Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Baby Thoughts

My wife is pregnant and is due to give birth in a couple of weeks. We both generally don't like the attention that comes with being pregnant. She didn't want a baby shower and I told no one at my work that my wife was pregnant. Most of my life has been spent avoiding people asking me questions and when you have a baby people ask you all kinds of questions. I hate answering questions and having people stand in my office while I talk about my personal life isn't my idea of a productive day. My wife hates having the focus on her because she feels stupid that people will travel from all over to give her a baby shower. She's weird in that way. I have noticed a few funny things about baby preparation and some traits of future parents of babies through this whole process though.

Getting ready for the baby really isn't that hard. It's hard, in that you don't want to do it because you have other things you would like to do, but putting the crib up took 45 minutes and painting the nursery took half a day to do. I'm not mechanically inclined, but this baby stuff is pretty much idiot-proof to put together. The hardest part about the whole process has been having to adapt to my and my wife's new walking style. We both walk very fast and now she can't move as quickly as she used to. I'm still ready to burn rubber and speed-walk around, but she trails behind, so I have to slow down which really messes me up. Other than that, you just have to get mentally prepared for the baby, which entails daily reminders to yourself that you are having a baby, because there's no real way to get mentally prepared.

A lot of comedy in pop culture comes out of parents putting up a crib, a changing table, and the various other contraptions the baby will eventually ignore completely or absolutely despise, making the very effort spent putting these contraptions together useless. Other than the changing table, which briefly tested by ability to not just throw the parts into a living room bonfire and cackle while the entire house goes up in flames because I have no idea how to control a fire, it wasn't incredibly hard to put together the baby stuff. We have bought three different types of baby pacifying contraptions. She has the option of laying down, swinging, swaying, gently swinging, gently swaying, moving back in forth (not to be confused with swaying) or barely being reclined. So when the baby is crying or upset we have three options to put the baby in to pacify her (oh, we are having a girl). I have zero doubt she will hate all of these contraptions and be pacified most by being place on top of the television or placed in the freezer. Babies are weird that way. But overall, the hardest part about getting ready for the baby is trying to find baby furniture that won't fall apart when you place a baby on it. It's pretty easy to put this stuff together and I am not mechanically inclined. I'm sure other people have had the same experience.

Now I can be one of those "I'm too busy" people. This is the best part. For a few years now, I have tried to contact some of my friends and been hit back with the "Sorry it took so long to get back to you, things have been crazy around here. You'll find out when you have kids." There's nothing like being talked down to like that. I call these people "Children Snobs," even if they are often my best friends. It's great to join this club. Now I can use my children as a cover for why I don't keep in contact with my friends. I know raising a kid is hard, tiring and takes up time. Trust me, I get it, and I can't wait to be a part of this club so I can now treat everyone who doesn't have children like they work 10 hours a week at Starbucks and have absolutely no concept of having responsibility in life. The insinuation from these Children Snobs is that they are very busy and don't have the time you have to keep and maintain the relationship. You call them, but only because you have the time these Children Snobs do not have. Once you have a child, then you will understand just how busy you truly can be. There's nothing like being looked down on by the Children Snobs for daring to not have children and therefore being completely incapable of understand the responsibilities that life with children entails. I feel fortunate I can finally understand what it is to be truly busy. I've spent most of my life just sitting around doing absolutely nothing. I get to be a Children Snob, so expect to never hear from me again.

Future baby parents have everything planned. My wife and I went to birthing classes and it was hilarious to me. I'm not ever going to be a perfect parent and I realize that, but these eager first-time parents blew my mind. Some of these couples seemingly had their children's entire life planned. I'm pretty sure a few of the parents in this class were already working on college applications and buying long-term care insurance for their children. I get the feeling these parents will start picking up nursing home brochures for when their little one finally retires and needs a place to live. After all, this small child may never have children and how on Earth would the child understand the responsibility required to live his/her life without having children, so a nursing home is the best thing to look into at least 65 years in advance.

Hey, different strokes for different folks, but there were women who had "a plan" for their birth in these classes. I think that's cute and admirable. But...the shit is going to go down how the baby wants it to go down though. Just be prepared and roll with the punches. Have a birth plan, but don't go announcing your plan because you may feel stupid when it doesn't work out the way you planned. We haven't even named our child yet, though to our credit we have it narrowed down to four names (none of which are Justina Upton as I suggested). We were the only couple in the class who had not named their child yet. I have to see her first before I can name her. We narrow it down to two names and then whichever one we like (or the one she most looks like) that's her name. People ask me, "What are you going to do if she is born and she doesn't have a name yet?" Well, we would then name her. You know, she's not a dog. It's not like if we don't give her a name immediately upon birth she will wander off and find a new home.

There's nothing wrong with going ahead and naming your child, but I looked around the room and saw the potential for helicopter parents. I can see it already starting. Again, I'm not perfect nor do I think my way is always the right way, but I can see the control freak in some of these parents beginning with one mom explaining to the class "that she will not be having a C-section" or relaying stories from when their sister had a baby and that's why their child will have a natural birth with no drugs involved. I fear for these people who have a plan and I'm not confident they can roll with the punches. I can't imagine these people surviving at a restaurant when their two-year old is taking a crap in her diaper while hiding under the table. That is against the plan and is how heart attacks happen.

Pregnancy causes people to play guessing games. I'm guilty of this as well. Everybody just HAS to guess when the baby will come. "Here's when I think the baby will come" is what I often hear. I do it too, but it's like people can't resist trying to guess when the baby will be born. Pregnancy turns people into game show contestants. They have to take a spin at what hair color the baby will have, if the baby will have hair, whose eyes it will have or whether she will like sports or not (the answer: yes). My entire workplace has put in a guess as to when the baby comes. It's irresistible to these people that they accurately guess the date of birth. I also like when people constantly, and I mean constantly, ask if you have picked out a name. I have said repeatedly, repeatedly, repeatedly that no name will be picked out until either (a) the baby is born or (b) we are preparing for my wife to go into labor. We want to get this name thing right. Yet, we get texts asking "Any more baby names or have you come to a conclusion on the name yet?" No. There will be no more suggestions on baby names, and no, zero conclusions have been reached. Thank you, and I said good day. I started telling people we are naming her "Shi-teed Uh-sol-ee" which spells out as "Shithead Asshole." I'm thinking she would get picked on with that name. I could be wrong.

And of course people will suggest names, which isn't so bad, but at a certain point we got too many suggestions. I can't narrow down a list of 50-75 names. I have a hard time eating at Chili's because there are 20 menu items I could order, how do you expect me to pick out a name from 50-75 names? That's too much. Plus, people will walk up to my wife and act shocked she is due in a couple of weeks. "Wow, you are so small, I thought you were (fill in the blank) weeks" they tend to say. Thanks for saying my wife should be a much fatter than she currently is. I think she looks great, but her self-esteem isn't at an all-time high now that she struggles to tie her shoes and reminding her she could be so much bigger sounds great, but isn't exactly totally uplifting. Why can't people have come up to her before she was pregnant and say, "Wow, you are so small!" Now THAT would be a big self-esteem booster. Plus, don't ever watch the movie "Alien" and then have a child. If you are going to watch "Alien" then don't ever have kids or if you plan on having kids don't watch "Alien." It is a little creepy to see a baby leg/arm/foot/elbow/head causing my wife's stomach to extend oddly out to the right, left, or top. If the baby is busy getting comfortable and causing my wife's stomach to roll around I feel like a chest-burster is about to pop out. I'm scarred by that movie. Now if we were having a chest-burster and not a human baby then we would definitely need to name the chest-burster immediately. Those things do tend to run off immediately after birth.


  1. great post. people gave us the same crap. only the people who want to invent drama in their lives pretend like any of what they're told before their first is born means anything. the reality is, intelligent people who are ready for kids don't need to melodramatize; they just prepare like they would for any life change. if you're not ready for kids, don't have them...if you are, you don't need to sweat the small stuff; there are books/doctors/nurses/relatives to use as resources.

    absolutely loved the Alien reference - I thought I was one of only two with such strange thoughts. my buddy said to me before our first was born - "you should make your wife scream out like Leland Orser in Alien: Resurrection as she's pushing...'WHAT THE F*** IS INSIDE OF MEEEEEEEE???'" Needless to say, I didn't ask my wife to do that.

  2. I will see if my wife will yell that. I'm doubting she will, but it's worth a shot. I'll have to see at that moment if it feels right.

    There's a good way to be mentally prepared, but it's just hard to plan everything out and get stuck on THIS is what has to happen. You are bound to be disappointed. There is a lot of melodrama around it, to each his own, but I'm not going to get myself worked up over the birth and how it is supposed to go. I have my own personal preferences which I have made clear to my wife (like no C-section), but if I can't control the situation.

    Once person in our class had their child named before they even knew the sex. They had a boy and a girl named picked out. That seemed kind of boring to me, but again each to his own, it's just people are flabbergasted we haven't named her yet. We talked about it yesterday, but then stopped talking about it and watched "Party Down" instead.