There is nothing more annoying to new parents than hearing the thinly veiled threat, “Just you wait.” As in:
“You think you won’t gain 60 lbs. with this baby. Just you wait.”
“You think you want a natural birth. Just you wait.”
“You think you won’t cry every day and talk to telemarketers just for some adult conversation. Just you wait.”
(For the record, I haven’t gained 60 lbs., my birth plan is entirely the safe and healthy delivery of baby, whatever that entails, so don’t assume and how do you know I don’t cry and talk to telemarketers all day, anyway?)
We have avoided a lot of “just you wait” by neither acknowledging our personal convictions about children nor taking issue with any advice. A polite “oh, really?” or “you don’t say” in slight disinterest can kill a conversation. Some people cannot be stopped, the most ardent of the “just you wait”ers.
There is no stopping the oft-heard phrase “you don’t believe this now, but your life will change complete/forever”. There’s no winning this one: you can’t argue that you understand (“you DON’T know”) or that you welcome it (return to “just you wait…”). By the by, isn’t a baby changing your life completely and forever rather the point?
I digress. For us, we have been warned that no matter how hard we try, our home will be filled with cheap, obnoxious and loud toys. Our child will only read Hannah Montana “books” and we will spend every weekend of our lives at hockey tournaments. The child will hate everything I cook and I will be forced to cook a selection of meals, so that they can choose among the menu.
Yesterday, our neighbours, parents of 3 year old twins, brought over a small bag of baby toys. As he handed it to me, he said, “We know all about getting garbage. If there’s anything you don’t want, feel free to get rid of it or pass it along.” This was a wonderful gift for many reasons: it was a small bag, the toys were appropriate and relatively quiet and it came with the acknowledgment that we might not want everything that is given to us for the baby. These were parents who knew all too well the “just you wait”.
It was then that it occurred to me. The people you say “just you wait” are the same people that are making these things happen. The grandparents that give ridiculous, abundant and inappropriate presents despite been asked not to do so. The aunt that supplies an all-candy diet. The over-zealous friend that describes her own experience of childbirth in the most horrific and graphic way so that you become terrified and ask for an epidural in your eighth month. In order to validate their experience, they need to pass it on.
Why not let us try? Why not support us? Maybe we can make the authentic life we’re searching, maybe our life can be meaningful in small, every day ways and maybe we can live differently, despite what television, mass marketing and a detatched society tries to tell us.
Just you wait.