Back when I was pregnant

Back when I was pregnant I found it impossible to imagine what having a baby around all the time would really be like. I hadn't planned on becoming pregnant -- indeed, I'd never imagined myself to be mother material at all -- so I didn't have a lifetime of preparation that some women seem to get, starting with diapering their baby brothers/sisters and moving on through babysitting, baby showers, Pottery Barn catalogs, etc. And having strangers come up to me, pat my belly, and say, "Get your sleep now, while you can!" was irritating, not instructional. Nobody can really tell you what it's like, but for every child-free person who has ever wondered what's the big deal? I have developed this simple visualization exercise. Find a comfortable seated position, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and we'll begin.

Imagine you have a roommate

A roommate who communicates in cries, grunts, laughter, and blank stares

A roommate who needs you to carry him everywhere

Who grabs the remote out of your hand when you're watching television and then starts randomly selecting channels and volume levels

Who needs to be dressed, sometimes three or four times a day because he pukes on himself

Who swats the cup of hot coffee out of your hand

Who bangs on the keyboard while you're typing

Who pulls your hair

Who falls asleep on your shoulder while you're vacuuming his room

Who cries when you leave him, and ignores you when you come back

Who is so magnetic that relatives will travel thousands of miles of just to ogle him, and then plead for new photographs weekly, saying "It only takes a second, just pop some in the mail!"

Who wakes you up at 3:30 a.m. crying/wanting to play

Who wakes you up at 5:30 a.m. wanting to suck on your nipples

Who would rather be naked than clothed

Who stuffs fistfuls of Cheerios into his mouth, and then coughs until he turns bright red

Who cries when his grandma tries to pick him up, and stops crying when you pick him up, thereby insulting grandma in the most personal way possible

Whom you both love sometimes, secretly, more than each other