Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Certified Master of Blue

Here begins the obligatory baby post!

When Michael was a'bakin' in the mommy oven, I read the books and the blogs and listened to all types of moms tell me 57 different "The one thing you need to remember"s. I attempted to prepare myself, but like everyone says, you really can't prepare. I mean...a living, breathing, kicking human is going to exit your person in a way that was described to me multiple times as "having a really intense poop", and then you have to take your poop baby home and take care of it. (Michael, if you ever read this, I'm sorry I just called you a poop baby. Though you did poop even before you were born. So thanks for leaving a mess. Now go clean your room, or take out the trash or something.)

ANYWAY...here are my "The <how ever many I come up between now and when the hockey game is over> most important things you need to know about babies"

(Fair Warning: The follow post contains discussions about baby body fluids, because 83% of an infant's existence involves expelling...something. I shall try to not be overly graphic.)

1) Noises. Newborns make about 3 noises: Crying, burping, and unexpectedly loud (given their size) farts, which one or both adults in the relationship will then seize as an opportunity to blame their own on the baby. This is completely acceptable - use the excuse while he's too young to bust you. [Note: Because I have a "he", I'm probably just going to refer to the hypothetical baby has a "he". A lot of pregnancy books go back and forth between genders and it throws me off.]

After a couple months, they start making many new noises, ranging from the cute (laughing, cooing) to the annoying (whimpering, grunting) to the rather unexpected. Did you know babies growl? Because I totally didn't, and then one day Michael and are sitting on the couch and freaking Chewbacca starts wanting my attention. Another fun noise - screeching/squealing. Your baby will sound like a pterodactyl, and prefers to make this sound in the middle of restaurants. Though we did give Michael a jacket that gave him little dinosaur spikes, so maybe we were asking for that. Long story short - all those cute noises you expect from babies will be accompanied by Wookie growls and what I can only assume is dinosaur for "Hey look my toes are attached to me!" or possibly "Hold on, I need to shove my entire fist in my mouth". It's a little hard to tell with Michael's accent.

2) Fluids. Let's just knock this out now. Babies are, at their cores, little waste factories which defy physics. I will never understand how 6 oz of milk becomes approximately 1 gallon of baby vomit. That being said...you quickly find yourself not even noticing. It will all get everywhere. I was washing my face once, and realized I had spit up on my ear. Couldn't even tell you where it came from, though I am assuming it came from a baby - hopefully mine.

I'm not going to dwell too much on this, but I will leave you with this advice. Never, EVER position yourself at the south end of a baby when changing a diaper. Kane chose...poorly, once.

3) Socks. No sock designed for babies EVER stayed on their feet. Babies also seem to have extremely cold feet, so you worry that if their socks come off their toes will soon follow. So you carefully pull on socks, look away for 2.2 seconds, and then he's got both socks off and is intensely focused on shoving them both into his mouth. Repeat 17 times, or until you decide you're just not going outside that day.

3.5) Baby clothes in general. Your chances of correctly snapping the snaps on a sleeper is about 23%. I think whoever tested those things did so on a baby doll, not a squirming, flailing mass of human. Surely a baby was available for proper testing. Or if not a baby, perhaps a small dog. Anyway, just accept that baby clothes are impossible to do correctly and don't think it's a person failing on your part.

4) Baby spit. I know I mentioned fluids up there, but drool/spit deserves special mention. A baby produces approximately 4 times his volume in drool every day. And it will also end up everywhere. Babies are just generally moist. Which means everything babies touch, including you, gets a light layer of saliva. Unfortunately, you cannot scotch guard your baby.

And once the teeth start making their heralded entrance, the drool starts flowing and he chews on everything. And I mean everything. Toys, sleeves, parents, hampers, the couch...if he can touch it, he will either chew it or attempt to, giving your whole house a nice dusting of baby spit. I think it's how a baby marks his territory - the old "I licked it and now it's mine" ploy.

5) Day Care. Having to deal with day care is possibly the most socially stressful experience I've ever had, and in high school I accidentally confessed a giant crush to half a lunchroom once. Thankfully, I don't typically have to do too much interacting at the day care because Kane is AWESOME and does most of the drop offs/pick ups. But when he needs me to go, I go.

Just getting into the parking lot is an epic journey. It's a small lot, and everyone is converging at the same time, so you've got to fight for a space. While you're trying to navigate this maze of cars, remember you're at a day care, meaning at any minute tiny humans can leap out from behind cars or out of trees or under rocks or wherever kids hang out these days and try to ruin your day. So you navigate the maze and dodge the wayward children.

Now you've got to get inside, which during drop-offs is yet another quest in itself. First, remove car seat with baby attached. Collect bag containing bottles, extra clothes, and any refills for diapers/wipes/whatever. Carry bag and car seat to door, keeping a hand free to type in the security code for the front door. Sign in child and head toward infant room. Stop to cover shoes with those little blue booties. Open deceptively heavy door while remaining balanced carrying stuff. Hand off supplies, extricate baby from car seat, make awkward small talk, and hopefully make a clean break. Repeat reverse in afternoon.

All this is compounded by the fact that everyone who works there is just...so very perky. And I am so very awkward. I can't interact with perky without sounding like I only just learned English after having been raised with the raccoons out in the woods. Michael's teachers are excitedly telling me about he "learned" the colors today, or had a good time playing with his friends, and I can only think "He's going to go home, attempt to eat at least 4 non-food items, smack himself in the face with a toy, and then fall over. But sure, he's totally a certified expert on blue now." Perhaps I am just not an excited enough mom, but it does seem a little silly at times, and I don't know how to express myself in the face of that.

So there are 5 (6 if you're pedantic or know how to count) things about babies that I didn't have quite a good handle on when little dude was about to come. I'm learning new things every day (did you know that babies can scream bloody murder without even waking up? Or that strained squash can travel a good 6 feet when thrown by a 7 month old?), so who knows what wonderful things I'll discover next.


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