And somehow, just like that, we made it through the first ten days.
Here then, in completely random order, are five
invaluable mildly entertaining things I have learned during this harrowing
period of newborn-ness.
1. The laws of physics do not apply.
Before I was a parent, I was often struck by the amount of mommy-blogging-web-real-estate devoted to discussions of baby bowel habits. In particular, the ever popular and seemingly ubiquitous, BLOWOUT. The baby poop that seemed to travel through space and time, covering every inch of your newborn despite the apparent impossibility of it all. I never paid much attention until:
OH MY GOODNESS HOW ON EARTH IS THERE POOP ON YOUR NECK, CHILD!
Since that harrowing middle-of-the-night-changing, we’ve switched to cloth diapering – in which I am assured blowouts are less of a “thing.” But I’m still deeply scarred/I still plan to remind my son of this moment on the evening of his high school prom. And I still hold it over C – like a threat and a promise. One day, one day! You, dear husband, will know the horror.
2. You will be reacquainted with your washing machine.
It is entirely possible for your newborn to cruise through his entire infant wardrobe – far too much of which is cutesy newborn hand-me-down wardrobe malfunctions that say things like “Daddy’s little guy” and “I like trucks!” – in a 48 hour period. 24 if he’s a real overachiever and/or sporadically urinates in such incredible volume as to penetrate his cloth diaper, Thirties cover, an adorable Baby Gap infant onesie and any confidence you ever had as a parent. Way to go, kid.
3. Television. Sweet, sweet television.
It’s important to teach your child bad habits as early as possible. Which is why, while breastfeeding, I am exclusively binge watching television with my son. Second only to a comfortable chair in which to acquire breast-feeding-related-sedentary-bed-sores, is a Netflix subscription with which to induce that eyes-glazed-over, drunk-on-Orange-is-the-New-Black look. Plus, now your infant will know what a “shank” is and have deep insights on the character Crazy Eyes. We have also powered through two and a half seasons of Parenthood and a smattering of Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia – the latter only to balance out the wholesomeness of the former. My child will be a television connoisseur and I will win Mother of the Year. Natch.
|Ezra is already skeptical of my television choices.|
4. Sleep when the baby sleeps.
Syke! This is quite possibly the most annoying piece of advice ever. Sure, it’s totally rational and if it were possible on a consistent basis, might even make these early weeks feel a teensy bit manageable. But here’s the hitch. My child will only sleep (a) in my arms; (b) folded up like an amphibious little creature in his super snug carseat with Sleep Sheep inches from his tiny skull or (c) Not at all. Anywhere. Because BOOB! GIVE ME THE BOOB, WOMAN!
Because I strive to set a good example – and mistakenly smothering my infant during his first ten days of life seems incompatible with that – option (a) does not really allow me to sleep. Do I occasionally
doze off while holding him, only to wake with a dramatic start that leaves us
both him breathless and screaming? Oh sure. But legitimate, restful sleep?
What about option (b) you ask? Well sure. When he’s folded up in his carseat, developing the kind of stunted, disoriented sleep habits that will serve him well in his future career as a purveyor of hard drugs, I can lean back in my comfortable armchair and pass out for an hour. But then the Sleep Sheep ends it’s soothing cycle of “ominous ocean sounds,” Ezra starts fussing because umm, HELLO WHY AM I IN A CARSEAT ON THE FLOOR, WE’RE NOT EVEN MOVING and it’s back on the boob.
And that brings us to option (c). Which, during the first ten days anyway, seems to be the only option worth exploring.
5. Step away from the soapbox, Sanctimommy
Before bringing home this living, breathing human baby that depends solely on you to sustain it’s little life, it’s possible that you may have been, ahem, a little sanctimonious, even self-righteous, about certain things. Pacifiers, breastfeeding, formula feeding, co-sleeping, your own basic personal hygiene, etc. You know, the important stuff.
I have found that the first ten days of your child’s life is the appropriate time to: FORGET EVERYTHING YOU EVER THOUGHT, BELIEVED IN OR SWORE YOU WOULD NEVER DO.
The time for your “beliefs” and all that BS you painstakingly researched in the seemingly interminable months leading up to baby’s arrival? That ship has sailed. Because now, now your goals are simple and straightforward and leave no room for deeply held values: eating and sleeping (for the baby – you will never do either of these things consistently again). And that is literally it.
Maybe that means awkwardly breastfeeding in some kind of upside down, ergonomically incorrect cross cradle hold while getting a pelvic exam (check!). Maybe that means that, when inside your home, you crank the heat to 75 and walk around topless 23 hours out of the day. Maybe it means that when the buttons on the onesie are just too damn confusing at 4 am, your child will exist, only partially clothed in what you convince yourself is a very fashion forward outfit. Maybe it means that the best part of your day is the 6 minutes you have to go to the bathroom in peace. Or maybe it means that you embrace the oh-dear-god-totally-creating-a-bad-habit of having your infant son sleep in his carseat. See supra.
Whatever. Now is not the time for sanctimony.
So. What gems of wisdom have you guys picked up in these early days?
(P.S.: I am very aware that this post seems to meander aimlessly between first and second person. Because my eyes are so glazed over I can barely see the screen, I am officially not going to make any effort to correct this. I blame the baby.)
 Okay, so technically, today isn’t over yet. ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN.
 Just writing that kind of gives me pause – I mean, really? Shouldn’t I have to like, I don’t know, take a class or something? Maybe submit my CV to a panel of judgmental child development experts?
 For the first hour or so of her visit, my mother-in-law sheepishly kept her eyes on her shoes at all times. I finally told her she was going to have to get over it and continued waving my boobs around like a maniac.