A kid in my high school biology class once asked our teacher if a woman could give birth to a snake. And we’ve been close friends ever since!
Thankfully, none of Mom and Buried’s ultrasounds have shown a cobra. And I already have a kid. So even though I’m not a biology teacher, and it’s been five years since I’ve had a newborn baby around and I don’t remember much about how to care for one, I have a pretty good idea of what’s coming (sometime in the next two weeks).
Yet despite the fact that I have an existing child on whom to base my expectations for my second baby’s personality and appearance, in reality, I don’t have a clue. And that’s got me pretty excited.
I know Detective Munch pretty well.
I know he’s talkative and goofy, I know he’s bossy and a smart-ass, I know he likes to sing and dance – unless you dare suggest that he likes to sing and dance! I know he doesn’t like it when his hands get sticky, I know he prefers his mom to his dad, I know he loves Star Wars and superheroes. I know he’s a lot like me and I know that it drives me crazy.
I haven’t met his little brother yet, and while I don’t know him at all, I can’t help but imagine that they’ll have a lot in common. But I also know that I am probably wrong about that.
When you’re a first-time parent-to-be and you’re waiting for your kid to come out, you don’t know what to expect. Not merely in a “how is my life going to change?” way (a lot, but not that much), or in a “am I ever going to sleep again?” way (not really), but also in a “what is the kid going to be like?” way. You can speculate based on your and your spouse’s personalities, but you can’t truly know.
After you’ve had a kid, you suddenly think you have some idea. You have a previous baby to measure the new baby against. But that’s fool’s gold (and probably what they want you to think!) Because when it comes to having kids, no matter if it’s your first or your fifth, you should expect the unexpected.
The existence of Detective Munch probably has no bearing on what The Hammer will turn out to be like. He’s made from the same source material, so there are likely to be similarities, but who knows how and where they’ll manifest. There are plenty of aspects of both my own and Mom and Buried’s personality that Detective Munch seems to have missed out on; maybe the second kid will get all of the scraps and he’ll be the Danny DeVito to the Detective’s Arnold!
The likely scenario is less Twins and more Star Wars, in that his personality won’t be a mirror opposite to his brother’s but will instead be both similar to and different from it (he’ll be The Force Awakens to the Detective’s A New Hope!).
Either way, the new guy is going to be unique and unpredictable. And aside from some typical newborn behavior that will recur, there’s probably little about our first go-round that we can count on. And that’s really
Will he look like me the same way Detective Munch does (a boy can dream!)? Will he like to build stuff as much as Detective Munch does? Will he be interested in the same TV shows and the same toys as his older brother, influenced by their proximity? Or will he go his own way, influenced by his standing as the youngest in the family, and rebel against his brother and his parents? Maybe he’ll hate superheroes and love sports. Maybe he’ll prefer the Stones to the Beatles. Maybe he’ll prefer “Star Trek” to Star Wars. Maybe he’ll love getting his hands dirty. Maybe he’ll like me more than he likes Mommy (a man can dream!)
For all the terrifying uncertainty that comes with having a baby – and trust me, none of that terror goes away merely because you’ve already been through it – there is an equal amount of excitement. I can’t wait to find out about The Hammer.
I can’t wait to find out who he is, what he’s like, what he likes, and why he likes Mom and Buried so much more than me (yup, I’ve already given up, just two paragraphs later). I don’t care if he’s like his brother or not – in fact, lately, I pray that he isn’t! I don’t care if he’s like me or not – in fact, lately, I pray that he isn’t!
No matter what, I’m going to have to wait a while to find out.
I might discover pretty quickly if the new baby is a good sleeper (please god please god please god) or if he hates baby food, but it’s going to be a good two or three years before I have any kind of handle on his personality. Which is probably a good thing, since I’m going to be so sleep-deprived that I doubt I’ll even remember the first year or two of his life.
But at least I know he won’t be a snake! (Right, Mr. Winters?)