Babies—they’re just like us!
Only smaller…and cuter…and louder…and poopier. Right?
Well, I mean, they are technically little humans, unless you’re dealing with a Rosemary’s Baby or Renesmee situation. (In which case, you should really, um, talk to someone about that.) But babies are so different than adults, they might as well be from another planet.
Of course, they’re our little aliens, and in our sleep-deprived parenting daze, we think that all of their little baby quirks and oddities are wondrous and amazing and perfect. And they are. Well, most of them. Personally, I would be just fine without quite that much poop.
Here are 9 things that made me do a double-take in my early days of parenthood.
Your newborn sounds like a baby dinosaur. On TV, it’s all generic waaaahs. In real life, newborns emit that cry—plus blood-curdling, someone-may-be-stabbing-me-or-I-may-just-want-to-be-picked-up screams—as well as these bizarre Jurassic Park sounds. Seriously, fast-forward to the part of the movie where the baby velociraptor is hatching and listen closely. That’s it!
His poop smells better than that other kid’s poop. Poop smells awful, yes, but there are gradations of awful. And the poop of that other kid in your mommy-and-me class? That stuff could be weaponized and used in chemical warfare. Your kid’s poop smells like roses in comparison. Poop-scented roses, but roses, nonetheless. I’m sure this is some sort of evolutionary tactic to keep us from abandoning our young, and you know what? It works. It’s all about perspective, people.
He’s the biggest—and littlest—narcissist you’ve ever met. He’s cute, and he knows it. He’s also the center of your little universe, and if you forget that, you’ll be reminded by whimpers, whines and wails. So, you’ll rock him till you lose feeling in your limbs, and if he falls asleep in a ridiculously uncomfortable position (for you), you’ll stay that way. He. Doesn’t. Care. Got it?
He has a huge head. No, seriously, that noggin is ginormous. And is it just me, or does it just get bigger and bigger in those first few months—like, disproportionately so? If you’re ever worried that you’re not doing a good job as a parent, look at that thing and remember what you had to push it through.
An inordinate amount of spit-up, drool, poop and pee comes out of that little body. The amount going in really doesn’t seem to come anywhere close to the amount coming out, and yet…he’s thriving, healthy and growing. Grab a burp cloth and a stack of wipes, and get used to it.
He knows the millisecond that your head hits the pillow. For two full years, I seriously wondered if there was some sort of alarm that was trick-wired from my pillow to my little guy’s crib. I mean, the cries would sometimes start the exact millisecond my head hit the pillow. Literally, the exact second. Were we just so in tune as mommy and baby that he knew I was about to lay down without him? Was he holding a grudge from earlier when I had the audacity to put him in the bouncy seat while I took a three-days-overdue shower? Who knows. But it’s always freaked me out a little bit.
He smiles at you—like, really smiles. All the books say that babies aren’t able to smile at you until they’re between six and eight weeks old. I think that’s crap. (And I know you will, too.) That goofy face you made at him? That time you cooed and cuddled and kissed his adorable little cheeks? He smiled! A real, genuine, beautiful, gummy smile! And it was not gas, dammit!
Every day, he will do something to make you wonder why you didn’t have kids sooner. And every day, he will also do something to make you remember why you were incredibly smart to wait as long as you did.
He is the perfect everything. Really, you’re not just being a ridiculously proud mama. He is perfect. He is developing just right. He is hitting those milestones in his own time. Also? You are parenting him just fine. So stop worrying and go get some sleep.