Wow, it’s been how long since my last post? Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. In my defense, though, I’ve had quite an eventful month and a half, full of wedding preparations for my brother in law, hit-and-miss potty training, increasingly frequent tantrums (his, not mine), and of course, work. I’ve been like a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest, and I’m afraid that 4am starts and 12 hour days, coupled with an annoying commute, haven’t allowed for much writing, either here or for my book. After finally getting a chance to read older posts on this blog, and some fiction I wrote several years back, it’s like visiting an old friend and having a cup of coffee with him.
To make a long story short, Ryan is going to be a big brother next March. We found out back in early July, but didn’t want to jinx anything by announcing it to the world before my wife’s second trimester began in earnest. What we didn’t count on, even though it’s essentially a 50% shot, was that we’re going to have a girl. I found out via a photo message from my wife when she left her doctor’s office, and the telltale was the smiley face of the ultrasound done in pink marker. While I regret not being there in person, as I was when we found out Ryan’s gender, I felt the same wonder and shock, a helpless smile for the rest of the day. And a mental note to buy several guns, preferably of different calibers, before she starts dating; this way I can use the assault rifle out to 300 meters away, and a shotgun and pistol for close-in work.
Now, of course, comes the hard part, having him understand the idea of having a sister. We’ve brought the subject up, but even the notion of a sibling is understandably not real for him yet. I doubt it will be, until we have a crying little one in the house, and he wonders why Omma and Appa are tired all the time. What horrifies him, I think, is the possibility that he’ll have to share the people he depends on most. Share Omma and Appa with little sister? No sweat, sis, you can have ’em. But share his grandfather and his grandmothers, though? I asked him about this, and he gave me a long pause, followed by a very loud, very authoritative “No!” I got a look like “what are you smoking for even suggesting such a ludicrous thing?” He’s gotten used to the pregnancy, we think, and there’s no getting around the fact that Omma’s belly is growing. He knows that something called little sister is in Omma’s belly, and he might suspect that his hold on top-dog status in the family is in jeopardy, but that’s about it.
We’re going to have a little girl, though. Holy crap! Years ago I was at a barbecue, whose host had twin daughters who were maybe 3 or 4 at the time. My host said that those little girls were God’s revenge on him for being a man. His other pearl of wisdom was that he lived in perpetual fear that, one of these days, his girls would bring home teenaged knuckleheads who reminded him of himself – and were therefore worthy of a double-ought buckshot shell to the face. We all laughed at him, this badass Army Ranger and veteran of Panama, who was such a pushover for his daughters. But now, as the prospective father of a future young lady, I understand Sergeant M. I know that’s jumping too far ahead, but it’ll always be in the back of my mind, reminding me when I least expect.
As an only child, I can readily identify with Ryan as prince of the house. With that said, I have exactly zero experience with a brother. Sure, there are a handful of men with whom I feel as close as a brother, if not closer; by and large I met them as an adult, we didn’t give each other shiners over toys or perceived slights. I sincerely hope I’ll be a good father to more than one. I don’t want to allow even the perception of preference of one child over the other, though before #2 shows up there’s no way to be certain. I hope that he won’t be too jealous, or do what some friends’ toddlers have done to their little siblings: throw toys into the bassinet, make loud noises RIGHT HERE next to the baby’s ear, try to tip the bassinet over, or become more cantankerous because he feels left out in some way.
The other side of all this is the girly aspect, which I also don’t have any experience with, but which my wife and both grandmothers can’t wait for. Especially the clothes part, which guarantees that everyone will bankrupt themselves on cute little-girl outfits that she might wear once or twice before outgrowing. I’m all for that, and she could be a calming influence on her “oppa” or big brother. Among my paternal duties (at least, as I see it) are a responsibility to teach my daughter how to throw a solid punch, that boys with face piercings are not to be trusted. And if a boy hits you, it doesn’t mean he likes you, you hit him back harder, make him cry.
I also hope that I don’t get wrapped around my daughter’s little finger, like what happened with Sergeant M long ago. I hope that she doesn’t bring home a boy with multiple body piercings who will deserve a long, gruesome death.