My nephew and his wife will be having their first child next month. They’re excited for all the usual reasons, but I’m happy for them for a much less obvious reason.
You see, it’s easy, and expected, to be giddy at the notion of gently pinching impossibly chubby baby thighs or pondering the adorableness of spit-bubble smiles. And don’t even get me started on the heartbreakingly sweet heaviness of a sleeping baby’s head on your chest.
Can you tell me I want grandchildren!
Kidding! This isn’t about me. This is a sentence that I use almost every day, but really mean this time.
Like all first-time spouses, neph has had plenty of advice for months. Practical, solid advice like this “sleep when the baby sleeps,”That made no sense to me. I mean when are you supposed to watch your DVR’ed Real Housewives if you’re curled up at 3 p.m. every day? That’s nuts.
I prefer to share practical, useful advice. This is the kind of wisdom that you won’t get at a baby shower. (Best advice I’ve seen from one of those: “Take your kids to the pumpkin patch. Let them pick out any pumpkin they like but tell them they have to tote it to the car. They will never want to go back.” You’re welcome.)
“This is a sweet, special time,”I will tell Neph. “You already have a dog…”
“Where you headed with this, auntie?”He will ask.
“And now, with a new baby AND a dog, well, you pretty much get to spend every weekend at a brewery!”
Sure, you could go to a brewery without a baby or a dog but, if it’s on a weekend and not quite dark yet, you’re going to get some serious side eye.
“Hmmph. She came in here with some other grownup, ordered a hazy double IPA and doesn’t even have a toddler. Some people!”They will stare at you, point and point, just like they do at Disney. Or so I’ve been told.
These are wonderful days to be a parent.
I’ll have to tell nephew how it used to be in the olden days. That is what young people love.
“Son, back in 1997, when your little cousin was born, we had to walk to Chuck E. Cheese, uphill, both ways…We were excited not for the pizza—which was thin and hard enough to pop a door lock,–but we did it because it was the only kids’ birthday party destination that sold beer. And we’re not talking some hops-infused ale with notes of juniper and crankcase oil. We’re talking stupid beer. Warm. Yeller. It’s truly horrible.
Neph’s face will go pale at this, of course. Young parents are limited to IPAs and pilsners, sours and stouts. There are approximately 15,000 variations.
He was one of the last of his friends to have children. His nephew has only heard of bars that turned into breweries with changing tables that were tricked out.
More than once I’ve found myself at the newest brewery of the week, marveling at how tiny the babies are. And how big are the dogs.
“That one must’ve come straight from the hospital,”I nudge Duh hubby. “OMG, what is that dog licking off the baby??”
If I’m bemused by this trend, imagine the dogs. A weekend at the dog park or a walk in the country used to be part of a person’s life.
They are now silent and bitter looking sentinels, right next to the stroller. They have a job that they never applied for.
Duke: “Yeah, they came back the other night with THAT. I honestly thought she was just hittin’ the cheesecake a little hard.”
Marma: “Lookit. It hasn’t even gotten its fur yet.”
Duke: I need to have a drink.
Celia RivenbarkIs a NYT-bestselling author, columnist, and columnist. Write to her at [email protected].