Every now and again, I write up something for a mom blog outside my own. This is one of those posts…
Whenever someone asked me how I was “enjoying motherhood” during my first few weeks of it, I honestly didn’t know if I should spout cliches about magical mommyhood bonding or just spill the no-so-pretty truth. Which meant, asking them this:
Do you enjoy waking every 2 hours to screams and being pooped, vomited and yanked on at 3 AM while the most sensitive parts of your body are recovering from the most extreme trauma they’ve ever experienced (or a major surgery)? No?
Well then why would you expect me to?
That being said…beside the obvious cuteness of your new offspring, the newborn stage comes with some awesome perks that almost make up for the zombiefication that is the first 3 months post-partum. For example:
1. Newborns can sleep anywhere, any time.
Yes, sleep comes in unfairly tiny chunks, but the average newborn sleeps a lot, and some can sleep anywhere. For instance, I could have held a heavy metal concert in my living room when my daughter was tiny and she would have snoozed right through it. Now she could wake up at the sound of a gnat sneezing in the backyard, and basically pitches a 5-alarm fit if she has to sleep any place but home. If your tot can pass out in your arms during a WWE match, enjoy that. It doesn’t always last.
2. They’re easily entertained.
You can hand a 3-month old any random object in reach, and because they’ve never held it before, it’s the most fascinating thing on earth to them. All you have to do is be uber-enthusiastic, say something like “You thought spoon was cool? Wait til you see…washcloth!!!”, and that will keep them entertained for at least a solid 8 minutes.
But eventually they will develop more advanced reasoning skills, you will run out of different voices to read books in, and the toys will become so complex and covered in light-up buttons that your kid will need to read a manual before playing with them.
3. No teeth.
Most babies are born toothless. Which is awesome because that newly breastfeeding break-in-period is hard enough without tiny incisors chomping down on raw nipples. Also, teething BITES (literally).
4. They can’t wreck your house.
House-cleaning is going to fall pretty far below “keeping a tiny human alive” on the priority list. And it won’t matter–your lil’ angel can’t run through the house smearing poo on the walls, or throw an entire plate of spaghetti on the carpet yet. This may be the only time in the next 18 years that you will have a child in the house AND all of your glassware intact.
5. They’re lightweight.
Although there are exceptions, an average newborn will generally weigh less than an average bowling ball. I could carry mine around easily and securely with one arm. But once your bundle of joy approaches the 16-lb mark, your arms won’t recover for a good 5 years. Want to pump up those “guns”? Try this new workout called “carrying a squirming child”.
6. Everyone wants to hold them.
Baby-crazy relatives/friends are gold. If you happen to see one at a gathering, they’ll pretty much be unable to resist the temptation of holding your kid. Then you can go hide in a closet for a good 30 minutes so they can’t find you and give your baby back (just kidding…or am I?). Good luck doing that with a tantrumming toddler. I doubt anyone will be begging to hold 30 lbs of screaming, flailing fury.
7. They can’t escape confinement.
Apparently, toddlers are capable of doing backflips out of their cribs (at least I did, according to my horrified mother). This is obviously not a problem with a little person who can’t even hold their head up yet. And you can set a newborn in their crib while you pee for a precious couple of minutes, without coming back to a disaster that took 3 seconds to create and will take 3 hours to clean.
Ironically, because of sleep deprivation and temporary mind loss and all, I only realized all of this in hindsight. It may feel like the longest few months of your life, but the newborn stage really is a tiny chunk of your whole life together–and the next stages have their own challenges (and joys!). So while you’re waiting to get through this, new mama, take heart that it won’t last forever. And enjoy not having to worry about securing every cord in the house, finding socks in the toilet, and fits involving carrots while you can!