Pre-Archer, I had no idea that parenting required so much paperwork. I had no clue that parental duties extended beyond love your child, feed your child, teach your child, and in to a dark and evil place. A place where “very important papers” somehow stacked themselves to the ceilings and books flooded nurseries with how-to guides and pie charts, and applications spilled out of desk drawers like molten lava.
The paperwork of parenting is something I have had
absolutely no little desire to approach. This probably does not make me a dutiful parent. In fact in The United States of By-the-Book, it makes me a complete slacker-mom. A bad mommy. Worthy of three eye-rolls and a few “Omigod, are you serious”(es) from parent-groups everywhere
When I first became pregnant, I was so overwhelmed with books about labor and childbirth I never even picked one up. I decided to do it the natural way. Like the cave women. They didn’t need books and lessons and Lamaze classes. Their baby’s-daddys didn’t wear #1 CHILDBIRTH COACH t-shirts and carry around yoga balls or practice diaper-changes with dolls. Pulease. Those crazy bitches bit on trees and pushed babies out of their vagoogoos with a throaty “heave ho!” Sure some of them died in the process, but those who survived were all woman. Strong. Invincible. Woman. They were hardcore. So I decided I could be, too.
I was anti-everything. Anti-book, anti-class, anti-advice, which my husband appreciated. He would have never made it through a Lamaze class without us getting thrown out. In his defense there was no way I could have made it through a hoo-hoo-hoo-HEEEEE, hoo-hoo-hoo-HEEEEEE practice session without cracking up and ruining the class for all the very-serious-about-Lamaze folks.
Fast-forward to delivery day where it only took an hour of pitocin-induced labor for me to throw my cave-woman ambition out the window and beg for the epidural like a damn dog. In retrospect I kind of wish I had at least listened to the triage nurse’s crash-course in breathing techniques.
Preparing for Preschool
Every other parent in the greater Los Angeles area is on 67 preschool waiting lists and has been since before they even conceived. I do not understand these people, nor can I relate whatsoever. Waldorf? WTF is Waldorf? It sounds like the name of a butler. And then there’s the Co-op Nursery School and Montessori. And what’s the difference between Developmental Pre-School and just plain Pre-School. I realize I’m supposed to have some idea at this point. Especially because every “good” preschool is full and has a waiting list a mile long. Or at least that’s what everyone keeps telling me. Jesus, this shit is stressful, yo!
Because a Birth Certificate isn’t THAT Important, Is It?
The worst part of all? My son is eighteen months old and I STILL have yet to get his “birth paperwork” notarized. That’s right. Archer doesn’t have a birth certificate. And it’s my fault. I have been holding the yellow slip of paper in my wallet to get notarized since May of 2005. I just haven’t made it to the notary. YET. Because one of these days I will. Tomorrow? Yeah, I’ll do it tomorrow.
I feel terrible about this and yet, there is part of me who prides myself on my DIY approach, even if it backfires. I think a part of me is afraid I will become one of the neurotic psycho-mommies who are so over-prepared that they forget to enjoy their babies. Who are so busy with making lists and checking them twice and organizing paperwork and registering for classes and preschools and getting on waiting lists that they forget who they are making them for.
It’s no excuse, I know. It is just as much my duty to mail in Archer’s hospital forms, as it is to read him stories before bedtime and make spaceships out of Legos. It just isn’t as fun.
I admit, I am starting to realize that there is a fine line. That anarchy and parenthood don’t exactly form a balanced partnership.
Please, Oh dearest readers, tell me that I’m not alone– that somewhere out there, beneath the pale moonlight, someone else is feeling guilty for lagging on getting their toddler’s paperwork notarized, tonight.
I know I can’t be the only one.