Here's the most annoying thing about being an expectant dad: it's not that my wife's mood swings more often than the door to the Yankees bullpen when Randy Johnson pitched (thank God he's gone). It's not that every time she tries to get comfortable in bed, I get a knee in my back. It's not even that, like clockwork, she'll ask me for something the instant I sit down. And that something is usually in the place from where I just came. That's annoying, but not the most annoying.
No... THE most annoying thing about being an expectant dad is that everybody wants to tell you something you already know. Sometimes they're specific. Like the fathers who tell you that you're never going to sleep through the night again. "Get your sleep now," they say. As if I'm a bear that can just hibernate for months until my daughter arrives. And in doing so, I'll be magically well rested. What they don't realize is that by saying that, they are having the reverse effect. Since I'm so neurotic, one of the things that keeps me up nights is knowing I won't get enough sleep once the baby is here.
They also want to tell you that you're never going to get to go to the gym again, thus becoming a fat slob with three chins and man boobs. That's a good thing to say to a guy who is so self-conscious that daily he asks his still-growing soulmate if he looks fat. Why am I friends with these people?
Other times, it's more general. Here's a good one: they like to tell you that "life as you know it is going to change forever." No kidding. You mean it's not like owning a hamster? I can't keep her in a cage and get her a little wheel to run on for those times when I'm tired of playing with her myself? Do these people have anything constructive to say? Seriously. What is wrong with people?
What is wrong with the women who find it helpful to share with my wife all of their horror stories from pregnancy and birth? Did more than the baby, and perhaps some of their cerebral cortex, come out during the birth as well? Even our moms, sisters, cousins, and aunts do this. Our own flesh and blood. Hello? Do you not remember what it was like when you were pregnant for the first time? All of the anxiety about the unknown?
Parents who have been through it already should be a source of comfort, not of aggravation, for expectant first-timers. Didn't your mom always tell you, "if you don't have something nice to say, don't say it at all?" Well that should go double for these moms and dads who want to share all of the gory details about afterbirth and late-night, weary-eyed feedings, and "make sure you ask for the epidural as soon as you get to the hospital." One of my favorites: "Breast feeding sucks. No, it literally sucks. Ha ha." No, you're literally not funny. You're a nightmare. Ha ha.
You know what would have been helpful? One of these know-it-alls coming over and helping me put the crib together. That would have been nice. I'm not the handiest guy in the world. I can drink a screwdriver better than I can use a screwdriver. Or maybe they could have shown me how to install the car seat. I swear to you there are some NASA scientists that couldn't figure that one out. And when I brought it to the police station for them to make sure I did it correctly, they just laughed at me.
What is this, initiation to some sort of fraternity? Well, let me tell you something, my friend, I've pledged already. It was more than a decade ago. I wore the diaper and I ate the raw onion. That was college, and it was funny. This is real life, and I'm not saying it's not funny, but a little help would be appreciated.
And they may be thinking they're sharing a nice sentiment, but if I hear someone say how much I'm going to love this child one more time, I'm going to flip. What am I, made of stone? If you cut me, do I not bleed? You're talking to a guy who was so upset when his wedding reception had ended, his new bride had to console him. That may have had something to do with all of those Sambuca shots, but that's neither here nor there. And while I'm baring my soul, I also cried the first time we left our dog somewhere when we went on vacation. How's that for love, or attachment? I may present a tough exterior, but inside, Niagara Falls is just a good episode of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" away.
So don't tell me my life is going to change. I know that. We knew that when we decided to have a baby. It's going to change for the better, because this little girl is going to teach me things I would have never thought I could know. And please don't tell me how much I am going to love her, because I already do love her more than you can imagine, and she's not even here yet.