Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Final Countdown

Let’s hope I’m a better parent than I am a blogger.

After basically two months away, I figure I should probably get at least one Blog in before the big day arrives… whenever that might be. As I mentioned in the past, it’s weird to spend months collecting all sorts of paraphernalia – clothes, toys, snug-a-bunnies – for someone that you don’t know, and have no idea if they’re going to like any of them or not. Likewise, it’s a little weird spending over nine months counting down to a mystery date when that person is going to arrive. It’s almost like telling a child “Christmas is coming sometime in December… or maybe January – that’s when you’ll get a ton of awesome presents!” Without having a locked date on the calendar, how does one know how to gauge their excitement? You need to start slow and then have the anticipation build as the date grows closer. Peak too soon and you’ll just start getting angry as the days turn into weeks with no presents. Wait too long and it might sneak up on you without you knowing it, leaving you unprepared – and making the presents a little anti-climactic since you haven’t been anxiously awaiting them with baited breath.

When this Blog started, the last thing I would have thought I’d ever write is that KB and I are “ready to have a baby” – but against all odds, we’re there. We’ve gone through the gamut of baby perquisites, and are ready to graduate. Best I can tell, these are those requirements to have a child:

  1. Tell family and friends about forthcoming baby.
  2. Determine names for forthcoming baby.
  3. Second guess names for forthcoming baby.
  4. Settle on names for forthcoming baby.
  5. Deflect anger from family and friends about not sharing baby names.
  6. Register for one of everything at Baby’s R Us to prepare for forthcoming baby.
  7. Attend multiple baby showers.
  8. Be spoiled by family and friends with baby gifts.
  9. Worry about child already being spoiled.
  10. Get to know the people that work the return counter at Baby’s R Us on a first name basis.
  11. Assemble baby furniture and accessories.
  12. Curse. Drink. Repeat.
  13. Rearrange house to fit assembled baby items.
  14. Come to the realization that your house will never be “neat” ever again.
  15. Attend baby classes.
  16. Forget everything you learned in baby classes (oops).
  17. Read baby books.
  18. Achieve a false sense of confidence that everything will be fine based on reading said baby books.
  19. Stock up house with enough food and toiletries to last six months.
  20. Pack hospital bags. (Female = clothes, baby items, personal items; Male = electronics, snacks, games, flask)

Am I missing anything? I feel like that just about covers the experience up until this point.

To be honest, this has all been a lot easier than I thought. Part of it is probably due to the fact that pregnancy has changed the wife exactly 0%. She still works the same crazy hours, she still goes to the gym most days, still sleeps like a baby at night. She has more energy than me most days and we haven’t had any crazy drama. I thought I’d have a lot more fodder for the Blog over the past nine months, but it’s been – dare I say – a pretty easy pregnancy. I’m sure that statement is going to totally jinx me for post-pregnancy life, but at least that should provide some good topics for the Blog.

So now we play the waiting game (which sucks way more than Hungry Hungry Hippos). At any given point in time, probably the biggest life-changing event of your life is going to happen, and you have no idea. Leading up to the something like my wedding, I had time to plan ahead. I could coordinate my projects at work so that I didn’t have a ton of stuff happening while I was on my honeymoon. I could savor things like my last meal and last night of sleep. But this baby could come at any time – middle of the night, middle of the day, weekday, weekend, holiday. For all the planning and preparation we’ve done, it’s the one thing we can’t plan for… which I suppose adds a fun element of surprise and excitement to the situation – but it also puts you in this weird limbo state. We’re making plans for upcoming weekends that we may or may not keep. We’re avoiding getting super drunk (I guess technically that’s just me) or letting our cars ever have less than a half tank of gas in them. We are on constant, cautious watch – waiting for the big event to arrive. It’s a strange feeling.

When I started down this path last spring, I was equal parts terrified and excited. I don’t know exactly how it happened, but somehow through the course of reading the books, taking the classes, and installing the car seats, the terror started going away. It becomes real and then it just seems like something normal, something that is a part of your life instead of something that’s coming in to change it. Right now I’m pretty much all parts excited, aside from the small percentage of worried that comes from not knowing when the baby is coming… and that tiny thought in the back of my head that once in a while reminds me that I have absolutely no idea how to care for another human being – but I’m sure it will be just like tests in school and presentations at work, where I can just wing it, make a few jokes, and get by with my charm and good looks, right?

(True story – I’ve had a few dreams about taking care of my baby… and in every single one of them, I’m able to reason with the baby. Like, explain to them why they shouldn’t be crying, and they nod their head, understand, and stop. Sometimes they are even able to talk and say things like “of course, why was I being so silly?” – in a British accent sometimes, don’t’ ask me why. If I don’t have the most mentally advanced child in the history of the world, there’s a small chance I’m in for a rude awakening.)

Technically, we’ve got two weeks left before this kid is fully baked, but now that it’s mostly an excited feeling inside me, I can’t wait for those two weeks to get here. Like a kid in the middle of December waiting for Christmas, I just want my presents!

I half-jokingly have told people that I’m going to live Blog the birth of my child. We’ll see how the logistics work out – it might be reduced to hilarious one-liners on Facebook – but stay tuned. My next post will either be immediately pre-baby, or post-baby!