What to Expect When You’re Expecting More “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” Books.

The book that started it all.

Like many soon-to-be parents, my wife and I read the book “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” when “we” were pregnant (said ironically, as only a male incapable of imagining much less handling the pain of childbirth could say). We read it cover to cover, and in fact we even had it with us in the delivery room — our son was born in Amsterdam, so we had a very different cultural experience than we did when our daughter was born in Seattle. You see, Dutch doctors learned a long time ago that women’s bodies were capable of incredible things, and that men were largely useless in the delivery room, so they mostly left us alone, to our own devices. And since this was before the time when our “devices” would have been an internet-enabled phone like all of us have in our pockets today that would have allowed us to Google any questions we had to find immediate answers, the device we relied on was the book.

Believe me, when the contractions started coming, it was a handy device to have, so we could understand what the heck was going on, and what was going to happen next. Not to mention that it was a fairly heavy object she could chuck at me mid-contraction for having gotten her into this in the first place (her words, not mine). That, however, is a slight albeit still mildly relevant digression.

But speaking of slight albeit still mildly relevant digressions, did you by any chance read “Chicken Soup for the Soul”? The original has been printed about a billion times and is available in about as many languages, so I’d be surprised if you haven’t read it. Even so, you’ve likely heard of it.

How about some chicken soup for the Golfer’s putting?

Are you aware of all the subsequent variations of it — “Chicken Soup for the Teen Soul” (as if), “Chicken Soup for the Nosy Neighbor’s Soul,” and their most recent, “Chicken Soup for the Dried-Out Shriveled-Up Non-Existent Souls of Those Who Say They Want to Protect the Environment and Health Insurance For All but Nudge Nudge Wink Wink Thank You For the Reduction in My Taxes.”

Okay, I made that last one up. No, seriously, it’s not real.

But here’s my question…if “Chicken Soup” can have all these different versions, why can’t “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” do the same and create its own series? It’s not like as soon as we have the first baby we have all the answers. Through adolescence, pre-teen and into the teen years, the questions pile up, and as the parent of a teen (or several), you’re left hoping that you haven’t made so many mistakes that the kid (or kids) will be moving back to the house after a year and half of college and deciding they want to work at a start-up, only the start-up is of their own creation, it demands that they take over the garage (Just like Steve Jobs did, Mom!), and invite several friends over because no one does this alone and meanwhile they get hungry playing Xbox and, well, you have to feed them at all hours because when the hell do they sleep anyway.

Suffice it to say, it feels like some variations are warranted. So, in case the authors of the original need any suggestions for some additional versions, here are a few potential titles to consider:

· What to Expect When You’re Expecting Your Teenager to Know How to Put His Own Damn Dishes in the Dishwasher, Change His Own Damn Sheets, and Do His Own Damn Laundry Before He Leaves for College Soon I Hope

· What to Expect When You’re Expecting Your Kid to Get Her Ass Out of Bed and Have Some of the Most Important Meal of the Day Before She Goes to School Even if It Is Just Carbs with Cinnamon Sugar on Top Goddammit

· What to Expect When You’re Expecting Even Just a Hand-Written Card for Your Birthday, Or Is That Too Much Time Away From Their Stupid SnapChataGramBook or Whatever Stupid Thing They’re Consumed By Today Before a New One Comes Along Tomorrow And How Does Anyone Keep Up With That

· What To Expect When You’re Expecting that Your Kids Will Work Harder In School Than Freaking C’s for Chrissake Because Instead of Spending All Your Damn Money Sending Them to Private School You Could Be Driving A MUCH Nicer Car And Why Don’t They Want You to Be Happy

· What to Expect When You’re Expecting a “Thank You” for Driving Your Kid to School Then Realizing That She Left Her Sandwich Behind That She Said She’d Packed So You Have To Drive Back to School to Drop It Off So She Doesn’t Go Hungry And All The Other Girls Don’t Tell Their Moms That Poor Thing Went Hungry At School AGAIN

· What to Expect When You’re Expecting Your Teenage Daughters to Pick up the Massive Piles of Hair They Leave on the Floor after Flattening or Straightening or Doing Whatever the Hell It Is They Do To Their Hair These Days That Seemingly Leaves Less of It On Their Heads And More of it For You to Pick Up But If That’s The Case Why Do They Still Have So Much Damn Hair

· And of course, What to Expect When You’re Expecting That One of Them — Just One — Will Every Once In A While Offer to Do Something with the Dog That They Just Had to Have Like Take Him for a Walk or Feed Him or Make Sure He Has Some Water When You’re Getting Your 5th Gatorade of the Day From the Fridge And Can’t be Bothered to See if Perhaps the Dog is Thirsty or Maybe Actually Dehydrated

Just some ideas. I think every parent would welcome some of those. And the good thing about it is that if you have kids already, they practically write themselves. You probably have one or two to add to the list — feel free to do so in the comments.

This is a work of fiction. All situations referenced, with the exception of the description of the Dutch delivery room which was all 100% true, are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. And this certainly is not based on the author’s actual experience with his actual children. Nope, not at all.