31 January 2013

responsibility is a scary word

As most of the people who've read this have probably noticed, I read a lot. I'm the queen of researching topics that I finding interesting, which is why I have, among other books, a book on the history of perfume, a biography of Marie Antoinette, a slowly growing library of philosophical texts, and a book explaining how to be a blacksmith. I doubt I could be on Jeopardy, since my array of random facts is not the same as the one they seem to require, but I do know a lot of odd things.

This week, the not-so-random read was John Medina's Brain Rules for Baby. Basically, it's an easily-read (i.e., he uses scientific language but if you don't follow most science words so well, you can still read this book without a problem) book on the development of the child's brain and what you can do to help your kid's brain do well. There's a lot about encouraging curiosity and imaginative play and avoiding the television. Most of it is, to be fair, pretty sensible advice, but it left me reeling.

Come August (or possibly late July or early September, given that most babies like to show up when it pleases them), J. and I will suddenly be responsible for a tiny human. I'm already responsible for it, since it's busy growing inside of me, but remembering to take my folic acid and avoiding raw fish (and I miss raw fish!) isn't really the same thing as teaching this helpless thing how to walk, talk, and interact with/interpret the world. Part of me goes, "I can't even keep my kitchen clean, what the hell am I going to do a baby?" The other part of me, the bit that just takes on responsibility despite the stress and the scariness of it all, says I'll be fine.

It is strange. It's easy to be responsible for some things. Doing my laundry and showering regularly? Sure, because I really don't like smelling weird. Organizing an event? Last year I was responsible for Vancouver's local yarn crawl, Yarn Harvest. I did it, but I came awfully close to a nervous breakdown a couple of times. This year I'm on the committee as an advisor, not as the only person organizing the whole damn thing (I'm having a baby, I will be in the newborn sleep-deprived haze when Yarn Harvest happens in September). But the thing is, despite the odd hiccup, it all came together.

But what about remembering to put the laundry away? Or calling people back when they leave messages? Or remembering to leave my phone on at all? That's much harder to do, for some weird reason. I feel like I'm still a kid who's trying to figure out what responsibility means and is incapable of achieving some sort of balance in her life.

It's probably the stress talking. Or maybe the hormones. J. and I aren't the most responsible, adult people, and we never will be. We will probably always put reading over remembering to put the laundry away, but I'm pretty sure we can teach a baby to talk. What it will learn to say though, is more worrying.

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