Week 1 lessons from Mr. Tate

Some of you (ok, all 3 of you) who follow my blog have probably been wondering why the heck haven’t I posted anything about having a kid? One of you, who is probably my wife, has thought the same thing during those long hours called ‘nursing’ that have been inflicted on her over the last week. No matter what lessons I may have learned in the last 168 or so hours, the lessons Jaime has learned far overshadow my puny learnings.

That said, I’ll still try to distill all this new knowledge down into a few nuggets (or dross, depending upon your viewpoint) that anyone who becomes a parent after me can laugh at.

  1. Everything your friends tell you is crap. I mean everything. No offense to the other two people besides my wife who read this, because you both likely have kids and likely gave me some advice, but your advice sucked just as bad as the advice everyone gave you. I’m not saying that to be mean, because the advice I’m writing down here will be just as much crap to the future parents who will never actually read any of this. So why is advice bad? Two reasons… first, you can’t remember it. Sleep deprivation keeps any advice, no matter how applicable, from sinking in to a new parent’s skull. If some does seep in despite those blocks, it is immediately forgotten the first time the parent actually gets some sleep. Reason two, its just not applicable. I know, that golden nugget worked really well for your kid, but we didn’t have your kid (good thing, too, cause that would be creepy weird for everyone involved). Kids are different (duh) and what worked for one is guaranteed to just tick another one off.
  2. Everything the hospital told you is crap. Well, not necessarily everything, but all the non-life threatening stuff is most assuredly crap. The only thing so far that I think they told me that is correct, and I haven’t tested this out to be 100% sure, was the piece of paper that said “DO NOT SHAKE YOUR BABY FOR ANY REASON!!!!!!” at the top of it. Beyond that, utter nonsense. For example, we had Tate circumcised. Barbaric, I know, but in this one way we went traditional. We were instructed to make sure to put a TON of vaseline on the inside of the diaper so that the padding wouldn’t stick to the cut and thus cause more pain when we changed the diaper. We were told to treat his privates like we were making a soft-serve ice cream cone and just put a big swirl of the gunk all the way around, from bottom to top. What the nurse didn’t tell us is that putting on this much would guarantee a blowout every single time he needed to go to the bathroom. This would then lead to a screaming fit, both by Tate and his parents, and a ton of wet clothing. Eventually we figured it out, with confirmation from the pediatrician, and did two things. First, we put a reasonable amount of vaseline on the inside of the diaper so that it didn’t totally block the absorption into the padding. Second, we stopped clothing him. Not only did this cut down on the daily laundry load by 2/3, it resulted in a significant improvement in family morale. Wins all around. Plus, naked baby jokes just never get old.
  3. Everyone who told me that when its your baby who screams, its no big deal is a lying sack of crap I would like to pummel into oblivion. That is an utter falsity. Yes, I will agree that when its your kid, you must accept that screaming comes with the territory, but that doesn’t mean you are blasé about the whole matter. You become like a maniac who will do ANYTHING (short of that shaking thing) to make it stop. You become like an injured quarterback in his last chance in the Super Bowl… you work through that pain and give it your all. Your ears may still bleed, but they blood will not stop you from getting that diaper change done in record time.
  4. Find ways to get through it. My way has been videos. Never have I had a talent for the visual arts (and if you’ve viewed the videos you know that really hasn’t changed) nor did I think that editing together grainy footage from a cheap pocket camera could amuse me as much as it does. Toss in a little iMovie magic, upload to YouTube and you’ve got pocket gold stress relief.
  5. Nicknames and tickles. Giving your kid nicknames, based on their behavior, is a ton of fun. Tate spent the first couple days with a bruised sinus cavity due to birth and thus croaked in his sleep (and often when wide awake). The video of it is a riot. It earned him his first nickname, Croaker. Kids don’t like their feet played with much either. I happen to be a huge tickler, especially of feet, so this has been a joy for me. Jaime seems to enjoy it as well because for a change its not her on the receiving end.
I’m sure there’s more, but frankly, its after 11pm and I’m beat. Will there be a Week 2 post with more useless knowledge? Stay tuned to find out…