A Manual for Baby to Understand the Wackiness of Parenthood

Amy Keyishian

abby peachYou know how we read the books and newsletters about the milestones our baby should be hitting each week or month? Well, what if there was one about us -- the moms? We have milestones we hit as our babies start giving us gummy smiles or scooting across the floor.

The difference between the cutesy baby milestone and mommy milestone is that ours are not of the sort you want to document with photographs and wild clapping.

But let's imagine for a moment that your baby was reading all about what to expect from you and life in the early days -- like a manual for baby to understand what parenthood is like. You know, if your infant could read?! Ready for it?

Welcome to the world! Because you were growing inside her tummy until very recently, you’re literally seeing a new side of your mommy. And since you probably had a bit of an uncomfortable exit, rest assured that she didn’t squeeze your head into a cone on purpose. That’s just how things go, generally. If you didn’t come out the chute and were delivered via c-section, congratulations! Your head is big and round, but your mom’s going to be a bit groggy for a few hours. This is to be expected, and is nothing to worry about.

You may notice that your mom keeps looking at you and saying things like “ohmigod” and “holy crap” and some other words that you don’t yet understand. Don’t worry: She’ll get used to the idea that you’re really here, and you two will get to know each other quicker than you think.

Three Days:
Did you just experience a big change of scenery? Yep, that’s to be expected. Many parents celebrate their baby’s third day of life by leaving the hospital and going home. That’s right -- the place you just got used to, full of lights and weird noises and that big wet tub, is just the place you were born. That thing you were strapped into is called a “car seat,” and it’s best to react to it as if it were trying to kill you, even though it's actually saving your life.

Your mom is being left alone with you for the first time, so this is a good time to try some practical jokes. For example, she is not yet handy with a diaper, so when you feel air on your bottom, let ‘er rip with the pee -- or even the poo! -- and watch the fireworks. This is a good way to make sure your mom’s adrenaline stays up, so that she can care for you around the clock.

Four Weeks:
Your mom may exhibit signs of exhaustion, such as big purple bags under her eyes, near-constant weeping, and trying to walk a dog that doesn't exist. Now would be a good time for you to reward her efforts over the past few weeks with a passing smile or even a coo in response to her chit-chat. It’s not easy, but try not to time your smiles with a poop; otherwise, she may not believe they’re real. Be prepared: She will often talk to you from different places in the room, sometimes even from behind you. Don’t be alarmed. Even if you can’t see her, she still exists. Test this theory by giving a good loud holler: she’ll come running. See?

Six Weeks:
You may notice that just as you’re figuring out day from night, your mom also begins to notice things, like that she hasn’t brushed her hair in three days. But new challenges are on the horizon for her, too. If she seems distracted, it’s because she’s scared crapless that her OB gave her the go-ahead to “do it” with your dad (more about this later), and she’s not sure she remembers how. Also, she’s literally crapless, because she’s just used up the last of her stool softener. Encourage her to drink more water by spitting up when she’s near the sink.

Three Months:
You’ve known who she is for a year now; it’s time to really let your mom know you recognize her. Keep smiling at whoever you want, but save your best ones for Mom and Dad. Remember, they’re where the food is, not to mention the diaper changes. Some moms also mark the three-month mark by disappearing for a lot of the day to go to a place called “work.” If you’ve just been introduced to a wrinkly lady named Marta, or you find you’re spending your days in a place with a bunch of bigger kids and over-sized balloons painted on the walls, that’s why. Welcome her at the end of the day with a big smile, and be patient if she bursts into tears just after taking you out of the car seat in the morning. This is a big adjustment for her.

Four Months, Two Weeks:
Have you noticed that your mom is suddenly very interested in what you have to say, and in fact makes funny babbling noises that sound like “ma-ma-ma"? That’s because you’re actually making those noises to her, and she’s excited about it! And there’s nothing cuter than a mommy making baby noises, except maybe the President making baby noises.

Six Months, One Week:
Has your mommy busted out the mashed bananas yet? If there’s one thing mommies love most, it’s seeing us eat something that didn’t just come out of them. It takes the pressure off. So do your best, but if you can manage it, hold out for the fruit. You may also notice your mom’s not enjoying your diapers as much. Help her deal by aiming your poop into the diaper, not up your back.

Do you think your babe got "Your Mommy This Week" emails? What would they say?

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