Detective Munch has been the VIP of my family for the last five years.
He’s the only grandchild my parents have, the only nephew my brothers have, and the only kid Mom and Buried and I have. As such, he’s been living the high life, as the center of attention, the sole attraction, the primary beneficiary. And, mostly, as the getter of the leeway.
But his gravy train is about to crash.
I know, it sounds bad to suggest I am having another child to get revenge on the first one. Vengeance is a pretty questionable reason to bring a new life into the world.
But hear me out.
I’ve long been wary of inflicting a kid with “only child syndrome” on the world, and even if that’s largely a myth (it is), and even if it’s not the kid’s fault (it isn’t), and even if parents of one kid are aware of and guard against the stereotypical negative qualities of having just one child (we have), it’s hard not to dote on that one kid. It’s hard not to spoil him or her.
It’s less hard when s/he’s got someone to compete with.
As you probably know, my wife is due next month; this January, things are gonna change, for all of us. When Detective Munch’s little brother arrives, he’s going to have to step his game up. He’s leaving the realm of participation trophies; he’s not gonna be getting anything for just showing up. He needs to contribute!
Especially if he expects to keep reaping the rewards he’s grown accustomed to. Because with two kids, there are gonna be fewer rewards going around in general, and it’s every man for himself. Unfortunately for Detective Munch, the baby already has a leg up.
It sounds insane. Babies are a pain in the ass! They don’t sleep much, they scream all the time, they can’t do anything by themselves. Before I had one, I would have agreed with you. I thought the infant stage was going to be the hardest, but that’s because I was young and naive and I didn’t know any better. Now I do.
Munch hasn’t exactly been the world’s finest Detective for the past few months. His behavior has been problematic; he’s stressing Mom and Buried and me out and generally making our life harder. It’s time he got a dose of that medicine. It’s time some measures are taken to make him understand how difficult life with loud, smelly, time-sucking stress-bomb is like.
As luck would have it, one such stress bomb has been brewing for nine months.
It’s not exactly apples to apples. My five-year-old won’t be waking up to change his brother’s diapers, or going to work on no sleep in order to keep the kid in diapers. And babies don’t talk back, babies don’t throw tantrums, babies don’t tell you they hate you. In fact, the odds are that the new kid will worship his big brother for quite a while. (Exactly who am I getting revenge on, here?!)
But he’ll get a little taste. He’ll see what it’s like to no longer be the only game in town. If there’s one way to get revenge on someone who has been taking advantage of his unique status, it’s to make that status a little less unique.
We’re going to be paying a lot of attention to the baby when he arrives, it’s just the way it goes. And at times, we’ll probably feel a little guilty about neglecting Detective Munch to take care of 2.0.
But not that guilty.
Babies may be inconvenient, but they’re a hell of a lot more likable than the ungrateful, obnoxious five-year-old my son has been lately. If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem, so unless said five-year-old starts pulling his weight, i.e., being on his best behavior, helping Mommy and Daddy out, easing up on the tantrums and the sass-back, the baby is gonna be eating his lunch.
It’s payback time.