Saturday, November 29, 2008

Sadists, Car seats, and in-laws.

Pull up a chair, ladies and germs - it's time for MT to do a wee bit o' rantage. The end of the post is non-rant, but you're going to read a fair bit o' flame-and-fire beforehand. So. Forewarned, forearmed, half-an-octopus, here we go:

I'm a first-time parent as most everyone reading this knows. This means that - by my nature as a rookie - I'm very likely to listen attentively to any and all comments on the subject of children, birth, child-rearing, pregnancy, the joys of breast feeding, and the implications of the sudden and dire need of the female to pee. Not only am I likely to listen, I'm rather inclined to take such information, when delivered, to heart - or at least consider it seriously. I'm going to make the apparently either massive and fallacious or accurate-and-yet-naive assumption that most people know this, or remember a similar state of mind from their own experiences as a first-time-parent.


Seriously? WTF is the thinking there? This is the same bovine stupidity and unthinking behavior that humans display when they go "Wow, this tastes horrible....try it." No thank you, I don't want to share in your misery. Misery may love company, but I'm a whole hell of a lot happier NOT sucking along with you, thanks. So why in the hell do people think "Gee, here's someone going down the road for the first time, let me increase their stress, discomfort, and fear as much as I reasonably can with anecdotes of woe." Is that the goal? Do people genuinely WANT to see someone else's suffering? Is the average schmuck so sadistic that they, knowing someone else must be vulnerable, feel the roaring need to give them a swift spiritual and emotional plant in the cojones? What kind of sick, twisted bastard tells stories about extended childbirths, raging psychopathic wives, and children who don't let them sleep for weeks on end? It's not like I can take back the pregnancy at this point. Do they want to see me a miserable, unhappy parent that produces an unbalanced child? Is their goal to further the entropy quotient in the human race? What the hell is wrong with you people?

The next time you see a first-time parent, tell them a good story. Tell them how you made it through just fine. Lie if you must, but for chrissakes, don't add to their stress - people have imaginations of their own, y'know? Show some empathy instead of stupidity, and the world would be a better place. That's a message for the masses in all realms.

And while I'm at it, don't friggin offer me your nasty drink in the future. K? K.

Second rant. Less of a rant, more of a "WT...?"

We've got this car seat in the garage someone gave us. Nifty car seat, don't get me wrong. Eddie Bauer. (Since when did Eddie Bauer get into the car seat fashion biz? Anyhow.) Here's what I don't get. The seat is rated for infants - but the dimensions are as follows:

Up to 52 inches in height, up to 100 lbs.

For those following at home, that's FOUR FEET FOUR INCHES tall and THE WEIGHT OF SOME SMALLER FEMALE ADULTS. Dear lord. What child is anywhere near that size and still in a car seat? I've got a student or two in eighth grade who meet those dimensions - do we seriously intend to make them ride in infant seats? Can you imagine that?

"I know we're driving to your friend's 13th birthday party, but hold still while I strap you into your car seat, dear. Next year we'll let you put your high school bumper sticker on the side - won't that be fun?"

Can you imagine the psychological trauma? 52 inch, 100lbs ain't an infant, folks - and it sure don't ride in Eddie Bauer's finest. I'm forced to wonder if the engineer(? advertising agent?) who specced that thing seriously considered the dimensions of the occupant at the high end.  Personally, about the time you cross four feet, I'm-a let you ride in the back seat normal, k? Sounds good.

Finally, a reference to something positive. Amy's in-laws just left this morning. (Ooops. That's not the positive bit, I swear.) They're good people. Unlike most stories (that's another one - why the nasty in-law stories, people? We're stuck with them, don't make it worse?) about nasty in-laws, these two are pretty cool folk. They're still together after umpteen crazy years (seriously, we're talking, like, fifty or more or thereabouts) and they still giggle at each other and I swear she might even think he still hangs the moon. They have their differences, sure, but we all do. The thing is, they're really encouraging and really scary all at the same time. 

I've never been the most socially comfortable person to begin with - I always feel weird around 90% of the planet, for whatever reason, because I feel like I can't relate - but with these two, it's something else. They're like, the UBER parents. Dad's a housing contractor builder guy - the man built three of the homes Amy grew up in with his own friggin hands. How much more awesome-dad can you get than that? His only requirement of me is that I make his daughter happy, and he means it. He's straightforward, honest, speaks his mind and works until he sweats, and that's when he calls it fun. There may be five mechanical devices on the planet he doesn't know how to repair without thinking about it, but I'll be damned if I can figure out what they are. His innate mechanical handiness makes my own macho self-image curl up in a corner and cry out for momma.

His wife, Amy's mom, is the same way. She cooks. She sews. She housekeeps. She mows the friggin lawn, and keeps the books for the family biz. The woman leads a group outside of the home in her town, and she even finds time to talk with Amy every other day or so and play with her grandkid a lot. She and Amy get along better than anyone I've ever seen - they have half-hour gigglefits with no apparent reason or sanity behind them - and she is literally one of the most "I can make the world better with a hug, a smile, and apple pie" people I have ever met. She raised a woman I consider to be one of the wonders of the world (I mean, c'mon, Amy puts up with ME, y'know?) and a son who by all accounts is pretty friggin impressive himself - he's never given me cause to complain.

The perfect housewife, the uber-house-building all-American dad, two kids, dogs, and they'd have a picket fence if it made any sense where they lived. 

Yeaaaahhhh...... and I'm gonna raise a kid to fit into that world. Me. The product of a dead biker and a drug-dealing-child-abuser-who-teaches-bitter-community-college-courses. Suuuuuure. I don't even say the Texas pledge, folks - my All-American ends with the first 30 seconds of the school announcements every day. How in the world am I supposed to resemble (forget compete, I ain't even in the minors for that league, sucka) anything like the kind of parent Amy's dad is? Now Amy, she's the spitting image of her ma and will no doubt continue to the family tradition of Uber-Momness.... but she sure ain't got another version of her dad carrying the other side of the load. My idea for fixing something is to give it a swift kick and buy a new one. I'll work up a sweat working, but don't expect skilled labor.

They're great people, but dang - talk about a high bar. At least when my kid decides he loves his grandparents better than his parents (c'mon, they all do that for awhile) this one will have a reason, neh?

Eh. Long post. Sorry about that. Sadistic people who tell you horror stories about their life suck. Be encouraging or shut up. Car seats need a dose of realism. I'm never going to be half the parent Amy's parents were, and it makes me a little nervous and in awe every time I'm around them.

MT out.


Amy said...


I think you are going to be a wonderful Dad to your little one. It can be a big change and a little different. Right now it is hard because you do not have the little one to hold or talk to. When this little one does come he/she will be so happy to have you has their Daddy. You should not compare yourself to Amy's family. You are funny, kind, caring, and loving and that is what a child needs.

Oh yeah when I was PG I worked with a bunch of women and they would go on and on about how bad child birth was and breast feeding. I would go home looking like a ghost. Not sure what I got into. I agree I do not think it is right to scare a poor first time Mom. It really is not as bad as they all said it would be. I know you and Amy will be just fine.

The Murphys said...

Oh my gosh that carseat bit is too funny!!The scary part is I actually know someone who has their 8 year old still riding in one!! My 7 year old would be mortified if I made her ride in some sort of safety seat, by that age my dad was already letting me ride in the back of his truck and teaching me how to drive out in the field.
As far as child birth goes I just had a baby 5 days ago and I still think it is absolutely AMAZING!! Painful? sure. but the only tears that day were of sheer joy and awe at what a miracle it is, definitely love at first sight. It's overwhelming!!
Yes the Bergers are unbelieveable people but your child will (at least for the first 10 yrs or so) want to be just like you and they will love you and follow you around watching everything you do and try to mimik it in some way. I tend to think that your struggles in childhood will be beneficial to your parenting in that you know how vulnerable your child is to your actions and it will also serve as a guide on what you want to do differently. Baby Fletcher has Butch to show him how to fix stuff (unless like you he would rather just buy a new one) they will only need you to be you :)
Anywho, sorry for babbling! Happy Monday!

Quiltldy said...

Jesse, I don't know you, but I do know my dear Amy. If you weren't wonderful, she wouldn't have given you the time of day. Butch built our house and as much as I love him, he's not perfect :) So just be yourself... love your wife and all will be good. And as far as the baby thing, that will be an experience you will never forget, even if there is any bad stuff, the good overpowers it all. Give Amy my love... hang in there :)
Kathy... Jessica's Mom