No matter how many people warn you, there's just no way to prepare for the shock and awe that come with the newborn phase. You think you can handle it -- and you can. You think you know what's coming -- and you kind of do. But still. For just about every rookie parent, it's kind of like labor: Harder in ways you never imagined. But then you wake up one day and realize that you're finally past it. You survived the newborn phase! How do you know? Well, prop your eyelids open with some toothpicks and read on. We'll tell you the signs.
1. You rediscover your true hair color. This is because you've finally managed to wash your hair. Congratulations! Oh, well, there are probably a few new gray hairs in there.
2. There's a voice inside your head. What's that sound you hear? It's strange, yet familiar ... Oh yes! The baby has stopped crying long enough for you to actually hear your own thoughts. Hell, now you can HAVE thoughts besides "get the baby" and "feed the baby."
3. You wake up in a panic. That's because someone finally let you sleep through the night. DO NOT PANIC. THIS IS NORMAL.
4. You feel the sudden absence of your pet. I'm referring to your stretched-out belly, of course. During the first few weeks after giving birth, your stretched-out belly lies next to you in bed like a cozy pet cat. I was relieved when mine sort of retracted (aside from that remaining extra weight I still had to lose). But I also missed my fake cat a little.
5. You manage to apply mascara while feeding your baby. Nursing or bottle feeding, this is an incredible feat of coordination that took weeks and weeks of practice. You've gone pro, lady!
6. Your mouth feels weird. That sensation in the corners? It's called a smile. Remember smiling? You're smiling because you're starting to feel confident about this whole parenting thing. Enjoy it while you can, because in a few weeks your baby will change the game on you and it's back to amateurville.
7. You get your first positive feedback. After nothing but crying, sleeping, eating, and poo-ing your baby finally does something that makes you feel like you're doing it right. She smiles at you for the first time. Yes!
Oh it's hard -- but it's worth it. Hang in there. This phase will fly by and you'll find yourself longing for that newborn smell. Wait a minute, if you've made it all the way through this post, maybe you are already past the newborn phase.
What's the one thing that made you realize you'd survived the newborn weeks?
Image via David La Porte/Flickr