It’s now 11 weeks into my wife’s pregnancy, but my mind is still learning how to process the news. With each person that we tell, the pregnancy becomes a little bit more real, as does the idea that there will be a new person living in our house and dominating our time in less than nine months.
My head spins at the ways this baby will change our lives and at our opportunity to help shape a new person, so I thought I would share some of the incoherent thoughts that have been occupying those half-awake moments before I fall asleep and those idle moments staring out the train window on my way to work.
What if I miss the birth?
An irrational fear overtook me as I walked to my office yesterday. What if my wife goes into labor while I’m at work–a once-an-hour train ride (at non-peak times) or 40-minute cab ride away from home–and she has a quick delivery before I even make it to the hospital? I’ll have missed one of the most special moments of our marriage and the first moments of my baby’s life! I understand this is completely illogical and that labor doesn’t work like that (unless your wife is some kind of superhero with an “instant childbirth” mutant power), but I wanted to give you a glimpse into my mania and the places my brain is taking me thanks to this whole “new dad” situation.
Any 2016 plans we previously made are now subject to change.
I’ve previously mentioned our potential summer trip to Rome. But no one wants to climb the Holy Stairs on their knees when they’re eight months pregnant, so now we’re looking at a late winter cruise instead. Midnight buffets are for everyone, especially when you’re eating for two! We have several upcoming weddings–one of which my wife will attend as an incredibly pregnant bridesmaid and two more in October that will feature a two-month-old baby tagging along, or me going stag, or a babysitter minding the store for us. And all of these plans will only go through if my wife is feeling up to it! Our whole world is already recalibrated around our baby.
We have to teach our kid everything.
I know this seems obvious, but images keep flashing in my mind of how much everything actually entails. Tying your shoes, playing catch, washing your hair, how to talk, how to eat, how to walk. You get the picture. But it’s wonderful, too, because to our kid, I literally know everything. And obviously my way of doing things is the right way of doing things…It’s the only way the kid has ever known!
Our kid will eventually find out that my way isn’t the only way.
Another one from the files of Captain Obvious, but it will be so interesting to watch our child’s concept of the world initially come only from what we share and eventually be colored and altered by the kid’s experience and other people. Which leads me to my next thought…
If we speak to our child exclusively in an accent, will the kid speak with that accent?
If that’s the case, we could make our child’s early life a “jolly olly-day” with a Bert the Chimneysweep Cockney accent, or work on raising our very own Crocodile Hunter from Down Under or make a little leprechaun with an Irish brogue.
I’m up to the challenge, but I think my wife will have to spend the rest of the pregnancy perfecting the accent of our choice. It could be well worth it. A miniature Michael Caine seems like it would be both incredibly adorable and entertaining. I need to find some research on this.
We’re about to get a lot more stuff.
I’m perhaps better prepared for some of what my child’s birth will bring than the average new dad because my youngest brother was born when I was 14. I participated in many aspects of caring for a newborn/baby/toddler/kid/etc., and I remember what a change it was to our lives when he showed up. I also remember all of the new stuff we needed to ensure his survival and success. A crib. A high chair. A car seat. A bath chair. A swing. And that’s just the furniture. Let’s not forget a million diapers. Our basement is going to be full and our wallets are going to be empty. Parenthood!
How soon can I start influencing my baby’s taste in movies and music?
The What to Expect app has yet to tell us that our baby can hear anything, but I need to know as soon as that starts. I’ll prepare a Spotify playlist of the essential tunes that my baby needs to fall in love with from the comfort of the womb. Maybe streaming Billy Joel deep tracks into my wife’s stomach will make her appreciate them a bit more, too.
Athlete or Mathlete?
As you read this, my baby is currently growing the arms, legs, organs and muscles that will determine his/her physical and mental abilities. Is intelligence hereditary? If so, maybe we’ll have a prodigy progeny. (Does this sound like bragging? If so, read the next few sentences.) Is athletic ability hereditary? If so, we could have a bench-warming baby. Genetically, our kid is destined for nerdiness. It’s the dominant allele on both sides.
But seriously, there’s no way of knowing how this child will be similar or different from us on the physical, mental and emotional levels. Is sarcasm hereditary? If not, our baby is going to hate me.
Our baby will live to see the year 2100.
Barring something terrible, life expectancy would indicate that there’s no reason our child wouldn’t live to be 84 and exist in the year 2100. What a mind-boggling thought! Will my kid live on Mars? The Moon? A space station? A dystopian futuristic Earth with no sun? Who’s to say? Based on this rendering of what our fetus currently looks like, however, I’d say Mars is a logical destination.
This makes me realize that we will in essence be preparing our child to live in a world(s?) for which we have no blueprint–with new challenges and opportunities and social media networks that we have no concept of. And then I realize that my parents did the same thing for me. When my Mom was pregnant 33 years ago, she couldn’t know that I would eventually write a blog post about it. Similarly, it’s hard for me to imagine that my children will one day be reading these posts on the embedded chips in their brains.
And while we’re on the subject, no child of mine is going to have a chip embedded in their brain as long as they live under my roof! I don’t care if everyone else in your class has one. If everyone in your class moved to Mars, would you move, too?