Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Achtung Adult

OK, there's something on my mind, and I'm going to just come out and say it. I'm going to stand up before the Church of the Child, and just say it, just let the truth be told.

Here it is: having a newborn is hell. Yep, you heard it right: having a newborn is hell. Consider this a warning, all ye future parents!

They don't laugh at your clever jokes or silly faces. All your good material? Wasted on them. I'm thinking of instituting a two-drink minimum with Erin before I give her my good jokes.

Newborns never smile. I'll say it again for those, like myself, didn't know this: newborns never smile. The only facial expressions they have are (a) blank, (b) vaguely curious, (c) crying, and, eventually, (d) screaming. They will track your face with their eyes after a few weeks, but they don't really interact with you in any way you're familiar with.

The only power you have to influence the way they feel is to (a) feed them, (b) change them, or (c) hold them. And other times, especially at night, none of these three have any affect on the child. It sort of leaves you helpless -- at times there's nothing you can do to help your screaming child. It's pretty heartbreaking.

They don't give a crap about your sleeping schedule, your need to show up reasonably alert for work, or the sensitivity of your eardrums.

This thought really occurred to me as Erin (just three weeks old) started to interact more with us. Nothing that you can really point to, but I just get this feeling that within the past few days she reacts more to my facial expressions and tone of voice. The change really spelled out for me how hard it was to interact with her only the week before.

Of course, it's sort of stupid of me to expect to have a deep, complex inter-personal relationship with someone who has been in the world less than a month. It probably says I needed to get out more.

Before having the baby, I had one person, one, who said that the first months are "tough". And, I suppose if you include Anne Lamott with her terrifying "Operating Instructions", two. Now that we have Erin, people are now, um, feeling free to tell us their horror stories. I've even pressed people who have now changed their tune from, "Brian, the first few weeks were just magical, I really cherished them." to "Oh, crap, you're right. I guess I forgot." Sure you have.

I'm sure I'm on my way to pariah-dom for publishing this, however, it's how things are going. Our little Ms. Fussypants is lucky she's so cute. Very lucky.

8 comments:

Zatoichi said...

Amen, my brother! No one ever talks about this part of the child-having. There were several moments of frustration in the early weeks--more for me than for Amy--in which I said something like, "I'm looking forward to him getting a little bit older." I think this is particularly the case for us men. No boobies and less patience with situations that don't have somewhat logical or 'reasonable' solutions. It really is great when the baby starts reacting to you. I think it's totally human to feel this way, and also very human to forget how bad it was when they were a week old. And regarding cuteness: totally. That's biology at work, baby. Survival of the species.

Zatoichi said...

4 months old is a dream!

Sarahnew said...

The reason people don't really talk about it is that, like a broken bone, you tend to forget the pain. You really will. All the cuddly cuteness, and eventual deep, connecting love, and hilarious toddler adventures transplant those early, difficult newborn memories. How else do you think a women can even decide to have more than one child? Labor? Talk about pain, my brother!

Sarahnew said...

The reason people don't really talk about it is that, like a broken bone, you tend to forget the pain. You really will. All the cuddly cuteness, and eventual deep, connecting love, and hilarious toddler adventures transplant those early, difficult newborn memories. How else do you think a women can even decide to have more than one child? Labor? Talk about pain, my brother!

Caroline said...

Drop said screaming baby off at our house any time!

Darren said...

I love that the picture you chose for this says 'perfect'

Cathy said...

The first 3 months are so hard. So hard. They were hard with my first and then my second - by golly I learned what Colic was with my second. I tried so hard to really enjoy those months, those precious newborn months, but they Were So Hard.
Good luck!

John Judy said...

Maybe your baby hates you.

Just sayin'.