6 months ago, a miracle changed my life. Now I am a parent and still feel fairly new and clumsy about it. I mean, honestly, it doesn’t matter how often people tell you that a baby will change everything. It all comes down to “I wasn’t expecting this.”
After delivering my son I had a vague idea why people say that nothing can shock a mother. In the weeks and months that followed I didn’t immediately feel like a mother. Everything shocked me. Crying. Pooping. Bathing. Milk. Tummy rumblings. Sleeping.
Here are some of the things I’ve learned this far along the way in our little US-German mixed family, in no particular order:
- a baby is a 2 person 24/7 job. Period. Financially, of course, but also in every other respect. You never have enough hands to get everything done. Baby, household, your own body care. Say goodbye to multiple tasking.
- you cannot spoil a baby in the first months. When your baby cries something is really bothering him/her. And along the same line:
- they don’t cry to bother you. Since they don’t have a concept of self and cause and effect yet, they don’t know what manipulation is. That will come later. I know, it might seem like they do.
- sleep is a luxury. You can go without for quite a while.
- “Parenting is a series of best guesses.” (from “Parent Hacks” by Asha Dornfest) Yup. If something bothers the little one, it is most likely one of the following: being hungry; being hot/cold; being tired; or pain like tummy rumblings, gas, etc. Work off the list and see what works.
- poop is super dooper interesting and can keep up a conversation for HOURS.
- they are small real people from day 1. They have their very own individuality and temperament. And it is a fine line between accepting and respecting their personality and setting limits.
- there is so much stuff out there that babies don’t need. Our baby is a formula-fed lad. So take a look into the formula shelf of the store of your choosing. Confused by the variety? Yes. That is the whole point. Formula 2,3, baby tea, cookies, snacks, or the tons of lotions, etc. are only meant to flush money into the big company’s pockets. Formula 1, or newborn, are closest to breast milk and all a baby needs until your little squirrel is ready for solid food. Most cookies or cerials (as starters for solid food or snacks) contain added sugar or added corn starch. In fact, there is NO cerial or cookie that I could find in the USA without these ingredients. In Germany, we go with unsalted rice waffles or corn puffs. Both are basically flavorless and are nice to munch on
- the simplest toys are often the best. A spoon, a cup, a pack of tissues, Mommy’s purse, keys, a plastic bottle (empty or filled with rice). There is little need for expensive toys. I admit, though, some are amazing!
- not having a period is something I could get used to. Bummer.
- baby formula in the US is so so so so sooooo expensive! Wow. Plus, “newborn” formula is rather hard to find. WHY?
So, this is my first summary of what I learned in the last 16 months. In the following posts on Surviving Young Parenthood, I will tell you more about our coping mechanisms and the routines we’ve developed in our little universe.
What about you? What ist your experience with little diaper kings/queens?
I can’t wait to hear from you!