Patrick Archbold is co-founder of Creative Minority Report, a Catholic website that puts a refreshing spin on the intersection of religion, culture, and politics. When not writing, Patrick is director of information technology at a large international logistics company in New York.
The baby of the family, my sister, just had her first child. Hooray!!
Matthew and I are so excited for the newest addition to the family and my Mother’s 20th grandchild. Hooray again!
My sister has been around nieces and nephews since she was a youngin’ herself. So Matthew and I assumed that she knows all there is to know about babies.
We were wrong. Of course, there are some things that you can only learn from doing it yourself. So there is lots of advice for first-time mothers from other mothers. But we decided that we, as awesome dads, should tell the young moms what to expect.
So you just gave birth, which I gotta tell you does not look like a whole lot of fun. So why in heaven’s name would any woman ever have another child. Answer?
Lesson 1. Girls are stupid. Either that or there is some magic hormone that makes women forget all about the trials of pregnancy and childbirth. Truth is, you will not even remember that I wrote this. The magic hormone erases all the negatives from your mind. I don’t know how it works, but I am convinced that it is the same magic hormone that never lets my wife forget anything that I have ever done wrong. Ying. Yang. Babies good. Husbands bad. You remember what you want to remember, that is the way it works.
Lesson 2. Don’t expect to bond with your baby immediately. You just gave birth to a hairless rat that gives no emotional feedback whatsoever. Your body is a wreck and you are operating on 2 hours of sleep a day. The baby cries and you groan incoherently. Zombies are more attractive than you. What’s not to love? So you are thinking, “I have dreamed of this baby my entire life, why don’t I feel more?” Don’t worry. The love will come. You won’t even know when it happened. All of a sudden, it will just be there. Trust me, I know what I am talking about. Having a baby is like an arranged marriage. The loves comes later.
Lesson 3. When your devoted husband tells you he didn’t hear the baby at three o’clock in the morning, believe him. It is not that he is a lazy bum, it is just that you are so sensitive to your baby’s cry since your are the greatest mom in the history if the universe. Seriously.
Lesson 4. Babies cry, that is what they do. There is nothing wrong, trust me. Babies cry. Even though they told you you can call any time, don’t call the nurses in the maternity ward because your baby sleeps all day and is up all night. If you are lucky, they will laugh at you only after you hang up. This is what babies do. This is your life for the next six weeks. Get used to it.
Lesson 5. Babies are fun. Infants are not. Like I said, they look like hairless rats and they have more bowel movements than Abe Vigoda. The little O they make with the mouth is as cute as it’s gonna get for a while. No smiles, no cooing, and no laughing. Eating, crying, and pooping. What’s not to love? But no worries, they will be babies before you know it.
Lesson 6. Speaking of bowel movements, here is some stuff that Dr. Spock isn’t gonna tell you. Poop is your life. Consumer Reports won’t tell you this, but the quality standards in the diaper industry need serious review. I don’t know if they are made in some country where babies don’t poop, but all diapers leak. And by leak, I mean you will have poop everywhere. Everywhere. And not the little Bambi deer pellets if you know what I mean. It is under your nails, it is on the changing table, it is on your shirt, which if you are lucky you notice BEFORE you go to work. Poop is your life.
Lesson 7. This is not so much a lesson as a pet peeve. Don’t buy your infant shoes. Baby shoes for infants are STUPID! They don’t walk, they don’t crawl, and if your are doing it right, you should never even see their feet. Baby shoes are for parents, not for kids. If you buy your baby mini UGGs I will come over to your house and slap you. Save the money and buy your baby a Red Ryder BB gun with a compass in the stock, and this thing which tells time. They will thank you for it later.
Now don’t let anything that I have told you scare you. This short little window of infant-hood passes more quickly than you dream. Within 90 days, with proper care and feeding and a minimal numbers of drops, your infant will transmogrify into the baby of your dreams. But in the meantime, don’t say I didn’t warn you.