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nothing to worry about
except everything
by mike julianelle

I am going to be a miserable father.

Relax. This is neither an announcement nor another installment of my ongoing series: "I Hate Your Baby." It's merely a prediction.

Right now, it's 3:30 in the morning and I am wide awake, writing this column. Why? Because I'm waiting for my wife. She is currently in a rental car with two strangers, at the tail end of a middle-of-the-night drive up the eastern seaboard,all the way from Richmond, VA to NYC. Why? Because air travel is the devil. After a five-day, three-city business trip, she was treated to an all day wait in the airport, from 1pm to 8pm, hoping/waiting/praying that her continually delayed flight home would eventually take off. No dice. Hence, the car.

I'm not so insane as to stay awake all night waiting for her, but I am neurotic enough to wake up halfway through and imagine a multitude of scenarios to explain why she has neither returned my texts nor answered my phone calls for the last 4 hours. Car accident? Kidnapping? Killer with hook for a hand? Maybe she picked up a dashing hitchhiker and ran away with him, or turned gay for one of the girls she's riding with (okay, that scenario played out when I was still asleep). Who knows? Any one of those might be true and probably isn't. But once I've considered them, each and every one seems likely, even probable. That is why I am awake. Constant worrying.

One of my closest friends is due to have a baby any minute now. In the days leading up to the birth, he admitted that he was a bit anxious about about caring for a newborn. I can see that. I would be too. I, presumably, will be. Someday. How will I ever get any sleep then? They are so fucking loud.

My parents have often told me of their sleepless nights spent waiting for my brothers or myself to arrive home from a party or a bar, whether we were 16 or 32. It always seemed pointless and ridiculous to me - after all, I was out having fun - but I am positive that I will do the same thing when that day comes. Hell, I'm the guy that panics over the possibility that my cat might not have enough food to survive the long weekend without us, even though I know I left plenty. Every time on our way back from such a trip, I briefly imagine walking into my apartment to the smell of dead cat. Thankfully, so far it's just been the smell of live cat. My wife's not sure what's worse.

I don't even have a baby yet and I'm already scared of dropping him and setting him up for a starring role The Goonies 2. I can only imagine what I'll be like with a teenager, let alone a daughter. My wife desperately wants to have a girl, which seems acceptable, so long as that daughter doesn't mind never leaving the house. Personally I'd feel more secure with a son. The worst case scenario with a son? He turns out to be a criminal, or Hitler. Worst case with a daughter? She becomes a victim, or Lindsay Lohan. At least criminals make a choice. Sluts are born easy.

Calm down, feminists. Those roles aren't necessarily gender-specific: girls are just as likely to be criminals. Just look at Adam and Eve. And guys can be sluts. Just look at Anne Hathaway (I'm sorry, chick looks like The Joker. And I'm pretty sure she sleeps around).

And it's not like raising kids is the only thing I worry about. That's years off and I need to fill my time stressing about more pressing matters, like how to deal with scheduling conflicts when recording shows on my DVR. If there's one thing I've learned as I've grown older, it's that life just gets more and more scary. It's neither easy nor advisable to be totally carefree, but it's not exactly a shitload of fun stressing over every possible problem. Seeing that I am completely aware that I can let my paranoid neuroses get the best of me, I have resolved to do a better job ignoring the things I can't change and concentrating on the issues I can control. Wow, I know the Serenity prayer and I'm not even an alcoholic!

So far it hasn't exactly worked. As I've already mentioned, I spent much of tonight awake, obsessing over the many scary ways my wife may have been waylaid on her trip back to me. I also managed to work myself up about what I'll do with my cat should a baby of our own ever arrive (FYI, our = mine and my wife's, not mine and my cat's, sicko. The cat's not even 18!) I mean, everyone knows cats eat baby genitals. Or steal their breath. Or protect them from tiny, killer gnomes. One of those. The point is, I still get stressed about things. Big things, small things, everything.

But I'm working on it. Just yesterday it only took me three or four beers to be able to consider moving into a new apartment without getting a headache. I figure when the time comes it will only take me about a twelve-pack to deal with being a father. If only babies weren't so slippery.


Let's get real here. You don't want to know about me. You want to know about "me".

more about mike julianelle


bummed out
brother, spare me the whine
by mike julianelle
topic: humor
published: 5.26.06

the parent trap
buried with children
by mike julianelle
topic: humor
published: 7.7.10


rob julianelle
4.6.09 @ 12:35p

is it wrong that alcohol aids my every decision?

lucy lediaev
4.6.09 @ 1:25p

Some reassurances, though likely fruitless:
1) Babies are tougher than parents. If they weren't, they wouldn't survive the first 3 months
2) The worst thing a cat might do to a baby is cuddle up with it. Babies are warm and smell of milk. A closed door on the baby's room resolves this problem, though my attitude has been live and let live and after the first few months cat is more at risk from baby than the other way round.
3) Waiting up for kids of all ages goes with parenthood. It's inevitable. But, learn to do what I did when my daughter was a teen: wake up out of a deep sleep only after the curfew has arrived and no daughter in the house.

I'm sure your wife is home now and wondering why you were such an idiot. She knows she can take care of herself. (And, you are probably wondering why you had such an overactive imagination--it's called love!)

mike julianelle
4.6.09 @ 3:37p

Rest assured that everyone will know when I am actually in position to be worrying about babies of my own. I promise to be as hard on my own babies as I am on everyone else's.

And I KNOW I'm not the only one that hates other people's kids, but am I really the only one who thinks Anne Hathaway looks like an Albino Praying Mantis?

lucy lediaev
4.6.09 @ 3:46p

The older I get the less tolerant I am of bad child behavior. Or, perhaps I should call it bad parent behavior. I'm still charmed by bright, polite, and otherwise well-behaved kids. They are a joy--be they my grandchild, those of my partner, or any other acceptably mannered kids who cross my path.

Hooligans are hooligans--no matter the age. Rude parents beget rude kids. I'd prefer to stay away from those parents and those kids!

tim lockwood
4.7.09 @ 1:15p

When Little-Bit was first born, we knew we didn't want to be one of those parents who jumped out of bed at the first whimper, because that way lies disaster. But we wanted to make sure we attended to a real emergency if there indeed was one. So we asked the pediatrician about it, and his advice was, if we were sure she was already fed and clean, to just let her cry for thirty minutes, and if she was still going strong at that time, to go see what was up. Yes, I thought thirty minutes was excessive too, but he was right. As it turned out, she usually went right back to sleep after fifteen minutes. I eventually trained myself to sleep while still mentally timing how long she cried. It's difficult, because you don't want your baby to be suffering or unhappy, but you also have to learn how not to become the foot-servant of a small demanding child.

Don't worry, when the time comes, not only will you not drop the baby, but you will have one hell of a tough time letting go. Over time, you just learn to read the signs as to when it's time to stop doing for her, and let her do for herself.

lucy lediaev
4.7.09 @ 3:38p

Great advice, Tim. I hope you share it with lots of new parents. By 4 months, most babies can learn to settle themselves to sleep, although a may take 3 or 4 nights of fussing first.

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