I’ve got a few friends getting ready to have babies, so I thought I’d offer some words of wisdom about the first few weeks of parenthood. Actually, these might not be words of wisdom, more like just words. Read them.
1. Babies are boring. Seriously, early on, babies don’t do much. They don’t really have personalities, and their only means of communication is crying. At this stage, you just need to make sure they’re well-fed, they’re comfortably dressed, and you don’t drop them. You might not realize how boring they are until you have your first visitors. They’ll walk in, give everyone hugs and then take the baby. After about five minutes of cooing at the baby in a ridiculous voice, you’ll see them realize that the baby doesn’t care, or more accurately, doesn’t yet have the ability to care. Then he’ll poop on your guest.
2. The first couple of weeks suck. You’re not going to sleep much at all, and there’s nothing you can do to prepare for that. You can’t store up sleep and save it for later. You’ll be tired, all the time. You’ll feel like someone in the early stages of turning into a zombie—not quite dead, but getting closer to a shambling reanimated corpse every day. The good news is that a lot of really funny things happen when the delirium takes over. We’ve got some stories. They involve knives, balloons, peeing on chairs, and sleeping on the dryer. Most of those stories weren’t all that funny until after the two week sleep deprivation period ended.
3. You won’t want to do anything. I have a lot of hobbies. I like to read, draw, write, play video games and run. Except for some mindless games on my laptop, I didn’t do any of those things for the first couple weeks. Whenever I got free time, I filled it with…just sitting there. Constant exhaustion really saps your motivation to get things done. My son is eight weeks old, and I just now replaced the broken headlights in my car. I’ve been sleepily driving around using my brights for two months. The D stands for Danger.
4. You’ll eat like you’re in high school. Only you won’t have that amazing teenage metabolism. You’ll judge food in your pantry by the speed at which it can get in your mouth. The first week back at work, my barely coherent body was propped up with constant coffee refills (free Keurig cups at work!) and 100 calorie snacks. Pro tip: eating three packs of 100 calorie snacks is not a lunch. Breaking free of the college student diet makes you feel like a well-adjusted adult again. It also keeps your clothes fitting. So don’t eat like that too long, obesity is a serious problem in America.
5. The world is disgusting. Once you get into the habit of sanitizing everything, it’s hard to not get a little germaphobic. People are gross; they pick their noses, scratch their privates, and touch hand rails. You’ll know it’s stupid to wash your hands forty times a day, but you’ll do it anyway, even as your skin gets all dry and crusty from soap abuse. Then you won’t think twice about petting your slobbery bulldog’s lip flaps and then picking up your baby. Yep.