I wrote another column about Jane this week. Some of it was actually recycled from this blog, but I'll use it again anyway!
One thing I’ve noticed in my years on this Earth is that when you reach an important milestone in your life, it brings with it a barrage of questions. The same exact questions, from everyone you see.
When you are graduating high school, there are questions about college. When you’re in college, everyone wants to know how school is going and what you’re going to do when you graduate. Not too bad, right?
Well, when you get married, it gets worse. If my husband and I had a dollar for every time someone asked us “How’s married life treating you?” in our first year of marriage, we would have been rich. It drove us crazy. We so badly wanted to reply, “It’s terrible! I think we’re going to call it quits.”
Then there was, “So when are you two going to have kids?” As if that were anyone’s business! I was tempted to say that every time someone asked me that, it meant another year that we were going to wait.
Finally it settled down a bit. It became obvious that married life must be going well, and that we weren’t in any hurry to add kids into the equation.
Just when everyone had given up on that ever happening, we finally did decide to have a baby. It’s a funny thing, pregnancy. Get pregnant and suddenly people like to comment on your weight. It’s probably the only time in life it’s considered acceptable to do so. Fortunately for me, I did not receive any, “You’re huge!” comments. I personally believe that any pregnant woman who does has every right to pop the person who made it in the nose.
I did get the usual chorus of, “When are you due?” and “Is it a boy or a girl?” I didn’t mind at all. I was excited about our coming arrival and wanted to share our happy news.
Now that our daughter is here, the questions fall more into the, “If I had a dollar …” category. The two most-asked questions we have received as new parents have been, “Is she a good baby?” and “Does she sleep at night?”
The former brings to mind good old Veruca Salt and Willy Wonka's "good egg/bag egg" detector. I picture babies dropping down, with the good babies going on their merry way and the bad ones going down the chute. Honestly, what would someone say if I responded with, "No. She's a terrible baby."
Maybe the fact that I find this question somewhat ridiculous means that I really do have a good baby. Sure, I joke around about driving her to Grandma Janet’s in the middle of the night, leaving her in a basket on the doorstep, ringing the doorbell and running away. After all, we can’t be good all the time. I can’t. Can you? Grandma Janet, by the way, doesn’t seem to mind crabby babies at all.
I never know what to say to the second question. Of course she sleeps at night. She sleeps during the daytime, too. Does anyone really expect a newborn to sleep through the night? (Actually, for babies the definition of “sleeping through the night” might surprise most people—it means sleeping for five to six hours at a stretch.) I certainly do not and had no such expectations. I’m not that good at sleeping through the night myself.
As a new mother, I’ve gotten acquainted with late-night television. One evening recently I was watching a late-night show and the host was visiting with an actress, who happens to have had a baby this year. What did he ask her? You guessed it!
I wonder how these became the standard questions to ask new parents. It’s an interesting sociological matter.
I suppose these questions are better than what people will be asking us next. I’m just waiting for, “So, when are you going to have another one?” If you plan to ask that one, have your dollar ready!