It's time to set the vision of the uber mama high on adrenaline picking a car up off her kid aside. On the day you give birth you will be the most powerful woman on the planet. By the next day, you will be the world's biggest wuss.
It doesn't take a psychologist to explain it. Yesterday you were carrying the baby safe and sound inside your tummy. Today he's out in the wide world, and you can only do so much to keep him safe.
But you can prepare yourself for how crazy you will become. Here's just a taste, Mom (and Dad -- he's in on it too):
1. Walking Down the Stairs. You haven't gone head over feet since you were 4 and still wearing footie pajamas. But now every trek down these fall hazards leaves you clutching the baby in both hands and your arm wrapped round the banister. You will abandon wearing socks at all times and debate those slippers with the treads your Mom bought your Gran to keep her from falling.
2. Dogs. You were channeling Cesar flipping Millan last week. This week that teacup poodle has awfully big teeth, and is that white stuff on his snout froth? Is he rabid? OMG, he's coming at the stroller! The dingo is going to eat my baby!
3. Driving. Your pride in driving an environmentally smart compact hybrid will disappear around the time you pull out of the hospital parking lot. Seriously, anyone could just forget to stop at a light or pull out in front of you, and you have precious cargo! Do they sell tanks to the general public? Maybe your Uncle Jimmy could pull some strings? He was in the Army in 'Nam.
4. Hot Dogs, Grapes, Popcorn. What if they fall out of the refrigerator and hit the floor, and the baby who can't crawl yet but will one day very soon somehow figures out now and crawls over there and puts one in her mouth and chokes to death? Must ... banish.
5. All Other Solid Foods. So what if there are no food allergies in your family? This is a new generation, the first child in your family to jump higher, see better, sniff out a peanut hiding in the Snickers bar in the grocery store across the street, and go into anaphylactic shock on principle.
6. Toddlers. Where you once saw hope and wonder, you now see germ factories.
7. Doorbells, Firetrucks, and All Other Loud Noisemakers. For Gawd's sake, do these people not understand you finally got the colicky baby to sleep? Shuddup already!
8. The Stove. Yesterday it made you soup. Today it will burn your widdle baby's widdle hands. And what if the soup falls off and spills on her? We'd suggest the microwave, but there's a whole other ball of wax there. So maybe a raw food diet?
9. Magnets. Hear the one about the bitty magnets that were swallowed and tore through a child's intestine? You will.
10. Crowds. You were the first one to dive into the mosh pit in college, but you'll soon be dressing your kids in bright colors, making them repeat your cell phone number 10 times over, and slapping a leash on their wrist.
11. Doors. They swing open. They swing shut. They slam precious little fingers in them!
12. Balloons. The signal that a party's going on is now officially a bright orange or red choking hazard bobbing in the breeze. Is the helium going out or is it really drooping toward the floor just to make your blood pressure go up?
13. Paint. Pretty colors? No, lead-infested menace to your child's chance of getting a scholarship.
14. Doctors. They can save a life. Or they can tell you your kid is just at the 20th percentile. Or has cancer. Or has superpowers you now have to deal with. Best just send the kid with your partner. You won't have to look them in the eye while the doctor sticks a needle in that fleshy little thigh.
Are you already seeing fears cropping up?
Image via emdot/Flickr