So you had a baby. And suddenly, you're acting silly all the time. Behaving in ways even you can't believe, and making those you around you feel slightly uncomfortable.
Here are eight strange things you say and do when you're smitten with your new son or daughter:
1. You love smelling their breath.
There are few things as repulsive as someone's steamy breath in your face. Except when it's your baby's. I love the smell of my son's breath. Honest to goodness, I do. It's warm and sweet like a kitten's, and I catch a whiff of it any chance I get -- when he yawns, gives me a hug, or tells me something while standing an inch away from my face (like the kind of dreaded "close talker" that causes you to cringe and take subtle but deliberate steps backwards, except that it's your baby and instead you take advantage of the situation by leaning right in to get a sniff of that heavenly breath).
2. You love the sound of them chewing.
I'm not sure what's worse, bad breath or gross chewing. Have you ever sat next to someone chewing so loudly that you lose your appetite? Someone sloshing his or her food around with such force and abandon that you have to excuse yourself from the table to keep from screaming?
Squish. Slurp. Swish. Crunch. Munch. Smack. Gulp. Gag me.
Now, my son turned out to be one of the noisiest chewers I know, so imagine my surprise when I first heard him chow down and found that chills were not running up my spine. Quite the opposite happened, in fact: I heard angels singing in the background. When my son goes to town on a meal, my heart smiles, the room brightens. And when I trick him into eating super healthy foods like spinach, forget it -- I swoon.
Squish. Slurp. Swish. Crunch. Munch. Smack. Gulp. All with his mouth wide open. Adorable!
3. You love it when they're nakey!
Those round bellies, that dimply butt, their delightful grins when they realize "I'm free!" Those thunder thighs, those wild eyes when they discover their "BELLYBUTTON!"
Everybody's gotta air it out now and then. You can say you don't live for pinching your baby's squishy bum, but I call B.S.
Smooth as a baby's bottom is not just an expression -- it's the naked truth.
4. You kiss them compulsively.
I can't stop kissing my son. No, really, I can't. Sometimes I make a conscious effort not to, just to give the poor boy a break, and it doesn't work. His chubby cheeks are begging for it. His pouty lips scream, "Kiss me!"
But the most kissable place of all might have to be his hair, because it smells so gosh darn good. And that's the thing about kissing babies -- half of what makes it so delectable is the smell factor, and there is a very real art to achieving this effect. Ready for it?
When going in for a smooch, swiftly and sharply inhale through your nostrils just as you're planting the kiss. Then linger there for as long as you can.
Smell, kiss, smell, kiss. It's utter bliss.
Beware, though: time is usually not on your side, especially when both mom and dad go in for a smiss (smell-kiss) at the very same time, in a stealthy move our family likes to call "the kiss attack."
This move usually makes our son laugh. Other times, he rolls his eyes. I must be seeing things, because he's only a baby... but in truth he's a toddler, so the eye-rolls will be starting any day now, I'm sure, and before long he'll be a teenager, and ohmigod the thought of my son as an angst-ridden adolescent compels me to kiss him even more so I can savor this sweetness for as long as it lasts!
5. You make silly faces whenever you're around them.
Here is a regular occurrence: my son and I are FaceTiming a friend, or taking selfies, or dancing in front of the mirror, when I accidentally avert my eyes from him and catch a glimpse of my own face. GASP.
Eyes bulging -- potentially crossed -- hair electrified, one boob misplaced halfway out of my shirt, the imprint of a block on my forehead; puff crumbs in my hair, drool on my shirt, and my mouth open wider than I knew was possible in the gummiest, goofiest smile. YIKES.
My first concern is my son. Is he afraid of me? He is not, and for that I'm thankful. My second concern: can anyone else see me? No -- my friend was too busy looking at herself on FaceTime (you know you do it too), and the blinds are down. Phew. My third concern: why do I look batsh*t crazy?
Upon further reflection, I realize it must be because I'm so happy. I've never been this happy before. I'll probably never be this happy again. Spending all day hanging with my sunshine of a son who thinks I'm the funniest person on the planet -- I'm pretty sure this is as good as it gets.
Scary face and all.
6. You call them by their pet names more than their real names.
Enough said. Your turn.
7. You're preoccupied with their poop.
I actually think it's precious when my son passes gas. I actually get excited when he poops. I always take care to study his poops very closely. I always make sure never to admit any of this to anyone (unless they admit to it first).
8. You love watching them sleep.
I never love my son as much as I do when he's sleeping. Oops, is that wrong to say? It's not like I want him to sleep all the time! When would we Face Time and take selfies and dance?
It's just that when my son is sleeping, he looks as tender as a baby lamb. When he's sleeping, he is finally still enough that I can really look at him. And admire him. And be in awe of him.
How is it possible to love this much? And how many years can I get away with watching him sleep before he thinks his mom is a total creep?