“Do you have any advice?” is a question I get a lot when people find out I am knee deep in figuring out life with a baby. Me? Advice? You want advice from ME?!
What advice could I have to offer? I could say I’m an expert at being a mom simply by the fact that my kid has never pooped in the tub… (watch that shiz happen TONIGHT), but I don’t think that’s a good evaluation…I could say I’m an expert at being a mom simply by the fact that we’ve never gotten one of “those looks” after leaving our pediatricians office that screams ” as soon as you people walk out we’re calling for back up”. So…there’s that.
This weekend I was taking pictures for my friend Lena who is expecting a baby in September and she asked me if I had any advice for her, and a majority of my tips revolved around stuff…this would go against the idea that newborns don’t need anything to survive except love and milk, but…apparently…I disagree, GIMME STUFF I NEED THE STUFF.
1. Velcro Swaddler. Don’t have a kid without it. Babies will bust outta the simple cloth swaddles faster than a Twinkie outta its wrapper on the first night of fat camp. That whole startle reflex is no joke and even when you think you mastered the art of burrito baby wrappin…WHAMOOO your baby just sucker punched its way outta that thing like a ninja. At first, these things looked like mini straight jackets, but after one night sans bustin out, we were in love. You can wrap em tight and throw them around like a football (safely…ya know) and they will stay nice and swaddle-happy. Go get about a dozen.
2. Keurig. Ok this isn’t technically a baby item…but it’s essential. After the first few days, if you asked me how to brew a cup of coffee the “normal way” , i’d bat my lifeless eyelashes and search my jelly brain for any remembrance of what that might look like. I would probably attempt to use one of those disposable nipple pads as a filter…
But with the handy dandy keurig, slump downstairs, open lid, pop in k cup, hit the big cup icon, close lid, wait patiently for that big old jug of wakey wakey to fill up and on your way. INVEST IN YOUR SANITY, COFFEE IS LIFE.
3. Ear plugs. Not to use to not hear your new lovable slug (because that is apparently frowned upon), but to use to avoid hearing people tell you about their perfect child that slept through the night at 6 weeks old. They are liars. They are evil evil liars who were put on this earth to make you feel inferior. Waking up is actually good for the tiny ones, its a protective instinct against SIDS and their tiny sometimes bottomless stomachs need food, and if you wanna get to the top of that oh so important growth chart (which we all know is like the new parents report card, WE WANT THE 90%, WE NEED IT, I WANNA BE AN A PARENT!) , FILL THE TANK and know you’ll sleep again one day…or maybe you won’t but that’s why you have that keurig (see how this all comes together?!).
4. iPad. So…this is a luxury item I know. But I would not have survived those late night feedings (or really any feedings) without the comforting glow coming from my ipad. The iPad was the source of all comfort for us (#welovescreentime). It was our white noise machine, blast the lullabies or the ocean sounds as loud as you can. It kept me from falling asleep and dropping said child on the floor during middle of the night feedings as I plowed through the entire season of Big Love during his first month (it also taught him about diversity…sorta). It also was our connection to the grandparents so they could see we were keeping the kid alive…sometimes I think they wished we’d held up that days newspaper just for extra validation. We want more we want more, we really like it, we want more IPAD.
5. A PLAN. We probably shoulda been…ya know…more prepared for this whole parenting thinggggg before we went to the hospital that day. I had attempted to read some things about different theories, we went to the baby class (we all know how THAT went down), we talked to some parents, but, we didn’t really “know” what we were doing. We had bought two tickets to the “well see how it goes” show and we bought the cheap seats…those people in the front row, they were the real pros, we were rocking the backrow all the way into the delivery room. BUT, we’d heard about baby wise from wiser parents who had come before us and we thought we’d give it a whirl (I’m not endorsing you have to do this, but it worked for us, find your own path). Now, the ultimate goal for this is full nights sleep by 2 months…we were not successful with this (apparently I suck), but it did help us create a happy baby in being able to meet his needs before the need to cry, so BOOYAH.
6. Swing it. If they created a human sized version of these things, i’d have one (yes I knowwww there are hammocks, but hammocks don’t sway you on their own with a magical mobile hanging above you and a soothing lullaby playing…nor are they lined with cushiony fleece and have a harness so you don’t fall out all embarassing like).
I could only sway and bounce my kid so much before I gave myself a bit of motion sickness. Having this lovely swingy seat available to plop the buddah baby in was awesome. A swing, a vibrating chair, a car seat on the dryer, whatever works, do it girl.
7. Sling a ding ding. I didn’t get my hands on a sling until my kid was a few months old. I wish to the high heavens I had had one when he was tinier. Wanna feel like a bad ass kangaroo? WEAR A SLING. When the kiddos want to be held all the darn time, these things are a one way ticket to happy town. Baby is content AND I HAVE 2 HANDS FREE?! Holy moses, I feel like a wizard of greatness right now.
8. An external hard drive. Ok, so this offers no life support or anything, but it is necessary if you have FOMAP like I do! In the first few months of Luke’s life I’ve taken oh….a bazillion plus 1 photos of just about everything he’s ever done. You sat in your seat? TAKE A PICTURE. You opened your eyes? TAKE A PICTURE. You did absolutely nothing and stared into space for 10 minutes? TAKE 100 PICTURES. We filled up our mac pretty fast, so to give yourself peace of mind that all those super important pictures will be there and free up space for more pictures, back it up. Your kid will thank you come senior yearbook page making time…quarter page? psht, FULL PAGE AD FOR YOU KID!
9. Blinds. If you are breastfeeding, nothing will feel better those first few weeks than just walking around without ANYTHING ON. To save yourself from peering eyes from the neighbors…just pull the blinds closed and enjoy a judgement free romp around the kitchen. This is what life is all about now.
10. Whatever else you want! Bringing home a baby into your world is cray cray. Everything you knew about life before? That shit don’t matter anymore, life be different. Do what makes you happy. Eat what makes you happy. And soak up the time of them being tiny (I won’t tell you to enjoy every moment, because you won’t and that’s ok), but if eating an entire sleeve of oreos makes you happy, chomp away sister…chomp…away. Surround yourself with the things you love, the people you love, and as much trash tv on your DVR as you can, you’re a parent now, YIPEEE!