I Don’t Know What in the Hell I’m Doing
My dad won’t remember this, but at some point in my childhood he told me not to have a kid until I was 30.
We both have memories like wet cheesecloth, so I can’t say with certainty that it happened either. But I think it did, and I took that request as advice. He didn’t have me, his first born, until he turned 31, so maybe he knew something.
My younger brother Paul went him one better and didn’t have his own first kid until he was 32. That was way back in 2003. He’s now got four boys on the ground.
At 30 I was ready for a kid. I was alone in that feeling, so that didn’t happen, not at age 30, 31, or 32. I made my peace with that, but life happens and the next thing you know, IT is happening. And I’m going to be 48-frickin’-years-old when the boy arrives (of course it’s a god-damn boy, my family has balls full of Y-chromosomes).
I’ve had a full 18 orbits around the sun of extra training as a human being to get this right. And I don’t know what the hell I’m doing.
I have no business bringing a human being into the world.
Not because the world is currently a shit-show. (Which it is, but that’s beside the point.)
(I thought the world was such a shit-show back in the early 1990s that I considered getting a vasectomy in college. Think back to 1992 now and — LA riots aside — it seems like a quaint, 50s-esque time where the only thing wrong was too much hair-spray.)
Also the 50s was bad, not at all like Happy Days.
But I digress.
This feeling of know-nothing-ness, of course, is nothing new. It is likely the mantra of all new (and a few experienced) parents-to-be. I feel guilty even bringing it up. But still the plague-o’-doubts creeps in as the due date (January 26, 2018!) creeps ever closer.
I boarded this train to Doubts-ville, so let me tackle the reasons why I shouldn’t have a kid:
- No patience. On my first trip to a Babies R’ Us, a crying child made my skin crawl so much I almost ran into the parking lot.
- Temper tantrums. Mine, I mean. My dog, whom I adore, basically barks at me incessantly when getting fed, and it drives me effing nuts. I scream back at her to shut up. Picture that all night long.
- Selfishness. I just finally got my MoviePass card, so I can go to movies all the time, like 30 movies a month if I wanted, for only $10! And with my wife’s work schedule, that was almost really possible. Now, I’m only going to be welcome at the Cry Baby Cinema.
- Lack of Knowledge. Who the fuck tests the temperature of hot water with their elbow? Parents, apparently. This actual advice I read. Use the elbow. That’s about as intuitive as using your knees to test for saltiness on a pretzel.
- Sleep! I’m addicted to it. Some late night insomnia makes it seem even more precious. Who signed me up for not having that? Or that’s right, it was my god-damn penis.
- Lack of Skill. Swaddle a baby? I can’t even fold a flat sheet. (I do okay with fitted sheets, so that’s in my favor.) Put on a diaper? I avoided that as an uncle for 14 years. I did a few diapers as a teen-age baby sitter, but that doesn’t count — I could also do consecutive sit-ups as a teen and had hair to comb.
- I’m dirty. I asked my wife to help with this list and her reply without hesitation: “You’re dirty.” She didn’t mean in a fun, kinky way. She meant tidy. Lack-there-of. Because she’s seen my office. My organizational skills applied to a nursery could lead to a call to CPS.
- Unsafe driver. I take corners very fast with dogs in the car. This kid will be buffeted about like a shuttlecock. If the industry hadn’t invented overly protective child seats akin to papoose-cocoons already, it would have had to for Baby-boy Griffith.
- Nothing to offer of substance. What am I going to teach my kid? Seriously, what life skills do I have in my pocket? “Hey, uh, sure we could play catch… or we could cue up another episode of Voltron on Netflix, amiright?” (Shout out to my Voltron peeps.)
- I’m foul. Mouthed. This one I’m torn on. I’ve never been good at not cursing in front of kids, I just kind of…treat them like human beings. I think that’ll be okay. Mostly. My boy will have to be taught that some words are for grown ups, and some are not. If the fucking little shit can’t handle that, I’ll start waking and swearing a blue-streak to get it out of my system for the day.
(The other reason this is okay, is that kids who curse are fucking adorable.)
I may try The Good Place or Johnny Dangerously “forking iceholes, holy shirt, you bastiches,” format. The only thing funnier than real cursing kids is kids cursing incorrectly.
The list could go on and on but I’m tired from painting my son’s future room and wondering which wall he’ll take a crayon to first, even though I’m going to make his closet doors into a blackboard. God, what a little icehole he’s gonna be!
Time for a nap. Or a movie with swears in it. Or to make a mess, or perfect a skill (maybe painting a wall, which I suck at), or go for a fast drive on sharp corners in an aging Prius. Because I got fit all this stuff in in 102 days.