Failure


Failure is something that I don’t want to say I am looking forward to, but I think it’s something I need. It’s also something that I hope doesn’t hurt any feelings.

I’m a gamer. It doesn’t matter if I run out of time to play any games, I function like a gamer. Gamers love to try things out. They like to dive in and they like to see what makes things tick. For a gamer, much as any other subset of nerd, reading the instruction manual is a matter of last resort. Unless that manual has some sweet manga art in it, you shouldn’t be reading it until you’re desperate because it’s clear the game designers hate you. A gamer will gladly lose a few of their extra lives in the process of pounding on buttons just so they can tell themselves they figured it out. They mastered the system.

Babies, you may note, do not have manuals at all. I know, surprising right? They are, however, an adventure and a challenge. The baby is not unlike a super awesome game that I pre-ordered nine months ago and have been excited to unwrap and play once it delivers ever since. It’s a co-op game, and I always enjoy being able to convince Janelle to take on new games with me, so I’m pretty stoked.

When a gamer gets a new game, he is happy to show it off. He’ll call friends and have them come over to check out the sweet new game he’s got. When he’s done having a go ’round, he will gladly hand off the controller and sit back satisfied as his buddies share in his enjoyment of the product. What that gamer does not like, however, is someone standing next to him saying “You need to jump now. Jump! Jump! Aww, man. You should have jumped.” I knew people who were like that when I was a kid. I wanted to punch them in the throat. Now if that same gamer fails at a jump over and over, he will turn to a friend eventually and say, “Why don’t you give it a shot?” But he needs to get there in his own time, else the rage.

The same’s going to go for this baby, but without the urge to punch people in the throat. Hopefully. I know that I’m going to want everyone to see the baby. Hell, I wouldn’t mind having a weird nomad camp set up downstairs in our place filled with people who want to hang out with the baby. But I want everyone to be there to enjoy the baby, not be there to help in the business of the baby. At least not without being prompted.

This is a delicate area, and I was nervous about covering it in a public forum like this, but I tend to express my ideas more fully in text anyway, so I figured maybe it’s the safer bet. I am really looking forward to both sets of grandparents and any other relatives and friends being around. I want to hand the baby over to them and watch them enjoy the new little kid in the world. I’m not going to lie, I’m getting a little misty-eyed just typing about it. It’s going to a little like getting to see how they must have looked all those years ago when they saw me or Janelle for the first time, and I’ll be able to see a bit of how I feel reflected in them. It’s going to be pretty special.

I feel strongly though that Janelle and I need to be allowed to fail, especially at the start. I’m a little worried we could be inundated with so much easy help that the first few weeks are a breeze, but that as people go back to their homes and lives we find ourselves totally overwhelmed. Finding our limits feels like a critical point in parenting and I want to be sure we get to experience that. I worry about that stance being too standoffish, and I worry more that it will be interpreted that we simply don’t want people around, when the opposite is true.

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