Yes, I’ve taken the Myers-Briggs personality test; is there anyone left who hasn’t made it part of their Facebook timeline? But more importantly, I have taken the Sex and the City personality test, and though I believe the questions are skewed to allow most women the opportunity to indulge the belief that they are such a Carrie, I have always tested Miranda. Caustic, occasionally androgynous (see Season 1) Miranda. For me, the red hair and cynicism overshadow the Everywoman and propensity to date Russian jerks.
One of the great things about being a Miranda is that you always have a snappy comeback on hand. One of the not-so-great things? When you find out you’re pregnant and have to go searching for your maternal instinct. After you’ve almost let a baby fall of the couch at your fried-chicken shower, then answered the question “marsupial or stroller?” it’s time to babyproof your home and take stock of yourself: the self who will be raising a child on a diet of something other than just sarcasm, hopefully. Which is why, after going through the baby wringer twice now, I’ve compiled this list of helpful tips for those of you who hope to have kids one day but have a hard time imagining the balance of wit and onesies.
Put your own spin on traditions. Apropos this time of year, considering all our news feeds are dominated by creative incarnations of that spectre of the holiday season, the dreaded Elf on a Shelf. I’ve seen the Elf ziplining across living rooms and eating bowls of sugary cereal; however, what I have not seen are the visuals I plan on realizing once my kids are old enough for me to give in to this nonsense. How about the Elf hugging the toilet lid after a rager in Cabo? Or the Elf punching Ray Rice in an elevator? Or the Elf having dinner in heaven (WE HOPE) with Joan RIvers? Or the Elf and Bill Cosbyyou know what? I’ll stop there.
Use social media as an outlet. My husband and I have long marveled over the lost opportunities displayed by so many engaging in online community. If your posts are neither informative or funny, we wonder, then why bother? Instead of leaving them to be a wasteland of competition and passive aggression, allow Facebook et al to be sharpening toolsand display boardsfor your sense of humor. The sense of humor you’re going to desperately need for this child-raising venture. It goes like this: traditional Instagram shot: sunsets. Your Instagram shot: the sun setting behind your tantrum-throwing two-year-old. Old Facebook photo: perfect Santa picture. New Facebook photo: your kid crapping on Santa’s lap while the rest of the mall looks on in horror. Have fun with it, is what I’m saying.
Embrace the terrible. Speaking of pictures, for three years now our family has had professional photographs taken around the holidays. It has become more of a joke every year as my husband and I wrangle the kid/s and try to keep the toddler from crying in every shot (his snot has been a featured component of most pictures) and our poor photographers run around in vain attempts to catch him smiling. It only takes so much of this before you realize that some of the best photos happen when nothing is going right. So if the kid is screaming beside us or on Santa’s lap, those are the pictures we buy. Not only are they funny (after the fact more than during the ordeal), but they can serve as excellent bribery material when the kids are older. Trust me, I’m already planning my rehearsal dinner toast, and it will be multimedia.
Identify with your screens. Gone are the days of watching movies on TBS all Sunday long, or considering a Sex and the City marathon appointment viewing. The TV must be relinquished to its new directoryour kid. This is both a blessing and a curse. The blessing: it serves as an excellent babysitter. The curse: you will never get the theme song to Doc McStuffins out of your head. But take heart: there are ways to watch this drivel without going insane. Play drinking games (even if you’re just drinking coffee; try to stave off cocktail hour until at least 9am) and take a gulp every time the Doc makes a diagnosis. Reward yourself with a new pair of shoes whenever you recognize a legit celebrity making a voice cameo on your kid’s favorite animated show. Or construct your own quiz, in which you reveal that between your propensity for bad luck and general ornery attitude, you are such a Donald Duck.
Admit defeat. Sure, sarcasm can still be your official, public calling card. But once you’ve welcomed a miniature version of yourself into the world, a funny thing happens to your heart: it gets sorta vanquished by the ankle-biter. You find yourself approaching the worldat least the part of it populated by your childwith a level of earnestness you’ve sworn off of sincewell, since you were a kid yourself. So go ahead and fly down the big slide, sing Disney tunes at the top of your lungs in the car, and dance around the living room. Your kid will love it, you’ll get in touch with a part of yourself you thought you’d lost, anddon’t worryI won’t tell anyone.