My nephew and his wife are expecting their first baby 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 I want grandchildren?
Kidding! This isn’t about me. Which is a sentence I say almost never but really mean this time.
Like all first-time expectant couples, neph and wife have had plenty of advice for months now. Solid, useful, practical advice like “sleep when the baby sleeps,” which never made 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 impart truly useful, practical advice, the kind of wisdom you may not get at a baby shower game. (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 stare and point just like they do at Disney if you go without a kid. Or so I’ve been told.
These are glorious days to be a new parent.
I’ll have to tell nephew how it used to be in the olden days. Young folks just love that.
“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. And truly awful.
Neph’s face will go pale at this, of course. Young parents today only know of IPAs, pilsners, sours, stouts and the roughly 15,000 variations of those on tap.
As one of the last of his pals to procreate, nephew only knows of bars turned brewery with tricked-out changing tables where the you know what machine used to be.
More than once I’ve found myself at the newest brewery of the week, marveling at how tiny the babies are. And how big 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. Life used to include a weekend outing at a dog park or a romp in the country.
Now, they are silent and bitter looking sentinels beside the ubiquitous stroller. They have a new job 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 a drink.