i was talking to my brother david last week, who along with his beautiful wife christine, are now parents of an adorable halloween baby, about just how great and amazing the first few weeks of your newborn's life are.
there were a few things that he said that really hit a familiar chord with me.
1. why does everyone insist on giving you advice and then mention that you should only listen to them and that everyone else is wrong?
2. will it get better?
and i had to laugh when he said this. but not in a humor-filled-haha-you-silly-brother kind of way. it was more of a reminiscent-of-those-newborn-day-memories-that-are-still-too-fresh-and-i'm-still-scared-of tiny-babies-maniacal-laugh. if only people would say what those first few weeks are really like: hazing for the parent fraternity. and no matter what, you are initiated in.
if i wrote a handbook about what to expect after what you are expecting has arrived, i would start with a cruel irony. your new baby will be the most helpless when you are the most helpless. you will have days when you think your body, your baby and the rest of the entire uncivilized world(we are talking children afterall) absolutely hate you. if you've never been beaten with a lead pipe from your neck to your knees, you will soon have an indication of what that may feel like.
after you've established that this state of sleepless hysteria is normal, there are a few other things you need to know. it will get better, but it will never ever be the same. you will have to master your own version of crazy. even if you do somehow make it back to your pre-baby weight, your pants will never fit the same. it's like folding a map up after a road trip. you can get it pretty close, but no cigar. some parts will forever have an accordian-like appearance.
and babies and children are really gross. and you will become really gross. and somedays you will be okay with it. occasionally, that heaven-sent pacifier with fall in the dirt. the first few times you will wrap in nicely in a plastic bag or wet wipe and take it home and thoroughly sanitize it. after a while, when this pacifier repeatedly hits the ground, you will start popping it in your own mouth to clean it off. and then after you realize how gross this is, you will start picking up the pacifier off the ground and then waving it around in the air or blowing on it to "breathe-sanitize" it. and then pop it into your baby's mouth. and i can testify that no one ever died from a dirty pacifier.
your personal cleanliness will take on new meaning. a shower a day is like a trip to the showcase showdown on the price is right; not every constestant gets to do it. a shower every couple of days will make you feel like you are really accomplishing something. a shower a week will make you feel a little less grimy. you will have moments when you are getting ready for the day(usually around 3 or 4 in the afternoon) and you can't distinguish where a pungent urine smell is coming from. then you realize that odor is coming from the towel wrapped around YOUR OWN HEAD. this actually happened to me LAST WEEK. but don't worry. all those other moms you see at the grocery store at 1030 at night all feel the same way. and if they say they don't, THEY ARE LYING. and lots of moms lie. about their exercise routine frequency, about their baby's sleep schedule, about their baby's developmental milestones. comparision is not your friend sister.
and the best piece of advice i ever got about parenting, besides pureeing vegetables into cupcakes, was to pray and then pray some more. it works and it refreshes and re-energizes me for the next day. of absolute chaos.