These Buzzfeed-style ’10 things’ lists seem pretty popular, so I thought I’d try one of mine own, sweet reader.
1. Character Creation
One of my favourite parts of gaming is character creation. I’m the kind of guy who spends hours editing the appearance of my in-game avatar, and often days deliberating over their perks and specialisations. I also like to imagine their entire identity: their personality and backstory, and even a character arch. Embarrassingly, with my Khajiit (cat-man) save in Skyrim, I went onto an Elder Scrolls wikia page to look at Khajiit names and their meanings to give my character a moniker that matched the backstory I’d dreamt up for him (Ri Do J’Kaa). Sad, huh?
Well, I haven’t had the time to play any xbox recently, what with university and all, and I doubt I’ll have to time once my baby’s born… but, don’t despair! Isn’t raising a child the ultimate character creation?
2. Meet the Mini-Me
As well as being excited to mould my son or daughter into an intelligent and thoughtful poet, artist, musician, philosopher, chess GM and wizard, I’m also excited to watch it fall short of my unrealistic expectations. I jest. While I’ll try to instil in my child a love of literature, music and thinking by reading to them, playing to them and encouraging their curiosity, I won’t push them around or pressure them. Ultimately, I’m excited to meet my child and watch them develop into a person who exceeds my every expectation – even if they’re an illiterate, tone-deaf fool.
3. See How I Change
But hey, it’s not all about my baby. I’m excited to see how becoming a parent will change me. Will I become more compassionate? Patient? Confident? Dads always seem to know everything (mums, too). When we’re kids, our parents are Gods, with an apparent mastery of the world and all its workings. How will I change to fill that role, or will I just blag it?
4. Non-pregnant Partner
Though the pregnancy has been a great experience, I’m looking forward to having my bumpless partner back. There are a few reasons: I can prank her again – hide and jump out and scare her silly little socks off; we can share a bottle of wine, some soft cheese and pâté, all of which are no-nos for an expectant mum; and play-fighting, I can get my own back – like just a moment ago, she jabbed me in the ribs and pinched my nipple and there was nothing I could do. Once the baby’s out, I’m going to pin her down and tickle her ’til she wees.
5. Rediscover My Inner Child (or, An Excuse to Be Immature)
I’ll now have an excuse to romp around the playground like the big child I am: swings, slides, you name it, I’ll probably have more fun than my kid. Watching cartoons will be justified, as will using my imagination to play make-believe (which is basically what a writer does anyway), and general, wonderful silliness.
Like many middle-class millennials, I’ve kind of drifted through life care-free for the most part. I’ve had a pretty easy ride. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, I know how lucky I am, but I’ve never really had that drive to achieve, to strike out into the real world. Living with my parents and then off to university, the real world has always been there but at a safe distance. And now it presses in, and I’m ready to meet it head-on.
7. Children Are Hilarious
They’re even funnier than cats. My eight year old cousin was over from Australia for Xmas and came up with the phrase ‘death-peeing’. When his mum and I asked what it was, he said that it was when someone hasn’t peed in three days because there has been a long queue for the toilet and when they finally pee they’re so relaxed that they die. We were in hysterics, but he told us off for laughing at such a serious issue.
I’m looking forward to hearing the crazy shit my kid comes out with.
8. Family Unit
Family ideology is used to normalise a certain kind of behaviour: couple gets married, man gets job, woman rears the kids, they get a mortgage, pay their taxes, obey the law and toe the line, and eventually raise their children to be similarly productive, obedient members of society. The obvious example is the nuclear family. I’ve always been a bit suspicious of ‘the family’ (especially the old model of productive man + domestic woman) as of course not all people want to get married, not all people want to or can have kids. But the idea of the family as a unit really appeals to me now (it would be worrying if it didn’t). My partner, our child(ren) and I will form our own family unit. A beautifully imperfect, squalling unit with all the friction of a thundercloud.
This one is simple and saccharine: I’m excited to experience a love unlike anything I’ve ever felt before.
10. Someone to Avenge Me
And finally, and most importantly, I will have a son or daughter to avenge me; my very own Inigo Montoya.
I can’t wait.