When it comes to children, the only certain things about them is that they’ll cry, they’ll poop and repeat.
Handling that is the easy part. Everything else is a minefield waiting to be stepped on.
It doesn’t matter how many books you read, videos you watch, classes you take or parents you talk to, raising your own child and the affects it will have on you will only become known once you’re in the trenches.
While it may sometimes sound like war, having a kid is truly incredible. There are a few things, however, I wish I knew before my son arrived.
You're on your own
The baby’s born. Family comes to visit you at the hospital, friends send you text messages and your social media blows up with good wishes from the kid you sat next to in third grade. Then after 48 hours, at which point your insurance company strong-arms the hospital to discharge you, you're figuring out how to install a car seat.
No matter how many books you read, other babies you hold, or advice you half-listen to from your in-laws, when you have your first child, it's the first time you're a parent and you're going to have to figure everything our for yourself.
We wanted to breast feed, but my wife couldn’t. Our son wasn’t eating. We didn’t wait for the first-week checkup. We were at the pediatrician’s office on day 3 to find out what kind of bombshell news we were going to be hit with. It’s scary. You and your partner need to hang on tight like Thelma & Louise because if you’re not in this together, you will drive each other off a cliff.
They really, really, really like sleeping in your bed
Me, my wife and my newborn son all lived in the same bedroom for the first year of his life. It wasn't always ideal, but it was easy to roll over and pick him up from his crib and bring him into our bed. He'd call for us, and we'd go get him.
Eventually when he was in a toddler bed, he could simply get out of bed on his own and climb into ours, parting my wife and I like the Red Sea, sometimes not even feeling he was in between us. Well, I would, because he’d kick mercilessly, which may explain my lower back issues and my affinity for sleeping on couches.
It's incredibly hard to break habits
Once you start letting your child do something it becomes a pattern. Some people may object to welcoming their child into their bed, for example, like we did. Sure, doing so sometimes put a damper on personal time with my wife, but all my son ever wanted when climbing into bed with us was to snuggle and feel comfortable.
Sharing our bed with my son really allowed my wife and I to build our relationship with him, but to this day he still likes to fall asleep in our bed every night before I pick him up and transfer him to his own bedroom. Although it's not necessarily a bad habit, my wife and I are looking forward to upgrading to a king sized mattress.
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