Friday, September 19, 2008

Things I've Learned in One Week of Parenting

A week isn't a long time to be a parent. From what I understand, it's a job that usually lasts a lifetime. I can only share what I've learned in one week. Lucia turned one week old yesterday, so she is the extent of my child-rearing.

Anyway, the following are lessons I've learned in the past week. I did not enter this parenting thing blind. I've taken care of kids and taught for ten years in public schools. So, I know a little something. I'm sure there is more to learn as I go, but this is where I am at this time.

Newborn poop isn't that bad. Don't get me wrong. Poop is poop, and meconium (the dark green, tar-like poop at the beginning) is as gross as it gets. However, the second stage of mustard-colored poop from breast-feeding actually has a sweet smell to it. Now, I'm not going to spread it on a sandwich or store it as a keepsake. I'm just saying that newborn poop isn't all that unpleasant with which to deal.

Newborn clothes are a scam. I realized that the newborn and 0-3 month stuff we had in the baby's dresser wouldn't last that long, but it never occurred to me what a scam this stuff really is. Lucia has been wearing these "newborn" pants in which she swims. Then there's the 0-3 month stuff. Does anyone out there realize the difference in size between a newborn baby and a three-month-old? There will only be a short window in which Lucia will fit into any of these clothes. The best stuff we have is meant for 3-6 and 6-12 months. My hope is she grows slowly during those months in order to keep up with baby fashions.

Grandmas have to hold their granddaughters at least 50% of the time. (The other 50% is for feeding and sleeping.) My mother-in-law has been here for the past few days. During that time, I have rarely held my own child, except to change the occasional diaper or relieve the spouse in bed, but that's it. My mom will be here in another day. That means there will be like4 or 5 day overlap of grandmothers. Lucia may not eat or sleep during those few days in order for the grandmas to get their time with her.

My dog has accepted Lucia as part of the pack. This one is surprising. Bodhi has a hard time when he is not the center of attention. We've also had some rather disturbing "humping" episodes with toddlers in the past. However, Bodhi has been more laid back than ever. He periodically takes stock of who is where then lies back down.

Sleep with a baby at your side or on your chest is both terrifying and super nice. The last thing any parent wants to do is to seriously injure their own child. Newborns seem to be the most fragile and they depend on you completely for their safety. When a baby sleeps with (or on) you, you are scared that you might roll over her or knock her off the bed. Otherwise, the warmth and comfort a baby receives from her parent is not exclusive. In fact, it's quite mutual.

You can mix a baby with certain interests. The baby will not mix well with my interest in craft beers. I've tried, but the beer stash has stayed pretty constant. I had a beer after we returned from the hospital and one during the OSU game, but I've only had one since. There's something about not wanting to get tipsy while one cares for a baby. I also have missed a couple of rock shows, several movie releases, and a football game. Of course, one hobby has been greatly enhanced by Lucia's arrival. Many of you saw my music video, and I have another in the works. Lucia's first CD arrived in the mail just before she did. Kimya Dawson's Alphabutt is an excellent album and will earn a review soon. (I know. It's been a while. The new website will be up soon.) Also, I have been singing songs by Pavement, Guided by Voices, and Built to Spill to Lucia at night. She seems to like the songs I sing. I mean, she always falls asleep.

Blogging for your kid is kinda hard. My goal is not to turn this blog into a parenting blog. I want to get back to stuff that's exciting and universally interesting to my readership. So, I created a new blog just for Lucia called Letters to Lucia in which I will attempt to write a couple of letters a week to my daughter. What about? What ya' got? So far, I've written about 9/11 and connections. we'll see how it goes. You can always check the feed to the right to see if I've written anything interesting at Letters.

I know it isn't much, but that's what I've learned this week. Hopefully, I will get back to the business of Misery.


Huey said...

Oh wow. I loved that post. As a fellow father I can relate to so much you wrote. Not only did I feel the newborn poop wasn't as bad as expected, but the crying wasn't either. Of course, the crying got bad later, but the early stuff wasn't that hard for me.

And the sleeping on your chest is one of the greatest parts of fatherhood to me. I miss that sometimes. Nothing like lying on the couch watching some tv with the baby sleeping on your chest when they are that little. It is a warmth that is definitely mutual.

Your "letters" idea is cool.

Marcia said...

It's great to hear how things are going. I had wondered how Bodhi and Spike were taking to her. I love your Letters to Lucia blog. I'm sure she'll enjoy reading it one day.