First-Time Parents Are The Worst

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The other day my husband and I were at the playground near our house. Our girls were there, running around. I mean, I assume they were there because we brought them. And we left with them. But while they played, they were on their own. My husband and I chatted and caught up on the day’s events. And while we chatted, we couldn’t help but notice this one other couple there. They were crouched over their precious little girl as she did … everything.

She was in the baby swing while two parents were inches away from her — front and back — as she swung. They gave each other knowing glances as if to say, “Yes, our child is the most precious child to ever walk the earth. Look at the way she swings!”

Later she was going down the baby slide. The one that’s 18 inches tall. As she succeeded in going down this slide without falling off or otherwise messing things up, the parents looked around to see if everyone else noticed just how well she accomplished this feat.

As she toddled to her stroller, the parents — crouched, still — toddled behind her. And yes, they continued looking up to see if anyone else perceived that they were in the presence of infant greatness.

My husband said it: “First-time parents are the worst.”

And hey, if we have children, we’ve all been there. We’ve all been the crouching parent who truly marvels at the bowel movement your infant created. The best example of how awful first-time parents can be comes, sadly, from our own home. See, when our totally amazing first-born came on the scene, we were blissfully captivated by everything she did. We may have even been more laid back if not for that first hearing test she received in the hospital on the day after she was born. She failed it. We, to put it bluntly, flipped out. We may not have said anything out loud but we were struck with fear as we realized that everything might not be perfect with our perfect little girl. Turns out it was just a fluke with the test. She has the hearing of a wolf. But we suddenly became very attuned to how well she was meeting her physical tests.

I forget how soon you’re supposed to be able to hold your head up after birth but she did it pretty quickly. My husband said, in the presence of our very good friend, that she had “excellent neck control.”

Guess what we get reminded about on a monthly basis: the time we bragged that our infant had excellent neck control.

And you know what? We should be teased about this! It’s totally ridiculous to brag that your infant has excellent neck control (although really, you should have seen it). See, it’s just too difficult to not be that first-time parent. [tagbox tag=”parenting”]

There’s a bit in Parenthood where the Steve Martin character makes the point:

It´s because he was our first.

I mean, I think we were very tense when Kevin was little.

If he got a scratch, we were hysterical.

By the third kid, you know, you let them juggle knives.

Or as a friend put it to me when I let her drive me and my first-born around for four blocks without a car seat, “I’m impressed. I didn’t do that until my second was born.”

In point of fact, I’m pretty sure that when single people find parents annoying, really they are talking about the first-time parent syndrome. No one minds being around a parent who is so chill that they let their youngest juggle steak knives. But that neck control parent? They’re the worst.

The only solution for this problem, of course, is to get past the first child and on with the brood. Society will thank you for it.