It’s Not So Ap”parent”
She is the most precious thing I have ever had the fortune of laying eyes on. She is absolutely perfect. 10 perfect fingers. 10 perfect toes. Perfect lips. Perfect eyes. I am hopelessly in love. I can’t believe God created something so beautiful. She is the most amazing miracle I have witnessed. And I just keep asking myself…“when are her parents coming to get her?”
And then it hits me. We are her parents! Holy &*%$! That means no one is coming to get her. She’s going to be here for at least the next 18 years and based on the projected forward progress of the country’s employment rate, probably a lot longer! There aren’t strong enough expletives for how unprepared I am for this.
I know what you’re thinking. “You’ve had 9 months to prepare for this! What have you been doing all this time?” Well for your information, I had been catching up on the past 3 seasons of Bridezillas! I did read What to Expect When You’re Expecting cover to cover. Ask me anything about strange food cravings or sex in the third trimester and you’ll be amazed at my wealth of knowledge. The problem is, that book doesn’t tell you what to expect after you’re done expecting!
Nope. Those fun facts are kept in a secret vault (I suspect it’s the Disney vault, where all those movies get stored until the powers-that-be deem them ready for re-release for “a limited time only”) until the day you are prematurely thrust into parenthood immediately following labor. Your friends with kids refrain from sharing such facts with you because it’s fun to watch you suffer. But I shall not be a part to this evil plot. I shall impart my newfound wisdom upon you poor, unsuspecting parents-to-be. Not to ease your future sufferings (sorry, nothing anyone can say will do that!), but to provide you with as much forewarning as possible.
Here are some things I have learned about parenting in the past month:
1) Whoever said babies sleep between 16 and 20 hours a day was full of *$?@! Babies only sleep when you’re wide awake and have company over. As soon as your eyelids are feeling just the slightest bit heavy, that baby will pop wide awake and remain that way until sunrise.
2) Slap people who tell you to sleep when the baby sleeps. This is pointless advice, as the baby does not sleep!
3) Babies have a sick and twisted sense of humor. A great example of this is when, after hours of endless rocking, singing, and putting the bassinet on the washer while you run a spin cycle, they finally close their eyes. They are asleep in your arms. You can dry your own tears and rejoice in the fact that Mr. Sandman is coming. You place your snoring little cherub down into the cradle and BAM! Wide awake again! They just want to lure you into a false sense of sleep before ripping it from you right as you are about to pass out. And you continue to fall for it. Every time. Because without hope, you have nothing.
4) Your water bill is going to skyrocket. Get ready to be doing laundry every day, sometimes every few hours. Just when you think your baby couldn’t possibly spit up anymore, you put on your faded Stone Temple Pilots world tour ’95 t-shirt (because it’s the last clean article of clothing you own) and pick up your bundle of joy only to have her douse you with one more ounce of her own special spew. And she hasn’t even eaten yet today! But since you’re relegated to the laundry room anyway, may as well get started on the heap of onesies on which she has given her own personal rinse and a few that she’s decided she prefers in brown. Your washing machine is going to run from now until kindergarten. Just get used to it.
5) Despite all your pre-natal vows to the contrary, you are going to be one of those annoying people who posts nothing but photos and statuses about your child on Facebook. You can’t help it. Your life consists of nothing else so you have nothing else to say to the outside world. Yes, your friends are going to converse via private messages about how obnoxious you have become, same as you did pre-partum. Just accept it. This is your life now.
6) Take a good look at your spouse. Memorize his face. You will never see him again. Oh sure, you’ll have the occasional exchange over the baby’s head as you pass her back and forth so one of you can shower for the first time in 3 days. You may even catch a glimpse of him as he runs downstairs at 3am to warm up formula while you struggle to figure out how to change a diaper in the dark. But the days of sitting down together and sharing a meal, taking in a movie, or even having a conversation that doesn’t begin with “The baby is…” or “The baby needs…” are over. Kiss them goodbye as you kiss your spouse goodbye. And while you’re at it, enjoy that kiss as long as you can. It’s the last time you’re going to have time for one!
7) Your nipples are about to see some serious abuse. There’s a good chance after a few sessions of breastfeeding, your areola could wind up resembling Rocky Balboa after a few rounds with Ivan Drago. Well, ladies, yours will. Men, yours should still be fine, provided you don’t accidentally mention that your wife is not down to her pre-pregnancy weight yet. Ever shove sewing needles through the center of your nips? Of course not. Who the heck would do that? But if you’re feeling brave, try it. That should give you an idea of what a “milk let down” feels like. Wondering how you’ll know if your baby is latching? Take a potato chip bag clip and clamp it to your teat. Now leave it there for an hour. Multiply that by 10. Now you’re getting close.
8) Your life as you know it will never be the same again. And you will love it. Because there is just something about knowing you created a life, brought it into the world, and have it to love and hold forever is just about the most amazing feeling in the world. You can’t argue with that!