Newborn Notes: What Really Happens When You Bring Baby Home

Even though my oldest boys are seven and five, it feels like a lifetime ago that they were tiny little infant babies. I vaguely recall the struggles of their first few months, but with the foggy clarity that one might remember a childhood vacation or a dream from six months ago. Over the last four weeks though, we have all been jolted back to the reality of life with a newborn.

Here are just a few takeaways from our journey so far:

1. I understand why sleep deprivation is an approved method of torture.

By about night three of every two-hour round the clock feedings, I would happily volunteer any and all of the nation’s secrets, my entire family’s social security numbers, and my pinky toe, just to have uninterrupted sleep again.

2. You think your husband is leaning over in bed to hold you close and tell you what a goddess you are for bringing his perfect little lineage into the world…

…but really he’s just telling you that he thinks your boobs are leaking and wanted to know if you knew.

3. Being completely exhausted makes you do crazy things. Things such as:

– One morning I changed out of my PJ pants, put on flip flops, and headed for the door…Only, I didn’t have any pants on.
– I made mac and cheese and dumped it all down the drain before I realized there wasn’t a strainer in the sink.
– I tried to unlock my front door using the keyless entry button for my car.
– I walked around the kitchen for several minutes in the middle of the night because I didn’t understand where to get the water for a bottle.
These are, sadly, only a few examples of the insane things I catch myself doing on the regular. Send coffee. Send a nanny. Send help.

4. I’m not the nice neighborhood mom anymore.

The baby likes to scream uncontrollably every late afternoon at precisely the same time I start cooking dinner, and at about the same time a lot of the neighborhood kids start coming home with their parents. This time last year I was making fruit trays and hosting 10+ kids on my porch for snack time. Now I spend a lot of my time shaking my fist while angrily yelling “get off my porch, the dogs are barking at you and the baby is sleeping!” like the neighborhood spinster/recluse. I promise I’ll be nice again. Right around the same time I remember to leave the house wearing pants every day.

5. In the mornings, someone is going to have to suffer. (Note: it is always me, but at least one of the children have to join me in that suffering.)

By this I mean, if I want my seven and five year olds to be at school on time, the baby will get his bottle literally in the hallway while I walk them into class. If I give the baby his bottle and change him into his “day clothes” at home, my seven and five year olds will be late to school. I’d venture to guess that half of the student body has seen the baby naked, as I have turned the hallway, classrooms, and other various common spaces into his changing room…I am counting down the days until summer break more anxiously than my kids right now. Also, parents of young girls: You’re welcome for the free anatomy lessons my diaper changes have been providing your daughters.

6. My oldest son has become my indentured servant.

He gets to live in this really sweet house for free, so in exchange he has become the diaper disposer, formula fetcher, and pacifier retriever. Look for his bestselling novel, “My Mom Had All These Kids and I Raised Myself” hitting bookshelves in 2030.

7. Real underwear will always pale in comparison to the comfort of those stretchy, hospital issued mesh panties.

This one is pretty self explanatory, but if I told you I left the hospital with extra and wore them for a good week or so in the privacy of my own home, I would be 0% lying. Just add it to our bill, Ft. Sanders.

8. Nothing who smells this good can be all that bad.

Finally, when people ask me if I have a “good baby” or a “bad baby” and I stare at them with my head cocked to one side like I’m in deep thought (I’m not, I’m imagining them as a giant cup of coffee) and I think about this sweet little man who smells like Dreft and baby wash and all things good and sweet, I remember that soon he too will be rolling his eyes at me from the safety of the third row of my SUV (seemingly deaf to my threats to snatch him bald) and that this season will quickly be over. Soon no one will need my constant care and snuggles.

So for now I will embrace all the chaos and exhaustion that comes from this tiny man, and I will remember to wear pants most of the time…probably. 

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