Nothing to Fear but…

I have to say that the prospect of raising a child in today’s world is not the most comforting of thoughts.

Riding the subway every day makes me wonder what sort of creature will evolve from the combination of our biology and our nurturing.

How many kids do I pass by on the subway that reek of cigarette smoke, or pot? How many of them are talking about the kickass party last night where so-and-so puked their guts out from alcohol poisoning?

Which is fine if we’re talking about university students. But a lot of these kids have only had their double digit ages for a few years.

And these are the tame ones.

Why are we doing this again?


Children are our legacy. Most of us are programmed to want to create them.

It’s the whole raising thing that’s the tricky part.

How do we do that? Certainly there are likely thousands of books on the subject, all with differing points of view. Books like The Right Way to Raise Your Child by Dr. So-and-So, or Teething is the Devil by some former nanny, or maybe Preparing For Your Child’s College Education by Collecting Beer Bottle Deposits, whose author I even don’t want to think about*.

On top of these many, many reference texts, there are the many, many tidbits of advice from well-meaning people. I remember when my little pun’kin was just eight months old when he started walking. Make sure you coat the entire house in thick foam to prevent bruises, they say. Sometimes you hear things like, breast feeding is the only way to do things. If you don’t I’ll come to your house and beat you about the head and neck with a broken bottle. It makes you feel all warm and tingly inside**.

It’s all very confusing.

From a social point of view, it’s interesting. There seems to be a fundamental need for some of those in the know to share their experiences. This isn’t limited to child-rearing knowledge, so it’s not really a surprise. The interesting part is how emphatic these people are when they tell you about what to do with a baby. There is a look in their eyes of secret hope that you will go through some of the same hell that they went through, so they don’t feel alone.

This is perhaps a bit strong, as there are an equal number of people who don’t do this. You know who I’m talking about. Yeah. Those people who look relaxed and cool with their baby, who is quiet as a mouse and already doing long division using cheerios and strained peas on their high chair trays.

It’s quite a contrast between these two factions.

The most interesting thing about sitting on the cusp of being a parent is the uncertainty as to which side I will fall on.

Response Ability

It’s a weird feeling, not knowing what kind of parent you will be.

It would be more comforting if we each came with a label, or a file perhaps, that contained information as to what sort of abilities we will each have when it comes to helping our children grow up properly.

Unfortunately, to the best of my knowledge (even with the use of a magnifying glass and halogen lamp), I haven’t found anything.


So I can’t help but feel a bit anxious.

A number have people have told me that they think I will make a great father. A dad, even***.

This is a nice compliment. But really, how do they know?

Raising children seems to be something that people try to plan for. A proactive endeavour that usually results in highly reactive behaviour.

Which raises my heart rate a little.

Oops. Cold sweats too, apparently.

Do I have what it takes? I certainly hope so.

Worrying for Nothing. Chicks for Free.

Chicks as in kids, before you get the wrong idea.

I agonize about the most trivial things at the best of times. Child raising is far from trivial, in my opinion. So you can imagine what sort of agonizing is going on here. We’re talking about large cargo bins full of the stuff.

And yet, as I typed this article sitting in the window of a coffee shop, several people walked by pushing their babies in strollers. All smiles. No worries.

I can’t help but smile back, as it calms me a little to see things like that. I wonder if all of my agonizing is for nothing.

I guess there is nothing for me to do but wait and see.

Several people have told me that things will always turn out okay if I just do my best. They say that people always find a way to make it happen.

I guess that’s all any of us can do.

* – Yes, I made all three of those books up. However, if these books do exist, I wouldn’t be surprised.
** – Yes, I made these up as well. Take a pill.
*** – As silly as it sounds, when I hear a compliment directed towards me, I secretly dread Triumph the Insult Comic Dog jumping out from behind some nearby structure yelling out FOR ME TO POOP ON!!!