One thing your mother and I have learned so far is that most, if not all, new parents have no idea what the hell they’re doing. On one end of the spectrum there are the parents that march to the beat of their own drum and experiment to see what works. On the other end, there are those that strictly conform to best practices put forth on forums or relevant sources. And somewhere on the gradient in between both ends is where your mother and I fall into.
Obviously, your mother and I have memories of how we were raised by our own parents, and I’ve taken mental notes along the way of what I planned to do differently when I had a kid (it’ll be interesting to see whether I’ll stick with those promises now that I have an “adult” perspective). But observing other modern-day parents in action has been the most interesting resource for us, and we didn’t have to look any further than the postnatal ward immediately after you were born to get a glimpse.
Behind the curtains of ward 27 was a couple who just had their second child and called the midwife so many times to ask so many questions that I wondered whether they really ever did have the first child. I also distinctly remember the father trying to rationalize with the newborn as if he had the capability to do so: “I don’t have any milk for you, so stop crying,” or “If you be quiet, your mother will come back and feed you.”
On the other side of us in ward 25 was an interracial couple who took a laissez-faire-on-steroids approach with their child. Every time I walked by their ward, the mother was busy either working on her makeup or typing away on her phone. The father was only around in the evenings and when he was there, he reclined on the bed, turned on the TV, and surfed the internet on his Macbook Air.
And what would someone observe about us in ward 26? They’d probably say the woman was very sweet to her baby and that her husband is a selfish bastard for going home each night to sleep in his bed, particularly because the baby was up all night and sleeping all day. Oops.
Field notes from week 3:
- Short of being paid, I wouldn’t spend any time watching someone fall asleep (including your mother). You’re the exception – I could watch you sleep every time because it’s more like your struggle to stay awake rather than trying to fall asleep. So yes, I enjoy watching your eyes roll back into your head and seeing the whites of your eyes, I enjoy your sporadic limb movements, and I enjoy the occasional dinosaur sounds that erupt from you.
- You like pooping in clean diapers. You poop without fail one minute into your breastfeeding session. Good thing for your mother your poop doesn’t smell yet.
- I feel bad for you because there have been more than one breastfeeding sessions where your face has been sprayed with milk. You’re too young to receive facials.