The Chronicles of Baby: The Things They Don’t Tell You

Lessons learned as a new father.

Seven weeks ago, my wife and I were blessed with a beautiful son. We felt very prepared for the little guy, having read the baby books, put together the swing and crib, painted and furnished his room, and obtained a plethora of diapers, burp cloths, binkies, droppers, aspirators, blankets (receiving and non-receiving), plain onesies, onesies with Disney characters, onesies with non-Disney characters, onesies with a character on the front, onesies with a character on the butt, onesies with a monkey riding an elephant who both seem very happy with that arrangement, onesies with a monkey who seems happy enough but who you can tell would be happier riding atop an elephant, and hats. (Editors’ note: He also freaked out a little bit.) So, when the day finally came, we were very excited, and we felt ready for anything this buckaroo could throw at us.

Of course, we were wrong. Oh, so wrong.

No matter what I had read, or what I had learned from talking to my friends and family members with kids, I apparently missed a couple key facts, which I’ve had to glean while I was on the job.

Poop, Pee, and Me Make Three

When reading about baby secretions, I learned that the first couple poops are dark black and sticky, with the consistency of taffy. The books don’t tell you that it is really the darkest black of Satan’s soul, with the consistency of a tar pit that would ensnare and kill multiple saber-tooth tigers. His diapers where a nightmarish hell-scape which no soul has ever returned, and I tackled the Fig-Newton-esque terrain with a resolve before never seen by man. Many will write songs upon their lyres about my glorious feats.

Luckily, once he fed for a couple days, these diapers were replaced by lovely spicy-mustard-colored, seedy poops. Many people say that these presents don’t smell, or sometimes that they have a sweet smell. These people are liars. I cannot describe the smell, but I can say it will haunt me for the rest of my life, most likely because for the rest of my life I will find a bit of his poo on a various parts of my body.

The baby books did a good job of explaining what my infant’s diapers would look like and how many times he would fill them in a day. What they didn’t tell me is that he would poo and pee on everything, including me. I was christened by his urine during Week One, as was his mother, his bedroom wall, his changing pad, multiple articles of clothing, and his own face. It was at that point I think he learned his lesson, and now he tends to wait until he’s lying on top of me to empty his bladder. I think he’s just marking his territory.

Epic Flail

It is perfectly normal for a newborn to flail his arms, because he’s learning to develop his motor skills. Apparently, it is also normal for my son to punch himself in the face. Much like the mantra of a schoolyard bully, he cannot stop hitting himself.

We have tried to swaddle him in every way possible and with every new-fangled baby-burrito-making contraption, but my son is Houdini. He rocks his shoulders back and forth, slowing bringing his hands up toward his face, until he has both his arms free from his cotton Pooh Bear straitjacket.

Then he gives me a look that says, “What else you got, old man?” and promptly punches himself in the face.

In and Out

On the first night in the hospital, my wife and I were very concerned by the erratic breathing of our son. We were reassured by the doctors and nurses that this was completely normal, and most babies have goop in their noses. They gave us some saline drops and an aspirator, and he seemed much less “goopy.” Once home, the erratic breathing continued, and being a concerned, iPhone-wielding parent, I did some research. While finding that our doctors did seem to know what they were talking about, I discovered that it is normal for babies to stop breathing for several seconds.

STOP BREATHING FOR SEVERAL SECONDS! This had not been in the baby brochure.

So, I did what any sane parent would do, the only thing I could do: I stared at my son for hours to make sure he was still breathing. This and only this would prevent my son from failing to draw breath for several seconds. I stared, and he is alive to prove it. Once again, heroic.

Everything Is Adorable

Everything my son does is adorable. He sleeps: It’s adorable. He opens his eyes: Adorable. He spits up and pees on you: Still adorable. He lets out a fart that would rival an 80-year-old grandfather: Yep, friggin’ adorable.

His adorableness is like opening the Ark of the Covenant — face-melting adorableness. His adorableness brought down the Nazis more than 70 years before he was even born. His adorableness could bring peace to the Middle East, if he deemed it so.

This is how incredible he is. And he’s my son.

Article © 2013 by Mike Meagher