January 4, 2002
We're down to the final stretch. We finally
got tired of having all that free time and money, so we have
a baby due to arrive early in the new year.
According to all our friends, having
one will instantly cure both conditions.
I just wish they'd be a little less gleeful
about it. It's not like we've been lording our childless bliss
over them. We haven't exactly been flaunting our unencumbered
lifestyle like Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald, going to champagne
breakfasts and then driving the Rolls into the pool.
I'm not sure anything we've done justifies
everyone telling my wife and me that our lives are over. Our
friends with children all seem to be in a hurry to tell us the
same story. As far as I know, they've never got together to make
sure they're telling the same one, although they might as well
The story they all tell for parents-to-be
goes like this: As soon as you have children you will never sleep
again. You will also never eat a hot meal, take a shower or see
a movie. You cannot leave the house without fifty pounds of stuff,
and when you do you will forget something essential and will
have to return. You will lose all dignity, sense of personal
hygiene, and forget about ever looking at your mate with animal
lust in your heart ever again.
And after your well-meaning friends have
you ready to slit your wrists and asking whether there's a good
boarding school in Scotland that will take them at birth, your
friends deliver the kicker. They'll say: "But when your
child smiles at you, you'll realize it is all worthwhile."
I'm warning that baby right now, if true
it had better be one heck of a smile.
One of the advantages of being an older
parent is a certain lack of hysteria. Unfortunately, we know
exactly what we've gotten ourselves into. We've already been
aunt and uncle, godmother and godfather and fairly popular
ones at that. Of course, as relatives once removed we've always
had the more pleasant tasks where children are concerned. We
bring noisy presents and sticky candy, and then leave behind
us hyper children playing the entire brass section of the 1812
We also recognize when some of our friends
are being a bit of a drama queen. Are we scared to death? Of
course we are. You would have to be an idiot not to be. But we're
determined to not going to be one of those couples who believes
their child is the first one ever to be born into captivity.
Brave words I will no doubt end up eating and become as neurotic
as every first-time parent.
We'll probably even succumb to the baby
monitor scam. Every parent I know has baby monitors throughout
the house so you can listen to every burp, wheeze and yell from
the little darling. To my untrained ear it all sounds like Shamu
the Killer Whale doing its act at Marineland. I've known friends
who will turn up the speaker to full, and for the night's entertainment
will sit around guessing what the baby is up to in the next room.
My cousin Diana once told me to always
keep in mind that you're inviting the baby to join your life,
not the other way round.
We'll see what the baby has to say about