In the game of life, my wife and I recently scored the hattrick. In almost exactly one year since April of 2006 we have been married, bought our first home, and started a family.
We’re calling the baby Lumpy, having no idea at this point if it’s a boy or a girl and needing to call him or her something. For everyone wondering why Tami hasn’t been at the Loonie Races this year, Lumpy’s your answer.
It’s an exciting and terrifying time to be alive, depending on who I talk to that day and what’s going on with their baby.
It truly is a scary world where someone like myself, who has never once been asked to watch a child for more than five minutes, much less babysit for an entire evening, can possibly be expecting in January. You can’t operate a drill press these days without the right certificate, although they do seem to give drivers licences to just about anybody. Maybe I can get one of those “L” stickers for my stroller, so other parents will know I’m a newbie and cut me some slack when I’m being a bad father.
I’m not exaggerating when I say I have no experience whatsoever with kids. I don’t have any young nephews or nieces or cousins on my side of the family, and limited experience on my wife’s side. All I know about babies and toddlers is pretty much limited to the time I was a baby or toddler myself, and I didn’t think to take notes.
I’ve never been a nanny, a camp counselor or a coach — unless you count the one spring in high school when I was on crutches and taught rugby to a bunch of 14 year olds. And while babies are about the size of rugby balls and you try not to drop them, there was very little relevant training there in how to be a father.
I also don’t remember even talking much about kids until very recently, when some of my friends started having children. So far I have to say that the stories haven’t been all that reassuring. The sleep deprivation, the dirty diapers, the fits, the getting peed on, the throwing up, the frantic trips to the hospital for what will later turn out to be gas, the crying, the screaming, the worrying — how could anyone ever be ready for all that?
And keep in mind that all that stuff comes after the birth. We still have about 17-20 weeks of late term pregnancy to get through, followed by the inevitable trauma of labour.