This is the last full week that my wife and I will have a child-free marriage. Today marks week 39 of our 40 week journey and my wife and I have grown quite a bit in these last 10 months! If you were to replay this pregnancy in fast forward, we would look like crazy people with how often we changed our mind on very important, life altering matters.
While most of my posts are humorous exaggerations of our pregnancy, let me take a moment to be completely transparent. I am freaking out!
Even though I am the last of my friends to start the baby making business and I am older than most people who have their first kid, I feel completely unprepared. Yeah, I may love this little girl who I’ve never met more than life itself but that doesn’t mean I’m capable of holding her seconds-old body in my clumsy, shaking arms! Knowing me, I’ll be dehydrated by crying so much before she’s even born they’ll have to hook me up to an IV!
And that’s only the beginning! I have to be her parent her whole life!
Back when I wasn’t planning on having children, I admit, I may have judged a few of my friends for the way they parented. But now, watching how they handle some of the most stressful situations with the upmost swagger, I realize that I have so much to learn!
Like the friends who let their child gather every salt shaker in the restaurant to create a castle around their plate as they, the parents, happily enjoyed their own meals, not paying him a bit of attention. Before I saw this as a lack of discipline by the parent on their uncontrollable kid. Now I realize they were teaching their child how to utilize resources in their environment to protect their property from incoming invaders, e.g. their siblings. I mean, it’s genius!
And then you see people with the “dad-reflex” who grab their kid right before he wanders off a cliff. Bravo! I mean, you did let your kid play next to a cliff to begin with but that’s just your parenting style. I don’t want to dad-shame or anything.
If fact, none of this is parent-shaming. It’s more parent-admiring. I like to think I’m a selfless person but I don’t have kids. I like to imagine that I’m a patient person but that hasn’t been tested by fire!
There are so many super human abilities that parents have acquired, and yet all of my years as a nearly self sufficient adult haven’t taught me anything! Is there a parenting boot camp I have to audit? Or does every parent just get bitten by a radioactive toddler?
Whatever it may be, I don’t have it! But I wanted to point out a few super human abilities I’m hoping that I get when I become a parent!
1.The Ability to Remain Calm During Chaos
I’m sure you’ve been there before. You make plans with your friend you haven’t seen in the past few year. Ever since he had his kid he’s been too busy with play-dates and dress-ups. You go to the trendy coffee shop that’s known for its peaceful atmosphere. You arrive first because you have no kids and punctuality is still a priority to you. Thirty minutes later a bus shows up and when the doors open a flood of children pour out and come running towards the unsuspecting cafe. And in strolls your friend acting like he’s got it all under control while his little devils scream for every pastry in the display case. He asks if the barista can make a flat white, then argues it’s not made like McDonald’s makes it. After he sits down he tells you the babysitter cancelled and mom needed sleep. He relaxes with his coffee while his tiny terrors destroy the condiment bar.
And while this used to give me anxiety, now I realize it’s the difference between a Sergeant and a Rookie in the middle of a battlefield. The rook is freaking out over the sound of gunfire across the battlefield while the seasoned sarge knows what to do to keep himself alive. He’s not gonna cry over spilt hot chocolate. He knows the difference between chaos and catastrophe. The threat level is only orange. It’ll be five more minutes before it turns to red and they’re asked to leave. That’s five more minutes of enjoying your coffee and spending time with an old friend.
I speak one language and not all that well, mind you. So when my nephew enters the room talking a million words a minute, sounding like a Star Wars alien reject, I let him down hard every time. It makes me anxious just to be alone in a room with a kid, fearing a random conversation might start. If the interpreter has to pee, the room could revolt into utter chaos! What if I tell them it’s okay to start the couch on fire? I am not responsible for what I don’t know I’m agreeing to!
If I am left alone, I just act like I don’t speak any language and make unusual grunting noises. My wife has learned to manipulate the situation by always asking them questions, not giving them any leeway in the conversation. You control the conversation, you control the room. But a lot of kids add the unnecessary rising inflection to the end of their sentence which makes me think they’re answering my question with a question of their own! They’re captain of this ship and I am their prisoner!
If I never learn how to understand my child I have found a way around the problem. Teaching them sign language so we have a middle ground. Sadly, I don’t know sign language either so I hope I don’t give them permission to paint the car…
3. Mommy Telepathy
This super power levels the playing field. Yeah, they may have you outnumbered, but you know all of their thoughts before they even think them! As a kid I couldn’t step one foot out of my bed without my mom crashing through the door, scaring the crap out of me! But as for me right now, at the age of 29, my dog can destroy half of the sofa while I’m in the same room and I don’t even notice! This is why babysitting is so hard! I don’t have the ability to read minds! I don’t even know what I’m thinking half the time!
I couldn’t even let a smirk past my mom without her scolding me from her face alone! Even after I moved out and was living states away I’d still get the random phone call from her. “Don’t go out with that girl without putting on clean underwear first!” Damn mom, be cool!
4. Mom Arms
Yeah, you heard me. I’m a dude and I want mom arms. There are some moms out there who are about 5’2″ and look like they’d be 100lbs dripping wet yet they’ve been holding their twins (who measure 50lbs each) for four hours without breaking a sweat! I can’t hold two gallons of milk for more than a minute without looking for a chair! People always look offended whenever I don’t hold their babies long enough! “Oh, you don’t want to hold your niece?” I just did and now my arm feel like it’s gonna fall off. No need to go to the gym later, I got my workout here! But you won’t hear this complaint out of mom’s mouth. It’s like the child is apart of her body. Though I guess it was for 10 months… I would rather carry a child in my arms than my stomach…
Even if I could have one of these super powers I would feel more equipped as a father! Sadly, I think it may all be “experiential learning.” My least favorite kind of learning right next to the new form of math… Crap, I’m gonna have to teach this kid math!
I hope you guys liked this and continue to follow me on this journey! If you’re not subscribed, click the button down below. It helps out a ton!