Thursday, June 30, 2011
The Unspoken Perils of Parenthood
One of the things that always astounds me, and that I forget so quickly is that babies are nocturnal. Seriously, why doesn’t anyone warn anyone else of this? Correct answer – A. we must continue the species, B. no one told us about it, and we're not telling the rest. It’s like that hamster I had as a kid – he slept all day and ran on that creaky wheel All Freaking Night Long! Except, the creaking is crying and you can’t just carry his cage down to the basement and ignore him.
Whenever a friend is about to have a baby, I say this. “It sucks! All the stuff about how great it is – lies! The other parents just want to trap you! But it gets better… then worse, then better, then worse, and then eventually better until someone gets a stomach bug…” But seriously, it kind of sucks. But then one day you adjust, and it’s totally worth it, and you can’t imagine life any other way.
Another friend mentioned being so tired they felt drunk. I remember that. I remember walking into a wall in the middle of the night carrying a dirty diaper to the trash. Boom! Luckily I didn’t break my nose or drop poo all over floor.
And then there’s the vacuum cd. If you are reading this, I hope you will never need a vacuum cd. Our eldest daughter had colic. She was a perfect baby - for three weeks. And then a switch went off inside and she started crying every night. For four or so hours at a time. She’d start crying around 6:00 PM and if would just go on, and on, and on. It was the saddest thing ever. We rocked her, cradled her, everything we could try. One night we turned on the vacuum and it calmed her down. We downloaded a 60 minute MP3 of a vacuum. It was in every cd player (there were these things called "compact discs," they were like iPods, oh, never mind), every iPod, in every car. We listened to it for hours nightly. We shouted conversations above it. We sent friends and family screaming from our home. They couldn’t handle the vacuum cd! We watched tv with subtitles. To this day, I still haven’t heard the dialog to the final season of the Gilmore Girls.
Another of the friends who had a baby last week commented on Facebook that their toddler wants the baby returned to the baby store. I can sympathize. I have been oft quoted as saying that the two best days of my life were when my daughters were born. The two worst days – the days we brought them home from the hospital. You're working on no sleep, and suddenly you have to care for this helpless little baby. One word – terror. There's no owners manual, no warranty, nothing. If there were a return policy, I might have tried.
But luckily, there is no return option. Otherwise, I wouldn't have made it through the hellish early years/months. So if you're behind me on this journey, consider this your warning. And if you're ahead of me, don't tell me what's around the corner. I choose ignorance. Something tells me I'm just writing the first chapter on this. And it's bad enough knowing that I will eventually share my home with two teenage girls...