Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Baby Story: Year 1

Reflections on the first year

1.     You only need one bottle of baby oil. We received several of these and a friend advised me to take all of them back but one.  I am glad that I listened to him because even after using the same bottle for 12 months I am pretty sure I could still return it to the store for a refund. Once our children are grown, I plan for it to be passed down to subsequent generations like a family heirloom.
2.      Infants provide a uniquely passive-aggressive method with which to criticize your spouse. While looking at the child (and ensuring that your significant other is within earshot) you can say things like, “Are you upset because daddy forgot to lower your crib mattress to the appropriate height again?” or “Did you soil yourself because mommy keeps changing the password reset question for our online bank account access?”
3.      As a parent, you will do absolutely anything to hear your child laugh. I will sacrifice what little pride I have left at the altar of humiliation if it means I get to hear that sound again. This can lead to rather awkward scenes of educated adults making flatulence noises with their mouth while pantomiming fly-fishing to a Justin Timberlake album. Still worth it.
4.      You become acutely aware of which kid’s shows put forth a solid effort and which ones are phoning it in. There is no substitute for Sesame Street and I have come to really appreciate Dinosaur Train, but Thomas and Friends is a snooze-fest. Is it that difficult to toss in a plot twist? I am not saying Sodor needs its first homicide, but a faster-paced narrative isn’t going to alienate your fan base. For whatever reason, I also find myself disturbed by all-male children’s quartets (The Wiggles, Imagination Movers, etc.) because I spend their entire performance speculating on which member is hiding a criminal record.
5.      You will call your pediatrician’s after-hours emergency line at some point. You can feign a calm demeanor all your want, but when your child is running a weekend fever, refusing to eat, and cries every time the dog sneezes; you are going to make that call. I always begin apologetically and somewhat disingenuously, “I hate to bother you...” (but obviously I don’t hate it that much since I made a conscious decision to call you at 10 PM on a Saturday) “…but my son appears to be under intestinal duress… (he won’t stop pooping) “…and I was not sure what I should do” (is this wait-until-Monday-serious or hospital co-pay serious)?
6.      Your home is a death-trap. Despite all the child-proofing measures and good intentions, a toddler has an impeccable ability to utilize common household objects to produce self-inflicted wounds. That metal bathtub spout? Blunt-force head trauma. Those decorative pantry doors? Hinged with patented finger-smash technology. Your window blinds? Pre-configured garrote system.
7.      You cannot get it back. I am eternally grateful that parents are given the joyful anticipation of future milestones to temper the melancholy of those we can’t experience again. While I cannot wait to hear my son say, “I love you” or tell me about his day, I know that even this will never replace the very first time he laughed or deliberately reached for my embrace. I know that each of his birthdays will be bittersweet and pray that I have enough perspective to remain present in the moments that I will forever cherish, instead of being distracted by concerns that will invariably wash away with the passage of time.       

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