My daughter is part of a book club now, which I assume I will also be soon since I think it’s what housewives do. Mabel’s book club is really just a half hour program at the library where we parents can bring our children so that somebody besides us will read to them for a change.
There’s not much I’m sure book club is really good for five-month old kids. It’s nice to have a reason to get out of the house so I don’t have to tell my wife she watched 10 hours of SportsCenter. Also, I read in a memoir by Neal Pollack of the plight of having his son pick out crappy books to read to him at night, so I figured I’d start brainwashing her with stuff I can tolerate early. So I’ve strictly been checking out Dr. Suess books. And I’ve read them so much, now I’m thinking like him now. As I took Mabel for a walk yesterday, I thought to myself for no reason at all “Out in the street, the Everywhere Street, where Everywhere boys kick balls with their feet…” This is apparently common among parents.
All book club is really good for is for parents to network and hopefully I could learn something from them, seeing as how Mabel is one of the youngest there and I still haven’t read any parenting books.
We read a book today, and though I don’t recall the title, it was a captivating tale about a brown bear who saw a red bird who saw a yellow duck and so on. The plot really fell apart when the white dog saw a blue horse who saw a purple cat. I mean, I know it’s fiction, but my belief can only be suspended so far. This is definitely not one I’ll be bringing back home.
After the half hour was up and I had the realization there were still six and a half hours to kill before mommy gets home, I stayed after to socialize with some of the parents who had kids old enough to play with toys. Possibly unprompted, I started bragging about my daughters sleeping abilities because that’s what I have to brag about now. I may have thrown in how I play guitar for her in her swing to lull her to sleep. Subtly, but noticeably. Upon hearing this, one of the mothers (I’m the only guy) said “Wow. Your baby must be one lucky girl to have a father as talented and dedicated as you.” This was a lady who exists solely in my head. An actual lady asked “Why does she sleep in a swing? Does she have acid reflux?”
The actual lady has now assumed that I know a few things. 1) What acid reflux is and how to diagnose it and 2) that a swing would fix that. She obviously thinks I know what I’m doing. Not wanting to shatter that notion, however incorrect, I decided to lie. Well, not really. The answer to the question really is is “Because it works,” but that doesn’t tell the whole story. I just didn’t want her thinking I didn’t know what I was doing. She said something about her daughter’s sleeping habits that sounded innocuous enough and didn’t seem to be intentionally demeaning at all. I still figure it’s best to avoid her in the future should I say something else that prompts any tough questions about things I should probably know already.
So now instead of going there and trying to pick the brains of people who know more than I do, I’m pretending to know more than I do to look like I fit in and I’m going to intentionally avoid the person who seemed most willing to share her knowledge with me.
Parenting is hard.