It wasn't all that long ago that we brought home my 2-year-old son, yet it's been enough time for amnesia to set in. Parents have the tendency to remember the sleeplessness and bits of chosen memories nostalgically sighed as their child grows; I'm certainly no exception. But, six weeks into my daughter's outer life and I'm reminded of the lesser memories and mundane details from my son's newborn days.
1. Newborns are surprisingly strong.
It's when I'm trying to change my little one that I realize I need her womb strength training plan. If my daughter does not wish to relinquish her arm to be covered by a pajama sleeve reminiscent of Bubbe's house coat, it will not happen until she becomes distracted or eventually falls asleep. Not that I blame her, some of the clown suits designed for girls must be a designer dare with superfluous bows and tacky flowers to drive home the point that you are, in fact, purchasing a girl's item.
2. They are exceedingly noisy sleepers.
Like my son, my daughter doesn't suddenly awaken to be fed in the middle of the night. Her rising is a 45-to-60-minute ordeal laced with gasps, occasional screams, and other random noises that must have been inspiration for Rosemary's Baby. It's impossible to sleep through, yet until her process is complete, she will sleep on the job during her feeding, thereby taking an extra 30 to 40 minutes.
3. Newborns exhibit the most fantastic facial expressions.
Newborns don't do much in those early days, but have the most incredible facial expressions at all times. Even in their sleep, all of life's experiences become tiny, intense caricatures of emotions they are unaware of. I never thought gas could be such an experience as holding my seven pound daughter and feeling it ripple on my arm as she scrunches her face... at some point such expressions become a gratuitous social faux pas.
4. Caring for newborns inherently means all clothing in the near future will be ruined.
I'm not sure what is more alarming, perpetually having random and unidentifiable goo all over me within minutes of wearing something clean, or indifferently continuing to wear said goo unfazed, fully aware that some of it is likely fecal matter.
5. I simultaneously can't think because of sleep deprivation, yet feel energized.
For many reasons I had an absolutely heinous second half of my pregnancy, which included months of not sleeping. I'm still not sleeping, and maybe it's the luxury of breathing, but I feel like I could take over the world... wouldn't remember doing it, but I would be ruler of it all...
6. Newborns are synonymous with cuddly.
There is something indescribable about a seven pound body nestled into my neck fast asleep that enables me to sit completely still for hours experiencing back pain and an intense need to use the facilities.
7. Newborn urination should be an Olympic sport or a Westminster-style exhibition.
If the newborn is male, a parent can look forward to dodging the random fountain of youth that emerges whenever the parent's ensemble is really cute, the parent is running late, or it's the middle of the night and the same parent is unprepared with some item desperately needed for a diaper change. If the newborn is female, the parent can expect to congratulate him- or herself for a perfect diaper change without a squeak from the child, only to realize at the end somehow it was monsoon season on the changing table, and the entire area is soaked with urine. As with a male newborn, such events will inevitably occur when it is least convenient and the parent is entirely ill-equipped to manage the situation.