Nearly twenty months ago, Jen and I welcomed a new member into our family. And as the unimaginable joy of that day led to many, many late nights of pacing while swaddling a screaming baby, I was left with one question: Why the hell would anyone do this twice?
Little did I know that just around the time that Matthew turns 2 this May, I will be finding out the answer to my own question. That’s right, Jen and I will be saying goodbye to what I am sure will seem like the relative peace and quiet of tag teaming the care of one child and hello to what I can only imagine will be a two-on-two Steel Cage Match.
As a man, I have the benefit of forgetting from time to time that there is another baby on the way because, unlike Jen, I don’t have a constant reminder sitting on my bladder. But when the memories of the first few months with Matthew come flooding back, and I add a toddler to that equation, things look a little daunting.
Matthew is, for the most part, an incredibly sweet and loving little boy but, at times, taking care of a toddler can be like being in a bad relationship from a Lifetime TV movie. You will go from laughing and playing to being yelled at in the grocery store parking lot. Singing and dancing to having the dinner you just prepared being slapped out of your hand. But you don’t know the real him. It’s my fault. Sometimes I just don’t cut the blueberries fast enough.
The prospect of taking care of a toddler and a newborn at the same time is scary enough without the constant “You think you have it rough now” comments from people who already have two kids under the age of two. With the first baby, parents would rattle off a series of complaints but always follow it up with the statement “But it’s great and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.” But the advice we get from the parents of two don’t even try to soften the blow. The only solace they can give is “at least you don’t have three,” as the parents of three or more kids seem to have entered some sort of lawless “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome”-situation.
Once again, we have decided to not find out the sex of the baby before they are born. Which still seems to elicit an almost visceral reaction from people who will almost certainly never see me or the baby ever again. I have taken to letting people know that not only are we not going to find out the sex of the baby before they are born, but that I am never going to find out the sex of the baby. Things could get messy, but I’m sticking to my guns on this one.
As Jen found out when we named Matthew, I have virtually no ideas for baby names, and it drives her crazy. When it comes to baby names, I only know what I don’t like, and I am pretty much no help beyond that. My main criteria is that you should be able to find the name on the rotating rack of personalized bicycle license plates at a Six Flags gift shop. Jen put me on the spot to come up with some girl name options, which ended up with me glancing at the TV and rattling off character names from “Friends.” I still say that Chandler is a beautiful name for a little girl.
We have a baby name book at the house that is thicker than most dictionaries and would be a great resource for anyone looking for alternate spellings to traditional Icelandic names. I wouldn’t want my hypothetical daughter to be one of three Bjork’s in her class. Sadly, any baby name book I would produce would be more like a pamphlet, and like my college papers it would play fast and loose with margins and type size. Additionally, I would probably use the cheap trick of inserting meaningless photos to pad things out.
But despite the fear of the unknown with how a second baby will affect our lives, Jen and I still consider ourselves very lucky. We both have siblings whom we love very much and as much as they may have driven you nuts when you were a kid, it is always good to know that there is someone else out there who has your back and shares so many memories with you.
Besides, we have at least some idea of how to be parents now, so how bad could it be?
(I will most likely regret asking this question (semi-humorously) in a future blog)