12 Signs You Live with a Newborn

live_with_a-newbornBefore I gave birth to my fourth daughter, I had experienced what is fondly known in the parental circle as “newborn amnesia.” It’s the particular type of amnesia that allows parents to forget about such things as, you know, the pain of childbirth, or the agony of sleep deprivation. This great forgetting is vital to ensure the survival of the human species.

But then comes the great remembering. In full effect. It all comes back to you in a heartbeat. And if it’s your first time — well, then for you it’s a great awakening. Here are just 12 of the signs that you’re deep into the thick of things living with a newborn:

1. Your room resembles a battlefield.

Each morning, your bleary eyes will behold the ruins of the battle that was the night — the white, folded carcasses of disposable diapers who have sacrificed their lives upon a once not-dusty floor. At one time, you may have considered the diaper-holding mechanism that turns dirty diapers into a chain of putrid-smelling sausage links, but really, who has enough working brain cells in the middle of the night to operate that thing? To the floor they go, my friend.

2. You can cook an entire meal one-handed.

I’m not talking cereal and milk here, folks. I’m talking a full-on gourmet meal. While never exposing your offspring to the dangers of say, a hot stove or sizzling oil, of course, you will still be fully capable of preparing a satisfying meal and serving it up, all while ignoring the burn in your bicep.

3. The word “mustard” has taken on a whole new meaning in your life.

If you’re a breastfeeding mother, you know what I’m talking about here. And honestly, if someone can explain to me how milk turns into yellow mustard seeds, I’m still pondering this mystery …

4. You have the ability to sleep with one ear open.

And by that, I mean you will never truly fall into a deep slumber — always, always, your subconscious will be listening for the delicate breathing of your baby, differentiating between the restless cry, the hungry cry, or the poopy cry to determine how fast you need to spring out of bed.

5. You wonder if other people really function at this degree of exhaustion.

I mean, surely, someone should be policing this sort of thing, right? Is it even legal for you to drive this tired? Do other parents feel this tired? Will you ever feel normal again?

Having gone through the newborn phase four times, I will say this: I have no idea if it’s normal to feel as tired as I feel every minute of every day. But somehow, you just get through it and out in public, you smile like you are an actual, functioning part of society, even though to you it seems like everyone around you should be deeply concerned about the state of your well-being.

6. You keep careful track of your diet.

Not because you’re watching your weight — hahahaha, don’t be ridiculous, you just had a baby!—but because, if you’re a breastfeeding mother, you’re constantly on guard that something you eat will upset the delicate balance of your baby’s digestive system. Excessive spit-up? Let’s hope it wasn’t that banana you ate … and my condolences to you if you are forced to give up coffee because, see #5. My thoughts and prayers go out to you, I’ve been there and it’s not pretty.

7. You hold your breath every time you lay the baby down.

“Please don’t wake up, please don’t wake up, please don’t wake up …. crap, he woke up …”

8. Your butt hitting any type of chair = automatic cue to the baby to wake up.

I sincerely wonder if there is an explanation to this phenomenon, because truly, it’s not an exaggeration. It doesn’t matter if you are sitting down to eat a meal or sneaking into your office to check your email/Facebook, the exact second your butt hits the chair will be the exact moment your baby starts crying. It’s kind of incredible, when you think about it.

9. You know what the “T-Rex” arms are.

Unlike an exhibit at a children’s museum, the “T-Rex” arms appear when a nursing mother assumes the unmistakable stance of arms crossed tightly over her chest when her milk decides to burst forth in all its life-giving bounty at the most inappropriate moment, say, right when you are introduced in your friend’s wedding. #truestory

10. All of your other kids’ baby dolls are expertly swaddled.

What? You got the skills, might as well use them!

11. You ask your significant other permission to go to the bathroom/take a shower.

Yes, your life has come to that. Because it’s the only alone time either of you is going to get.

12. You can casually toss off the phrase, “it’s just baby poop” and think nothing of it.

Call us crazy, but for parents of newborns, baby poop really isn’t just that big of a deal. It’s just, well, baby poop.


Image via Chaunie Brusie/j& j brusie photography

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