Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Last night, our friend's daughter, Ruby, invited Megan and me to her fifth birthday party, which will be in March. She told us that there'll be millions of kids there and then looked around the room, saw her mom and dad and me and Megan, and counted to four.

"A million kids and four parents," she said.

This was an advance for Ruby. A few months ago, she said to Megan about the kids' movie Bolt, "You shouldn't watch it until you're a mommy. It's pretty scary." I'm not allowed to see it either, it turns out. This led Megan to think that Ruby considered us contemporaries of hers, and that, since we didn't have kids, we, too, must be four years old.

Suddenly, we've aged at least two decades in her eyes and her declaration was a big moment for me personally. I've been called a "man" before by little kids, but this was the first time I've been considered daddy-material.

When I got married in August and declared in church that I was willing to be such a dad, it should have hit home, but it didn't really. That seemed official, spiritual, theoretical. Plus, I still feel in many ways like a kid, and dads are not, in my experience, kids. In fact, I'm not sure my own father ever was one. I imagine he came out of the womb looking something like this:

(Doctors were amazed by the pre-natal spectacles he'd developed)

Still, I'm trying to grow into the idea of myself as a pop by slowly learning what kinds of foods are dangerous for little ones, how many times a day they defecate, whether they can be safely held upside-down during leap year, and so on.

And I've been trying to imagine what I'll feel if I find out I'm about to have a kiddo. I think I'll bust out with a rendition of "Down on the Corner" by Creedence. It's a pretty happy tune. And I'd like my child to learn rhythm early in life. Maybe then I'd set up a game of cribbage and loudly go over the rules; I want my kid to be good at board games, after all, and this could be a solid start.

As long as he/she's healthy (and awesome at puns).

After the high-fives and hugs, though, after Megan's gone to sleep, I'll put myself on trial for the next 8 hours, 8 months. I have a lot of verve to pass on, but a lot of neuroses, too. Can I temper that stuff so that Wanczyk Jr. doesn't (for instance) chomp on his fingernails like they're ears of corn?

Basically, I'd like to carefully hone what this little person will inherit from me. And though that's probably out of my control, I'm glad I have a little time. For now, I can be me without having, toddling around, a be-diapered mirror in which I see myself.

I would really like to see Bolt someday pretty soon, though. I think I'm going to love it. But I'll bet it's even scarier than Ruby says.

1 comment:

Emily said...

I don't have anything clever to say. But, I love stories about Ruby (duh) and you will be (both you and Megan) extraordinary, wonderful, fun, smart, loving parents. And if you are afraid of passing on neuroses, just you wait to see how neurotic you become when you're a parent (it's worth it--it tempers in time, and even dulls your neurosis eventually).

And finally, I love that photo of your father, he makes such an adorable baby. ;-)