Baby helps fill in white spaces on map

Baby helps fill in white spaces on map
Having a baby has been a real eye-opener for Joel Sherwood, who continues his Pop Culture series with a curious look at the hidden crannies he never knew existed.

I see shoe stores. Playgrounds. A vast corner of cyberspace. The future.

Going into parenthood I anticipated seeing new sides of myself. A shuffling of priorities, with even tighter focus on family and home life. This has happened. I take more photos. I go to bed at 9pm.

But I’m surprised how many new sides of the community I’m increasingly aware of too. Sites and aspects I previously never noticed or gave much thought to that now capture devoted attention.

There’s the completely undiscovered. Like a kids shoe store nearby our apartment on a street I’ve walked a thousand times. I saw it for the first time a few weeks ago. It’s not new.

Aisles in grocery stores I had previously never walked. A children’s books wing at the library not entered. A brightly coloured department in IKEA I’d always hurried past. An immeasurable amount of websites for parents I didn’t imagine would be there.

When our child was on the way, we bought a book, thinking that’s how you study up on parenting.

For some things, it’s that I take in much more. Pre-child, I had generally recalled seeing a playground here and there. I now know there are loads around. I look closely to note which look biggest and best when we stroller by.

There are more preschools in our neighbourhood than I had registered. Not to mention what seems like more kids, strollers and pregnant people. Where was all this a year ago?

I also feel I’m seeing into my near future when I’m out and about. Someone cycles by with a kid in a child seat on the back, and I know I’ll probably scoot around town the same way when my daughter is a bit older.

I spot parents buying ice cream cones for kids on a warm afternoon, just like I imagine I’ll be doing in summers ahead. I also see desperate attempts to console inconsolable children who drop those cones on the ground and know I’m going to be in that same helpless boat too.

With this realization I’ve been blind or blasé to features of the world around me, a part of me wonders what else right in front of my eyes I’m completely missing.

Another part looks forward to finding out.

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