Everything I read leading up to the birth of our daughter was either written by some doctor who didn’t have kids but had studied extremely hard, or by an old couple that had forgotten what having a child is like. Or Jenny McCarthy who probably has four nannies and her idea of normal is out of whack. Example? She recommends not giving your kid vaccinations. Sure! Let’s bring polio back into existence! While we’re at it, let’s also try to resuscitate the dodo. When did we, as parents, start taking advice from a B-list celeb?
Yes, having a child is an amazing experience. I cried in the delivery room. Mainly because our hospital was short on nurses and I was holding my wife’s leg, right in the mix. Talk about life-changing. You start at a nice dinner, a couple bottles of wine and some romance – boom, you’re pregnant and nine months later that enchanted evening has turned into a National Geographic video. But, despite what you’ve read, you have no idea. Nothing can prepare you for a child.
You could read every book ever written, listen to every doctor’s recommendations, chat with every parent on earth and you still wouldn’t be fully ready. Why? Each child and each experience is completely unique.
So when people said “Oh it’s a life-changing experience!” I thought that just meant I couldn’t have as much to drink at night. That is truly life-changing.
The thing about being a new parent is, even with all of the information available to you in so many different forms, you’re scared shitless the moment you arrive home with your kid.
What do I do? Well, should we feed her? Yeah, let’s try that. No, she’s okay. Oh, look! She opened her eyes! Should we pick her up? Yes, I love holding her! Wait, now she’s squirming, what do I do. Oh, it’s so cute – she’s crying. She’s still crying. What do I do? No, don’t cry. Please don’t cry Shut the hell up. Please stop crying. Are you hungry? How the hell are you going to answer? She can’t stop crying. Why did I pick her up? She was comfortable and sleeping and now she is louder than a marching band coming through our living room. Let me put her down. Nope, she’s still screaming. Hey! Honey! What the hell do we do?
You want life changing? The difference between the first few weeks your baby comes home versus the few weeks after that is life changing.
You tiptoe around the house. You don’t turn the television up louder than a whisper. You constantly just stare at your infant. You don’t want to go anywhere or do anything because you’re worried about this little life.
Then, after you settle in a little bit, you start cranking up the television to tune out the crying. You are happy to get in the car because she falls asleep there. You go back to hollering at each other through each end of the house so your wife can ask you to bring her a pair of shoes to wear. You are fine heading out to eat. When talking to each other, you speak louder because your baby is awake all the time and if she’s crying you’ve got to be heard by each other.
It’s amazing more kids aren’t deaf by the time they reach two years old.
Yet, despite all of this, you’re still amazed every time your baby does something new. All of a sudden you get unnecessarily excited when your baby fills her diaper with a massive amount of poop. Wow! Look at that! A smile gets a huge reaction. Honey, look! She’s smiling at me! It’s like your favorite team just won the title. When your kid starts holding her head up – oh man! it’s like you just discovered plutonium.
Everything is celebrated because it’s all brand new. And you are there eating it up and wanting more.
Why? Because this amazing creature that is new to you and this world was created by you and didn’t end up where all of your previous possible creations could have … like in an old T-shirt or something. Think about that!
Now, that is amazing!