5 Things I'd Forgotten About Having a Newborn | Ask Your Dad Blog

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

5 Things I'd Forgotten About Having a Newborn

Coming home from the hospital wasn't nearly as scary this time. This wasn't my first rodeo. This was my second rodeo. Newborns aren't scary. Compared to a two year old, a newborn is just a cute paperweight with adorable, tiny poops and a tendency to fart and smile at the same time. If I can handle carrying a bowl of Cheerios and a screaming, back arching, 30-pound Duchess down two flights of stairs without killing us both, an eight-pound toothless meat ball should be a breeze. Or so I thought.

I suspect it was the sleep deprivation that occurred during our first week home with the Duchess, but somehow my brain selectively forgot (or downplayed) these five things about having a newborn in the house:

Baby flipping dad off
You thought this would be a breeze...


1. He pooped again?!

We're going through 10-20 diapers a day. Why you say? Every diaper change entails the use of three diapers: the dirty diaper, the new diaper that ends up getting peed on, and the third diaper that actually ends up on the kid. Other things that end up getting peed on: me, the couch, the wall, my iPad, and anything else within a six foot radius. It’s like a freaking Blue Man Group show in my living room. I should give the first three rows ponchos. (No, Blue Man Group does not pee on the first three rows at their show. They just get wet.)  

Instead, when his little baby fire hose starts going off, my strategy is similar to BP and the Deep Water Horizon Well. I just start throwing things on top of it to stop the spill from spreading. Clothes, diapers, burp rags, anything to quell the whipping arch of urine that is soaking my living room.

Stevie thinks this is hilarious when it happens to me. HILARIOUS! So I showed her. This morning when she laughed at The Captain pooping on me, I picked him up and chased her around the room, pumping his legs like a Super Soaker and trying to shoot him at my wife. It didn't work, but she got the point.

Deep Water Horizon

2. Who needs sleep?

I was ready to wake up every couple hours. I wasn't ready to wake up every hour and then spend 45 minutes getting the kid back to sleep. This has resulted in 2-3 hours of sleep every night for the last couple weeks. Stevie and I were taking it in stride for the first few days, but the lack of REM sleep is starting to creep into our daily lives in some very awkward ways.

Example 1: We went to Walmart the other day to get Christmas decorations. Stevie wanted me to lift her up to grab some ornaments on the top shelf (we're both short.) I then loudly told her, in a crowded aisle, that it was a bad idea for me to lift her up due to her recent and unhealed circumcision. Circumcision. I meant Cesarean. We got some strange looks. 

Example 2: Last night I wanted a glass of water. We keep cold water in a dispenser in the fridge. I opened the refrigerator, pushed on the nozzle and began to fill my glass. Water started hitting my feet, and as I looked down to see what was the matter, I realized that I was not filling a glass with water. I was filling our garlic salt with water. Somehow I had opened the spice cabinet, removed the cap from the garlic salt and began filling it with water. This actually happened. No, I didn't drink it.

Garlic Salt
Not a water glass.
3. "Does this look normal to you?"

"Does what look normal?"

"His belly button. It’s a little red."

"Oh, you’re right. It is a little red. I’d better Google it."

"OK."

(Consults Doctor Google) "Does it stink?"

"Does what stink?"

"What do you mean 'does what stink'…his arm pit."

"Why would it matter if his arm pit stinks?"

"His belly button! Does his belly button stink?"

"I don’t know. Should I check?"

"I think you already know the answer to that question."

(Smells belly button) "I guess. I guess it kind of smells. What should a belly button smell like?"

"I don’t know what the base-line for belly button smells is. This just says to check if it smells. Yes 
or no, does his belly button smell?"

"If I had to choose one, I would choose yes."

Smelling a belly button


4. OH MY GOD! HE’S DYING!!

I’m pretty sure my boy has belly button cancer. Also, every time he grunts at night he is choking to death. I jump out of bed, turn the light on, and make sure he isn't asphyxiating on his spit up. Then, when he is finally quiet, I assume that I've missed something and that he actually did choke, and that is why he is not making any noise. I turn the lights on, and go to make sure he’s breathing. Sometimes he’s breathing too fast. Sometimes he’s breathing too slow. Every little cough is THE cough. Every little gasp is THE gasp. Eventually he wakes up hungry and my anxiety fades until Stevie is done feeding him, and we put him back in his bassinet. Then the cycle starts over again.

The logical part of me knows that I am being silly. The "facts" part of my brain registers that Captain is fine, even if he does grunt all night like a goat. The problem is, the facts part of my brain stopped working right around the time I tried to pour myself an ice cold glass of garlic salt. 

Baby
I'm fine dad! Leave me alone!

5. I hate your video game! Well I hate your stupid home decorating show!

It’s safe to say that Stevie and I have been a little on edge. Remember the comic from a couple weeks ago about how every conversation, no matter how menial, is a fight when a baby is screaming? Well, every conversation that takes place during a sleep deprived, anxiety ridden haze also has the potential to be a fight. That said, I think, despite a couple bumps, we've done remarkably well. I may have made some unnecessary remarks about why I shouldn't have to watch a show about Canadians redecorating their living rooms, and last night Stevie was ready to take a hammer to my PlayStation 3, but other than that we've been as good as can be expected.

To cope we've been giving each other a little extra space and naps as often as possible. The unfortunate side effect of this is that I miss my wife. Everything is about the kids right now, which it should be. I am, however, looking forward to getting into a little more of a rhythm – as much as two kids will allow.  

Busted PS3
Not my PS3, but it almost was...
Bonus:

Those five things are some of the difficult parts of having an infant that I had forgotten about. There are just as many wonderful things that I had misplaced in my memories of the Duchess as an infant. Here is just sampling to take us out on a positive note:
  • The Captain calms immediately when he lays his head on my chest and hears my heart beat.
  • The smell of his head (much better than his belly button – which is fine now by the way)
  • When I kiss his feet, his tiny toes curl around my upper lip.
  • Slate-gray baby eyes.
  • Triangle toe nails.
  • The sound of breast feeding. (You may think it’s weird, but I think it is amazing.)
  • The look on my wife’s face when she looks at the Captain.  

Anyway, I wouldn't trade these days for the world. Good times... very good times. 

Love, Dad

Dad and baby


P.S. I need to give a special thanks to all of our family for being so supportive. An extra-special HUGE thanks goes out to my mom who has stayed with us these past two weeks. She has helped with laundry, cooked us dinners, woken up with the Duchess, and pulled Stevie and I back from the edge of sanity on multiple occasions. I love you mom.


66 comments:

  1. So, I'm reading this at the library and it made me laugh out loud... and the end made me a little misty. Thanks for making me look like nutbag at school. : )

    Awesome post.

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    1. Ahh, Thanks Whit! If I'm going to make you look like a nutbag, I'd prefer it be at school.

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  2. It's great to hear things are going well with the new lil one! We're expecting soon so I'm keeping copious notes about what to expect, belly buttons and all!

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    1. That's awesome Marc! Good luck. It's not as cumbersome as I make it out to be. OK yes it is, but not all the time. Just almost all the time. OK all the time. But its awesome.

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  3. I loved this!!! The Captain is soooo cute! All of these (minus the belly button funk) reminds me of what it's been like since my husband and I had our son exactly 3 months ago.

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    1. I'm happy to say that his belly button funk has gone and he has a normal smelling belly button. I am also happy to say that I now know what a normal smelling belly button smells like!

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  5. Aww - congrats. I can't believe I'm going to be doing this all over again.

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    1. Thanks! And I can believe it. You need to put as many little you's into the world as you can.

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  6. This is so sweet. Especially the comment about breastfeeding noises. They ARE so totally adorable! My husband also liked the sound and everything about breastfeeding. He loved watching the little buggers go to town. =)

    Congratulations!

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    1. I always called those breastfeeding noises as "love noises"! My son, now 27, would sound like this was just the best thing in the world. And to think of it; it probably was the best thing in his world!

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    2. I think that was one of the best parts of breastfeeding. :) The little grunts and sighs and big gulps... All content and happy to have a warm meal. :)

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  7. I would have given anything to see you trying to put water in the garlic salt container.

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  8. This might just be me, but shouldn't the p.s say something like "pulled us back to the edge of sanity" or "pulled us back from the edge of insanity?"

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    1. Funny you mention that. I tried it both ways. I think it works either way. If you're already sane, an get pushed to the edge, I believe you are at the edge of your sanity... which would also be the edge of insanity. Same edge.

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  9. I love the super soaker! :o)

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  10. I'm still laughing. My sons are now 18 and 14, a daughter 13. And yet those things still stick out in my mind. My chest and stomach hurt, I'm hoarse from howling with laughter and cheeks stained with tears. Thanks for bringing back the memories of little ones.

    The Cap'n is a gorgeous little hunk, and the two of you are gonna be great.

    PS - give it up. Sanity NEVER returns. Wait til the insane age of teens o.O

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    1. Thanks T.J. Glad I got you laughing . It really has been a fun, if not somewhat stressful, couple weeks. Sanity is overrated.

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  11. But you have your Christmas tree up!

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  12. "Well, every conversation that takes place during a sleep deprived, anxiety ridden haze also has the potential to be a fight." It sounds like our life right now. Though we don't have kids, I can relate to this one... Hubby is working from 5pm to 6am on his submarine AND he's sick. I work full time day time hours. Thank GOD I work from home, or we'd never see each other, but, with a deployment looming over our heads like a dark cloud, everything is a bit more tense and urgent than it probably needs to be - and the sleep deprivation is NOT helping!

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    1. I feel your pain! Sleep deprivation makes everything louder, angrier and more stressful. Has your husband received deployment orders yet, or is it just something you know is coming?

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  13. Awesome post. I'm surprised you had time to write it, but glad you did :)

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    1. It's been pieced together over the last week! Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks Amber :)

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  14. Hilarious. Thank you so much. You are doing great. It reminds me of the days when my husband would get up in the middle of the night to comfort a teddy bear..."but they are the same size!" Oh, I cannot wait to read about your finding the Captain doing all kinds of crazy boy things. For now the excitement builds until he lifts his head. Congratulations to you all.

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    1. LOL! Yeah, I put the garbage out this morning. Our garbage day is Monday. Today is Thursday.

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  15. I was blessed (or cursed, depending on how you look at it) to have the boy-who-refused-to-sleep-unless-being-held first as a boot camp of sorts. My daughter by comparison, lacked the fire hose spray ability (obviously) and slept much better. Either that or we were better at adapting.

    I also had my mother there instantly with my second instead of waiting a week to "bond as a family" (learned that mistake fast).

    I still remember when she was two weeks old, for my birthday she slept the ENTIRE night of nine hours. However, when you are a used to nursing every three to four hours, this simply means you sit in agony and it hurts to breathe while you debate the issue of waking up said child or letting them sleep. You just can't win either way.

    The image of you chasing your wife with your son is perfect. Thank you.

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    1. Thanks! Sounds like we've had very similar experiences. My mom has been an absolute life saver though. I'm going to be super sad when she goes home (she lives in a different state).

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    2. Our "Mimi" also lives in a different state. Life with two young children would be so different if on a bad day I could call her and say "Help. PLEASE!" and it not require a massively overpriced plane ticket and 7 hours.

      Soak up all the help you can. Glad the belly button smells "normal" now.

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  16. John,
    I'm surprised no one mentioned the technique for little boys, as soon as the cool air hits their penis, boys pee. The trick is to open the diaper, and wait a few seconds for the reaction, then quickly put the front of the diaper back down to absorb the urine.
    As an aside, when my son was born, the nurses used him for a diapering demonstration for the new mothers in the hospital, instead of peeing, he had a projectile poop,and got all three nurses messy.
    I gave him an attaboy for that one :+)
    I'm still chuckling over the recent circumcision faux pas!!

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    1. Ha! That's great.

      Yeah, I've adapted quickly to his extended pee range. I like the technique of using the original diaper. It just takes planning and patience on my part.

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  17. He is so adorable.

    A blogger friend of mine who now has a small child was told by a friend that whatever gets said between 12 and 6am doesn't count, because that's inevitably the time when you have really dumb fights with expletives taht you then laugh about when you've slept more.

    Oh, the new baby smell. It's crazy.

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  18. I have five boys, so I have been through many diapers at my house - the ones that get peed on in between especially. I started to hold a little baby washcloth over their penises everytime I changed them. That way, you can just throw the washcloths in the washing machine and you haven't wasted more diapers - or soaked your walls or IPad - more than you had too. Good luck. He is so darling! :)

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    1. Good idea! I did eventually buy a pack of cloth diapers (not the expensive ones, just the old fashion ones) and we use those as burp clothes/pee shields.

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    2. They even make little pee teepees now just for the fire hose. :) Your story brings back memories of my boys when they were little. I have a little girl this time, she'll be 3 months in three days. When air hits her during a diaper change, she lets loose, too. It just dribbles everywhere instead of shooting the walls. She has had some of the explosive poop, though, and I ended up putting a plastic garbage bag at the end of the changing table as a sheild... saves A LOT of washing! Good luck with your darling little boy!

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  19. Great post! We're expecting our second one in a couple of weeks and it helps to know that you're surviving it!

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    1. Let me know how it goes. I hope I don't make it sound too bad, because it's really not. We're having a blast!

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  20. The #1 thing I'd forgotten was the total sweetness of a naked baby. No new cute baby clothes can compete with that perfection.

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  21. I loved your post. Also made me cry a bit!

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  22. New dad w/ 6 month old son...this article is not only absolutely hilarious, but spot on. Can't wait to read more!

    Also - the sound of breastfeeding IS amazing. Breastfeeding in general is almost as cool as birth.

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    1. Thanks will! I'm glad you enjoyed it. And thanks for reading :)

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  23. You crack me up. I'm a 40 year old father of 3 and one on the way. It has been 8 years since my last little baby. I almost forget what to expect in the coming weeks. Thanks for reminding me. LOL This time I have a girl on the way so I can't aim the cannon.

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  24. I loved reading about your experiences with "the captain", It made me laugh till I cried! Happy New year!

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  25. Love it!! Captain is adorable. With only 12 weeks to go before #2 arrives, my hubby and I are taking notes. An "eight-pound toothless meat ball" ... bahaha! My greatest fear is that our 21 month old will retain his day/night schedule and that #2 will have the days/nights reversed. Here's hoping things just 'work out'.

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    1. Ahhh, sounds like you will be in a very similar boat to us. The duchess has decided that she likes to wake up at 6:30 AM. That also happens to be the time that the Captain finally gets back to sleep.

      Duchess goes to daycare during the week, so she just hangs out with me in the morning and I drop her off around 7:30 when I go to work. The weekends are a bit more complicated and Stevie and I have to work together to optimize sleep possibilities. Here is what we do:

      I sleep as best as I can during the night while Stevie feeds the Captain on and off. Around 5:30 or 6 I wake up and take the Captain downstairs and we watch Doctor Who together. Duchess wakes up around 6:00-6:30 and by that time Captain is asleep on my belly - which is fun.

      Duchess comes downstairs rubbing her eyes and curls up with Captain and I on the couch. Then we watch Yo Gabba Gabba and I silently wonder how many drugs the makers of Yo Gabba Gabba do in a day.

      We remain here as long and as quiet as possible to allow Stevie time to regenerate her supermom abilities. Sometimes that is a half hour, sometimes a little more.

      Eventually Stevie wakes up and comes down and asks how much Yo Gabba Gabba we've been watching. I lie and say one episode (it's more like 4). Then she tags in (we literally tag in and out with high fives) and I go up and shower. Confession: I usually sit down and fall asleep in the shower. Sometimes the water turning cold is my alarm clock.

      Anyway... Things have been hectic and hard, but are getting better. Like I mentioned in the post - we are getting into a rhythm now, which is allowing us to spend a bit more time together and not just tagging in and out. We went and saw "This is 40" the other night, which was funny but is basically two hours of people screaming at each other. Not the break from kids I was necessarily expecting.

      Wow you almost got a whole new blog post in the comment response. Oh well. Congrats on your incoming meatball and thanks for reading :)

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  26. I also forgot all about having a newborn until I had my second one. The crying, the pooping, the sleepless nights... But I also forgot how relaxing it was to hold a sleeping newborn. My favorite part of that whole early-parenting thing. That, and watching my baby coming out of my wife's belly and immediately peeing on the nurse.

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  27. This tells the story of my life right now! My 4 week old daughter is a reminder and a learning experience. With 11 and 2 year old boys the diaper changing is a little different. Everything else is just deja vu. Great post!

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  28. Baby 2 is on the way for my wife and I, and our 2.5 year old is just now figuring out what buttons she can push! Great post, it makes me anxious to meet #2, and relive some great things we had w/ #1.

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  29. Thanks for this. Found you via pregnant chicken. Im up with our 12 day old (our first) while my husband is sleeping (he does the late shift and i do the early shift and we try to make the in betweens work). i busted a gut laughing at this bc just about everything you mention is happening at our house right now.

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  30. Haha, you had me laughing out loud with this story. Probably much funnier for the reader than for you! I gave a shout-out to you over on my blog, I love reading your stories! http://www.diynewlyweds.com/2013/03/friday-faves.html

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  31. OMG what an awesome post!! Rings so true, especially the diaper bit. My lil' one is now at about 6 diapers a day, what a difference 6 months makes!! I can't believe I used to go through up to 4 diapers in ONE changing... ahhhh... what an amateur!!
    http://us-japanfam.weebly.com/blog.html

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  32. Your so dumb and stupid i cant beleive you would put water in garlic salt! You need to have your head examined! You put water in the PEPPER SHAKER!

    ummmm cool blog

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    1. Thanks! I'll give the pepper a shot next time :)

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  33. As far as the putting him back to bed part... Dr. Harvey Karp, "Happiest Baby on the Block", specifically the 5 S's. Congrats! I was just thinking about how "easy" it was when my little was a newborn compared to his toddlerhood...

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  34. Oh. My. Goodness. I just laughed and cried all at once. Simultaneously, you have made me glad I don't have a newborn right now and sad that I don't have one. I've had 3 so far and I do miss that smell. The head, that is, not the bellybutton.

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  35. What a great and humorous post, especially on dealing with a sleeping (or not) infant. Too often the advice that parents get is unreliable and sometimes of myth. I think you may find an interest in our friend Heidi who has some great ideas about how with the proper education, guidance and patience you can help you and your infant attain a healthy and happy sleeping schedule.
    Get inspired here!

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  36. Thank you very much. Your posting is very great.

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  37. i found this during a late night feeding with my first newborn and had to bite my tongue to keep from laughing and waking up hubby and baby. hit the nail on the head!

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  38. I like it so sweet. Especially the comment about breastfeeding noises. They are totally cute! my husband also start liking the sound and everything about breastfeeding. He loved watching the little buggers go to town. lol

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  39. Haha, great post, this is entertaining to read. Thank you for posting your experience.

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  40. So funny, made me lol. Good one mate! Kam x

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