Sunday, September 16, 2012
The First Month
Surprises from the first month of being a parent (and things seasoned parents don't tell you):
1. Babies are a time suck.
I think we're starting to get closer to the "set routine" portion of baby life, but the first thirty days went something like this: wake up, feed, try to do something but ultimately soothe fussy baby, change diaper, feed, try to do something but ultimately soothe fussy baby... You get the idea. I'd look at the clock and suddenly it would be 4 o'clock and all I'd have to show for my day's output was keeping another human alive.
Which is actually a pretty big deal, am I right?
2. You feel like a phony.
I must admit I still feel like a bit of a fake when it comes to this whole "mom" thing. When I pass Jack off to Kyle, I call him "Daddy" which is additionally weird and doesn't feel genuine. It's not that I don't look at my son and feel like his mother. It's more that it feels incredibly surreal and I don't put myself in any sort of "Mom" classification. I know at some point, I'll start to feel like this whole thing is not a dream, I'm just not sure when.
3. Recovering from having a baby blows... especially in the summer.
Since Jack was born in August, we've been "surviving" the worst heat wave I can remember as of the last few years. I am not built for hot weather. I wilt in the heat like a southern belle and would prefer a good winter storm any day. But can I go swimming to cool off? Nope, I have to wait until my six week check up. Have I been sweating profusely, more than I normally would in this weather? Of course! Also, sorry, a bit TMI, but having to wear maxi pads for a month and a half? All sorts of not fun. If you thought you hated them in middle school, just wait until you have a baby! It seems like a never-ending drag.
4. Your house will experience many states of non-clean.
This kind of ties into number one, but it deserves its own section. People tell you to let your house go to crap as you get used to your new routines as a parent ("Focus on your baby! Don't worry about folding the laundry or doing the dishes!"), and while this advice is all well and good, it can only get to a point of disrepair before health codes start to fail and public health nurses get called in. I imagined having a ton of time to clean while Jack was "sleeping" during the day, but I laugh at my naivete, friends... what a fool was I!
5. If you're lucky, you'll get to enjoy all sorts of free food!
While I think we are reaching the tail end of this perk, I have to say it's been pretty awesome. Our friends and family have brought take-out, homemade meals, groceries, dessert, even some booze... and it has been all kinds of helpful. Remember number one? Forget any kind of decent cooking coming out of your kitchen for at least the first month.
6. It's not as hard as everyone says.
Don't get ahead of yourself- I am by no means saying being a mom is easy. Good god, no. What I'm trying to say is that many, MANY people will tell you the horror stories and make it sound like having a newborn is akin to trying to teach a panda how to roller-skate or surviving some sort of scary Indonesian prison. Yes, I'm not getting as much sleep as I did pre-Jack. Yes, it is work keeping a helpless human alive (I mean, the kid can't even hold his head up for christssake). However, Kyle and I have talked about it and agree: it's totally manageable and not that bad. I'm hoping this is reassuring to some readers, but I will mention that if you're a complainer or a "glass is half empty" kind of person, it will probably be quite hellish for you.
7. Babies are incredibly talented at producing loud, audible farts.
I mean, seriously, it's impressive.
8. They're not as delicate as you anticipate they'll be.
Going into this whole "newborn" thing, I was slightly afraid of breaking my child. I imagined that one false move and baby boy would end up in the emergency room. It turns out babies are incredibly resilient (and thank god for that, because Kyle and I aren't exactly delicate people)! As long as their basic needs are being met and their head is supported, you pretty much get an A+.
9. Baby poop smells like rotten popcorn.
This is for breastfed babies... I can't attest to the formula fed set.
10. You will think they are perfect, you will spend an inordinate amount of time staring and it will always feel like it's flying by too quickly.
Ok, I guess this really isn't a surprise.