backstage passes

They told you...

how much money you'd spend on diapers.

But you never guessed...

how much money you'd spend on parenting books, organic blueberries, organic sunscreen, the organic versions of Goldfish, Oreos, Ritz crackers, fruit leather.



They told you...

that the baby would wake you up at night.

But you never guessed...

that you wouldn't be able to fall back asleep even though you're exhausted because you start thinking about what would happen if you took your kid out onto a hotel balcony somewhere and he leaned on the glass and it broke, like what happened to Eric Clapton's kid, and you make a solemn 3:14 am vow to never, ever allow your child out on a balcony, anywhere, ever. Or onto a ferry boat. Or into a school, my God, the shootings. Or to Africa. Or the Middle East. Or to that park where the hobos like to stab each other, even though the city thought that would be a great place to put a toddler splash park.



They told you...

that bath time would be such a fun and magical experience for you and your baby.

But you never guessed...

how fun and magical it is to fish out fun/magical shit (actual shit) from the bath water, drain the tub, clean the tub, and then re-run the bath. Or maybe just swab your kid down with baby wipes.



They told you...

to read to your baby.

But you never guessed...

that it would actually, physically take your breath away the first time your child finished a sentence in a book you've been reading to him for the last 18 months. That it would kind of scare the shit out of you that your kid knows every word in most of the books you've ever read to him. That it would actually bring tears to your eyes when he brings you a book and says, "read dis pweese, mommy?" That reading to your baby would become the best part of your day. Unless he picks that fucking "Zoom Rocket Zoom" book. It's seriously like 56 pages long.



They told you...

that breast is best.

But you never guessed...

how sharp those little baby gums are. And the bite power of an infant - they're like little sharks, they are. And how easy it is to not give a shit if it's a bad latch at 3:14 am. And how much it will hurt to latch on that side for days and days and maybe weeks after that one bad latch. And how ashamed you will feel that breastfeeding hurts and doesn't seem like it's working because the baby isn't gaining enough weight and that's your fault because your one big serious job as a mother is to nourish your child from your own body and you're failing at that, so you're doomed, doomed, doomed. But for God's sake, you can't give the child formula. He'll end up an asthmatic sociopath.



They told you...

to ask other moms for help.

But you never guessed...

how wonderful and horrible it can be to talk baby with other baby mamas. Nobody else will ever understand what you're going through, even your mom, even other women who have kids who are different ages. It's like running a marathon. The only people who know how it feels are other runners. Hearing another mom say "me too!" is the most tender balm on our whole body of open, blistered worries and frustrations.

On the other hand, if one baby is sleeping through the night and you ask the mom how, how for the love of God did she do it, and she shrugs and says, "we swaddled him. Like, really tight. You're probably not swaddling tight enough" then you have murderous thoughts about choking that woman to death with a muslin blanket.



They told you...

not to shake the baby.

But you never guessed...

that you'd need to remind yourself of that. A lot.



They told you...

that you'd need to do something to handle tantrums at some point.

But you never guessed...

that you'd need to do nothing to handle tantrums at some point. Because sometimes nothing is the best thing you can do.



They told you...

that you'd never love anyone like you love your baby.

But you never guessed...

that your baby would be, actually, like, pretty ungrateful of that love. And that you, despite your deep and reflexive love, would say or think terrible things to and about your baby sometimes. I say things like "I'm just trying to keep you alive..." and then I think  "you stubborn little bastard!" Or "Don't you understand that I will give you whatever you want if you will just tell me what you want and stop screaming!" And yes, yes I have said out loud "Okay, I need you to shut up, baby! Please shut up now!" while holding and bouncing a whiny witching-hour Buster in an 81-degree living room. I said it in a nice voice though.


They told you...

that you'd never get it until you were in it.

But you never guessed...

they were right.



Did I miss any?

Sorry, let me rephrase.

I missed at least 4,000. What did I miss?

Comment and share with the other 12-18 readers of this blog, plus that one guy in Russia who still checks in from time to time.


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