The nursery is freshly painted, the hospital bag is packed, and you’ve signed up for the BabyCenter newsletter. Oh, BabyCenter newsletters! A weekly dose of information for the already over-informed parents. Do you know who could really use some advice at this critical stage? Not the literate grown people with fully matured cognitive abilities, I’m talking about the tiny creatures who moments earlier didn’t even know how to breathe— the babies.
For now, your parents still have some semblance of energy on their faces, but that will quickly turn to looks of desperate exhaustion when alone and feigned enthusiasm when hosting guests, who will continue to frequent your residence, poking you in the belly and eroding your sense of self by comparing your facial features to their own.
Overheard: “…and your mom said ‘Oh my! She has my eyes!’ The nerve of that woman. If she has your mom’s eyes, get ready for passive aggressive eye-rolling.” – Mom
You continue to adjust to breathing, a completely foreign concept. Your head, which was grotesquely deformed from being pulled out of your mother’s birth canal, continues to normalize. Strange giants 10 times your size will pick you up and swing you back and forth while singing. The London Bridge has been destroyed and rock-a-bye babies are falling from trees, cradles and all. Despite these obvious horrors, your parents appear confused about why you cry, going so far as to have you diagnosed as “colicky.” Hang in there—life only gets scarier from here.
Overheard: “Why won’t she stop crying? I don’t understand it. Hand me that rectal thermometer. Let’s take her temperature.” – Dad
Cherish the free time you get to lie on your back in your crib and binge watch your mobile (you won’t believe how season 2 ends!), because soon your parents will begin subjecting you to pediatrician-mandated torture sessions known as “Tummy Time.” Despite the cutesy alliteration, Tummy Time is essentially a dry form of waterboarding. You will flail around on a blanket in the middle of the floor like a dying fish while your parents look at their phones. And if that’s not enough, they might start giving you gas drops, as if gas isn’t the only thing that makes you smile these days.
Overheard: “Aw! Look at that? She smiled at me first! It’s because I put her socks on. Her feet get so cold. You need to put socks on her. And turn up the heat. It’s so chilly in here.” – Grandma
Did you know that during peek-a-boo when your dad’s hands cause his face to disappear from existence, his face is actually still there, behind the hands? It’s true! It’s called “object permanence,” and you will begin to test how permanent objects really are by destroying literally anything you can find. Keep it up. That’s what science is all about. If you aren’t sure what something is, go ahead and put it in your mouth. See how it tastes. It might be food. Your parents call that tasteless white paste “cereal” while stuffing their faces with Lucky Charms. So maybe that iPad is a candy bar. You won’t know until you try.
Overheard: “Yesterday she chewed on my phone, and today she bit the cat. Where does she get this oral fixation? Pass the chardonnay.” – Mom
Today the Earth is in the same orbital position it was when you came out of your mother’s vagina, which is apparently cause for celebration. A colorful frosted lump will be ceremoniously placed in front of you as everyone you’ve ever met stares at you and sings. Oh, and the lump is on fire. After you stare in fear for a couple minutes, your parents will extinguish it as everyone claps. Did you make a wish? Let’s hope it wasn’t for a healthy treat, because next you will be force-fed your first taste of the sweet nectar that is refined sugar. Everyone will laugh at you. For the rest of your life, you will be told to avoid it.
Overheard: “She doesn’t know what to do! Shove it in her face! Haha! Look at her! She loves it!” – Aunt Betty, with a mouthful of cake
The post-traumatic stress of the birthing process will begin to fade. The terrifying newness of life is but a memory and you will begin to realize your position as head of the family. You are entitled to be the center of attention and be given everything you’ve ever wanted. If you ever feel you are treated unfairly, let it be known! Throw your body on the ground, flail your limbs, make the sounds you made as a baby. It worked then. Why would it be any different now? Everything is going to be about you for the rest of your life. Time to get comfortable.
Overheard: “I know! I feel the same way. I think I’m ready. Let’s have another.” – Mom
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