BETTER.  Maybe you DO have some control.  Maybe this IS less a giant petrie dish and more a skillfully executed improvement of humanity you are embarking on.

My friend Lindsey maintains that there is something about pregnancy and post partum hormones that make people nuts.  "They're all hopped up on goofballs," she says.  She's right.  These people who are normally regular, fun, beer drinking, reality tv watching women turn into compulsive ninnies who are afraid to put their babies in the bassinet so they can take a shower for fear of ruining the parent-child attachment that is SO VITAL in the first seven years of life.

So let me just say this.  If you are going to get all freaky about your parenting (and you are, OH YOU ARE) just bear this in mind.  Your kid?  Chances are he's going to be fourteen one day, barring any major tragedies and I promise none of them will have a thing to do with a baby sling, and he's going to hate your soul, no matter if you held him on your chest for nine years solid and fed him nothing but breastmilk until he started tying his shoes.  

I say this not to be hateful or to spoil any joy you take in your new babies, but because the pressure? IT IS OFF.  Like Michelle's husband said, YOU ARE GOING TO SCREW IT UP.  

And really, isn't that a relief?  Kick off your shoes, pour a cocktail, and turn on the tv.  It's going to be okay, even when it's not.


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