Someone I know just had a baby. Which reminded me about when I had a baby. Which reminded me to be grateful that I don’t currently have a baby.
This new mother says she is having a wonderful time with her baby. My opinion, even though I haven’t met the child, is that I think she is lying. Or perhaps young parents today don’t care too deeply about sleeping nights like a normal person, which is great, because they need the extra time to post approximately thousands of photos online of their babies wearing different outfits. This is a very important task parents have these days, although I’m not exactly sure why.
Sure, the kid is admittedly cute as far as babies go, though she doesn’t smile yet and often looks mad as a hornet, even while dressed in a cheerful matching tutu and hair bow. Unfortunately, she’ll spit up all over it and then grow up to oppose all of the latest fashion trends, not to mention dance wear.
Motherhood is heavenly, she says next. Give her time. Like most new parents, she’ll soon realize that the baby can’t talk. This can be frustrating, of course, because you can’t really have a decent conversation with someone without talking.
In fact, no matter how many times you desperately plead with a baby to “say something – tell me what you want” while they’re crying at the top of their lungs, they never actually answer. Nobody pointed out to me that this would likely be how I’d spend my first Mother’s Day as a mother with a 4-day-old howler monkey, or for that matter, that it would take years to recover. I still wake up for the 3 a.m. feeding and the kid recently went off to college.
The point is that parenting demon sprouts at any age has its highs and lows, but there are those who, due to reasons including heavy alcohol consumption or severe blows to the head, say they miss the baby stage. These people will blather on about squishy cheeks, precious babbling and adoring smiles, leaving out the painful body parts, puffy zombie eyes and exploding poop.
Babies are really quite impudent – a human parent must devote hours of mind-numbing time and effort into keeping them alive (unlike most other species whose infants may be just as fetching but much less demanding). Next, they turn into toddlers on the move, scheming their eventual flight out of the nest, which of course, happens in a blink.
But when that baby smiles up at you for the first time and you know deep down in your yearning heart that it’s not gas, it hits you: you’ll do anything in the world for that smelly, teary, loud, whiny, needy baby and you both know it. Maybe this is the true moment you become a parent. Because after that, like getting on that next scary but thrilling carnival ride, for better or worse because you could possibly hurl, life as you knew it will never be the same.
Pam J. Hecht is a writer, instructor and mother of two (but not necessarily in that order). Reach her at [email protected] or pamjhecht.com.
This article originally appeared on Asheville Citizen Times: The Funny Business of Parenting”-Life will never be the same