I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the fact that I’m going to be a father, and I keep trying to imagine what kinds of things my own parents were thinking about at this stage in the game. We were talking about discipline and structure the other day in my sociology class, and just discussing the fact that children need – even want – boundaries. Although my professor describes himself as a “pretty liberal guy” (aren’t they all?), he said that deep down, a child does not want to be given free reign of his or her life, because that’s a scary thing. Set ’em free to do what they please, and they’ll have a blast. For a while. Then they’ll get scared, because the wall that restrains them is also the wall that protects them. And that fear will cause them to be disruptive, unable to focus, and generally unhappy.

During her career as a nanny, Kelly has had such well-behaved children that people would often compliment her in public places like stores, parks, etc. “You’re little girl is so well-behaved,” they’d say. And while she was one of the main reasons for the good behavior, she’d immediately reply, “Oh, she’s not mine, but thank you!” Kelly learned early what so many parents are just discovering. Kids need boundaries. I know I sound like I’m trying to be some expert or something, but we’ve been reading a lot and thinking a lot, about this stuff. And I just keep going back to what an amazing mommy Kelly’s going to be. She’s leaps and bounds ahead of most first-time parents when it comes to child-development.

The pregnancy itself is one thing, though, that neither of us has any experience with. For her, it’s pretty scary to think about all the strange things happening inside her body. For me, I have a fear that I won’t be able to support a family. I’ve hardly been able to support myself for the past 8 years, much less a whole additional human being. I’m always reminded what a good decision it was to join the Army. The sociology class I mentioned above? Completely paid for. Two more classes early Spring term will be mostly paid for. Basic training and AIT earned me about 15 college credits. All our medical care is paid for. But anyway, this isn’t an advertisement for the Army. (If it were, there would be stuff like this all over the page.) I also have a fear that I’ll do something to really mess up the kids’ heads. Most of you are familiar with the hereditary “McGovern humor.” Yeah, there’s gonna be another one of us.

I’ve also thought about being a little overconfident in this whole thing. Kelly has tons of knowledge about raising kids. I’ve studied up and have learned a lot from Kelly about everything. Not to mention that I was, in fact, raised by the best. So naturally, we’re thinking that we’ll be some of the most amazing parents who ever lived. And then we talk to people who have been there, who thought the exact same thing… until it happened. “We thought we were so prepared,” they tell us, “and then once we actually had kids, we realized that we had no idea what we were doing.” So that’s something to think about. I don’t want to be the team that gets all cocky before the championship game, and then chokes when it counts.

This is a lot of text. Maybe I should break up these posts into smaller chunks. 🙂 Anyway, I’ve got to get some sleep so I can go run my five miles in the morning.

Updated: December 11, 2003 — 10:29 pm
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