Thursday, October 16, 2003


I hate, despise, loathe the unknown.
I always want to prepare myself for what I may face in the future. I like to visualize, I like to steel myself for the worst. I like to crush all hope to avoid disappointment. That's the kind of gal I am. No surprises.

(Actually, the sort of preparation I'm able to do just involves the mental kind. I'm too lazy to actually do anything.)

But how do you get ready to be a parent? I've done childcare. I'm the oldest of lots of children. I've changed diapers, lots and lots of stinky diapers. I've been obsessed with the well being of tiny creatures. I've had nightmares and woken up in the middle of the night praying for their safety. I've worried about the nutritional intake of fussy toddlers. This was a long time ago.

Parenting is a bit different than childcare. I'm not lucky enough to have an older child so there's no one to take over when it gets hard.

The boy has no idea about babies so I was trying to train him. I hand him a loaf of bread and say: 'Pretend this loaf of bread is a baby...but it has been crying for 4 hours. What do you do?'

I laughed 'til I choked when he got this crazy look on his face and threw the loaf onto the ground.

--No, Mongo, no! Bad Mongo!
--But Mongo no understand baby...Baby cry too much and bother Mongo.

I suppose that isn't the greatest sign about our preparedness.

Occasionally, I think to myself: Am I supposed to be doing something? Like pick up the cans and newspapers and popcorn kernels strewn across the floor? Buy a crib? Remove the many toxic chemicals? But our apartment is so small. Barely a one bedroom. There's nowhere to put that can of DDT I've been hoarding.

I can't quite think of what I'm supposed to do. Can't we change the baby on the desk we don't use? Can't it sleep in that pile of old t-shirts?

So I don't prepare in the real world. Only in my head.

In the 'steeling yourself for the worst' mode I think about the stuff I do and say: 'Pretty soon I won't get to do this (sleep 'til noon, read novels)...or this enjoyable activity won't work the way it once did...(boobies, spanking, maybe all sex?) and I better not buy those back issues of Love and Rockets comic books or CDs or extra rich body butter. Save money for the baby. We can't have ice cream for dinner. Set a good example and all that.

I'll probably never be totally up to speed so my main strategy is to hope the kid doesn't have really high expectations. My siblings' gratitude toward me is mainly due to the contrast between my attentiveness and my parent's flakiness but there's no one around to make me look good. And I used to compare my mother to housewives with no jobs and tell her she just didn't make the grade. Gotta make sure my kid only plays with ghetto kids--make sure they never visit the suburbs.

Anyway, I think the boy is probably getting a lesson in parent preparedness lately: I am a baby.


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