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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Dear Other Parents, Can We Stop with the Horror Stories? -- Contributor post

Hey there, parenting pros. It’s me, the new guy. You know, the one with the twins coming in a couple of months. The one who looks nervous all the time. Yeah...that guy. I want to say I really appreciate how wonderfully pleasant and accepting you’ve been. When we meet, you make me feel like I’m one of you. No side-eye or making me feel like I’m not up to the task; just love and empathy. It’s super sweet.

That said, I do have one small favor to ask. If it’s not too much trouble, could you please dial the Tales of My Nightmare Children From Hell down a notch or two? I mean, I really appreciate your honesty and openness, I do. I know you’re just trying to help, to prepare me for the harsh reality of sleepless nights and being constantly covered in shit and puke. You want me to know that it’s not all sunshine and roses. I appreciate the reality check, but it sometimes feels like you’re taking a kind of sick delight in scaring the rookie. If that’s the case, let me assure you that it’s working.

You parents of twins, especially, with your tales of the conniving, collaboration, and conspiracy that your tiny terrors engage in on a daily basis. That, or fighting. I’m left to believe that when they’re not trying to kill each other, they’ll be plotting together to kill me and their mother. And that I’ll be getting half the sleep and covered in twice as much shit and puke as those slacker parents of singles. It’s as if you want me to start losing sleep now, just so I’m used to it when they get here. Mission accomplished, folks...congratulations?

While we’re on the subject, if you could also please stop telling The Cricket about everything that went wrong with your (or your sister’s/cousin’s/co-worker’s/best friend’s) pregnancy, that’d be awesome. It’s bad enough that the doctors treat her pregnancy like a potentially life-threatening disease; your armchair diagnoses of gestational diabetes and predictions of pre-term labor are less than helpful.

Look, I get it. I know that these horror stories are an attempt (albeit an awkward one) to bond, to share the camaraderie of the battlefield. All I’m asking is that you tone it down a little. We’ve been pretty much terrified from Day 1; when the doctor told us it was twins, one of us rocked back and forth repeating “Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, oh shit,” and the other burst into tears. I’m not going to tell you which was which; all I’m saying is that we’ve got the “scared shitless” part down pat. So maybe we can bond over something else?

Here’s an idea: you know how you always conclude your stories by reassuring me that “there’s nothing quite like it” and that you “wouldn’t trade it for the world?” I don’t know whether you’re serious or just trying to make me feel better, but I find myself wanting to hear more about that part of it. That little ray of hope means the world to me. It makes me think that I might survive this after all. Could have a little more of that, please? I’d love to bond with you over that shit instead of, well, actual shit.

Tell me how much you love your kids. Tell me how amazing and smart they are. Tell me about the clever thing they did last weekend that was so far ahead of their age. Tell me about first steps and first words and first discoveries of the world around them. Tell me about encounters with nature and days at the park and trips to the zoo.

I promise I won’t roll my eyes or accuse you of bragging. I’m one of you now, remember? And as for the shitty bits? I’ve got plenty of opportunities in the very near future to find out about all of those firsthand, and that’ll be soon enough for me. In the meantime, fill my head full of the wonder and amazement of watching a tiny human grow, if only because it helps me sleep better at night and, frankly, I have a sneaking suspicion that I need to bank a few extra hours before they get here.

...

Jerry Kennedy is (in no particular order) a husband, stepdad, writer, actor, director, singer, and web dude living in The Greatest City In the World, Sacramento, CA. His hobbies include reading, skateboarding, falling off his skateboard, drinking, karaoke (especially after drinking), and making love at midnight in the dunes on the cape. You'll find his irregular ramblings about life, the universe, and everything at http://jerrykennedy.com




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