February 26, 2015

Six Things You Should Know Before You Have A Baby (at least I wish I had...)

You've found it! List #427 of what they should have told you before having a baby. I know, there are so many of these lists out there like this right now. I know there are some things you just can't know until it's happening to you but I do think there are some things other parents go through every day that they could be telling newbies about and they just don't. Maybe they don't think of it or maybe it's 'cuz misery loves company. I know when I'm talking to an expectant mom these things aren't even on my radar until I'm in the thick of it and I'm like ugh, rookie mistake!! It was a night like that when this post came to me. I feel like doing something good so I want to pass on some things I've learned over the last six months that I would have loved to know beforehand. If anyone can remember to use them when it's all so overwhelming then I'm happy to have helped just one mama or dad struggling.

Don't ever comment on how well baby is sleeping, eating, not crying, etc. Never! Not Ever!

You are seriously jinxing yourself. I swear, if I had a dollar for every time I made the statement "I can't believe she is sleeping so well" and she woke up within five minutes. I'd be a thousandaire. Or for every single time Dad calls to check in and I say we're having a great day with no issues only to have the afternoon be a nightmare of tears and screaming. I will never forget the time we told my cousin that they were sleeping 8 hours a night and had been for a few weeks. I wasn't worried about jinxing it, 'cuz they were good (ha!) and then that night they started waking up every hour. That. Night. Just don't do it to yourself. If things are going well, keep it to yourself. If you have to say something then say the opposite of what you mean and explain to others why it's perpetually opposite day in your house. Or start knocking on wood. No, nothing works actually. So just don't say anything at all! Babies? What babies?

When you have spent forever settling baby to sleep and you're positive they are finally out and you think you can leave - STOP AND STAY FIVE MORE MINUTES. 

Just five more minutes can make all difference in the life of a sleep-deprived parent. Even if you've been rocking her or patting her back and shushing her for an hour and she hasn't moved in ten minutes. Keep it up for five more minutes. I'm telling you it is so worth it. There is nothing more frustrating than spending forever getting baby to sleep only to have their eyes fly open the second you stand up or turn to leave. And if you're like me and are constantly having to "help" your babies to sleep you will notice it happens just about every time. You're sure they're off in dreamland, and they might be but if you just think about walking away baby is all, "Just kidding! Let's play or scream some more!" So just sit and wait that extra five minutes until they are really out, no question. Then work some mission impossible moves and get out of there without waking them. Which leads me to number three...

Weeks before baby arrives practice said moves and "wake-up proof" the crap out of your house. 

I know it's hard to tuck and roll when you're 35 weeks pregnant so leave that to hubby but do the route from crib to couch a few hundred times to learn the creaky spots. Mark the "safe" route with Xs if you have to unless you're like us and live in a 200 year old house where nowhere is safe. We have cursed out our wood floors more times than you could imagine. Also, take a trip down the hall in the dark at 3am and remove anything that you will bump into on the way to the kitchen or baby's room. There's nothing worse than stubbing your toe on your way to get a screaming baby while in a state of utter exhaustion. If you do nothing else at the very least WD-40 all doors within ear shot of baby's room. A squeaky door that you barely even hear right now will sound like nails on a chalkboard when you just spent an hour putting a baby to sleep.

You will spend an inconceivable amount of time changing diapers and dressing your baby. 

Jules is unimpressed with her missed snap
Yes, you can get fast at diaper changes but the universal truth is that most kids' clothes are ridiculously difficult to get on and off. To the point where you may find yourself saying "eff it, no one ever died from wearing just a diaper in winter, right?"  Cute clothes are the worst too so don't even think about buying them (don't worry, you'll get plenty from friends and family). There are so many snaps or buttons and you will always end up missing one and having to start over. What could take 2 minutes ends up taking half an hour and likely all your baby's "happy" time so now you're rushing around to feed a miserable starving baby and you don't even notice the poop on your shirt. And if you thought dressing a newborn was hard, holy hell just wait until you're snapping approximately eleventy billion snaps on the jammies of an overtired and squirmy 7 month old or cleaning up the explosive poop accident of a 2 year old. My advice: go out and buy some precious little outfits or super cute pajamas with snaps or buttons and try putting them on one of your teddy bears while someone bounces and twists it and pulls it away from you at warp speed. Make sure they contort it in ways you never thought humanly possible specifically while you're working on the crotch buttons. I believe this to be one of life's greatest challenges. On the other hand you could save yourself the time and frustration and just buy a lot of stretchy, pull-on or zip up clothes and pajamas. They're never the cutest of course (because beauty is pain?) but they're so worth it!

You will find a groove and everything will be great and then boom it will all fall apart again.

A typically happy baby will have some very miserable days. A great sleeper might wake up all night long for weeks at a time. And teething can turn any "good" baby into a biting, drooling, angry little monster. My sister actually did warn me about this but not until the girls were about 16 weeks old and had all of a sudden stopped sleeping longer at night. I was telling her how well it had been going and how frustrating it felt to be up all night again. She told me, "That's just how it is when they're your own. You find what works, baby figures it out too and everyone is happy. Then boom it all goes to hell and you're left scratching your head and starting at square one." It is normal. It's almost never you or something you did (or the shots or the food or whatever else may have changed). It's just par for the course of parenting - a healthy little a reality check for you, in case you were getting too confident. So, help yourself and your baby! Do some research on baby behavior and development. Learn about the mental leaps and check out the Wonder Weeks. Figure out what baby is really going through before you lose your mind. It really helps to understand that no matter what your baby is not actually insane!

It goes so freaking fast.

I know now that you cannot possibly comprehend this until you have kids of your own but I wish I had been more mindful of it from day one. They are only seven months old and I feel like it's been a lifetime and yet a second since the day they were born. I can't believe how big they are, what they can do, how fast it's all going. I really wish I had tried harder to enjoy all the moments, commiting as much as I could to memory, writing it all down and taking more pictures (despite having nearly 3,000 already). It's hard when you spend those first few weeks just trying to keep everyone alive but I'd give anything to see them one more time so small, to smell their fresh baby smell again and to be able to lay with them both on my chest and still be able to breathe. Seriously, it just flies by. Try to inhale, chronicle and most of all, enjoy, every second. Yes, even the miserable ones.

So for all the moms who just wish someone would have told you the real deal on things you could actually prepare for, pass this on. I know there's a lot of things I missed so you tell me, what do you wish someone had told you?


1 comment :

Anonymous said...

what a great list! love your blog!