A Letter To Myself Before I Had A Baby
Dear Karen B.C. (before child),
It’s 10 a.m. For heaven’s sake, get your idle butt out of bed.
Actually, you know what? Scratch that. These lazy weekend lie-ins will soon be a thing of the past, so enjoy them while you can. Soon, “sleeping in” will be 7:30 at the absolute latest. Oh and did I mention that that this will be after having been up three to four times the previous night? Yeah.
Did you overhear people discussing the frequency and consistency of their kiddies’ bowel movements in the break room at work again the other day? Did you wrinkle your nose in disgust? Well, fair enough. It’s gross to have to hear that mess as you’re contemplating an afternoon Caramilk bar (which you will now decide against thank you very much). But you also marvelled at how anyone could possibly think their kids’ evacuations a remotely legitimate subject of conversation, didn’t you? Don’t be too smug. Soon you too will end up conferring with friends on this topic.
Sure, you may have a moment of pause. “I can’t believe I’m talking about my baby’s poop,” you’ll think. Then you’ll shrug, reason that you talk about what goes in, what’s the big deal about talking about what comes out, and go back to the important symposium at hand.
You recently had a pretty good performance review at work, didn’t you? Congratulations. Well deserved. You worked hard, after all, and your efforts were duly rewarded. Enjoy the meritocracy you currently inhabit. With kids, it doesn’t always work this way.
Some days, you’ll give it your all. You’ll sing until your throat is hoarse, you’ll rock your little bundle until your arms ache; in short, you’ll try anything and everything to make your progeny happy only to be rewarded with persistent screaming and flailing. “This is so unfair,” you’ll think. And you’ll be tempted to throw in the towel, but of course, that won’t be an option. Also, these bad days won’t end at 5 p.m. the way they do now. Sometimes they won’t end until 5 a.m., if that.
But just when you’re wondering what it’s all for, something will happen to remind you -– maybe a heart-achingly adorable smile or your kid’s downy head snuggled into your neck -– and it will be better than your most glowing performance review at work. Enjoy it while it lasts. The next tantrum probably won’t be too far off.
Looking sharp, by the way. Took a little extra time and effort to put that look together, did you? Nice work. Maybe I shouldn’t tell you that soon hastily blotting the spit-up off your top on the way out the door will totally count as extra time and effort on your part (because some days you will see it, decide it’s not that noticeable, and rush out anyway).
Oh and nice tan. That Hawaiian vacation did you good, didn’t it? We took a vacation recently, too. It involved more planning than Operation Iraqi Freedom –- a lot more. It also involved much hiding under the covers in the hotel room hoping the baby would forget we were there, stop crying, and finally go to sleep.
I seem to remember hearing that recordings of crying babies have been used to torture prisoners in Guantanamo. I don’t know if that’s true or not since I don’t have time to endlessly surf Wikipedia the way I used to. And although I’m against torture on principle, all I can say is that if they aren’t doing this, it does strike me as a bit of a missed opportunity. But I digress. I digress a lot these days. Sleep deprivation does that to me.
My intention in writing you this letter is not to harsh your mellow or ruin the state of relative insouciance you currently enjoy. It’s quite the opposite. I want you to savor these last moments before your life changes forever. Don’t get me wrong, life with a child isn’t necessarily worse. It’s just different. People say you won’t remember what your life was like before, but this is BS. You’ll remember all right, and you’ll sometimes long for that previous life, so I want to make sure you don’t take it for granted.
All the best,
Karen A.D. (after diapers)
P.S. You know how you think that you won’t do baby talk? I wegwet to infoam you that you willy willy will. Sorry.