Ketchup on Chicken

Yesterday I got into a discussion about keeping ketchup in the fridge versus leaving it out. The answer, of course, is that it doesn’t matter. But something bigger happened: it suddenly dawned on me that my future child will probably enjoy ketchup on his goddamn chicken nuggets.

I shuddered at the thought.

I started thinking about the awful things I enjoyed as a child, because children have terrible tastes by nature. I was no exception. My number one snack before kindergarten was a baloney roll-up. Know what that is? It’s literally a slice of baloney with ketchup on it, rolled into a tube, held in place by a toothpick. I’m getting woozy at the thought of that texture.

So now I’m now wondering what my child will be into. Probably something terrible and cheap, and hopefully something easy to recreate. It’s one of those things I don’t see discussed in the baby books, for obvious reasons. It’s a concept beyond the minefield of infancy, where every hiccup is reason for concern or a trip to the doctor. It’s deep into the unknown territory of early parenthood, when “your mileage may vary” seems to be the unifying call in every book and blog.

It’s this period that, funny enough, I’m most looking forward to. The idea that my kid will be picking up language, problem solving, temperament, and other fundamental aspects of being a human… it’s thrilling, really. This whole thing will be an adventure, but that’s the point when things really kick up a notch, when we’ll start seeing the little person coming into shape. With a little luck, that shape is more “thoughtful” than “asshole,” but it’s entirely up to us.

That’s a wild amount of responsibility, something no one is really prepared for. I grew up always thinking that I never wanted to be a dad, thinking that I’d be terrible at it and I wouldn’t like it anyway. But something changed in the past few years, opened my mind to the possibility that raising a child might not only be ok, it might be something worthwhile, as challenging and satisfying as anything I’ve ever attempted; even more so. Maybe it was just growing older, and maybe it was seeing how many people in the adult world are total fuckups, realizing I can definitely do better.

Whatever the reason, I’m here and I’m ready for this adventure.

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