The Author gave their opinion on all of this and, of course, I'm going to throw my opinion in as well. Parents, new parents and soon to be parents, get a load of this:
To help you sleep- get an Angelcare Baby Monitor and sleep easy.
2. What to Expect Books are the worst. Every new parent will have a copy of What to Expect In Your First Year. You may have five copies, because every one will want to buy you one. Why? To scare you to death. Basically, they’re reference books. If your child gets a small rash, you go to the book to find out what it is. The book will say something along the lines of, “Your baby may be teetering on the edge of death. Consult your doctor immediately before it’s too late. If you don’t, your BABY WILL DIE. Or it could just be a small rash, so don’t worry about it. It’s definitely one or the other or something else all together.”
Corollary: If you use the Internet to search for symptoms, Yahoo Answers will invariably show up at the top of the search engine listings. NEVER LISTEN TO THESE PEOPLE. THEY ARE CRAZY.
I liked 'What to Expect While You're Expecting' some of the things were off, but they are generalizations and I enjoyed reading about what was going on then and what was to come. I read 'What to Expect the First Year' for a month or two and haven't opened it since, I don't need to. In the digital age, I turn to the internet first....or my doctor.
3. There are a lot of doctor’s appointments during the first year. It’s very unglamorous. Your baby will be measured, weighed, and given shots on a near weekly basis. You will spend half your waking hours in doctor’s waiting rooms, surrounded by sick children who could potentially infect your child, leading to ALMOST CERTAIN DEATH according to the What to Expect books.
Doctor's appointments are every 3 months for the first year. Most involve shots. It's not that bad, even the times we had to go to the doctor because Brady had a cold- it wasn't that bad. Get some medicine, or be told that you're crazy, either way, just go to the doctor. Brady cried with shots, not because of the shot, but because he was being held down. As soon as I was able to pick him up, he was fine.
4. The first time your baby poops, typically in the delivery room, it will be something called meconium, which is comprised of what your baby eats in utero. Meconium is a sticky substance that looks like it belongs in a tar pit. When my first born pooped the first time, it looked like someone blowing a bubble-gum bubble, only it was black and it came out of his ass. Don’t worry. This is normal, but the nurses will get a kick out of your horrified face. All nurses have a macabre sense of humor and they love to make new Dads squirm. Also, if you do something hilariously stupid during the delivery, that story will be relayed to every new patient that nurse have for the next decade.
The first time Brady shit, it was inside of me = green water. I have no idea what his first poops were like, I had a c-section and was dead as far as i knew, so Travis changed diapers for the first 2 weeks because I couldn't move.
5. Natural childbirth is beautiful, but it’s not beautiful. Husbands: Be aware that your wife’s pelvis looks like it’s going to break when it opens up like the jaws of death to unleash your baby into the world. It is simultaneously sickening, terrifying, and awesome. You will never have more respect for your wife than after her bones shape shift to make room for a baby’s head. If, on the other hand, your wife is having a C-section, DO NOT LOOK OVER THE BLANKET. Not unless you want to see what your wife’s organs look like.
I have no idea what natural childbirth looks or feels like. I feel bad for a second, but then again i think the pain and suckyness of a c-section was okay, my vag never busted open. I wanted to watch the c-section, they didn't think I was serious. I was.
6. To you, your newborn baby will look like the most perfect thing you’ve ever seen. Other people may say something along the lines of, “You have a beautiful baby. I always say that, but this time, I reallymean it.” He doesn’t really mean it. Until they fill out, newborns look like wrinkly old men, and once they do fill out, they look like Don Zimmer. You won’t recognize this for a few years, not until you look back at pictures of your baby in the days after he or she was born.
Call me evil, but I was so drugged up, thought I was dying and in so much damn pain, I loved seeing Brady, but he was SO swollen i couldn't help but wonder why the hell he looked like that. Of course I fell in love with him and thought he was amazing when I saw him, but I'm aware that all newborns looks disgusting and strange. Brady didn't look disgusting, but he did look strange. :)
7. Make sure the books you read to your child are tolerable, because you will read them 1,000 times each over the course of their first few years. Avoid unfamiliar children’s books or books that you find on the shelves at supermarkets. They are the worst. Also, the books you or your parents grew up with are almost certainly unsuitable now, unless you like the idea that your child will live in perpetual fear of swallowing a fly and dying.
Children's books are whack. The pages end, but the story doesn't- they'll leave you wondering what the hell happened or why the lady ate a bat- it says she does in the title, but the damn book NEVER says why she ate a bat or even that she ate one. Dr. Seuss books make you feel like you're stupid and drunk.
8. Movies and television often depict new parents as sleep deprived, but they don’t really explain why. There’s two primary reasons: 1) You have to feed your baby every two to three hours in the first few weeks, which will mean waking up several times throughout the night. By the time you feed your baby, change its diaper, and burp it, and clean up the mess, it will be time to wake up again and begin the cycle anew, and 2) See #1: SIDs: Anxiety will keep you awake. If your baby falls asleep, that’s when the anxiety is at its highest. She’s not making sounds. Therefore, she may be dead. So, you have to get up and tussle her around to make sure she’s OK, and then she will wake up and you’ll spend 15 minutes trying to get her back down, all because you were afraid she wasn’t breathing. Husbands: If your wife wakes up, YOU WAKE UP. Don’t be a dipshit. Misery loves company. A happy marriage is a marriage in which both spouses are equally sleep-deprived.
My husband was home for Brady's first three weeks and I didn't feel too sleep deprived, maybe I was so tired that I don't remember. Yes, babies eat every 3 hours. on the dot. I slept easier with our Angelcare monitor. I was blessed with a baby that slept, most of the time.
9. It doesn’t matter how much you love your significant other, or how much he or she loves you. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never had an argument in your life. You will argue when you have a baby. You are tired. You are thin-skinned. Everything will set you off. You will assign blame to your significant other for everything, because assigning blame absolves you of it. But rest assured, whatever it was, it was your fault.
For the three weeks that Travis was home, we didn't fight once. We said several times that having Brady brought us a lot closer. He took very good care of us, considering every move I made and every breath I took HURT. Maybe it's because we knew he was deploying and we were cherishing every moment- whatever the case, I loved it.
10. The one time someone actually caught this reality in the media was in the pilot episode of “Up All Night,” and it was perfect: You and your significant other will have arguments about who slept less. You will be under the illusion that, if you can win that argument, you won’t have to be the one to get up and tend to the child at 4 a.m. However, this is a devil’s trap. You will spend more time arguing over who slept less than it will take to actually perform the task. Moreover, if you win the argument and are allowed to sleep 15 minutes more than your significant other, you will pay for it twice over, in the tasks you will have to perform the next day because “you got 15 minutes more sleep than I did.” This is a good time to remind you of #8: Misery loves company. You should both get up, that way no one ever gets the upper hand.
I can't really comment on this, I was on my own for 6 months.
11. Often, movies and television will depict babies pooping on their parents as comic relief. You may think this is exaggerated for comedy. It is not. Last week, a baby projectile spit-up in my face, all over my mouth. Just this morning, a baby sprayed poop all over herself, all over my shirt, and all over the surrounding area. When you remove a diaper, ALWAYS HAVE THE NEXT ONE WAITING. If there’s even a millisecond between the time that you remove a diaper and replace it with another, your baby will know. She will take advantage of that millisecond and squirt poop in every direction, and you will be surprised how far a baby can poop. Whatever the space between the baby and a wall is, that’s how far the baby can poop.
Moreover, I promise you that — on more than one occasion — you will use your hand to catch your child’s vomit, poop, or even snot before it lands on the floor or the couch. It’s much easier to clean up your hand than the couch.
I have yet to be shit on, but Brady did pee in the lactation consultant's mouth- shouldn't she have known it was coming? It took me 5 1/2 months to get peed on. Travis was peed on before he deployed. I win. Brady has yet to shit in the bathtub. knock on wood. I have caught Brady's vomit, several times. Even now, when he's not sick but coughs a few times, the hand goes under his mouth.
12. Nursing mothers: You’re doing God’s work. Bless you. Try not to stress about it. You may be freaked out that you’re not producing enough breastmilk to keep your baby alive. That stress will cause you to produce less milk, which will cause you to stress out even more, which is an endless cycle that will end in the manual removal of every single hair follicle in your head. Don’t worry about it. Your baby will not die from starvation. IT WILL DIE OF SIDs.
Nursing is a post for another day, but don't give up- it's what is best for your baby.
13. Invariably, your child will develop hand, foot and mouth disease. It sounds HORRIBLE, like something that will kill cattle. It’s nothing. The palms of your child’s hand and foot will develop a rash, and you will immediately think STIGMATA. Don’t worry. It’s a common virus. Your kid may feel lousy for a few days, but it’s nothing. Take pictures. Freak out your friends.
I can't comment on this because Brady has not had it.
This was stressful. It's sad and stressful when your baby is sick, it's even more stressful when people you work with say "you're always staying home with Brady" "Brady is always sick" "your kid is always fricken sick" "will your baby ever be healthy" Fuck off. My kid goes to daycare, my kid is an infant, you have to get sick so you don't get sick in the future. You can't go to daycare the least bit coughy or stuffy, then everyone else would get sick. My kid isn't a freak, he's human- you were sick as a damn kid, too! Working from home with a sick child? Might as well jump off the roof. Kidding, but you'll want to.
15. Colic is a myth, but it will feel great to blame your child’s constant crying on it. It’s a convenient excuse, but the reality is: Babies cry. A lot. When they’re hungry, when they’re gassy, when they’re bored, when they want you to hold them, or because it’s Tuesday and they fucking feel like it, OK. It’s just easier to tell other people it’s colic because you don’t really fucking know what’s wrong with the child.
After a few weeks you will learn the difference between cries. When all else fails, give the kid the boob. Shuts them up every time! :) Sometimes they cry because they are constipated- we learned a lot of great things to do for constipation in our baby massage class. Constipation 0, Me 10.
16. Dr. Sears? Good luck. Follow his advice at your own risk, understanding
17. The Ferber Method? That’s your call, but if you decide to go that route and someone judges you for it, tell them to fuck right off. If you decide not to go that route, you will have to wake up every half hour to put your baby back to bed.
haha oh boy.
18. Cloth diapers? Good luck. It’s great. It’s noble. It’s better for the environment. But when you’re exhausted, sleep-deprived, and your house has fallen into shambles, the last thing you may want to do is wash another load of shitty diapers. It’s hard enough keeping up with the laundry when your baby only has three outfits because she grows through an outfit every two weeks, and she soils all three of those outfits every single day. Diaper services are great, but do you really want to invite someone into your home when there are 200 shitty diapers piled in a corner hamper and you have poop in your hair?
Cloth diapers are pretty cool these days and there are even cloth diaper cleaning services- you can get away with doing little to nothing. If I stayed at home longer, I probably would've done cloth diapers. For my sanity and convenience of daycare- we used pampers. Tree huggers- get over it.
19. Stay-at-home mom? Good for you, if someone judges you, tell them to fuck off. Working mom? Good for you, if someone judges you, tell them to fuck off. Stay-at-home dad? Good for you, if someone judges you, tell them to fuck off. Whatever path you choose, never let yourself feel guilty for it. Are you a good person? Then your baby is going to be just fine.
This is a post for another day, but you can read my recent posts about working from home.
20. Related: Statistically speaking, your baby’s success in life is out of your control. Behavior economics shows the same thing consistently: What kind of parent you are is not as important aswho you are in predicting a child’s socio-economic success. There are exceptions, of course, but overall, if you are affluent, your child will be affluent. If you went to college, your child will go to college. If you have a well-paying job, so will your child.
21. Corollary: While how you parent isn’t as important as who you are in a child’s successful outcome, what kind of person is important to what kind of person your child will be. If you are a good tipper, your child will be a good tipper. If you are an asshole, your child will be an asshole.
Be a parent, not a best friend.
22. It’s never too early to line up childcare. If you plan on putting your child in daycare, put yourself on a waiting list the day you find out you are pregnant. If you plan to put your child in preschool, sign up the week your child is born. The best preschools fill up quickly and then you’ll be stuck with that lady who has a playroom set up in her basement with a television from 1979 that’s always tuned to Judge Judy.
Seriously. I prefer in-home childcare, which is another upcoming post for another day.
23. Your child may love rice or spaghetti. That’s great! But it’s messy: Only half of it ever gets into your child’s mouth. The other half winds up on the floor. Wait until it dries to try and clean it up. It’s much easier.
Get dogs- they are the clean up crew. All you'll have to do is wash your kid.
24. Wait until your child goes to bed to pick up all the toys. If you try to pick up throughout the day, you’ll spend the entire day cleaning up. It will make you a very unhappy person.
Working parents? Playroom? Pick up on Friday night so you're sane for the weekend. You won't spend all week in the playroom.
25. You may subscribe to the theory that television is awful for your child. You may decide not to let your child ever watch television. Good for you! But all the best intentions in the world may collapse at the prospect of an extra hour of sleep while your child watches “Sesame Street.” However, “Calliou” is Satan reincarnated as a whiny, bald Canadian brat. Avoid this show with your life.
Calliou scares the shit out of me. Baby Einstein is God.
26. Children have a very literal sense of humor. Not only do they not understand irony, they may not understand the art of telling a joke. They may assign the same punchline to every joke. For instance, if you tell this joke — “Knock knock?” “Who’s there?” “Lettuce?” “Lettuce who”? “Let us in, it’s cold out here! — your child may end every single knock knock joke for the next six months with “Let us in, it’s cold out here!” even if it is completely nonsensical. Play along. It’s adorable.
We're not there yet, but you can call anyone on anything you put up to your ear. Hello?
27. Taking a baby or toddler onto a plane means giving up every shred of your dignity. It means becoming that person you’ve always hated. It may be the most miserable day of your existence. But if it means getting your child to Florida where you mother will look after him for a few hours while you enjoy a quiet meal at the only restaurant in town, Applebees, then fuck ‘em. You won’t ever see the people on that plane again. Their misery is inconsequential in the face of the prospect of free childcare and a shitty piece of meat layered in gravy and cheese. This rule does not, however, apply to movie theaters. Don’t be a douche.
I haven't flown with Brady, but I'm more sympathetic for parents with fussy children. Parents that let their kids get away with doing stupid shit? I want to punch them in the face.
28. Speaking of movies: Different parents have different ideas about when is a good time to take their kid to the theater for the first time. Whenever you decide to do it, I suggest a Saturday afternoon matinee for kids’ films: There are a ton of kids and they’re all rowdy, so it hardly matters if your child is, too. However, keep a few things in mind: Movie theaters are dark. This may not mean anything to you, but young children may not want to sit in a dark room for an hour and a half, especially if they’re afraid of the dark. I also suggest arriving after the commercials and previews, not because the commercials are harmful to your child, but because if your kid has only ever been exposed to PBS programming, that Pepsi commercial where Drake takes a refreshing sip of Pepsi, turns into ice, and shatters may freak the shit out of your kid. “Daddy, why did that guy just explode? Will I explode if I drink that?”
29. Don’t feel obligated to sign your child up for everything, particularly if enrolling your child in a certain activity makes life more difficult for you. If you’re miserable transporting your kid around the city and watching them flop around on the floor in a tutu, that misery will be reflected in your child. If your kid doesn’t want to do piano lessons, don’t make the kid do piano lessons. If he bawls every time you take him to soccer practice, take him out of soccer. A happy parent means a happy child, and vice versa.
Don't make your child take piano lessons. i hated it. i still hate it. i'm still pissed that i had to go. i have flashbacks like a veteran.
30. Don’t listen to anyone. Other parents will dispense advice like candy (see: This post). Fuck ‘em. You’ll figure it out on your own. Somehow, we all do. Read the books, don’t read the books. Follow whatever parenting method you’d like, or no parenting method at all. Do whatever it takes to work. There’s a study that will validate everything you do, and another study to tell you what you’re doing is wrong. Just fucking love the kid like you’ve never loved anything, and everything will turn out well.
everyone is an expert when they become pregnant or a parent. i quickly learned to say "congratulations, if you have any questions or want to know what we did, i'm happy to share- but i'm not going to voluntarily tell you" that's what i would've wanted people to say to me!