Parenting an infant… imposed insomnia and one-handed typing

Pardon the brevity (and any typos), but I’m typing one-handed while my slumbering one-week-old daughter slowly cuts off the circulation in my left arm.

I’m not bemoaning parenthood, though doubling the size of your brood certainly brings a new set of challenges. (At least we’re not outnumbered.) Especially when you’ve got a newborn who only sleeps peacefully at 2 PM or while being held. (As noted before, I’m in the latter situation here, being precisely as far away from 2 PM as possible.)

There’s not much more to say without beginning to sound like I regret and/or resent the role of father, when in fact, looking down at her beautiful, peaceful, sleeping face, nothing could be farther from the truth (although I wouldn’t mind terribly trading places with her at the moment).

Reflections on Parenting, After One Week of Experience

It’s 5:30 AM. I’m wide awake, having just endured the most harrowing diaper-changing experience so far in my short career as a parent. It’s a good time to reflect on what I’ve learned to date….

  • You can never predict when the baby will come, especially when you are convinced that it couldn’t possibly come yet.
  • There’s a reason they call it “labor.”
  • Dads: If you agree to cut the umbilical cord on your new son, just be careful where you angle those big scissors. Leave circumcision to the experts.
  • Once you’ve smelled it, everything smells like baby formula.
  • Try not to ponder the implications of having a McDonald’s restaurant inside a hospital.
  • Babies are neither as fragile nor as durable as they appear.
  • Don’t burp the baby while wearing your favorite shirt. Or sitting on the brand new sofa.
  • Yes, your baby really is the cutest in the world. Just don’t expect everyone else to see it.
  • Try not to envision a dairy farm when your wife is pumping breast milk. At least, if you do, don’t tell her about it.
  • A pack of 80 diapers doesn’t last as long as you’d think.
  • The health insurance industry has an inscrutable logic all its own.
  • Plan for everything to take twice as long as you expect it to. Then it will take approximately twice as long as that.
  • Your physical coordination really is affected by sustained lack of sleep. Keep that in mind when your toes are exposed to large, heavy, moving objects.
  • Having a baby is a good way to instantly enhance your popularity. Don’t let it fool you — it’s not you they’re interested in.
  • There is no way to convey to a non-parent the pure joy you feel at the sight of a stinky, sticky mound of poop in a diaper, after a day and a half without one.
  • Your thoughts at 5:30 AM are neither as lucid nor as profound as they seem.
  • It’s all worth it. And then some.