I used to be a professional rapper. Wait … no. That came out wrong. What I meant to say is that one time I got wasted in Manhattan and then spent the evening free-style rapping with a group of men who I have to assume were in a professional rap group. Or maybe they were cokedealers, it’s hard to say. What I CAN tell you is that in the morning it was obvious that I had slept with one of them so I’m pretty sure I made the team. Also, despite feeling really confident that I had been in Manhattan, it was soberingly clear the next day that I was now in New Jersey.
I guess what I’m saying is that I’m not well-suited to be a parent. I’m not someone who “works hard to achieve their goals” or “learns from their mistakes.” Instead I’ve spent my life bucking authority, never reading the rules in the first place — thereby ultimately breaking them and being severely punished — and, most embarrassingly, realising that my peers had been trudging along in an orderly fashion for years and were now young professionals whereas I was in rehab. My life has been a real slap in the face.
Clearly parenting was not part of the plan. While I was aware that other people were having children, it was obvious to me that I would instead be having whiskey so I didn’t pay a lot of attention to what would ultimately be required. Most of my childhood friends had children years ago and I wondered what had happened to them. I saw women who used to excel at joint-rolling now swaddling their newborns with the same sort of intense precision and I wondered why they had traded in ganja for sh***y diapers. Also, what was all the fuss about? Couldn’t you just throw a blanket on the kid and call it a day? What was this perfect origami sheet situation and how could it possibly be important? I watched my friends fret about their kid’s schoolwork, struggle to buy houses in “good school districts” whatever that meant, and meticulously chronicle their children’s sports activities, social events, physical fitness, and general wellbeing. In the end, I figured having offspring was unlikely, but if it happened I wasn’t going to become one of them.
I constructed a belief that is already dissolving before my eyes: I Am Not Going To Be A Helicopter Parent!
When Perfect Daughter was born, I played it pretty fast and loose. I didn’t insist that people antibacterial their entire bodies prior to holding my kin. I brought her out of the house pretty quickly with no fears of her absorbing world germs into her tiny, new, pristine immune system. I wasn’t going to be overbearing and over-involved or keep my kid in a glass castle. She was gonna be passed around like a cocktail. She was going to meet new people and like it! She was going to nap when she was tired, eat when she was hungry, and wear whatever the f**k I had laying around. I wasn’t going to fall victim to this belief that your kid needs to be sheltered and programmed and calendared and scheduled. My kid was gonna live it up and we were gonna roll with the punches!!!
This lasted for around three months during which she mostly slept and ate so there was little else to be accomplished. But, as soon as she started making eye contact and showing interest in the world around her, I started to panic.
Me: Husband! She’s looking at me! What are three month olds supposed to be doing?!