The Romantic Era: So Far, My Child Is Perfect

21 Dec

Pregnant ... with good intentions.

Editor’s Note: I wrote this on another blog Aug. 6, so some of the info is outdated (e.g. we know now that we’re having a girl)!

I’m 19 weeks pregnant with my first child, which I have come to see as the Romantic Era of parenthood.

With the I Hate My Life, Everything Makes Me Want to Vomit Era well behind me now, and the I Can’t See My Feet, All My Joints Ache Era still in the somewhat distant future, I can sit back and relax in my stretchy pants and empire-waist dresses, eating handfuls of bonbons, without guilt, and dreaming of cuddling up with a snuggly little bug in a onesie who coos when she hears my voice.

Not only am I physically well for the first time in months, but there seems no limit to my fantasies about how perfect and amazing parenthood will be.

Today I told my husband (who actually IS perfect beyond my wildest fantasies) that I imagine us with a child who breezes through the ages of 2 and 3 without ever being remotely “terrible.” And my husband agreed, himself suggesting that perhaps we will have a baby who never cries!

We will simply ask our little one, “Are you hungry?” And he will nod, politely, silently, and we will feed him. A little while later we will say, “Are you tired?” And again, he will nod, and then go down for a long nap without a fuss.

Yeah, right. I know. But in the Romantic Era of pregnancy and pre-parenthood, you can actually let yourself believe these things!

All your questions serve up only the most favorable answers.

Will delivery be torture? No, my experience with childbirth will be miraculously pain-free! Will our child keep us up all night? No, she will be a sleeping prodigy!

We don’t know yet if we are having a girl or a boy, and either seems ideal to us, since we are in the Romantic Era.

If it turns out to be a boy, our son will, of course, grow up to be the consummate gentleman, just like his daddy. Holding doors and saying “please” and “thank you” without prompting. He will be good at sports without ever wanting to run in the house.

If it’s a daughter, she will look adorable in pigtails and be a superb tea-party host to her dolls and stuffed animals. She’ll speak comfortably with adults without ever clamoring for attention.

Our parenting, also, turns out to be flawless in our Romantic Era fantasy.

We imagine that we right all the wrongs of our own upbringings. We will strike the perfect balance of loving and strict. We will always be consistent with discipline and rules. We will put our children first without spoiling them. There will be family dinners every night and no fighting, ever.

Oh, the joys of parenthood when your child is still in the womb!

The only thing that sounds better than the Romantic Era is real life.

In truth, I can’t wait to hear my baby cry. I can’t wait to see my child testing the limits of his world. I’m even sort of looking forward to that annoying phase where they can’t stop saying, “Mommy, Mommy, look at this,” and then you look over and see them doing something totally dumb and unimpressive.

Because as romantic as it is to be 19 weeks pregnant and brimming with idealism, I am so looking forward to the day I hold my baby in my arms and know that she is real — that she is beautifully human and uniquely flawed.

She will have cranky days and character impediments, just like the rest of us. She will keep her poor parents up at night, and there will be many days we want to tear our hair out.

But our child will be unlike anybody we’ve ever known or imagined, and that is what excites us most. He will be perfect because he is not.

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