After spending the last four weeks on maternity leave with baby Audrey, I have watched myself become a total Mom. Let me just share with you the things about parenthood that are apparently inevitable. It doesn't matter what kind of person you were before you had a kid; these things WILL happen to you because they happen to anyone.
Everything you do becomes a "we" activity
I pretty much never say "I" anymore. Anything that happens to either the baby or myself happens to "us". There is no getting around this.
Sometimes it makes sense, like if I were to say "we went to Safeway today." The baby and I did, in fact, go together to Safeway. It's not like she was here watching Dr. Oz while I hopped over there. She went with me.
And then there are the times when it makes no sense at all. Like if I say "we had a poop so big it almost escaped the diaper!", that has nothing to do with the baby. That was all me. Or if I say "we threw up all over the laundry room floor today!", that was Audrey and not me. But I still say "we" ... because ... I don't know. I just have to.
You will talk about yourself in the third person, referring to yourselves as "Mommy" and "Daddy" ... and this will begin to extend into areas of life that do not involve the baby at all
The baby is constantly listening to you talk and absorbing everything you say, even if it doesn't look like it. In order to win the race to have her first word be "mama" and not "dada," I constantly refer to myself as "Mommy" when talking to her. And Jesse, equally invested in the competition, always refers to himself as "Daddy."
You start to get used to calling yourself that.
And next thing you know, the baby is in bed and I'm telling Jesse to "pour a beer for Mommy."
There isn't really any avoiding this either, unless you're willing to cede the first word battle to your spouse. Like an idiot.
You will become expert at timing the baby leg pistons when changing a diaper
Newborn babies flail a lot, because they don't have the motor skills to contain their limbs. Mostly it's the arms that flail -- hence the whole swaddling in a tight blanket thing -- but when it comes time to change a diaper, it's the legs that take a turn.
As soon as her bottom half comes out of her one-piece sleeper suit, her legs become little pistons, pumping up and down in a bizarre rhythm understood by no one. Sometimes the two legs pump together up and down; sometimes they alternate one and then the other; sometimes, one does 80% of the pumping while the other just steps up 20% of the time. I have discovered no pattern in this.
These little leg pistons are powerful. Like, POWERFUL. I am not really strong enough to fight the pistons -- at least not without feeling like I'm going to rip her little legs off -- so instead, changing the diaper becomes a game of timing. You have to tape up the new diaper in time with the pumping legs, waiting until each leg straightens out to quickly slap the tape onto the front of the dipe.
And then putting her back into her clothes is even more challenging: you have to wait until the leg-piston bends up and quickly put her foot into the suit, and then as soon as the leg straightens, tuck the rest of her leg into it. And then repeat on the other leg when it does its pump. And then try to do up the snaps or zippers during those rare moments when both legs are straight out.
This is especially fun in the middle of the night.
And of course, as soon as the clothes are back on, the legs stop pumping. Because of course they do.
You will not get grossed out by things that are objectively kind of gross
This one is old news. Everyone says this happens -- that whole "when it's your kid, it's different" thing in regards to pee, poop, and puke.
But I think it's not necessarily the fact that it's my kid. I mean, I don't exactly get a thrill out of cleaning up my OWN poop or puke, and I am me. Why would I be less disgusted by my child's bodily fluids than my own??
I think what really happens is that baby puke/poop just doesn't even register as gross. Like, if you spilled some soup on your kitchen counter, you wouldn't start projectile vomiting everywhere in disgust. You'd just clean it up.
The baby's poop affects me about the same way as soup on the counter might. It's just a mess that has to be cleaned up.
A mess that is green and curdy and stinks, and that you have to be really careful about with those little leg-pistons because if you're not, she'll dip her heels in it.
You will start calculating how much puke needs to be on something before it's considered too dirty to wear
It's easy to say "if my kid throws up on something, I will change it. Only clean clothes for us!"
But then you realize just exactly how frequently babies spit up. It is all the goddamned time.
If you really changed your clothes or her clothes every time she spit up on them, you would never get anything done. You'd just be spending all day and all night changing clothes and doing laundry.
So you start to get a little lazy with it. You start to debate yourself about how much puke really is too much. Like, if she throws up on my shirt, I will quickly wipe it off and maybe wet down the spot with some water. When it comes time to leave the house, if I can't see the outline of where she puked, then the shirt is considered clean.
And with her, it's really just a matter of percentages. Any puke that covers less than 5% of her body is not an outfit-changing event. If that first puke mostly dries but then a second puke occurs, that second puke is considered on its own -- not combined with the first puke. Two pukes can only be combined if they occur close enough together for them to be soaking wet at the same time.
We brought the baby over to my parents' house in a little Halloween sleeper suit that she had thrown up on no fewer than five times already.
We are awesome parents.
You will take like a billion pictures
The funny thing about babies is that they really truly do look different almost by the day. They grow and change and learn new facial expressions and do new funny things, and it's almost impossible not to take pictures of all of them.
Our baby started out looking like an Eskimo. Then she started to fill out, and her distinctly Asian features got a little more Caucasian-looking. And then she started to get a chubby face from all the food we force down her little gullet. And then she got a bad case of baby acne.
Now she looks like a chubby teenager with bad hair, but on a 1/20th scale.
And of course she's still cute as all get-out. Because she's mine. :-)
... and my iPhone has at least 50 pictures of her. That's more than one per day of her life.
And don't even get me started on what my Facebook feed looks like. Sorry, friends. There are a lot of pictures of my baby.