I always try to see both sides of things. The yin, the yang, the right, the left, The Stones, The Beatles. I don’t always succeed, but I try.
So now that we’re over the year milestone, I’ve done a lot of thinking about the many wonders of parenthood, as well as the many wonders of pre-parenthood. That led me to come up with these two lists, in the spirit of equality.
3 Things I Miss About Not Being a Parent
A no-brainer, I know, but it used to annoy me (now just amuses me) when NPs (non-parents) moan about how tired they are. That’s like Dennis the Menace complaining about how mean Mr. Wilson is. Not only do you really never get an uninterrupted night’s sleep (think clownfish sleep, minus large predators), but a “full-night’s sleep” has somehow been defined as 6-7 hours. And that’s just mean.
Once my window into the world of pop culture, my wife and I have been to exactly one movie together in the last year plus. We didn’t even want to see it, really, just wanted the experience, the escape. An old-school date. Watching movies at home is nearly impossible with Bub up. And by the time he goes down (on the nights we’re both there), one or both of us is usually semi-comatose. I call it Bubatonia, the state of seeing things but not really processing them. We save Netflix a lot of shipping charges.
Freedom to just say, hey, let’s go to that new restaurant tonight. Let’s meet after work for a beer. Let’s go to Wisconsin and get some cheese curds. Let’s go get some gelato, some fresh-baked bread, etc. My favorite sport is disc golf (sport of the future)—I got out twice this year, and once was my birthday. Oh, you can still do stuff, but it’s usually solo, so you miss doing stuff together. And even when you do, you’re either thinking or talking about the one person we’re trying to get away from.
3 Things I Love About Being a Parent
1. Bath time.
I don’t get to bathe Bub every night, so that makes it more special when I do. The choreness of it quickly wears off as he stands up, grabs the faucet handles and then looks back at me the proudest little naked starship captain you could hope to meet. Sure, sometimes he pees in the tub or just sits there, pulling his ripcord while smiling at me, but it’s all part of the experience.
2. Goodnight Moon.
My parents bequeathed to me my own personal original copy of the book they read to me from the age of 1, according to the date inside the cover. Again, I don’t get to put Bub down every night, so when I get the chance to read it to him, I always take it, and I’ve gotten pretty good at it. Once, I actually read myself to sleep. Bub promptly slapped me in the face.
There’s nothing like walking into his room after a nap or in the morning to find him sitting there, in his crib, just waiting for you. If my wife and I are both home, we always go in together to share the awesomeness. That look of recognition comes over his face, followed by a big, hearty smile (and usually some light bouncing up and down). He’s perfectly content already, obviously, but when he sees us, he shifts from content to full-on happy baby. He knows us now, he knows we’re his parents. And being recognized never felt so good.