I’m alone with Nico tonight. Marta’s gone out for a much-needed night out with friends and I agreed to watch the little stinker while she partied (and by party, I mean go to dinner and be back by 9 p.m.). She just texted me to see if I’d be OK if she was 15 minutes late and I sent her a photo of Nico almost sleeping. I projected total cool and calm.
But really I am totally scared out of my mind.
You would think after living with a baby for two and a half months that I’d be owning this whole parenting thing. But I swear, it’s exactly like when I had my first “real”* job after college: I feel like an impostor. ALL. THE. TIME.
There are times, in fact, that I think Nico might be on to me. She’ll look at me with a certain infant sideways glance and I’ll think: She’s figured it out! I am a total mommy neophyte!
Probably, though, she just had gas.
I am sure the more seasoned mothers out there will write me and say that this is normal. Everyone feels inadequate. And I’m sure that’s true. But I feel more than inadequate. I feel like a goofy male character in an 80s movie about people who accidentally having kids. I worry all the time that I will accidentally hit Nico’s head on the door jamb when I walk into and out of the rooms. So I end up walking in wide arches and sticking out my elbows in preemptory defense moves.
I also have strange moments of stage fright. I’ll be with Nico, feeling completely normal, making her laugh, spit-up, etc, and then suddenly I’ll realize that I am doing this and I’ll have that impostor feeling again. And so I’ll stop for a moment, consider my own performance, and then try start again. Much more timidly. With too much affect. And then I’m sure, again, that she’s on to me. Like a bad dream where you are the lead actress in the school play and you show up not knowing the lines–and you’re naked.
The good thing about all this is that, even if Nico is on to me, there’s no way she’ll remember that she caught me. Memories only start around 4 or 5 years, or so I’m told. Which means I have about 4.8 years to figure this whole parenting thing out.
The bad thing is that I’ve just written this blog post as much as admitting my inadequacy and insecurity. And I’m sure she’ll be able to read at some point. And could always track it down.
By then, though, I’m sure she’ll hate me for something else much more serious. Like being uncool.
*By my first “real” job I mean when I was a journalist on a small island of 1,000 people, half of whom were drunk all the time, and I drove a golf cart to report on the news.