Saturday, July 28, 2007

Advice for New Parents?


Rob's cousin recently had her first baby and she asked me a few months ago if I had any advice. Sorry, I don't give any. I think it is just too cruel to frighten people when there is absolutely nothing they can do to prepare themselves for the birth of a child No amount of reading in all the baby know-how books, organizing the nursery or childcare classes.

How on earth do you explain that uninterrupted sleep is going to become your personal Holy Grail? Sleep deprivation is one of those things you cannot fully understand until you experience it for months on end (or in our case a year and a half... and if you were blessed with one of those rare babies that sleeps all night at month one, I don't want to know). Or that disposable income is something from your previous life that you will not know again until the diaper stage has passed? That you will exchange your dignity for mastering the art of breast-feeding, no matter who is present? Should I tell her that the next few months are all about serving a very demanding task-master who yells at you when you get it wrong and sometimes when you get it right? How about the fact that this little screaming pink thing is all take, with only the occasional gas-induced, all-too-brief smile to give in return? That in a few months you will be able to shower, do a hit-and-miss leg/underarm shave and brush your teeth in under five minutes? That your prep time for leaving the house will escalate from thirty minutes to two hours and that even then you will forget something vital... like a binky? Shopping now requires a car seat, stroller, toys, diaper bag, purse and, preferable, a spouse? Every piece of your wardrobe will now be marked with spit-up? No... you can't prepare somebody for a baby.

Because there is no way that anyone would believe you if you told them they could fall madly in love with a selfish little thing who pees, poops and projectile vomits all over them. No way at all.

8 comments:

Stomper Girl said...

That was hilarious. And scarily true. I really miss the time spent on personal grooming! But then I am secretly aghast if I see someone taking the normal amount of time, now. See what motherhood does to you?

Oh and let's not forget what it does to your relationship with the other parent, how you start treating each other like personal assistants (can you get me the bottle? change him?) and suddenly have arguments that you never bother to apologise for because you are struggling on with the next day already; no time to sulk.

crafty said...

I have been asked these kinds of questions before too. There just isn't a satisfactory answer. I reall yenjoyed reading this though.

tracey petersen said...

I have two teenagers - one who has a life awaiting her that is completely separate to mine. My advice is that no matter what happens in those early days it is all over far too quickly and all you can remember is that beautiful baby smell and those tiny fingers that reach out to touch you.

tracey petersen said...

Read that back and made myself a bit teary - sorry

Fairlie said...

There is nothing you can say to prepare new parents both for the good and the bad. They never believe you. It's definitely a case of on-the-job training.

Melinda said...

Hmmmmmm.... reading over your comments and listening to Rob say... that was awfully negative!.... and re-reading my post, I hope you all realize i DO love my kids. ;-D

I guess my point really was that the amazing love you have for these kids defies description.... all the work is truly overwhelming, but that madly-in-love thing is just terrifyingly beautiful.... if that makes any sense?

Fairlie said...

I definitely got what you meant. I didn't see it as negative at all!

Kids come with some pretty major design flaws...but are luckily also equipped with some kind of mind-altering ability which makes you fall absolutely,completely and unconditionally in love with them despite the trials!

caramaena said...

When asked for advice, I only ever give practical stuff like layering the sheets in the cot so that 3am bed changes are just a matter of ripping off the top layer and throwing them in the wash.

Like fairlie says, there's really nothing you can say to prepare new parents.

I'm sure I would never have believed that I'd be ok with being vomited on...

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