First-time parents are so precious. They read all the books, follow all the rules, and make all the preparations.
It makes sense. They have absolutely no idea what they’re in for and all those little preparation rituals make them feel like they have a little control.
Seasoned parents know: once you have a baby, actually, once you even get pregnant, you have lost control of just about everything. A tiny little gummy bear calls all the shots from the inside for approximately 40 weeks.
(Then that little gummy calls the shots from the outside world for every week thereafter.)
Now that I’ve had three babies myself, I realize that the baby books could have been a lot more helpful. They could have told me things I actually needed to know (and for the record: the fact that my baby was at one point the same size as an avocado was not one of those need-to-know facts).
Here’s a few things the baby books really should include for new parents:
The best dry shampoo for disguising your generally disgusting state of unshoweredness
Okay, you may think you’ve already found the perfect dry shampoo, but I can guarantee you that, until you become a parent, you haven’t yet pushed that dry shampoo to true extremes.
Have yourself a baby who screams bloody murder every time she’s set down and you’ll find that a shower becomes a part of your routine that just doesn’t seem worth it most of the time.
Once you hit this point, you’ll find out just how amazing (or lackluster) your dry shampoo really is.
The best earplugs for tuning out unsolicited advice
Will the simple pair of white ear buds that came with my iPhone suffice?
Or do I need to go all-out and order some of the Bose noise-canceling headphones (the ones that look like you’re directing air traffic)?
Exactly what ear gear will cancel out Aunt Susan’s well-meaning but incessant comments about how my infant is too cold and needs a hat (despite the 78 degree weather)?
Is that same earwear strong enough to filter Great Uncle George’s ever-so-helpful, “Just rub a little whiskey on his gums!”?
The best cleaner for getting pee out of
Everyone knows babies pee a lot.
Some people even know that babies might pee anywhere, anytime (if you’ve ever changed a diaper on an infant boy, you know that you’re always squarely in the line of fire).
You will inevitably find yourself googling things like “how to get pee out of a couch” and “how to remove pee from a rug” or perhaps even “how to eliminate the residual urine smell from everything I own.”
The baby books could save you a lot of hassel down the line by just including a section on this up front.
The best source of caffeine
The sleep deprivation of new parenthood is unlike anything you’ve encountered before.
I did my fair share of all-nighters drinking or slaving away on a last-minute project, but nothing prepared me for the chronic nature of parenthood’s sleep deprivation. It’s like spending all hours of the night at a fraternity party, night after night, but without the booze and with the hangover.
Repeat for weeks, months, or even years.
If you’re an expectant parent reading this, I’m not trying to scare you. Generations before you have done it and survived. You will too.
It’s just that every new parent thinks they know what it’s like to be tired and sleep deprived and every new parent discovers that, like the 1970s song says, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. B-b-b-baby, you just ain’t seen n-n-nothin’ yet.”
The baby books could throw new parents a bone here and dedicate an entire chapter to the best sources of caffeine. I’m not talking about the cheapest or the tastiest–by “best,” I mean what substances are stronger than regular coffee, but safer and weaker than speed?
So there you have it! Set down that copy of What to Expect When You’re Expecting and start updating your baby registry with the good stuff. If you don’t have dry shampoo and carpet cleaner listed right there next to the latest Mamaroo or Ergo carrier, don’t say you weren’t warned!