“He’s alive.” That has been our mantra as my wife and I have officially kept our first born alive for a little over a month. The fact that all we can say is, “He’s alive,” has nothing to do with our shock at our skill set. We are more than capable of meeting a baby’s needs, no matter how hard it is. It has nothing to do with our marveling at nature for the fact that we have a ten pound lump of DNA that breathes and blinks.
No. The fact that all we can say at this point is, “He’s alive,” is because our newborn is an asshole. The fact that he is alive is basically the only notable thing about him.
How do I know he’s an asshole? Well, I decided to give Google a break from all my “baby poop info” searches and hit up the equally rigorous UrbanDictionary.
Top definition: “Your current boss.” Does my son require full-time work? Yes. Am I expected to put in overtime? Yep. Are the benefits and pay terrible? Hell yes. Is this boss moody and unpredictable? Every second. Check. He’s an asshole.
Pause. Let’s do a couple disclaimers before I further explain why I’m even writing this.
Disclaimer #1: I am still capable of loving him despite the fact that he’s an asshole. It is possible to love someone no matter how terrible of a person he or she can be. As someone who teaches pubescent teenagers every day, I make a living out of forgiving and loving people, despite the fact that they are assholes to me and each other every day.
Disclaimer #2: I am equipped with the evolutionary, biological drive to keep my son alive. I still jump-like-lightning to his crying the same way I do when I hear my dog wrenching that pre-puke sound over our new rug in the middle of the night. I still will smite anything and anyone who tries to mess with my son.
Disclaimer #3: It would be cool if you didn’t call CPS upon reading this blog. That’s not technically a disclaimer, but I thought I should say that directly.
Disclaimer #4: I’m going to keep saying, “Asshole.” It just feels good to say right now.
Here’s the thing: My wife and I, in the months leading up to our son being born, were extolled the virtues of parenting. It’s such a blessing. Enjoy every second of it. Isn’t it the most wonderful gift [insert diety-name] could have given? I loved being a parent of newborns; seriously, I would do it as a job if I could. The problem with hearing these things again and again and again is that it makes one think, “Okay, this will be pretty cool.” And, then you realize your son is an asshole and all that Hallmark crap drops like mashed meconium.
But, I’m okay saying that he’s an A-hole. I’m okay owning the fact that parenting this kid surpasses my most realistic expectations of how difficult this would be. I’m okay being realistic when people ask, “How’s it going?” Poorly. That’s how it’s going. I don’t enjoy him as a person. Next question.
Honestly, I would be interested to know how many people enjoy having a newborn. I mean really enjoy it. My guess is not many. Babies are parasites who take and take and take. Yes, we are all aware of this fact when we have kids. Yet, there is this expectation that it’s supposed to be the greatest thing in the world. Enjoy this now because someday they’ll grow up. Cool. I’m ready for him to grow up a little bit and actually show signs of being something other than a screaming, crying, hot mess. Oh, he will sometimes throw tantrums and cry when he’s a toddler? Cool, because he cries and throws a tantrum every waking second of his life right now. I’ll take an occasional over a constant.
I’m not writing this post to get advice. Lord knows my existence since he was born has been explaining his issues to doctors and passerby and thus hearing advice galore. (You think we should try swinging him? Holy crap, we NEVER tried that once in the 1,467 hours we’ve heard him cry so far). I’m also not seeking encouragement. I know it will get better.
I’m writing this is to send a shout out to all the parents who have had difficult, screaming, crying, unpredictable, inconsolable babies. This is a head nod to any parent who has felt guilty because they feel like their kid is an asshole — for the parents who are afraid of being shamed for admitting that this isn’t fun.
So, cheers to knowing it will get better, but also knowing that it’s okay to feel like this sucks right now. Also, cheers to videotaping your kids’ hours and hours of screaming to be used against them when they are teenagers.