*David and I are in Italy, and have just spent several days in Venice where we were told by the sunny front desk clerk at our hotel, "Een Venice, the internet ees broken." As a result there will be no new blog this week, but I invite you to enjoy this little ditty from from the Short Fat Dictator archives (I thought it was suitably Italian as it mentions lasagna in the opening sentence). The blog is all new next week!*
I went to visit this baby yesterday and to bring her mom and dad a lasagna. (For the record - every human being you produce wins you one free casserole from me. Feel free to submit your request in the comments section*.)
Having been on the receiving end of a cavalcade of well-meaning advice when I birthed the Snood back in September, I resisted the urge to impart any words of wisdom upon the new parents.
Instead, I shall use my blog this week to impart said words of wisdom upon you - mostly by refuting all of the advice I received during my early days of motherhood.
ADVICE: YOU SHOULD BE ENJOYING THIS!!! GET DRESSED UP! GO OUT TO THE MOVIES! HAVE A ROMANTIC DINNER! YOU'LL MISS THESE DAYS WHEN THE BABY'S HERE!
OK, technically this is not baby advice, rather late-in-pregnancy advice.
"Your life is about to change forever!" friends and strangers alike would offer, "You should be using this time to do every fun and spontaneous thing you can think of!"
Right. Except by the time I was 43 weeks pregnant, I had only 2 maternity outfits that fit. These were size "enormous" and had already been in heavy rotation for over a month.
So "getting all dressed up" was not that appealing a concept.
As for that nice romantic dinner?
Well, dinner was less than appealing, since my out of control pregnancy-induced reflux meant any meal decision had to be weighed against the very real possibility of encountering each course a second time - somewhere around 4am.
And romance? HIGHLY unlikely, as the only feeling I could muster was the barely contained rage I felt towards my husband for getting me in this state in the first place.
ADVICE RATING: TERRIBLE
Do what I did! Put on the most comfortable pair of slippers you can find, lay down on your sofa and begin rocking back and forth while wailing, "This baby will be ready for driver's ed when it finally comes out!!!" Continue until labor commences.
ADVICE: BREASTFEEDING SHOULDN'T HURT
OK, now the baby is here - let the advising begin! One of the first subjects you'll be multi-advised on is breastfeeding.
My sister called me when her son was three-days-old. "What am I doing wrong?" she asked in a panic. "Everyone I know keeps telling me that breastfeeding isn't supposed to hurt." I had good news and bad news.
The good news - she wasn't doing anything wrong.
The bad news - everyone she knew was a dirty liar.
Breastfeeding hurts at first. It isn't excruciating but it just kinda hurts and feels super-weird. This is true no matter what anyone tells you and no matter how happy and peaceful that lady on the "So You're Ready to Breastfeed!" brochure looks. She's a liar too.
ADVICE RATING: POOR
Don't worry about it too much - it will pass in a week or two and then you won't even notice it. So much so that in a couple of years you will have forgotten it to such a degree that you will be telling your own friends/daughters that breastfeeding doesn't hurt.
ADVICE: SLEEP WHEN YOUR BABY SLEEPS
Let me give you a hypothetical:
I want to imagine lying down for a nice, restful nap.
Before you drift off into that oh-so-peaceful slumber, I should mention, in all fairness, that I have an air horn here that I am going to blow directly into your face sometime in the next 2 hours.
But until then just RELAX ! Get some rest.
This is exactly what it is like trying to "sleep when the baby sleeps".
ADVICE LEVEL: HORRIBLE
In the first couple of weeks it will somehow be true that your baby will sleep 20 hours a day while you sleep about 4.
Do not ask me how this math can possibly work, just believe me.
ADVICE: I'M NOT SURE - LOOK IT UP ON THE INTERNET
DO NOT LOOK IT UP ON THE INTERNET!!!!!!
Truly everything I Googled from "my baby is drooling" to "green poop" was met by messages of unrelenting doom and assurances of impending NICU visits.
This from such heralded experts as email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do not consult these freaks. Most of them are getting their medical know-how from the people who live in their teeth.
ADVICE LEVEL: HIGHLY SUSPECT
ALTERNATE ADVICE: Put The Google down.
ADVICE: ENJOY EVERY MOMENT IT GOES BY SO FAST
This is the advice you'll get most often, mostly from people with grown children who I have to believe on some elemental level have really blocked out what it is actually like to have a newborn baby.
The fact is you will NOT enjoy every moment with your child and that's OK.
My husband and I did not spend our first nights home from the hospital with our new baby laying in bed and whispering about our love for him or dreaming of what his future might bring.
Instead, we were literally cowering together in bed like two teenagers in a slasher film, just waiting to see what fresh hell the night would bring.
My husband actually said out loud, "I'm frightened of the baby."
ADVICE LEVEL: WELL-INTENTIONED BUT OFF-BASE
Do not worry about making every moment precious.
I look back at entire days I would spend desperately counting the minutes until my husband would come home from work and take our screaming maniac off my hands and I know in my heart that those were times I did not cherish.
But then I look at the calendar and realize our little baby Snood is going to be 6-months-old next week! Which leads me to one really useful bit of parenting wisdom I did receive.
It arrived on a card from my sister's mother-in-law the night I came home from the hospital and it is the advice I'll leave you with as I can think of none better:
ADVICE: ALWAYS KEEP IN MIND, THE DAYS MAY BE LONG, BUT THE YEARS ARE SHORT.
ADVICE LEVEL: HIGHLY USEFUL
Frankly folks, that's all I've got. If that doesn't work for you, it's back to the Google for you. Say hi to email@example.com from me!
* Author must have met you, in person, at least once to qualify for casserole program. Children born outside the greater Los Angeles area may not be eligible for casserole. Casserole offer is not retroactive. Current children cannot be claimed under existing casserole program. Quality of casseroles on offer has not been independently verified.