Everyone who has ever been in a serious relationship for more than a few months, knows that things get
pretty weird once two people get comfortable with one another. I mean, really, what is a successful relationship if not finding someone who not only understands but celebrates your particular weirdness. Whereas all solid couples are a little odd, once a couple becomes co-parents, well, things go from weird to creepy. The good news is, the creepy things co-parents say to one another also become totally normal, and pretty quickly.
Being able to
stay strong as a couple while parenting is, to put it plainly, Varsity-level relationship stuff. A lot of the time you had for one another (not to mention yourself) is now being flung almost entirely at a child (or children). And the stuff you're taking care of? Oh, it's not sexy stuff and it's not romantic stuff and it's not always what you would even remotely consider "fun stuff."
I would argue, however, that embracing your co-parenting creepiness and wonderful weirdness, while simultaneously acknowledging the level to which you are (to an outsider, anyway) being really bizarre, is key to
keeping it together as partners and co-parents. Honestly, there's so much unintentional humor in parenting. It's hard to always see or notice or appreciate when you're in the thick of it, but if you have someone there to hold your hand to help you step back and just observe the crazy, things can get pretty entertaining. Yes, even the creepy stuff. "Are We Going To Have Sex?" Variations: "Let's do it"; "Wanna?"; a wordless nudge followed by hand gestures or rolling your eyes in the direction of the bedroom.
If you had told me
at the beginning of my relationship, when I was 21 with a ton of time on my hands, that initiating sex would become so mundane and unromantic, I would have been creeped out and maybe even a little depressed. Okay, it isn't this way every time, but sometimes you're just like, "I'm going to be very straightforward in my intentions before I put energy into getting anything started." Approaching sex so clinically may initially sound creepy, but, honestly: we're parents. We've got a lot of shit to do. A lot of the time we're trying to figure out WTF is going on with our weirdo children, which can be confusing AF, so it's nice to have something very cut and dry (especially something awesome, like sex). "Smell This" Variations: "Does this look like a pimple or a boil?"; "Has this mole changed color?"; "Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeew! Come here!"
If you're not a parent, I know what you might be thinking, "For real? You need someone else to join you in smelling something weird or disgusting? What is
actually wrong with you?" However, if you are a parent, you know that kids can't always tell you what's wrong with them, and thorough examinations of your children (and their surroundings) are sometimes required, as are all five of your senses and a second opinion.
Plus, having kids (to say nothing of watching the bloody, sometimes unsettling act of watching them come into the world) gets rid of squeamishness pretty quickly.
Talk About A Stuffed Animal Like It's An Actual Person
mentally, my husband and I know that our son's beloved Roar Bear and our daughter's stuffed horse, Boodles, are not actually alive. But when your kids are so attached in these inanimate objects, they kind of become members of the family in that you have to take them into consideration. Also, the love they feel and the way they talk about them is contagious. So, if you're a parent, get used to sounding like a creeper when you ask your partner, "Did you remember to bring Roar Bear? Is he okay? Did you buckle him in in the middle seat? You know he gets nervous on car rides if he's not buckled in." "Come Look At This Kid's Poop" Variations: "Look at the booger I just sucked out with the Nose Frida!"; "OMG! Look! It's the umbilical stump!"; "Look at how much she just barfed."
Slightly different than the aforementioned "smell this," as is the sort of conversation that happens between two people who have moved a step beyond the initial willingness to dive into the gross stuff out of necessity. "Come look at this kid's poop," has moved over the threshold from scientific analysis to morbid fascination. It is creepy, and it is
totally normal. "Do You Ever Imagine What It'd Be Like To Eat The Baby's Toes?" Variations: "I wonder what baby tastes like?"; "After he loses his teeth, do you think we could make a craft out of them or something?"
When parents hit this level of creepy, I blame the kids. Kids are weirdos who say weird stuff like this all the time and it sort of finds its way into parent brains. Also, raising children can be chaotic and boring in equal measure sometimes, and so one's mind tends to wander, and it will often wander into these strange places.
You show me someone who has looked at an adorable chubby baby with itty bitty toes and hasn't wanted to eat them, and I will show you a goddamn liar.
Wanting to eat your baby is . science Deeply Analyzing Children's Shows
You work with what you've got, people. I have personally watched every single episode of
Curious George between 5 and 50+ times. Eventually, in order to mentally survive, you start to contemplate everything on a deeper level. Sure, it may sound creepy to hear two adults speculate on the origin of the Man with the Yellow Hat's obvious fortune* or the totalitarian overtones of , but after a while it becomes Thomas and Friends de rigueur between co-parents.
*He's obviously a trust fund baby. His parents bought him the beautiful apartment right on Endless Park and his home in the country has been in the family for years. I could go on about his relationship with Professor Wiseman (she's just not that into him) and Aunt Margaret (f*ck buddy), but perhaps another time.
"What Do You Want Me To Do With Your Body When You Die? What About Your Stuff?" Death is an uncomfortable, scary, upsetting subject. Especially when you're being asked to contemplate the particular challenges you would face if your partner ever died, and especially when you have young children to consider as well. However, because you have young children, this is a crucially important subject to broach and while being unabashedly direct about it can be creepy, it really isn't after that first conversation. Sure, it's always more than a little upsetting, but creepy? No. Just practical. "If I Die, Here's What I Want You To Do..."
Similarly, once co-parents have conquered the "creep factor" in bringing this up in the first place,
being straightforward about your own postmortem wishes will be less creepy, at least within the confines of your relationship. (Anyone observing this conversation will likely be sort of weirded out, so go ahead and keep this private.) Nothing As You Both Stare At Your Sleeping Child
Watching two adults gaze wordlessly at a sleeping kid in a dark room is basically the kind of imagery you only see in a horror movie. As startling as the overall visual can be, we can't help it. I mean, we love these little guys and we don't care if we look like demonic stalkers. We will take the only time of the day they are not moving 100 miles per hour to lovingly stare at them. If that makes us creepy then fine, we're creepy.