As someone who had very near zero experience with babies before having one myself, everything baby related is new to me. Diaper genie? Is that some sort of system that changes your baby’s diaper for you? Because that would be awesome, and I would actually pay for it. Wipe warmers, strollers, and diapers are all new to me, and I’m finding quite a few laugh worthy moments in my limited time as a parent thus far. For instance, my 7 month old just whined, then simultaneously sneezed and tooted, laughed, and did it again. I didn’t even know that was physically possible. There are also differences within myself that are quite unexpected. Here are my Top 10 new parenting observations.
10. I’m not sure when, but I’m fairly certain ninjas are breaking into my home and training my baby in their ancient sneaky ways. Why do I think this, you ask? How else could a little baby know the exact way to pull my hair such that it hurts the worst? Or act all snugly, make me let down my guard, and then kick in the most painful way possible, as though trying to lacerate me with his razor-sharp toenails? Also, how do you cut a baby’s toenails?! When he’s sleeping, he’s in footed pajamas, making his toes inaccessible. When he’s awake, his feet are CONSTANTLY moving. Ceaselessly. It’s amazing, really. I bet we could generate electricity with those little kickers.
9. Have you ever noticed the things it’s okay to do to babies while they’re asleep that would be so incredibly creepy to do to adults? I can only cut Little Bear’s fingernails when he’s asleep. But the thought of someone cutting my nails while I’m asleep is deeply disturbing.
8. While on the topic of disturbing, has no one ever noticed the frightening connection between babies and zombies? Think about it. Both move slowly and can’t quite control their bodies, but are also frightening. Babies are frightening because they’re constantly trying to commit suicide. Once they can crawl, as soon as you place them on a bed, they crawl to the edge and try to hurl themselves off of it. Or they find tiny things you didn’t know existed and try to choke on them. And all that hair pulling– is he trying to get to my brain? Is my baby a ninja zombie?!
7. Throughout my childhood, and adulthood, now that I think of it, my mom has gotten this nervous look on her face and pulled me back whenever I neared the rail on a balcony. Until Little Bear’s arrival, I never understood this. Now I do– it’s basic psychology. For years, my sister and I engaged in typical baby behavior; by that, I mean trying to throw ourselves off surfaces. We each succeeded; she fell out of a second story window and I rocked my carseat so it flipped me off of a dining table. We each survived unscathed, but we inadvertently conditioned our parents to keep us away from elevated edges.
6. Since my baby’s arrival, a 6th sense has arrived. Not mine; his. I’ve had one for years; I have an uncanny ability to know when a baked good is done, even before the timer goes off. But my son knows when I’ve just snuggled under the covers and decides I must need to be awoken. It’s almost always when I’m right on the verge of sleep, and so comfy that he’s the only thing I’d move for.
5. Now that my baby is a speed crawler and trying to destroy my house. In order to circumvent this, I’ve invented my own baby alarm system. He must be slightly claustrophobic, because he doesn’t like the pack-and-play or just hangin out in his crib. So I fashioned a baby alarm system. I place toys that make music in a circle around the baby, so you’ll know when he moves because he has to move the musical toy to get to the item he wants to break.
4. There’s a National Geographic special available on Netflix Instant called Most Amazing Animal Moments. It’s very inappropriately named; a more fitting title would have been baby animal murder. I watched about 15 minutes before seeig too many cute, non-predatory baby animals killed. Now that I’m a parent, my once-normal empathy levels have soared into excess. I can’t watch a baby of any species die without actually shedding tears as I think about the poor mother.
3. I’m finally finishing The Giver series, and the last book is entitled Son. I was worried it would be a doozie since I have a son and the plot centers around a mother separated from her son, and I was right. I even did something highly uncharacteristic: I looked ahead. If a certain outcome that I expected didn’t occur, I was actually going to stop reading the book. Before Little Bear came along, I wouldn’t have done that. But my elevated empathy levels have shaken me to my core.
2. Even before becoming pregnant, mothers shared their wisdom with me. Some of it was helpful, some of it was not. Because each child is different, the same approach may not work on everyone. I always at least listen for the grain of truth, and have found that friends give much better advice than strangers. Every mother is different as well; a stranger once told me that once you have kids, it’s much easier when a pet dies. There is no grain of truth in that for me. Obviously losing my son would destroy my heart, but they aren’t comparable losses. Losing Charlie is a lifelong sorrow. It’s been six months since he died, and I still yearn to hug that fluffy mane daily. I’m finally not crying daily, but I’m still crying. I miss him every day, think of him every day, and speak of him every day. He was constant companion for a decade, preparing me for motherhood by teaching me how to love selflessly. My son was a source of joy during the dark days immediately following my beloved dog’s death, but the pain of losing Charlie was not diminished simply because I had a son now.
1. Every day is new and exciting. This has never been truer. Before Little Bear, I was never so aware of change and advancement. Now I see changes in all of us: Nala’s patience has increased day by day, Layla’s remarkable tolerance is tested, J’s innovative playing changes, my love for my whole family grows, somehow, daily. But most of all, Little Bear changes every day. He learns to pull himself up, or makes a new sound, or alternates crawling and using furniture to practice waking (at less than 9 months!) to get to whatever his little heart desires. While he discovers his world, I see it in a whole new light along with him.