Life happens: First comes love, then comes annoying, screaming babies
It's karma. That's what it is.
I just wish I would have realized it before now.
Yes, now that I'm pregnant, my past is coming back to haunt me. A past that I'm ashamed to admit includes some rather immature and inconsiderate attitudes toward the youngest members of our society and their caretakers.
For example, while I always kindly offered my seat on public transportation to pregnant chicks, inside my head I was thinking, "Come on, how hard can pregnancy be, lady? Drama queen."
Not to mention the extensive and borderline dangerous eye-rolling I used to do when I'd see those "Reserved for Preggos" handicapped spaces in the parking lot.
I was downright ruthless to the women who used those unnecessarily giant strollers (the Hummer of strollers as I not-so-fondly think of them) or worse yet, the dreaded double stroller.
Every time these exhausted moms nonchalantly blocked the doors on the subway or blocked my way on the sidewalk, I'd loudly sigh, say "uh...excuse me" and mutter under my breath about how having children doesn't make you more important than the rest of us, lady.
Upon seeing kids at the store who were either a) constantly nagging "Mom! Mom! Mom! Can I get this please? Pretty please? Mom! Mom! Are you listening to me? I want it. I want it NOW!" or b) having a weapons-grade level tantrum, I'd silently think to myself, "My future kids will never be like that. I'm going to train them just like a puppy to obey my every command."
Upon seeing an infant and her terrified parents board our airplane, my husband and I were those people falling to our knees in the middle of the aisle, throwing up our hands and demanding, "Why!?! Why, God, why?" as we wailed and pounded our chests in agony until takeoff.
And while my husband and I love all the kids, we personally know, such as our nieces, we were still those people who got annoyed when some brat we didn't know started running amok in a restaurant because he was done with his "sketti" and wanted down from the table NOW because he had some very pressing toddler business to do that included touching everything with his sticky hands and banging on the window while singing at a loud volume.
And then - well, then, that little pee stick changed color and loudly announced that karma is a bit ... rough some times.
(Heh. See what I did there?)
It's amazing how quickly your perspective can change. Ever since that fateful day, it's like my husband and I are looking at every thing with new eyes. For example, as it turns out, pregnancy is wicked hard. Like, super duper hard, you guys. Growing a human being from scratch is exhausting. I wouldn't wish this kind of agony on my worst enemy (mostly because she already has, like, three kids, and that is punishment enough).
So, not only should you give up your seat, but you should also probably carry that pregnant woman around Cleopatra-style and feed her grapes while rubbing her feet and telling her how thin she looks.
And as for those frou-frou women with the giant strollers? I have had no less than 23 mothers tell me they are absolutely essential because when you leave the house, the baby needs to take all of its belongings with it or else it, like, dies. Or craps right through its onesie. Whichever one is more inconvenient for you at the moment.
I have also been informed by these same mothers that swatting your kid with a newspaper in public, while not technically illegal, is generally frowned upon. As is shoving your kid's face into their own diaper while yelling "No! Bad!"
Considering both our families live in the Midwest, that screaming child on the airplane - who is too dumb to realize that if they would just yawn the pain would stop - is going to be ours. Feel free to shoot us dirty looks and to loudly question the cruelty of a god that would allow this. Turnabout is fair play.
With pregnancy also comes compassion, and now, I suddenly see that those parents in the restaurant are stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Because you can insist junior stay at the table, locked into his high chair, in which case he will likely have a meltdown, or you can let him down and let him run amok while you follow and try to minimize the damage as much as possible, but at least he's not screaming.
These parents deserve a free drink, not your contempt because they are essentially being held hostage by a short maniac in overalls and are doing their best to deal with it.
Because in a mere six months, those parents dealing with all that will be us. And while considering our past, we probably don't deserve your mercy; I can only hope the rest of you are more understanding than we have been.
But if you're not, that's OK, too. Rumor has it we'll be too tired to even wear real pants in public, let alone care what you think.
Aprill Brandon is a columnist for the Advocate. Her column runs every two weeks in the Your Life section. Comment on this story at VictoriaAdvocate.com.