6 Things You Should’ve Told Me About Being a Parent

[Baby Watch: Day 92]

I mean, we’re friends, right? Well then why didn’t any of you jerks tell us the truth about raising a baby?!? All the vaguely mild warnings you gave us were vastly overshadowed by the endless cute stories and the uplifting “it will give your life meaning” statements. When you did tell us about the problems you had with your kid, it was always promptly followed by qualifying remarks like, “but that phase ended so quick it hardly seemed like work at all,” or “looking back the tough times were over before we knew it.”

We were told that the toughest time would be the first two weeks. But after two weeks we were told the toughest time would be the first month. And after the first month we were told things would get easier after three months. Well, today is three months; care to give us any revised warnings?

Oh, and now I realize that all the while you were chuckling silently to yourselves while you lied straight to our faces. Did you organize collective lies behind our backs in an attempt to epically dupe us? “Okay gang, now make sure we all tell them that the baby will be sleeping in the crib by the end of the first week (insert collective, maniacal laughter).”

Oh, you want examples? Okay, fine.

1.) Let’s start with the sleeping in the crib thing. Every movie I’ve seen has led me to believe that, when a baby comes home from the hospital, they will wake up only a few times throughout the night, and that most couples will take turns on feeding duty. You always see the mom in the movies nudging the sleeping dad and telling him that it’s his turn, but he pretends he’s still sleeping, and it’s all charming and idealistic, and their house is super clean, and they’re wearing neatly ironed matching pajama sets that look nothing like the partially-torn, grass-stained, one-size-too-small shirts that I wear to bed for no less than a dozen disgusting nights in a row.

Our first night home, my wife and I went to sleep together, gently placing our beautiful child in the bassinet next to our bed, with the full expectation that we would all sleep together for a few hours, at which point one of us would courteously volunteer to feed the baby while the other caught some Zzzs.  Well, the bassinet lasted about 3 minutes, and our beautiful angel proceeded to SCREAM every time he wasn’t being actively held.  And he did so for about the next month. NOBODY MENTIONED THE MONTH LONG SCREAMING IF THEY’RE NOT BEING HELD PHASE!!! You’re all a bunch of masochists. Our nightly sleep patterns evolved into a strict one at a time, separate room, totally alone, wracked with guilt schedule that stayed with us until literally last night. You all lied to us.

2.) You should have told us that babies spit up enough to fill a small suitcase. Obviously I know that babies drool, but nobody mentioned that they leak like they’ve been gargling with industrial strength novocaine. And it’s not your ordinary, run-of-the-mill clear and watery drool that I saturate my pillow with, then blame it on the cats. Oh no. It’s actually spoiled milk that was once in my wife’s breast but is now in my lap, having travelled via my son’s esophagus after being soaked in his stomach acid.

I mean . . . 4 bibs?!? You let me buy 4 bibs and think that it was plenty?!? How were we supposed to know that we’d go through 4 bibs before breakfast, and that the wonderfully waterproof bibs that we cleverly and confidently purchased would do diddly squat in the way of sopping up inch deep puddles of rotten dairy delight?

We have since ordered extra bibs 3 different times, and we’ve supplemented them with a half a dozen wash cloths to boot. No joke, we signed up for Amazon Prime to get free & fast shipping because we were ordering bibs so often. The mailman has to think we’re running some sort of underground bib racket like John Candy and his shower curtain ring scheme in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (requisite 1987 pop-culture reference). I now travel with a bib in my back pocket at all times, regardless of where I am and whether I am or am not with my child. It’s just permanently in my pocket. I might as well have them sewn in. I could’ve had them sewn in . . . if I was given a little ADVANCE NOTICE.

3.) You should have told us that, once my loving child developed some sight and other basic senses, that he would immediately detest me. But it’s not a complete hatred. It’s just enough hatred that he knows he doesn’t want to be around me; but as soon as I leave him he realizes he doesn’t want to be without me. The kid is manic. How is someone supposed to cope with a baby who will simultaneously NEVER let me put him down and NEVER let me pick him up. He’s Rick Astley’s worst nightmare.

I look at pictures of all of you with your stupid kids, and you’re all crazy happy. None of the pictures highlight a raving mad child who turns purple with anger at the mere site of you. No, you have these loving family moments, and I’m stuck photoshopping myself into family pictures. Well you can all explain to my son when he’s older why he doesn’t have a smiling group picture with his parents before the age of 12. You deal with it, cause you should have warned us.

And speaking of angelic pictures of your kid . . . I’m on to you. I now know the truth. That one great picture took you FOREVER to get, even though you’re pretending your beautiful baby always looks like that. This morning we took our son’s 3-month-picture. Actually, scratch that. I should say, this morning we took our son’s 214 3-month-old pictures. THAT IS NOT A JOKE. I took 214 pictures to get one good one for the wife to proudly display as though our son is a perfect photogenic specimen. The rest of the photo session went like this:

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4.) You should have told us that diapers only come in two sizes: not quite the right size and extra not quite the right size.  We’re using cloth diapers, but for the first few weeks they were too big for Oliver the Chicken-Legged (my son’s medieval name), so we used the traditional disposable ones. Sure they fit for the first week or two, but then overnight, LITERALLY OVERNIGHT, they didn’t come close to fitting. We ended up giving about 60 diapers to a friend because our baby grows like the Grinch’s heart.

Occasionally we still use disposable diapers, which is how I know that my awkwardly shaped son is currently WAY too big for size 1 and WAY too small for size 2. He’s in diaper no-man’s-land. I’m sure he’ll fit into size 2 soon enough, but I’m equally sure that he will fit in them from about 8pm on a Saturday until 10am on Monday, and we’ll end up with dozens of useless diapers once again. If you visit us for dinner and are given a child’s diaper to use as a napkin, don’t say you weren’t warned.

And our cloth diapers have given a whole different set of problems. Sure they fit well; they’re very adjustable size wise and are generally awesome. But, from the back, they make my not-at-all-Armenian baby look like a Kardashian. He went from wearing newborn onesies while in disposable diapers to wearing 3-month-old clothes when he turned 1-month-old. He’s a little pear-shaped baby, and I’m downright tired of his milkshake bringing all the boys to the yard (requisite 2003 pop-culture reference). But at least his bum in comfy. Still, it would’ve been nice if someone had given us a heads up. Again; thanks a lot.

5.) You should have told us that we should have a refresher course on the words to nursery rhymes and children’s songs. I have trouble remembering what I ate for breakfast (I think it was snails, but it could have been quail). So how am I supposed to know the lyrics to a song that I haven’t sung since Robert Downey Jr. was a cast member on Saturday Night Live (requisite 1985 pop-culture reference). I would’ve thought that the words would be ingrained in me . . . but nope. Not a clue. I’m usually pretty good through the first line, then things all fall apart. This has led to a litany of literary miscues that, while Oliver doesn’t seem to mind, have cause my wife to ridicule and shame me to the point that she now mockingly tells me her name every morning just in case I have forgotten, since I am apparently the stupidest person who has ever lived.

Of course, this could have all been avoided if I’d had a little prior notice that maybe I should brush up on some of the old classics. Instead I’m left fumbling for words as I sing, and we get such classics as:

– Old MacDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O.  And on that farm he had…roast beef, E-I-E-I-O.

– This little piggy went to the market…this little piggy stayed home. This little piggy said Guten Tag…this little piggy said shalom.

– The farmer in the dell, the farmer in the dell, hi-ho, the derry-o, the farmer in the dell. The mouse cuts the cheese, the sheep has bad knees, hi-ho, the derry-o, the farmer is Chinese.

And don’t get me started on “Rub-A-Dub-Dub.” I actually looked those words up, and it’s basically a bunch of towns folk sailing around in a bathtub. And you’re gunna criticize me for my silly lyrics?

6.) You should’ve told us that babies will sleep like the dead every single time you’re trying to feed them, dress them, show them off to friends, or otherwise expect them to be awake and then act like they’ve had 3 pots of coffee at 3am as you’re silently creeping passed their room. Silence is golden . . . except to babies. To babies, silence is . . . I don’t know, what’s the opposite of golden? Silver? Coal? The thesaurus says the antonyms of “golden” are “dark, gloomy, stupid, disadvantaged, and unsuccessful.” So, to babies, silence is . . . disadvantaged and unsuccessful.

They’d rather have the white noise machine set to maximum volume, blasting some sort of weird alien pulsar noise randomly interspersed with hawk screeches. To them, alien pulsar hawk screeches is golden. And to me, alien pulsar hawk screeches are disadvantaged and unsuccessful.

In fact, on the 4th of July this year, I kept telling my wife I was going to call the cops on our neighbors for their fireworks display (some call me the Master of Confrontation), until I realized that the incessant explosions were actually causing my son to have a peaceful rest. The worst night of sleep for us was simultaneously the best night of sleep for him.

Speaking of, why didn’t you tell us that our neighbors would instinctually light off 4th of July fireworks at 11pm on the year our baby is born? This was not done in celebration of our baby, but in spite thereof. And, of course, this also happened on July 5th, 6th, 7th, and even last night, the 15th.  And they weren’t small. Oh no, they were bigger than the local community show and they lasted for about forever. We’d think they were done, then there’d be another round . . . and then another . . . and so on. I’ll be a decrepit cane-wielding nursing home patient 60 years from now, and they’ll still be setting the fireworks off.

They were lit sporadically and inefficiently by a bunch of haphazard drunken pyromaniacs who, even though they knew we have a newborn, they still invited so many people that they literally had to rent a Port-O-John, which was prominently, aromatically situated in their front lawn and remained there for a week and a half at which point their blogging neighbor typed this exact sentence.

And that brings us to now. Anything else you’d like to tell us about what we should expect? Or are you all going to continue with your hysterical conspiracy behind our backs? Look, I’m taking names of who lies to us, and your Christmas gifts will be adjusted accordingly. You’ve been warned.

3 Comments on 6 Things You Should’ve Told Me About Being a Parent

  1. Oh my goodness! Exactly! You are 100% correct on all points especially about taking 214 pictures to get one good one. Dude we are right there with you…and all I can say is be glad Oliver doesn’t have a twin.

  2. Do you think that maybe if all of us parents told you the same advice and then it didn’t work out for you that maybe we’re not the problem? Lol Sorry Brad. But seriously, I think you guys are doing a terrific job. It sounds like you’ve had more challenges than most parents, or at least more than I did the first 3 months. You’re two wonderful parents and the fact that you can laugh at all of the stressful and frustrating things that come along with taking care of a baby is good. It’s certainly better than wallowing in your misery. Love you guys! And I really believe it will get easier! Lol 🙂

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