Friday, August 31, 2012

Let's Not Tell Mom

Every now and then I'll run an idea past Laura to see if she'll be on-board with the idea or if I'll get The Look. More often than not I get The Look and the idea has the kibosh put on it.

For example, I had a great idea for a post on here that would have included a picture of our baby in the mesh bag that hangs from the side of our play crib with a big red circle and strike through over the top of it to show that you should NOT do this with the baby. It was, honestly, the first thought I had when I saw the bag hanging from the side of the crib: "I should put the baby in that bag. It looks like she'd be comfortable!"

I thought this was hilarious and a great idea for a post, as I said, but I got The Look instead. I've become quickly adept at reading exactly what it says when sent my way so please allow me translate it for you in very simple terms:

"I am not sure why I allow you to spend time alone with our baby. This is obviously a bad idea as your hare-brained idea has just proven and I'm thinking that maybe I should hire a babysitter to stay here and watch you when I leave you to watch the child to make sure you don't do anything dumb. Also, if I see that picture show up on your website you are a dead man, or maybe a eunuch depending on my mood."

So today I learned two lessons:

1. Don't put the baby in the hanging bag on the side of the playpen.

2. I need to find an intermediary source to tell these ideas to before I tell Laura who can tell me whether or not this is an idea I should share with her or if I should maybe keep this idea to myself.

Any takers?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Human Pacifier

So, I may have lied. It's not that I meant to lie; I truly believed at the time of writing that article that my beautiful little girl was a genius and had mastered the art of soothing herself using a pacifier. I was so happy that she was calm, relaxed, and obviously a truly brilliant baby.

I was wrong.

So. Wrong.

She has decided that a pacifier just will not do. She will shake her head as I try to hold the pacifier (also known as a "binky") in place to get her to soothe with it, smack my hand away with her tiny little baby hands, and generally fuss. Fuss loudly, with screaming, crying and red-facedness as though I am attempting to do something truly horrible like make her eat Brussels sprouts.

If I put my pinkie finger into her mouth, however? Instantly quiet, relaxed little baby with big open blue eyes staring at the world in mute wonder as she sucks quietly at the tip of my finger. Of course I also have to be holding her with my other arm for this to work or she quickly returns to fussing, meaning that both my arms are now busy.

Congratulations, Daddy. You are now nothing more than a big human pacifier. Well done.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

More On (Heh, "Moron) What NOT To Say/Do

  • To the pizza delivery guy while holding the baby: "Wanna trade?"
  • As the little one is breastfeeding: "Little girl, you suck."
  • The binky (pacifier) has holes in both sides. These, apparently, are NOT so that you can make a strap that goes around the baby's head to hold the binky in place. Apparently.
  • No matter what you think, there IS an age that is too young to play "punch Bug."
    • If you choose to play this with your child anyway, do so when mommy is not around. Just a friendly word of advice.
  •  When changing a diaper, do not delay; move quickly and efficiently. Otherwise, you will have regrets and you will wear those regrets all over yourself.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Pacifier

My little girl has learned how to properly use a pacifier which is a lifesaver for mommy and me! Well, mostly for mommy since up until now Lois was using her as the pacifier but since she actually knows how to use a proper one now mom can get a little extra sleep. This helps me because it means I can feel less guilty about sleeping while mom is up with the baby.

I never said I was perfect.

Now, I do have to explain that I may be overstating my daughter's abilities just a little bit. I said that she uses a pacifier "properly," but what this entails is me or mom putting it in her mouth, holding it there for a few minutes for her to get a proper grip on it, and then hovering nervously so that we can pop it back into her mouth the second she spits it out accidentally.

This "proper" use also entails watching as the baby, in her sleep, reaches up one hand, snags the pacifier, rips it out of her mouth with extreme violence and flings it across the room. Well, a few feet at least; "across the room" is still a little out of her range at this point. Impressive nonetheless.

Now she opens her eyes and her face crumples because her soothing pacifier is gone. She opens her eyes and sees daddy, the same evil man who smacked her in the face just last night! Now he's taking away what has quickly become her favorite thing! She begins to cry until I can pick up the pacifier and pop it back into her mouth to sooth her while she looks at me accusingly.

But she's my baby, so I say she's mastered the use of the pacifier and thus she has.

Hopefully she'll just master it a little bit better sooner rather than later.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Conversations We Have

Our daughter is going to be subject to conversations similar to this her entire life:

*while the baby is feeding Laura explains to Lois what's happening in our surroundings and then turns to me*
Her: I just want to keep her abreast of the situation.
Me: *groans* That is such a bad pun, you boob.
Her: Don't be udderly ridiculous!
Me: I'm going to stop feeding you lines; you're just milking the situation.
Her: I'm just giving tit for tot.
Me: *groans, shaking head* That just sucked.

Our little girl is going to be SO lucky to have us as parents! We'll take any reason to latch on to a pun war!


Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Moro(n) Reflex

Let me start by saying that I'm totally expecting some flak for the title of this post, whether from the mother of our child, her family, or any of you. I'm okay with that and I'll tell you why:

My beautiful little girl is sometimes (how do I put this gently?) less than brilliant.

The Moro Reflex is how babies react when they suddenly think they're falling or about to fall; they flail their arms out, then bring them in suddenly. This often happens when placing an infant into their crib no matter how gently you do this.

So I want you to picture this:

Daddy is holding a sweet, beautiful, sleeping infant in his arms, looking at her adoringly after trying to get her to sleep over the last 2 hours. The baby is sound asleep and all "floppy" which means that she's probably not faking it this time so daddy decides that he's going to try to actually get some sleep. It is midnight, after all, and he could use a little rest*.

Daddy creeps quietly to the crib and gently, oh-so-gently, puts his little angel** down. Just as he carefully releases the baby girl's head so that it cradles into the crib the Moro Reflex kicks in, her arms flail wildly out, then rush back in; her own hand smacks her across the face, startling her into wakefulness.

She looks up, knowing only that she has just been struck across the face and that daddy is staring down at her, trying not to laugh and now her little infant brain thinks that daddy just bopped her in the eye/cheek/forehead/nose. She cries at the betrayal by daddy and wakes back up to 100% for at least another hour.

It'd be funny if I didn't see the psychiatry bills piling up already. I'll be charging them to Dr. Moro.

*Yes, all moms everywhere are laughing at this and calling Daddy a wuss for wanting to sleep at midnight with a new baby in the house. I understand. Mothers are superhuman. It's a fact.
**When sleeping she is daddy's little angel. When awake she is (often) daddy's little brat. Amazing how the state of sleep vs. wakefulness can polarize things so much.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

My Little Angel(ish)

Ms. Lois M. Smith, 30 minutes old.
Name: Lois Miriam Smith
AKA: Little Miss Stubborn; Daddy's Little Brat*
Age: 2 weeks 5 days
Weight: 7 lbs 15 oz
Favorite Activities:
  • Eating
  • Pooping
  • Not sleeping
  • Scratching myself with my claw-like nails.
  • Tricking mom and dad into thinking I'm ready to sleep and then totally waking fully up when they put me down for a nap.
  • Watching My Little Pony with Dad. We watch it for me; it's not that he likes it at all and he just watches it for my sake.
 Bright-eyed and with a head full of hair this little girl seems lucid at only 30 minutes of age; full of life and curiosity. It was at this exact moment that I fell in love with her, that I knew that I would do everything I could to be the bestest daddy in the world and nothing could stop that.

And I love her. She is my little girl and nothing will change that. I will protect her, I will see to her happiness, and I will make huge mistakes while trying to be perfect; this is my job.

Let me translate: "Get me out of the baby torture device!"
Even at moments like this one, she is my little girl and I love her.

So let me say now to my little one for posterity's sake:

Lois, I am sincerely sorry for all the mistakes that I will make and the ways that I will screw you up as you grow and learn about this world around you but I hope you never doubt my love for you, little one. I'll do my best, and I'll never, ever, EVER stop laughing at you, or myself.

And your mom? She loves you too. She'll make sure that I don't mess up too much so try not to worry about it.

*This is another thing we could NOT tell her mother. Thanks.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Additions and Actualization

I have a couple of additions to this list:

  • The baby is "feeding," not "getting on her Mom Nom Nom."
  • A pump for breastmilk cannot, under any circumstances, be replaced by a wet/dry vac.
  • Do not compare raising a newborn to raising a puppy; the glare you'll receive will be epic.
 Now for another list, one that may actually help you when dealing with your newborn:
  • Babies DO like music. They like to be sung to even if your singing ability sucks. My little girl loves Goodnight Demon Slayer by Voltaire.
    • If your baby cries when you sing she is NOT singing along.
  •  If your baby seems to be pooping a lot then you might want to try the tried and true method of "deal with it." Newborns poop. No, let me rephrase that: Newborns void their bowels with the regularity of something that happens regularly and more often than you think it would.*
  • Babies aren't so great at being subtle. When they look away from you during their awake and quiet time** this is the baby's signal that they're done with you. They may still want your warmth and cuddles but your sparkling personality is wearing thin on them at that moment.
    • Don't let this hurt your feelings; babies have short memories and will completely forget whatever it was you were doing that annoyed them within the next minute or so. Probably.
  • My baby is cuter than yours.
    • What?
Tomorrow I'm going to have Lois introduce herself and you'll actually get to see a picture of my little girl; it's one of the first pictures ever taken of her.

*Like crossing your legs or blinking in a Haboob.***
**The whole 2 minutes that they're both awake AND quiet in a day.
***Heh. Boob.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Things You'll Want To Know

Soon-to-be-dads, let me tell you a few things that nobody else is going to tell you that might help you survive the first week with the baby. Hopefully it helps and if not then at least hopefully you get some enjoyment out of my pain.

You sadist.

First thing is that the baby sleeps very well the first few days after birth. You have two or three days of relatively decent sleep. You're going to think that you're in for a treat, that you have the first newborn ever created that will sleep quietly for hours on end with no worries at all.

And then you'll go home. The baby sleeps a lot the first two, maybe three days. The hospital sends you home two, maybe three days after the birth. I am absolutely certain this is not coincidence. It just so happens that they send you home when the baby is about to become the crankiest thing on Earth. This is the beginning of cluster feeding and means that you, the mother, the baby, the other father, the second cousin, or whoever is involved will be awake a lot. A lot. Whoever's in charge of feeding the baby might get an hour's worth of sleep at a time over the next week.

No, I'm not kidding there. Read that again. One hour at a time, followed by 30 minutes of feeding the baby, and 15-20 minutes of putting the baby back to sleep. Then you go back to sleep for an hour and do it again.

I am so glad that we've chosen to breastfeed. This absolves me of all responsibility*. I highly recommend breastfeeding your newborn so that at least one person in the relationship will get some sleep.

Now, you may ask yourself how you know that your young one is hungry and I have compiled this handy little list through my experience and I hope you find it helpful.

What My Baby Does When She's Hungry:

  • Cries
  • Smiles
  • Flails about aimlessly while crying
  • Burbles quietly, looking around at everything
  • Randomly sucks at an imaginary nipple while crying
  • Sleeps
  • Bites her hand and cries when she accidentally punches herself in the head, then looks at Daddy accusingly as though I did it and makes me feel bad even though I did absolutely nothing wrong
  • Poops
  • Cries
Another thing you'll want to know is that your life will become about the baby. I never thought I'd be one of those guys who'd become a father** and talk about nothing but the baby. I wouldn't be one of THOSE parents. There's so much more to life!

Expect to talk about nothing but your baby for at least the first two weeks (I'd comment on more but I'm only two weeks into this) because that child will BE your life. You'll sleep differently, you'll handle your day centered on what the baby needs, and when you're not talking about the baby your family and friends will want to know if the baby is sleeping through the night***, if she's crying all the time****, or if they can hold her*****.

The baby IS your life. If it's not, you're doing something wrong.

Okay, that last line sounds judgmental. So let me reword: If the baby's not your life, tell everyone else your secret so we can judge whether or not you're doing something wrong. Now that I'm a parent I feel qualified to judge other parents.

That's how that works, right? It's why people become parents?

Now if you'll excuse me, Laura has Lois out with some friends doing some sightseeing and I'm at home alone. I'm going to take a nap for 20 minutes. Twenty. Whole. Minutes.


*But dear LORD don't tell Her I said that!
**This sentence could have actually ended here in different context.
***No. And anyone who tells you their child sleeps through the night within the first month is lying. LYING!
****Yes, but you will lie about this and tell them that she's mostly quiet and good. This is a lie that all parents tell. It's okay; it's expected.
*****Look to the one who gave birth to answer this question. If you give a quick "yes" you may later find out that you've made a horrible mistake. Look for confirmation before giving that baby to a human being who is not her mommy. Seriously.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Things Not To Say

Men, if you'd like to keep your head during the pregnancy and shortly thereafter, here are a few things you'll want to avoid saying:

  • If the nurse says "I know we said that your baby will be a girl but we think we might see something else and she might be a he" you should not say: "Hey hon, at least her name changes easily to a boy's name!" (Lois to Louis)
  • When she's having a contraction and you can see it on the monitor you don't have to tell her; she knows. Believe me, she knows.
  • "Wow sweety, I've never seen anyone projectile vomit that far!" (Note: Okay to say later but not during.)
  • "Guess who's stinky! Here you go, hon!"
  •  It's "breastfeeding" and "pumping." Under NO circumstances are you to refer to it as "milking."
Keep these tips in mind and you might survive.

Monday, August 13, 2012

In The Delivery Room

Our little precious baby (I've been told it's important to reaffirm that she is precious and not to say anything negative like "our little weirdo" or "this little proto-human") was born via C-Section and I was the only person allowed into the room at the time of delivery. As such I have learned two valuable lessons and I would like to share them with you:

1 - There is a blue curtain that is positioned between you and whatever is going on below your loved one's head and neck area. This blue curtain is there for a reason and no, the doctors do not want you to look below it. Ever.

I would strongly suggest following the doctor's suggestions and do whatever you can to keep that blue barrier between you and the surgery. It's not a pretty sight. When I was younger I enjoyed the Surgery Channel on basic cable but this was definitely not the same; trust me.

2 - Laura became ill during the procedure and lost her lunch. I think she may have lost her breakfast and the previous day's meals as well. I found them though and it wasn't pretty. Thinking I was doing the right thing so that I didn't start losing my meals as well I looked backward and to the left.

Look backward and AWAY from the table. I looked just in time to see the doctors literally throwing a great gob of blood and cotton toward a wastebasket and missing. It splattered across the floor, leaving large splashes of deep red blood stains along the stark white floor.

I looked back to the puking and was okay with that decision.

And remember what your job is while you're in the room; you need to tell her that she looks pretty. That's your only job. Make sure she knows that you're doing your job and that she is the most wonderful woman you've ever seen. I suggest that you have a map with Tennessee cut out of it to pull out at this moment and when she asks why there's a hole in the map you say "Because, you're the only ten-I-see."

I guarantee this will work*.

*Guarantee not valid. Anywhere.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Baby Rules

Inspiration for this list comes from "The Story About the Baby" and discussions with Laura about certain rules that will be necessary for me to follow in the coming year. Sadly, I am certain that I will have to add to this list.

A Few Rules:
  • Do not clean the baby in the dishwasher
    • Or any kind of "auto wash" for that matter
  • Do not use the baby for Linguistic experimentation
    • Especially if you can't explain the reason for the experiment beyond "but, wouldn't it be cool?!"
  • Do not throw the baby into the fires of Mt. Doom
  • Adult time between mom and dad is not reason enough to ignore a crying baby
    • Do not nickname the baby "cockblocker"
  • The baby is NOT "just like a big fish"
    • Do not teach the baby to swim using the fish tank
  • Sneezing on the baby is bad, even if "she started it" 
  • If the baby cries at night the proper response is not "you're closer!"
    • Snoring louder is also unacceptable
  •  When mom is breastfeeding it is considered impolite to attempt to get her "in the mood"
      • see also "cockblocker"

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Doctor's Advice

"Doc," I asked him imploringly during the last appointment before the birth, "you seem as though you're full of knowledge and wisdom gained through long years of learning and possibly trial and error so maybe you can pass on a little bit of that to me." He nodded for me to go on so I asked him the question that had weighed heavily on my mind ever since the day I realized I would be there when my Laura gave birth to our tiny little girl, "What, exactly, is my job in the delivery room?"

He cocked his head to the side and looked thoughtful for a moment before answering. "Well there are two things. One: Tell her she looks pretty. Even if she's leaking goop from her eyes, green snot running out of her nose with the consistency of bad maple syrup, and her hair looks like it's just escaped from an electromagnetic company, tell her she's pretty and the most beautiful creature walking the face of the planet."

I wrote this down. "And two?"

"Two is more a 'don't.' Two is, simply, don't do what I did. Don't, while she is in the throws of labor, try to lighten the mood by telling her 'Sweety, you seem...grumpy.' I may still be hearing about that five years later, and can never win a fight because when it looks like I'm about to win she'll pull this out and I will have to apologize, again."

So this blog is my attempt to tell you what to expect when you have a baby and to teach you, my reader, through my trial-and-error what, exactly, NOT to do.