Now that I’ve been a father for almost three months, I’m pretty sure I’m qualified to offer parenting advice. What follows are just a few notes I’ve jotted down since realizing that there’s more to life than the internet and my car. You are welcome in advance.
- The one piece of advice I heard more than anything leading up to our daughter’s birth was “sleep now while you can.” Sure, whatever, it can’t be that bad, right? Well, yes and no. It is tough at first (though I’m told that it gets better eventually), but before I realized it, I had adapted to needing less sleep. I do feel a little bit tired pretty much all the time, but I hardly notice anymore. Sleeping more than four hours at one time feels like hibernation.
- There’s no downtime. There’s always something that needs to be done, and it’s usually the kid’s laundry. At a certain point my body goes into autopilot and takes over.
- There’s no reason for Diaper Genie bags to be transparent. None.
- Breast pumps have more parts than my car.
- A remote control just out of reach may as well be miles away if you’re holding a sleeping baby.
- I’ve never been so relieved or happy to hear someone else fart.
- You want to show her off, but also don’t want anyone to touch her.
- Temperature modulation is nearly impossible when holding a baby. I run a few degrees warmer than my wife most of the time, so we were already constantly changing the thermostat from our phones. Nowadays, when holding the equivalent of a small furnace in my arms, I’m usually roasting while my wife is comfortable, or I’m comfortable while she’s freezing. There does not appear to be any middle ground.
- That thing that worked to soothe and calm the baby yesterday? Yeah, that won’t work today or ever again.
- When you do manage to successfully calm a screaming baby, your prize is to continue holding that baby and not move a muscle for as long as possible.
Despite all of the above, it’s been a ton of fun from the moment she arrived and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. The first month is a vicious cycle: Eat. Poop. Sleep. Cry. Repeat. It feels like you’re taking turns caring for a fussy potato. Then one day she flashes the biggest smile right at you, and it’s all worth it.