I was thinking about children yesterday.
We have a new baby.
I was thinking about how children change your life.
When we had our first child, we were a young married couple.
Actually, Jenny was younger than me then by about 10 years…but we hadn’t been married long so I guess that we were a “young couple”.
Our relationship was in its “youthful stages”.
When we had our first child, everything was new.
We had an idea of how things would go. We had an idea of what to do.
Of course, people who really know what to do don’t move into a gutted house when the baby is…what?….6 weeks old.
That was my idea!
That’s another story.
I was thinking about babies and getting your act together and I realized something.
The first baby is kind of like a really demanding “dolly”.
He or she is able to be corralled. It’s an occasionally controllable situation.
Unless you’re a new Daddy, changing a diaper on the hood of a 1973 Plymouth Valiant (that’s parked, of course)….changing that diaper without enough wet wipes…changing a historically huge blowout on a finely patinated surface…..unless that’s happening, you’re going to be OK.
If you’ve read a few books, listened to your Momma some, paid attention to other parents…learned from other people’s efforts….then you’re probably going to be OK.
You can have fun with the new dolly.
We had our second child 14 months after our first.
People said that it was going to be different.
I thought, “Of course it will be different…there’ll be two babies. Two is different than one.”
“No…”, they said…”you’ll see soon….it will be different.”
I guess that they were right.
What I soon figured out is that having two children isn’t like having an additional “hard dolly”.
Having two children is like trying to run on two separate treadmills at the same time.
I don’t know that you ever really figure it out.
I read some books…I watched and listened…I paid attention to what I was supposed to be doing.
I tried to get it right.
And no matter how many times those two treadmills threw me, I always got back up and started trying to run again….straddling and stumbling, timing each footfall for the next “throw-down”…hoping for the perfect synchronicity I was learning would never come.
I don’t think I’ll every get it completely right…but I sure have gotten a lot more comfortable with knowing that I might get some of it wrong.
I don’t think I’ll ever be the parent I was before we had our children, though.
I really had my game together when all I had to worry about was all the good advice floating around in my brain.
Untested theoretical knowledge is a beautiful thing. It can be so peaceful. It feels so right.
Children force the new math…when 1+1 becomes something so different than just “2”, you really do have to re-examine all your paradigms.
It’s different every time, too.
I don’t want to keep exploring all the different combinations, though. Being a parent isn’t some weird science experiment.
I’ll work at figuring out the combination we’ve cooked up so far.
We don’t need to add to the mix.
Jenny probably agrees.
Time to go warm up the treadmills.