Great Expectations

**and other novels I never read

No, just like most of you, I’ve never read Great Expectations. Despite a degree in literature, I just never had any reason to read a Dickens novel. If the unremitting drear of “A Christmas Carol” is any indication, it’s probably a good choice, too.**

**Note: I may not be a Victorian-era kind of guy, but give me a good Scrooge retelling, and I’m totally in. “Scrooged” with Bill Murray is maybe the most underrated film in his oeuvre, considering that it’s pre-Lost In Translation and therefore a part of his manic film phase. Am I digressing? I’m digressing. Back to it.

This is not about Christmas. It’s about expectations. The things I thought I might be, do, or see when we set out on this grand adventure of parenthood.

What were my expectations? Here’s a small list:

  1. We’d sleep more, eventually. (I covered this in a recent post).
  2. We’d go out more. Or, at least we’d be that family that gets out of the house with ease and doesn’t feel hidebound to home nearly every night of the week.
  3. Better TV habits. Between baths, bed time, play time, walks, Disney tunes, and snuggles, we’d be the good parents with little to no screen time. Not just for Collins, but us, too.
  4. Food would be easy. I’m a former cook. I love food and have decently adventurous taste. Of course my daughter shall follow suit.

Now, let’s look at reality:

  1. Sleep is elusive. Even when she makes it through the night, I wake reflexively at 2 and 4, listening for her breathing.
  2. Going out is a pain. It wasn’t always this way. Up to about 9 months or so, all we’d need is a bottle and we’d be set. Collins was fun and cute and flirty, unless she was sleeping, which was even better. But now? God help us. If we go out for dinner, It’s food on the floor and tears and there’s not enough free bread in the world to keep that child happy. Take out is our friend. Delivery is next to godliness.
  3. We watch even more TV. Sort of. It’s more that to watch any single show, it has to be on the DVR, and it probably takes us 2 nights to get through an hour long show. If it’s 2 hours, it’s a week. No joke. And as far as Collins watching TV? Well, her face lights up anytime she hears the theme to “Wheel of Fortune” so, you know…#winning?
  4. We never know what she’s going to eat. On Monday, she may love pasta with butter. Maybe it’s rice. Or toast. On tuesday…not at all. Tears. Sippy cups of milk are flung across the room (kid’s got an arm!). No,  my child eats when she feels like it, drops food on the floor even when she is hungry, and only wants the food on my plate…until I giver her some and she hates it. Her sustenance consists solely of her tears and my anger. She eats that crap up.

Co-workers know there are 2 versions of me. The one that proudly shows photos with no provocation, and the one that looks like he just got hit by a truck. And you never know which guy is going to show up, because just those 4 expectations create infinite amounts of stress and joy.

So if you see a new-ish parent, and they look like warmed-over death, but they still want to show you 17 pics on their phone of a tiny child doing something amazing, you’ll know why. It’s all expectations. And reality. And the crash between them.


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