5 Things Nobody Warns You About Before You Have Kids

by Susie Johnson

It’s not like you can ever really be prepared; some things you just have to survive. Like babies and the zombie apocalypse. But it would have been sporting if someone had at least tried to convey the reality of these five baby truths.

1. Baby poop

Holy shit. Nobody told you that a newborn is basically a soft serve ice cream machine that is on the fritz 24/7 and squirts out runny mustard ice cream every 10 minutes, with the occasional room splattering explosion.

2. Croup

What the hell was that noise? At some point during your kid’s first year, you will be awakened in the middle of the night by a sound that will scare the living shit out of you. You will be convinced your kid is seconds away from taking her last breath or that her body has been taken over and possessed by a sea lion. This sound is usually much worse than the actual cough it accompanies. While a croupy cough can be troubling, what is much more upsetting is the fact that nobody ever prepared you for the fucked up sounds that can come out of such a tiny little baby.

3. Night Terrors

What. The. Fuck? If you have the pleasure of experiencing these things, you’ll learn they come out of nowhere. If they strike when your kid is under the age of 2, one night he will sit up in his bed and scream in terror—like “Nightmare on Elm Street” screams.

If your child is older, he will look directly at you and tell you he is going to die. Or he may just go on an endless tirade reminiscent of that really bad acid trip you had in college. You may find him out on the back deck pacing, or in the front yard peeing, at 2 o’clock in the morning.

And you will be convinced your child is awake because he will be looking right at you, but he will actually be sound asleep. You will try your best to wake your kid up and snap him out of it, but nothing you do will work. All of which will convince you that you did something wrong, or that your kid is seriously fucked up and will need years of therapy in order to recover from this. But then, just as suddenly as your son started screaming or babbling incoherently to you, he will stop and go right back to a peaceful sleep, remembering absolutely none of it the next morning. Your child will not need therapy as a result of night terrors, but you might.

4. Threenagers and the Fucking Fours

Oh. My. God. You’ve heard all about the Terrible Twos. But nobody told you that the threes and the fours are about a hundred million times worse. Nobody warned you that the 18- to 36-month period is really just a training ground for your children to build up their endurance and perfect their whining/defying/arguing skills to the point that they can have you on your knees and begging for mercy in a matter of minutes.

5. You will develop bionic hearing; your husband will develop nighttime deafness

Is he seriously still sleeping? You used to be able to sleep through a fraternity party. But now you are like Lindsay Wagner on speed. The slightest noise sends your heart rate through the roof. That superhero hearing never goes away—ever.

Your husband, however, develops the unparalleled ability to sleep through a magnitude 9.7 earthquake. One night in the first month of your baby’s life, you will have woken up somewhere between 5 and 67 times and your husband will leisurely roll over, rub his eyes, look at you and say, “Wow! The baby already slept through the night!”

You will want to punch him in the face. Resist the urge. Because you will need his help a little while later when the soft serve ice cream machine is on the fritz again.