When do you feel prepared to be a parent? Because occasionally it comes over me: a feeling of panic when I realize there is yet one more thing I don’t know about being a parent.
I really don’t know if I am going to know what the hell I am doing when we finally have Mystery Baby Girl and we are on our own. And I know, all parents go through it. And I know, all parents learn as they go. But here’s the thing: most parents aren’t plopped into parenthood of a 6-ish-month-old who already has some routines, and maybe eats more than just formula, and maybe already has teeth starting to poke through…
When you have a brand-spanking-newborn, you have a blank slate. And as far as the technical specs go, they all pretty much work the same for the first little bit. But then they start GROWING and CHANGING and ADDING BITS AND PIECES ON like teeth and hair and stuff, and then pretty soon you’ve got that many more things to deal with… And then they start MOVING and TALKING and…
AAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!! ***boom!*** (head explodes in panic)
I think I’d be better at this if my mom was around. She was all about the babies, man. She came from a large family, she wanted lots of kids, and I think she’d have been all over Mystery Baby Girl like wrapping paper on a prezzie. If things started going a bit haywire, I could have sent out the SOS. Maybe even just handed the baby off to Grandma and then crawled off into a corner to rock and weep.
At the very least, she could have pointed and given instructions. “Do this.” “She wants that.” It goes like THIS…”
But as it stands… it’s going to be us. Learning to do something new. Like riding a bike. Only we’ve got no training wheels. And like any kid who rides a bike without training wheels the first time… there’s going to be a few crashes. The odd scrape and bruise. Possibly, although it’s unlikely, I could even end up crashing arse over teakettle into the Harvies’ shrubbery again.
I am only just now realizing that there’s just so much I DON’T know. I’m trying to recall the stuff I knew when I, you know, HUNG OUT with assorted nieces and other babies over the years. And reading stuff. Books, websites, boards, stuff like that. And the more I read, the more I realize how little I know.
Do I need to start making lists? “Feed her X.” “If she cries it’s either A, B, or C.” “This is how you X”.
Sure. That’s what I need. My walls plastered in sticky notes. That’ll be GREAT. Not only a mess, but in a few months’ time (when the sticky part isn’t so sticky anymore), a choking hazard. Splendid.
I always imagined I’d just somehow transition nicely into motherhood like some TV Movie of the Week, where I swan in, hair immaculate, pick up a cooing baby, and it’s all happily ever after. But I have a feeling it’s going to be more like the late night horror movie, where I am running around the room, frantic, hair looking like it was just brushed with an egg beater, and the baby’s got a diaper held on with a belt made of duct tape.
Good doG, I hope she’s a patient baby.