Same day, one year back. Chaos. On our way back from the hospital, without a baby, despite being quite convinced that we'd enter the hospital as a couple and leave it as parents. But no, not yet. We were awkwardly cool about it though. And of course, inevitably this metamorphosis happened the next day anyways. Taro was born. And for the first time I felt like an adult. There was a baby. And it was pretty much solely depending on us to take care of it. That feeling was an interesting one and one I did not expect.
You may expect the next few weeks, months, to be of the default dismay of fresh parents. But no, nothing like that. And no not the puffy clouds either. I'll admit that the 3 hour bottle schedule was a bit surreal. You know it's going to happen but when it happens it still feels a little weird. Never a problem, though. I tend to go to bed pretty late (1-2am) so it wasn't a stretch to take the midnight and 3am shift. My wife would take the 5am and morning shift and we'd take turns during the day. Or well, I guess it's fair to say she took more turns than I did. But for us the bootstrap wasn't a problem.
It helps that Taro was never really any problem. Sure, he'd have a bad crying night. Sure, such nights were most likely on boardgame night when friends were staying over. But for us these were moments rather than phases or periods. And yeah, we realize we were lucky that way. There's little you can do about that. If the baby's gonna cry, it's gonna cry. Cradling and whatever may help you, but it may just as well not. And ohhhh those double edged swords called pacifiers. They're great if they're doing their job, but why do they have to fall out so very often. We need magsafe for pacifiers. Trust me, it's like gold to fresh parents.
I could bore you with more baby stories but chances are you really don't care. And that's kind of the point I wanted to make in this post. Being a parent, amongst other things, led me to discover "the secret parent club". There's no badge, there's no secret hand shake, no annual meetups (unless you count the docter's office, or daycare, which would be fair). There's just being a parent and sharing stories. Which, at that point, are actually kind of interesting. I guess that's because you can compare them to your own. And you're always curious as to how other parents are doing certain things. Parenting is weird that way. What did you do for breast feeding, how are you handling the pacifier vs thumb thing, how many bottles is s/he on, is s/he sleeping through the night yet, oh don't worry it'll happen soon, is he walking already, oh that's okay that can take anywhere between 9 to 15 months no sweat, yeah whole pieces of fruit already, no we're gonna wait a bit with regular milk.
I've never really felt left out of this club before. Wasn't even expecting anything like it. And yet, if you meet somebody and somehow discover it's a parent, it's automatically baby talk. Comparing notes, pitching war stories. It's ... kind of fun :) I can't deny that.
And yet, at the same time, the places where you'd expect these club meetings to take place actually don't appear to have this event happening at all. Daycare is really in-n-out. Parents are always in a hurry so there's ample opportunity to speak to any of them. Maybe when he's older and starts to bond with other kids, maybe that's when you bond with the other parents as well? Likewise, we take him baby swimming every week and there'll be anywhere between 5 to 10 other kids around his age. Usually with one of the parents. I mean, always at least one :) But sometimes both, or a grandparent etc. We tend to be the odd one out since we're always there together and take turns swimming. And while you make more small talk at the pool than at daycare, it still doesn't really amount to much. You'll be busy with your kid, just as everybody else. No real time to chat and nothing happens afterwards either. You go home. End of story.
So that's kind of weird and maybe it'll change once they grow older and actually start playing with other kids. I mean, right now Taro has no real idea what's going on. Oh sure, he sees the toys and enjoys getting attention. But I'm pretty sure that when I take him to daycare, he'll only have a faint idea about what's going on once we're inside and he sees all the other kids. So playing with other kids is incidental, I don't think any bonding happens just yet. Heck, I'm not even convinced he's that attached to us, own his parents, yet. Just because he's not old enough to. Once his speech picks up that'll change quickly. There's another kid in the family that's a few months older so we've got a good example of what's "coming soon".
Personally, I can't wait for the speech to pick up and to improve interaction. Granted, raising him bilingually doesn't immediately help getting him over that threshold faster (au contraire). But we have faith that this'll work out for the best afterwards. (Ok, I know it will)
Oh and also, there's no club. The club is a lie.
It's more like a movement.