The "Mom and Dad" that we're becoming

To everyone who warns me that my life is about to change dramatically, I insist that it already has. It may not have changed in the ways that it will in a couple of months but I can’t help but feel light years away from the existence I knew just a few months ago. For one, I used to just be me, just myself, just Nahall. I used to be just one person, and somewhere along the way I became two. “I” became “us” and “she” became “they.” I have two heads, two spines, two smiles, two heartbeats. And even though billions of people have experienced, and will continue to experience, the same duplicity that I’m experiencing now, it still feels unique. It still feels utterly special and completely one of a kind. Because it’s me and him, after all. And no combo, two-fer, or double has ever been me and him.

A little while ago, I told Danny that when I go into labor I want him to remind me that women have been having babies since the beginning of time. That even cavewomen experienced the agony of childbirth, and they endured it without any of the comforts we have today. I wanted him to tell me that if they could do it, I could do it. For some reason, I wanted to be reassured that we were all the same in some way. I thought that hearing those things would make the experience feel more universal and that those feelings would make the pain less severe in some way. But over the last couple of months I’ve started to look around a little, and as I’ve looked around at mothers-to-be, first-time moms, and even veteran moms, I’ve started to realize that having the same anatomy doesn’t actually make me like any other woman at all. In actuality, it seems to almost magnify the differences between us. Regardless of whether I’ve read the same books or attended the same classes as other moms-to-be, I’ve learned that no two mama bears are exactly alike. Just like no two sets of parents are alike either.

I’ve come to accept that Danny and I will most likely be a unique parenting pair. As a matter of fact, I’ve deduced that we’ll possibly be unlike any of those that have come before us. That’s been made painfully, and somewhat hysterically, obvious as I’ve continued to “look around” during the course of my pregnancy. While most first-time-parents tend to gain a sense of adulthood and maturity in preparation for a little one, we have seemed to gain a sense of humor. 

My husband has done the “robot” to the sound of our unborn child’s heartbeat. Yup, the most popular dance move of the 60’s somehow made it’s way into one of our early prenatal doctor appointments. No typical “oooing” and “ahhhing” at the miracle of life over here, just a bass he could work with…
When we went in for our 20 week ultrasound, our tech measured the baby’s limbs and began to tell us what growth percentile each one fell under. After all of the measurements were done Danny politely asked her to measure a limb that she had skipped over to see how “well-endowed” our fetus was. I, on the other hand, kept asking her if she could please find his “cute little tooshie” again…

Our “Childbirth Preparation” class also put into perspective how different we were from the average first-time parents. In the car on the way to the class I felt relieved that I had been able to convince Danny to change out of his “People who think they know everything annoy those of us who do” t-shirt, but was a little curious as to how the other parents would feel about his “subject appropriate” Sesame Street t-shirt that said “All my homies are from the street.” Although he was the only one with a printed t-shirt on when we arrived, we didn’t stand out too much…just yet. I suppose that it was my constant, incessant giggling during breathing exercises that got most couples staring and scoffing at us. I didn’t mean to disturb their concentration, I just don’t know how you’re supposed to keep a straight face while looking in your partners eyes for a whole minute! And of course his silly faces didn’t help the cause. I’m not sure what was worse though, the giggling or Danny’s uncomfortable squirming during the birth film we watched. Other dads-to-be shed a tear or two while Danny ducked and covered his eyes while occasionally peeking through a crack between his fingers. Maybe even more distracting than those things though, was when I began wincing in pain while Danny massaged my lower back during a pressure-point labor exercise. The instructor noticed my discomfort and came over to ask me what the problem was. When I told her that sometimes my husband doesn’t know his own strength she pushed him aside and started massaging my back herself. When I literally yelled from the intense pressure she was putting on the bottom half of my spine I heard her whisper a hopeless “Good Luck” to Danny. Their under-the-breath conversation continued with mild laughter as she walked back up to the front of the class and I was pretty sure that I heard her call me a “woosie!” When we got home Danny informed me that she didn’t actually call me a “woosie.” She did, however, call me something that could be mistaken for that word. I had just misheard the first letter of the word. Encouraging right?

We recently learned that reading aloud to the baby is great for his IQ, so we’ve tried to read to him often. Sometimes the only reading materials we have laying around though are fashion magazines and instruction manuals. So we’re thinking he’ll be a good dresser and a pro at building TV consoles and hooking up surround sound systems…

Oddly enough, I also find myself wondering if the baby will be born with a love of boxing. All of the simulated sparing sessions that Danny has had with him over the last few months have to have left some sort of lasting impression, right? Danny bounces around in a fighters stance, taps my belly with his index fingers and then ducks when the baby jabs back. He says he’s teaching him to stay on his toes…

At some point along the way, we were also advised to sing to the little guy. We figure that Disney songs are most appropriate at his gestational age, so even though we only know the choruses of most Disney songs, we give it our best shot. Bet ya never heard the song about a handsome prince that flies around a whole new world on his magic carpet and then finds himself under the sea with a buddy that teaches him about the bare necessities and how to paint with all the colors of the wind…

Sometimes I wonder if we need to take the “parenting” role a bit more seriously, but most times I hope that we’ll keep the humor alive through late night feedings and brutal diaper changes. We are who we’ve always been, and I guess that we choose being ourselves over being who a book or parenting philosophy has told us to be. I suppose that somewhere along the way, we decided that it’s just fine to be different from the billions of parents that have come before us. It’s okay for us to learn from our mistakes and laugh it out when one of us ends up with a hand full of poop or a spit-up soaked sweater.

You really never know though, maybe once the little guy gets here we’ll find ourselves in a completely serious state of parenthood. Maybe we’ll become obsessive about his sleeping and eating routine, trade in our Bruno Mars playlist for a Baby Einstein one, and install a hand sanitizer dispenser on the front door. Maybe we’ll become thoseparents. I kinda hope we don’t though…because I’m reeeeeally excited to dress the baby in the “Sorry Angelina, I’m taken” onesie that’s hanging in his armoire and Danny can’t wait to see what his tuxedo t-shirt looks like on him. Like I said, we are who we are, and, for now, we’re okay with that.

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