The baby is to be born in a few months. Diane and I are at a cottage by a fire with a couple who have a three year old child. Diane is not drinking despite how well alcohol goes with a fire. The almost leafy smell of the red wine matches the burning leaves perfectly. So do the beer and the shots of Jameson. The opened packet of sesame snaps in my pocket also match the fire pretty well.
The conversation slows down until the other couple’s child runs to them to ask for some juice. And that’s what prompts a rather spooky story from the two of them. They both explain that they haven’t had time alone for almost three years. Furthermore, they never have any spare time to see movies at the picture show. I’m almost inclined to believe them since they don’t know the current term for going to see a movie.
This isn’t the first time I’d heard this story, nor will it be the last. Almost every couple with a child likes to share this stock account of life with a baby. It’s presented like a joke but induces more horror than laughs. I imagine the same couple telling a soon-to-be inmate, “you do realize that jail is boring right? We were the most bored in jail. Let us laugh about that... ahehe”.
The baby has now been alive for a month thanks to Diane and me not messing things up. Have we become baby slaves like the parents of old have insisted we’d become, or have we held onto what I like to call, Fun Island?
As I currently hold our baby, I can see Fun Island in the distance: sometimes it’s closer than others and sometimes I get to even touch fun Island. Then there are times where the three of us go to Fun Island together for a brief period. Sure, baby is sleeping through it, but we are there regardless.
These first two months are supposed to be the hardest and perhaps the most distant from Fun Island. However, the island is still there smiling back at us with delicious beer, ice cream, movies, books and video games. It’s waiting longer than usual; the ice cream has probably melted and the may have beer warmed up, but the island is there.
And then there’s the new island emerging. It currently consists of noticing how cute the baby is and appreciating micro changes in her behaviour. “Did she just half-smile after spitting up on your shoulder? Incredible!” - probably something I said yesterday. Seeing a little universe evolve first hand is at least as interesting as a good podcast, maybe even a great one.
I’m not going to lie to you and suggest that having a baby is as fun and carefree as freedom, but rather that it isn’t quite the prison of misery some people make it out to be. That honour goes to the cramped postpartum room and the pull-out chair that I slept on after the baby was born.
Of all the nuggets of wisdom shared and prophecies foretold, one of my favourites comes from my Step Dad, and I quote: “It’s easy” *takes sip of beer*.
And then there’s Work Island. I regret to inform you that Work Island has sunk.