Becoming parents is like joining a
cult club. It’s a non-exclusive club that 87% of all humans eventually belong to, a club that will sometimes unfortunately accept anyone. But still, you instantly feel really cool to be a part of this club.
You know how Jeep-owners have the “wave” that they do to other Jeep owners? I don’t even know if that’s real or not. My dad once owned a Jeep and decided it was real, and waved at every Jeep he saw. It was a little embarrassing, Being a parent is exactly like that, in the same endearing-but-cringey way. You nod and smile at every parent your age, just because. The club. That’s why.
There’s also a certain desperation in being a club member. It has this ONE OF US ONE OF US feeling about it. When new people get pregnant/indoctrinated, we’re all swarming around heavily breathing ONE OF US ONE OF US under our breath. It’s because we’re secretly glad they’ll no longer be the cool, traveling, bar-hopping, fancy-free young couples anymore. They’ll be like us — whatever we are.
Oh, we’re still us. Ahem. Believe me. We’re not those people who have to be home at 7PM to put the level-five nuclear-meltdown baby to bed. We go OUT. Just the other day… we went to a RESTAURANT. We go places. We do.
Of course, that restaurant was Red Lobster. In the burbs. And we got there at 5PM to beat the “crowds.” Because we’re suddenly afraid of vague things like “crowds” now. And it’s true, my kid is a champ who never melts down.
Instead, his preferred method of ruining evenings is taking mega craps that cause him to spit up volcanic amounts until it eventually pours from his nose and stains the nice luxuriant Red Lobster carpet.
Fortunately, I had already finished my meal and convinced myself that I was “having a good time,” so it was no big deal when I picked up the simultaneously pooping/puking baby. I’d just wipe him off.
And er, welp, more of it. Aaaand I’ll just wipe myself off now, too. Just a little spit-up. Whatever.
Still, more. Okay, I’ll just wear my coat over that. I’M STILL HAVING FUN BEING “OUT.”
Then came the regurgitated nose-milk, which soaked my jeans. And the aforementioned nice, luxuriant Red Lobster carpet. And then caused the kid to begin coughing, snorting, and crying all at the same time — a sound that’s much more dramatic than it really is. Then came his surprise, fear, and whimpering from the wildly new sensations of blowing up his sinuses, which is honestly just the stuff of heartbreak, the kind of thing that makes you want to go home, cuddle in bed, and stroke his head promising we’ll never leave the house again.
The family sitting behind me, who were also “out” with their baby, empathetically handed me an extra napkin and joked with me that they understood.
ONE OF US ONE OF US.
After having the kid, the wife gained like forty new parent friends overnight. I’m sort of awkward and twitchy, so I haven’t made nearly as many new friends, or actually any, but her friends are my friends, so there. And maybe, just maybe I’ll count that Red Lobster family among my friends, now, too. Actually, I’ve noticed a slight uptick in the number of “mom/dad blogger” followers I’ve gotten here. Oh, I’m counting you.
To the rest you, I’m so, so sorry. And join us. You should. It’s really fun. I swear.
PS: The Red Baron pizza-for-a-year winner was emailed!